As you plan your first trip to London, there are a million decisions to make and things to learn. You need to decide how long you’re going to visit, where you’ll stay, and what you’ll do. You might be budget-conscious and be looking for ways to save. Heck, you even need to decide which airport you’re flying in to – there are six in the London area!
One thing you might forget to figure out is an important one: how to get from the airport to London, at whichever airport you will arrive. Some people fly into London Luton Airport, which is a good alternative compared to other area airports – but as it’s your first trip, you still might have questions.
If you’re putting the final touches on your London itinerary, know you’re flying into Luton Airport, and are curious about how to get from the airport to London, you’ve come to the right place. Below is a guide to London’s various airports and a breakdown of your options for getting from Luton to London.
London Area Airports Explained
When it comes to cities, London is tied for the most airports in the world (along with New York City). It has a total of six airports. London airports sit in strategic parts of the city, and each serves different purposes, which I’ll cover in this section.
- London Heathrow is London’s largest aviation hub and sits only 14 miles west of central London. Depending on which method you choose, it takes 15-55 minutes to reach Central London. I have a guide for how to get from Heathrow to London, if you’re flying into that airport instead.
- London Gatwick is 30 miles south of London and takes 30 minutes to reach Central London. If you’re comparing flights into Gatwick, check out my guide.
- London Stansted is 42 miles northeast of central London. It takes about 50 minutes to reach Central London; if you’re comparing flights to Stansted, I have a guide to your travel options there too.
- London Luton is 28 miles north of London, and despite only having a single runway, Luton is one of London’s busiest airports and covers primarily commercial flights within Europe. It offers flights to over 75 cities, and most of Luton’s airlines are low-cost. You can get to Central London in as little as 25 minutes.
- London City Airport is only 10 miles east of London; you can reach Central London in 23 minutes. If you found a flight into City, check out my guide for getting to London.
- London Southend is the furthest at 42 miles from central London and takes 51 minutes to travel from. Last but not least, I also have a guide for getting to London from Southend.
Now let’s dive into the specifics of getting from Luton to Central London – which is what you really want to know!
How to Get from Luton to London
Luton sits 28 miles north of central London. Should you arrive at this airport, there are several ways you can get from Luton to London.
East Midlands Railway
First, you can check out East Midlands Railway. They run regular services from London St Pancras to Luton Airport Parkway every 30 minutes, and the journey takes just 25 minutes. Once you arrive at Luton Airport Parkway, you need to take the shuttle bus to the airport terminal. The bus runs every 10 minutes between 5 pm and 12 pm, and the journey takes around 10 minutes. Tickets start at £3.90 one way.
Thameslink is another option to get to the city. They run regular service from St Pancras to Luton Airport, and the journey takes around 34 minutes, and it costs (starting from) £12.40 one way.
A pre-booked taxi is another option. You can use the Addison Lee app to book a ride or simply go to Zone A of the airport’s pick-up/drop-off area to grab one there. The journey time ranges between 1 hour 35-50 minutes, and the service costs approximately £45 one way.
Fair warning though: Luton is next to the M1 motorway, so heavy traffic isn’t uncommon, especially during early mornings and evenings.
National Express Bus
Finally, the National Express also has two bus services that travel to the airport. You can take the A1 National Express route or the A2 National Express line. The journey takes approximately 43 minutes, and costs £5 one way.
The Best Way to Travel Between London & Luton
Okay, given those options, one question remains: what’s the best option for getting from Luton to London?
The best way to get from London to Luton is the East Midlands Railway plus the shuttle bus from the airport terminal. It is by far the fastest option to reach the airport, and the tickets are easily accessible for any budget.
Have any other questions about how to travel from Stansted to London or reverse as part of your trip? Let me know in the comments below!