21 Jan Guide to London’s Airports
Heathrow is London’s largest and busiest airport and is also the world’s busiest for international passengers. It had five terminals and is home to 90 airlines flying to over 170 destinations worldwide. It is located in the Borough of Hillingdon which is located 22km west of Central London. The cheapest way into Central London from Heathrow is to take the London Underground. This trip takes about 50 minutes depending on your final destination and costs £4.00 one-way. If you are travelling during rush hour be prepared to have to fight your way on and off the busy trains. A faster and more relaxed option is the Heathrow Express which takes about 15 minutes to get to Paddington Station. This option is far more expensive though at £16.50 one-way.
Gatwick is London’s second-largest airport and is located 45km south of the city center. It is a major hub for charter airlines such as Thomas Cook, Thomson Airways and Monarch and discount airlines like easyJet and Ryanair. Gatwick Airport is accessible by both bus and train. Buses operated by National Express and easyBus run between the airport and Victoria Coach Station several times per hour. The cheapest fare (as low as £2 one-way) is on easyBus you need to book well in advance. The journey takes anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes depending on traffic. Trains also run regularly to Victoria Station. The Gatwick Express is the most expensive option at £16.90 one-way but it will get you into town without stopping in 30 minutes. First Capital and Southern also run trains make stops along the route but still only take about 45 minutes and they are a cheaper option.
It is located 48km northeast of the city center and there are bus and train connections from Stansted Airport to London. Standsted Bus, Terravision and easyBus all send vehicles into Victoria Station with stops long the way at Marble Arch and sometimes Golders Green and Baker Street as well. Stansted Express trains operate between the airport and Liverpool Street but are more expensive. Stansted is truly a budget airline hub with easyJet and Ryanair dominating the runways with the occasional flight from such masters of the air as Air Moldova or Air Berlin. Despite the limited number of airlines though, Stansted is London’s third busiest airport.
Luton Airport is located 56km north of London in Bedforshire and it is a small, one-runway airport used mostly by budget carriers flying to destinations around Europe. Because the airport is so far from Central London, getting to Luton Airport takes a bit of time and planning. It is connected to Victoria Station by two companies offering 24 hour bus services: Green Line and easyBus. Buses stop at Brent Cross, Finchley Road, Baker Street, and Marble Arch on their way to Victoria Station. First capital operates a train from the airport with stops at King’s Cross, Farringdon, Blackfriars and London Bridge.
London City Airport
London City Airport is London’s smallest and the main users tend to be business travelers as it is located so close to Central London. It is located in the Borough of Newham, 11km southeast of the city center and near to Canary Wharf, London’s financial district. London City Airport only has one runway and can only accommodate planes able to do short take-offs and landings. The airport is connected to Central London by the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). This rail line transports passengers to several destinations in East London and also allows them to connect with the London Underground to reach multiple destinations in the city.