Did you know there are six airports that serve London? Come check out each airport in detail and find out how to reach them.
Planning a little trip to London and don’t know what airport you should go to? Or, thinking of a break away and not sure which airport you should fly from? I can see why you’re so bamboozled. London is one of the easiest cities in the world to reach, and with six airports in London to fly from there’s a huge choice of destinations across the world. You can fly practically anywhere, and at seriously competitive prices. The airport you fly from really does depend on where you want to go, and what you’re flying for. For example, some airports are best for business trips, while others are perfect for a family holiday. Some of the airports in London are also ideal as a stopover or an origin airport on a long haul or transatlantic trip. So, which airport is the one for you? I’m going to talk you through five of the largest airports in London, and give you a possible reason to fly from each of them.
London Heathrow is the largest and most important of the airports in London, and also in England and Europe. It’s also one of the biggest in the world, with almost 75 million passengers every year. The airport is about 18 miles from the city centre, found in the western suburbs of the city. Heathrow has five terminals. British Airways, the UK’s flag carrier and the main operator of Heathrow, was the airline to open the new Terminal 5 ten years ago in March 2008. The terminal, which is shaped in a beautiful winged structure, operates over 200 flights per day! Virgin Altantic, the other large British airline, operates flights across the world, with a focus on flights to the USA and to Central America. Other flag carriers from across the world also fly from here, with Italian carrier Alitalia, Irish airline Aer Lingus and Ethiad Airways which fly to the UAE all flying to London’s largest airport. Australian airline Quantas now also fly from Heathrow, and operate a flight to Sydney with a stop over in Dubai. But, in March 2018 they will commence a flight directly from Perth in Australia to London Heathrow. With a flight time of 18 hours and 5 minutes, this could be one of the longest flights in the world!
How to get there by Tube
Heathrow Airport is connected to the city centre via the Underground. It’s about a 45 minute ride on the Piccadilly Line, and the airport is one of the line’s terminus stations. There are two stops within the airport, one which serves terminals 1/4 and one for Terminal 5. You can buy your tickets directly at the airport.
How to get there by train
In a hurry? You can hop on the Heathrow Connect, a fast 25 minute non stop train operating between Heathrow Airport and London Paddington. You can get your ticket online or at the airport for £22 one way or £37 return.
How to get there by taxi
A taxi to the city centre will cost you roughly £35
Gatwick Airport is the second largest of the airports in London. It’s the second largest in the whole of England too, with 43 million passengers using this airport every year. It’s found about 25 miles south of the city centre. The airport has two terminals, the North Terminal and the South Terminal. Among the rest of the airports of London, Gatwick seems to be the one that is most up and coming. There’s an everlasting debate on whether to build a second runway in the airport to deal with the large number of passengers. It would definitely give the airport’s growth a boost! The main airline that uses this airport is easyJet, a low cost airline carrying almost 18 million passengers per year on their European and North African destination network. But, Gatwick can definitely be defined as the “hybrid of the London airports”. Not only is the airport used by easyJet, but Ryanair also has a medium-sized base here. There are also flights from Gatwick operated by Briitsh Airways and Virgin Atlantic, charter airlines such as Thomas Cook and TUI Airways, and also by Emirates.
How to get there by train
London Gatwick is connected to the city centre by a fast train, the Gatwick Expresswhich will bring you into the city centre in about 30 minutes. This train runs every 15 minutes between London Victoria in the city centre and Gatwick. You can get your tickets at the airport or online for £17.90 one way. An alternative is the train operated by Southern Railways. This train takes about 45 minutes to get to Victoria Station, and makes four stops along the way. Tickets start from £10 one way.
How to get there by bus
The most economic way to get there is the National Express Bus. An 85 minute journey into the city centre will cost you £6.80 one way.
Stansted is third largest of the airports in London and the fourth largest in the UK, with 23 million passengers a year. It’s located around 35 miles north east of the city centre. It’s the main Ryanair hub, with more than 300 flights a day operated by the airline travelling to over 180 destinations across Europe, north Africa and Israel. Other airlines like easyJet and Jet2 also have a smaller presence in the airport, with a smaller flight network of flights.
How to get here by train
The airport is connected to central London at Liverpool Street and Tottenham Hale Stations by the Stansted Express. This direct train will bring you into the city centre within 45 minutes. You can get your tickets at the airport, of course, but I do recommend you buy them online instead. You’ll make a massive saving! Tickets start at £18 for Liverpool Street Station and £19 for Tottenham Hale.
How to get here by bus
Terravision operate buses from the airport into Liverpool Street and Victoria Street stations, which takes an average journey time of 60 minutes. Tickets will cost you between £8 and £10.
How to get here by taxi
A taxi to the city centre will cost you about £90.
We recommend this airport for: bargainRyanair flights, for people who are going on holiday for more than three days, for those who aren’t fazed by long queues at security screening and passport control, and those who are ok to travel here by bus.
Luton Airport is the fourth largest of the airports in London and the fifth largest in Britain. Almost 13 million passengers use this airport every year. It’s found about 35 miles north of the city centre. Luton Airport is home to several low cost carriers and to some charter companies such as easyJet, Ryanair, Thomson Airways, and the Hungarian company Wizz Air. There are no intercontinental flights from Luton, as their flight network concentrates on eastern European cities like Krakow and Bratislava, and to tourist hot spots in Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Turkey.
How to get here by bus
There are four bus companies who operate regular services from Luton Airport to London – Terravision, Easybus, GreenLine and National Express. These buses have intermediate stops at stations such as Brend Cross, Baker Street, Finchley Road, Marble Arch and Victoria Station. Your journey can take anything between 50 minutes to over an hour and a half. Prices range from £5 for a trip to Brend Cross and £10 if travelling to Victoria Station. With Easybus, you can find a trip starting from £2, but you would need to book well in advance to score this.
London City Airport is the fifth largest of the airports in London, and is the 14th largest in Great Britain. Almost 5 million passengers use this airport annually. As the name might suggest, London City airport is the only of these airports in London city itself. It’s found in the Docklands area, close to Greenwich. The airport has a small runway of just 1500m in length (Heathrow, in comparison, has two runways, both of which are almost 4km long), and the runway is built entirely on the water. This has limited the airport’s operations to only small aircraft with very specific structures.
No low cost airlines fly from London City, but there are other options. British Airways, Lufthansa, Swiss Air and Luxair fly from the airport, but prices can be quite high. The airport is quite convenient for people who work in the city centre and have commutes across the country – or the world, and would need to return every day. British Airways operates a flight from here to JFK in New York daily, and you would travel in a small Airbus A318 with business class service and just 34 seats.
How to get there by Tube
London City airport can be easily reached by the underground. It’s located on the DLR Lineand the journey here from Bank Station, where you can interchange, will take about 20 minutes.