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 Stansted 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 Stansted 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 Stansted 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 flying into Gatwick (or comparing it with flights into Stansted), check out my guide.
- London Stansted is 42 miles northeast of central London. Stansted has become a popular option for people flying in on budget carriers like Ryanair and EasyJet, but there are other airlines that fly here from the European continent too. It takes about 50 minutes to reach Central London.
- London Luton is 28 miles north of London, and you can get to Central London in as little as 25 minutes. If you are considering a flight to Luton, my guide will help.
- 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 Stansted to Central London – which is what you really want to know!
How to Get from Stansted to London
Stansted is one of the furthest airports from Central London, so it only makes sense to fly into this airport if you’re getting a screamin’ deal on a flight. I’ve flown out of Stansted once and it feels like it’s just less convenient due to the distance and fewer options for how to get there.
Stansted is 42 miles northeast of central London. You can go from London to Stansted via the Stansted Express service on the Greater Anglia line. Trains depart every 15 minutes and take just 47 minutes to and from London Liverpool Street. One-way tickets start at £21.90 when booked in advance.
National Express (Bus)
National Express also offers coaches from Stansted Airport to London every day. The journey takes 50 minutes, although it can take longer when traffic gets busy. If there are traffic jams, it can take up to two hours to reach the airport. As for the cost, tickets start from £7 one-way when booked in advance.
Finally, Minicabit has teamed up with Stansted to provide a taxi service for travelers. You can book a taxi at the desk located in the international arrival concourse, or use the form on their website to select your location and destination, then choose the date and time when you need your taxi. While the fare depends on your destination, you can expect to pay at least £60 but possibly more if there is traffic and depending on where you want to reach in Central London.
The Best Way to Travel Between London & Stansted
Okay, given those options, one question remains: what’s the best option for getting from Stansted to London?
The best way to get from Stansted to London is the National Rail with the Stansted Express. The tickets are affordable, and it offers the most reliable service in terms of traveling time. As you could tell from my description above, I think this is the best option for basically every factor that you might be considering as you finish planning this part of your trip.
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!