London Airport(s) to City Centre: Cheapest Way to Travel
London has got FIVE major international airports. Arriving at one of these doesn’t necessarily mean that you have exactly arrived in the bustling city. The below guide will show you the cheapest way to get from each London airport to city centre, which then can be altered according to your accommodation or place you would want to visit first.
Before we head into that, there is one method which is absolutely free and also the same for each and every London airport – That’s hitchhiking. A piece of cardboard and a marker are the basic necessities of what has become some backpackers’ hobby. “Isn’t it dangerous?” many people ask us. Well, we always try and use our instincts and try to feel the situation. Our experiences have always been great, well not always – just that one time we were forced to hitchhike in the middle of the night. It’s a great way to lower the costs and in a city like London, every penny will come in handy!
Not only the largest airport in London, but Heathrow airport is also the largest in all the UK. Annually it transports over 80 million passengers, in and out of London. The fastest option for getting to the city centre is the Heathrow Express, taking only 15 minutes to complete the journey from the airport to Paddington Station. Obviously, speed comes at a cost. An off-peak one-way ticket will cost around €30 per person.
Luckily, this isn’t the only option. The underground metro can do the same trip in 45-minutes time. Use Google Maps or else Citymapper to find the closest stop to your accommodation. Here is a downloadable map of London’s tube system. London is divided into 6 fare zones, where Heathrow airport is situated in the last one, Zone 6. The single fare price for the full journey, off-peak, is only €3.50. That’s like 1/10th of the Heathrow express.
As you’re using the London underground, it’s imperative to Tap In and Tap Out using the Oyster Card. The Oyster Card can be bought from any of the ticket machines and is basically the only thing you’ll use to pay for public transport as it’s completely cashless. As mentioned, this can be bought from a ticket machine and after that, topping it up depending on the number of days you’re planning to stay in London
Stansted and Luton Airports
Being two of the cheap airports to fly into, Stansted and Luton are both located around 60km outside the city centre. In this instance, the quickest method to get to the centre is the cheapest method. National Express has a scheduled coach every 30-minutes. It costs around €13 from both Stansted and Luton. It’s very important to book it beforehand, as most of them are already fully booked. It is possible to buy tickets from the airport, but chances are that you’ll be scheduled on a bus leaving in an hour or two.
Gatwick airport follows the same pattern as the above, where the National Express coaches offer the cheapest rates, of just around €11 each way. There is also the option of the Gatwick express, just like Heathrow, but comes at a higher cost.
London City Airport
Left this one for last, as maybe it’s the least popular of them all. If you’re lucky enough to land here, you’re technically already in the city centre, or close enough. This airport is situated in Zone 3 of London’s transport system. Use Google Maps or Citymapper to plan your journey ahead.