When you arrive in London, you will fly into one of five London airports, the largest and most common being Heathrow Airport which is located west of London. Gatwick is directly south in the Sussex countryside, and Stansted and Luton are in the north of London. The only airport centrally located in London is the City airport out in East London.
FROM THE AIRPORT TO CENTRAL LONDON
From Heathrow Airport
1. The London Underground (The Tube) provides the most cost-effective rail route between Heathrow Airport and central London on the Piccadilly line. A single fare to central London costs approximately £6. Purchase an Oyster Card for £5 at Heathrow’s Underground Station to start saving on your travel costs straightaway.
2. The Heathrow Express offers the fastest and most expesnive journey between the airport and Central London with non-stop trains running every 15 minutes. The journey between Heathrow Central station and London's Paddington Station takes 15 minutes (a few minutes more for Terminals 4 or 5). Tickets can be bought on the internet, at the station, or on board the train. The standard single fare is £22 and standard return costs £36.
3. The Heathrow Connect service to London's Paddington station links the airport with local stations in west London. The journey between Heathrow Central rail station and Paddington takes about 25 minutes (travel to Terminal 4 or 5 takes a few minutes more) with a cost of £10.20 to Paddington Station for a single journey.
4. Bus and Coaches - If you arrive outside of normal travel hours, the most cost-effective option of getting to central London is by taking the N9 night bus which connects Heathrow with Central London. The service runs every 30 minutes from the central bus station (above the Underground station). However, this journey will take approximately 1 - 2 hours.
5. Black cabs are very expensive from the airport, I have booked UBER from the airport before but they are more difficult to find since they do not park in the taxi rank.
From Gatwick Airport
1. The Gatwick Express connects Gatwick Airport to Central London in 30 minutes and has rail links to destinations all around the U.K. Non-stop trains run to and from London's Victoria Station every 15 minutes. The railway station at Gatwick is accessed from the South Terminal. If you arrive at the North Terminal, take the free transit shuttle. Tickets can be bought at the terminals, at the station, or on board at no extra cost. A standard single ticket costs £19.90. For details of prices, special offers and to book in advance, visit the Gatwick Express website.
2. The National Express A3 train goes from Gatwick to Victoria Coach Station in Central London. Prices start at £8 one way. There are National Express ticket desks in the North and South Terminals.
3. EasyBus to London is a low-cost, frequent transfer service non-stop from London and Gatwick with prices starting at £2 one way. Buses depart every 15 minutes at peak times and run throughout the day and night from both North and South terminals to Earls Court/West Brompton, Victoria Coach Station and Waterloo Station in Central London. EasyBus takes approximately one hour and five minutes and runs seven days a week. You can book online via the EasyBus website.
The TFL Journey Planner is the best way to determine the best mode of transport for you based on your start and end locations and any accessibility needs you may have. Simply enter in your start location, your end location, when you are leaving, and any travel preferences and the Journey Planner will present you with the best possible routes.
There are various Apps for Apple and Andriod mobiles that can help you get on-demand bus times and help direct you through the city. The below are very helpful to have installed on your phone.
Santander Cycles (if you want to use the bikes)
Famously the oldest, and now one of the biggest transport networks in the world, London Underground, more commonly known as “The Tube”, is the most popular mode of transport used in London. It is important to know which station is closest to your destination to ensure that you plan your journey accordingly.
How do I pay? Oyster Cards, contactless Visa Cards, or cash at ticketing desk located in all London Underground stations. DO NOT buy single tickets, it is a tourist scam and they charge you double. Use Oyster card or contactless.
Train times? London Underground is open roughly from 5:00am to 1:00am, depending on which stations you are traveling to and from.
Taxis in London can be costly in comparison to other modes of transport but can be a great way to get across the city if you are travelling in a group, or especially after dark when public transportation has closed or is limited. By law, all taxis must be licensed and drivers must have undergone a criminal records check.
The cheapest taxi company in London is UBER and we recommend it. For other Taxi in London please see below. Please click here for Black Cab and Minicab apps
London Black Cabs
Familiar to millions, London black cabs can be found on any main roads, train stations, and airports in London. Black cabs available for hire will have their amber light illuminated on their roofs. There is a minimum fare of £2.20 (subject to change) and additional costs are based on time of day, distance travelled, and the time taken. London's black cabs can either be booked in advance or hailed on the street or from designated taxi ranks.
For telephone numbers of different black cabs click here. There could possibly be a charge when booking by phone and other terms and conditions may vary so please check when booking.
Private Hire Cabs (Mini cabs)
Private hire cabs, also known as mini cabs, are essentially private taxi companies offering fixed rate quotes prior to your journey. By law, these taxis and their drivers must be fully licensed and the license must be clearly on display so that passengers can see them. These taxis can only be made via a booking; therefore it is illegal for these taxis to approach you for business unless you have made a booking with them.
Kabbee The free minicab booking app from Kabbee works on iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows phones. It's available via the Kabbee website.
ComCab The ComCab London App for iPhone is available for free from the ComCab website or from the App Store. You can use the app to book a taxi and make advance bookings.
Hailo The Hailo website enables you to download a free app to your iPhone or Android phone and book a black taxi.
Gett Downloading the free Gett app means that you can make taxi bookings on your iPhone, Android or Blackberry.
Radio Taxis This app lets you to book a taxi with Radio Taxis and is available for free on the Radio Taxis website or from your app store.
Addison Lee Their app lets you book private hire vehicles with Addison Lee and is available for free on the Addison Lee website or from your app store. Booking an minicab is straightforward – you can call or book online and with all their minicab services, you will receive a text message when your car is on its way and another when it is waiting outside.
1. Take the ‘hop-on-hop-off’ bus tour to see the main attractions of the city - The London Eye, Trafalgar square, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey.
2. Watch football, cricket, tennis and rugby matches at world-famous venues such as Wembley stadium, Lord’s Cricket Ground, Wimbledon, and Oval as well as club football across various venues. These venues also offer guided tours for visitors.
3. For all the shopping, walk down Oxford and Regent streets. For street fashion, a visit to Camden’s Stables market is a must! You can also find upscale and boutique stores in Old Bond Street, Knightsbridge, and Kings Road. For outlet shopping, visit Bicester Village.
4. London is synonymous with Afternoon Tea. The Claridge’s and Ritz hotels, The Orangery, Fortnum & Mason are some of the best places to indulge in afternoon tea, scones, finger sandwiches, dainty cakes, and champagne.
5. London is home to a variety of museums. Enjoy an educationally stimulating day at the British Museum, the National Gallery, the Royal Museums Greenwich, the Natural History Museum, and Tate Modern.
6. The parks are a real part of a Londoner’s life. The Royal parks such as Hyde Park, Regents Park, Richmond Park, and St. James’s Park are worth a visit. You can have a picnic, wander around enjoying the greenery and the numerous lakes and ponds.
7. Watch foot tapping musicals, theatre and stand up comedy shows in London’s famous West End area. Some of the popular ones are Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Wicked, The Book of Mormon, Lion King, and Thriller.
8. London is a haven for party lovers! Ministry of Sound, Fabric, Mahiki, and Boujis are among the best known places to party. For those who prefer a low-key experience, a visit to a quintessential British pub sampling local beers and ales is a must. Soho and Shoreditch attract a massive influx of people with its bustling nightlife!
9. You can easily get ‘food coma’ in London! You will find cuisines to suit every kind of palette here. From Michelin starred restaurants in Mayfair to street food in Brick Lane, London is a culinary melting pot! You definitely do not want to miss a trip to Borough Market on the weekends for a display of local produce and gourmet foods!