Travel in and around London is easy, and there are many options available for getting in and out, as well as travel within the city itself. For more detail on travelling throughout London see our Getting Around page and the Transport for London website.
Getting to London by air
London Heathrow Airport
More commonly referred to as simply ‘Heathrow’ or LHR, this is the original and largest airport serving the city. The website provides live flight arrival and departure information and consists of five separate terminals: Terminal 1,2,3,4 and 5.
Apart from London City Airport, this is the closest airport to London itself, and most of the major carriers fly here. These include the UK’s main carrier, British Airways, as well as airlines such as American Airlines, Emirates and Quantas.
Heathrow is 15 miles west of central London, and is served by a good range of transport options. These include the train known as The Heathrow Express that runs a service every 15 minutes that takes a mere 15 minutes to whisk you to Paddington Station in the heart of London.
There is also an excellent selection of coach or bus services that leave from all the airport terminals that head into the city and beyond. These include Greenline Coaches, National Express and regular bus routes (more information on TFL website).
Other options include taxis and mini cabs, that can be either found directly outside all the terminal buildings, or pre-booked via Heathrow Taxis.
London Gatwick Airport
Gatwick airport (LGW) is another large hub, although it’s located a little further from London itself, in West Sussex, around 28 miles south of the city. Gatwick has two terminals, the North and South, and has recently undergone substantial refurbishment and is an extremely efficient and modern airport.
Transport options into London are similar to that of Heathrow, including the train called The Gatwick Express, that takes 30 minutes to take you to Victoria Station in the centre of London. If you book tickets online they are cheaper than purchasing at the station itself.
Taxis can be found outside either terminal building, or can be pre-booked through Airport Cars Gatwick to gain discount prices. Contact them by telephone on +44 (0) 1293 567700.
London Stansted Airport
Stansted airport (STD) is located 37 miles from London in the county of Essex. Once again, there is an excellent array of transport options, including The Stansted Express Train, that that runs from a terminal at the airport every 15 minutes, taking 46 minutes to reach Liverpool Street Station in central London.
Bus and coach services are excellent, with companies such as Easybus and National Express providing regular services.
Taxis and minicabs can be found outside the terminal, or there is a reservation desk located in the International Arrivals area. There is also a courtesy telephone in the baggage reclaim area that will connect you through to the reservation desk. You can also pre-book via the website.
London Luton Airport
Luton airport (LTN) is in the county of Bedfordshire, about 38 miles from London. Travelling into the city by train is served by East Midlands Trains and First Capital Connect. The trains don’t run directly from the airport, but a shuttle bus runs every 10 minutes from the airport to the station.
If you prefer to take a taxi into London, there is a cab rank outside the main terminal building. Three minicab companies are also available to pre-book – Alpha Taxis Luton, Cabco Taxis Luton and Luton Taxi Association.
London City Airport
City airport (LCY) is located in London itself, in the area known as the Docklands. You can also access the London underground/tube system directly from the airport. This is via the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), and further details can be found at the TFL website.
You can also access the London Bus service from the airport, or get to the major train stations using the DLR.
For taxi or minicab services, Mini Cabit is a website where you can compare prices and pre-book a cab, or you can take a licensed London Black Taxi from directly outside the terminal building. The London City Airport website has a list of the approximate prices a Black Taxi will charge from the airport to various areas in London.
Other travel options
Because the UK is an island, you might choose to arrive in the country by ferry. Companies such as P&O ferries, Brittany Ferries and DFDS all provide services from Europe to ports in the UK. Dover is the largest port in the country, and from here it takes around two hours to make the 76-mile journey to central London.
There are many main trunk roads (known as motorways) that head into London. Depending on which direction you are coming from, these are the M1, M40, M4, M3 and M11. The M25 is a ring road that encircles London. Be aware that this is a very busy road, and traffic congestion is common during peak hours.
Trains provide an excellent nationwide service. Details of all train journeys can be found on the National Rail website. A top tip from a local says that greatly reduced fares can be had if you pre-book your tickets via the website The Trainline. Discounts of up to 50, 60 or even 70 per cent can be had if you travel outside of peak hours and book well in advance.
Need more information?
Further in-depth information about travel can be found on our Getting Around page, as well as the links provided above. Here at MovingtoLondon.net we constantly update the information provided on these pages, so you can be sure that all links and details given are accurate and current. And the more information you gather before your arrival, the easier your transition into London life will be.