Queen's University

London Airports

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It takes time and money to reach London's airports; in fact it can be more expensive to get to the airport than the cost of the flight itself! London has 5 different airports, only one of which is actually in the centre of London - City Airport. City Airport deals mostly with internal domestic flights and it is unlikely that you will need to use it. The other four airports are Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted and Luton and they are all on the outskirts of London. You might also choose to go to Europe by Eurostar, the main terminal for which is at St. Pancras International, London.


Gatwick (airport code LGW) is the closest airport to the Castle and the easiest to reach by road and train. By road it takes about 1 ½ hours and a taxi will cost you approximately £60-65 one-way. The London train from Polegate or Eastbourne goes via Gatwick and takes about an hour, depending on the service.

  • Gatwick Express - every 15 minutes from London Victoria (allow 35 minutes).
  • Local and regional trains from Victoria, London Bridge, East Croydon, Haywards Heath, Brighton, and other South Coast towns.
  • Thameslink cross-London services from Bedford and London Luton. Two direct Virgin Crosscountry trains per day run from the Midlands to London Gatwick Airport

Average platform to airport transfer times

  • Coach drop off points (North of South Terminals) - 2 minutes
  • Rail station to South Terminal - 5 minutes (direct access)
  • Rail station to North Terminal - 10 minutes (people mover)


Heathrow (airport code LHR), situated to the West of London, is the busiest international airport in the world and the largest airport in Europe so, as you might expect, it is well served by trains and buses.  A taxi from the Castle will take about 2 - 2 ½ hours depending on traffic and the cost will be £90-95 one-way.  To get there by train or bus will normally require you to go into London and then out from London to Heathrow. By train you need to take a train from Polegate or Eastbourne (see above) to London Victoria Station and from there you will have several options. The cheapest method is to take the Underground (Piccadilly line) to Heathrow, but you should allow at least 45 minutes for this. Alternatively, you can can take the Underground to Paddington Station and then take the Heathrow Express (there is a 15 minute journey time from Paddington to Heathrow).  You can also take a National Express coach from Victoria Coach Station to Heathrow.  The journey time is approximately 40 minutes and coaches run every ½ hour, from 07:30 - 23:30.

  • Coach connections at Reading (Virgin Cross Country from Derby, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry, Royal Leamington Spa), or at Watford (West Coast mainline services running to Euston).
  • The Heathrow Express, direct from London Paddington (every 15 minutes; 15 minute journey time to T1,2,3 or 20 minutes to T4).
  • London Underground - Piccaddily Line (major stops include Hammersmith c.30 minutes; Earl's Court - 40; Green Park - 50; King's Cross - 1hr)
  • Local bus connections at Feltham (Waterloo line), or Hayes & Harlington (Paddington line).

Average platform to airport transfer times

  • Central Coach Station or Terminals 1,2,3 Tube / Heathrow Express station to Terminals 1,2, or 3 - 10 minutes (covered walkway / subway)
  • Terminal 4 Tube / Heathrow Express / Coach Station - 5 minutes (ramp / lifts)
  • Terminal 5 has recently opened and is experiencing delays. Terminal 5 is also serviced by the Heathrow Express


Stansted airport (airport code STN) is to the northeast of London and lots of the cheap flights depart from there. It is not easy to get to and requires you to go into London then out from London again. You can take the train to London Victoria Station and then again you have a choice of options. You can take the Underground to Tottenham Hale and then take the train to Stansted Airport or you can take the Underground to Liverpool Street and the train from there to Stansted airport (journey time for both these routes from Victoria Station - Stansted airport is about 1 ½ hours). You can also take an Airbus coach from Victoria Coach Station to Stansted airport. They leave every ½ hour from 00:05 - 23:35 and the journey time is approximately 1½ hours.  Airbus coaches can be booked through National Express.

  • The "Stansted Express" - takes up to 50 minutes from Liverpool Street, or 40 minutes from Tottenham Hale (Victoria Line). Note: this services only runs every 30 minutes.
  • Central Trains operate an hourly direct service from Birmingham to Stansted Airport, with stops at Nuneaton and Leicester. However, you should allow up to 3 1/2 hours for this journey.

Average platform to airport transfer times

  • (Coach or train) to all check-in desks (ramp or lifts) - 5 minutes


Luton airport (airport code LTN) is north of London and, like Stansted, lots of the cheap flights leave from there. To get there by train you can take a train from Polegate to Luton Airport changing at Haywards Heath with a journey time of about 2 hours 10 minutes. You can also take a Greenline Coach from Victoria Coach Station, London to Luton airport.  The journey time is approximately 1 hour and they leave every ½ hour from 00:13 - 23:59. You can pay when you board the coach or for more details about booking look on their website: www.greenline.co.uk.

  • Thameslink Trains from Brighton, South London, London Bridge, City Thameslink and King's Cross Thameslink.
  • Hourly coach link from Milton Keynes Central Station. Allow one hour for the transfer.

Average platform to airport transfer times

  • Coach drop off point: 2 minutes (adjacent)
  • Luton Airport Parkway Station to Terminal - 30 minutes (coach every 10-15 minutes, 5 minute journey - allow extra 10 minutes for traffic)

King's Cross/St. Pancras International Station (Eurostar to Paris & Brussels)

  • King's Cross/St. Pancras is served by the London Underground - on the Victoria, Picadilly, Metropolitan, Circle, Hammersmith & City, and Northern lines.
  • You can take the Victoria line directly from London Victoria station to King's Cross/St. Pancras.  You can also take the Northern line directly from Charing Cross station to King's Cross/St. Pancras.
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