London Airport Transfers Comparison Essay

  • London Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports have dedicated express train services into central London.

  • London Heathrow and City airports are directly connected to the Tube network.

  • National Express, Easybus and Greenline coach transfers run 24 hours a day and start as low as £2 when booked in advance.

  • Car hire is also available at every airport should you prefer to drive.

London has five major airports, and the last thing you have to do before enjoying the city sights is work out how you’re getting from the airport to your accommodation. There are lots of airport transfer options to suit all budgets. See all the options for airport transfers in London.


Coach transfers to and from the airport are really good value for money, with National Express services starting from £5 one-way when booked in advance. Coaches run 24-hours a day, are air-conditioned and many offer free wifi.

Easybus offer services between Gatwick, Stansted and Luton airports and central London drop-off points, with fares staring as low as £2 one way when booked in advance.

Greenline coaches also run services from Heathrow, Luton and Stansted airports to a wide range of central London locations.


London Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports each have dedicated express train services running regularly to Central London stations.

The Heathrow Express runs every 15 minutes between London Paddington station and all five Heathrow terminals. Fares start at £21 one-way. Heathrow Connect services run from London Paddington to Heathrow Central (Terminals 1, 2 and 3). Journey time is about 25 minutes. 

The Gatwick Express runs between London Victoria and the South Terminal train station every 15 minutes. Fares start at £17.75 when booked in advance online. You can use pay as you go with an Oyster or contactless card for journeys between London and Gatwick Airport on Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink services.

The Stansted Express takes 47 minutes to go between London Liverpool Street in the heart of the city and the airport, and 36 minutes to Tottenham Hale (to connect to Stratford and the London Underground Victoria Line for the West End). Trains depart every 15 minutes. Fares start from £7 per person each way when booked online in advance.


You can book a private airport transfer through Golden Tours for up to eight passengers. Your driver will pick you up from any London airport and meet and greet you at the terminal.

There are also several chauffeur services available for car transfers to and from all of London’s airports, ranging from limousines and luxury vehicles to budget options.

Black cabs can also be hailed at the airport.


If you are travelling to or from Heathrow or London City airports you can use your Oyster card and take the Tube or Docklands Light Railway (DLR). Heathrow is on the Piccadilly line and it takes roughly an hour from Zone 1 stations. London City is on the DLR.

Car hire

If you'd prefer to drive along the roads of Central London, then you can hire a car at the airport. You can also find out information on where to find car parks and guidelines for parking in London.

Concierge services

Finally, if you're looking for a bit of assistance to allow your journey to run smoothly, opt for a concierge service. Try Diamond Air, a VIP "Meet and Assist" service, available at every London airport.

More information on travelling to London.

Best transfers between Gatwick Airport and London

Make informed decision on your transport between Gatwick Airport & London

Aboard the Gatwick Express train

How far is it from Gatwick Airport to Central London?

Gatwick Airport is about 28 miles (45km) south of the centre of London. There is wide range of rail and bus transport options for passengers using London Gatwick Airport.


Rail options predominate though with the train station at Gatwick embedded within the South Terminal.


The following few paragraphs are designed to help you identify the best transfer option for your needs and provide tips on helping you make the transfer into London as stress free and good value as possible.

When you say “best” do you really mean cheapest way to London?

If by best you really mean the cheapest route between Gatwick Airport and Central London then that is the airport bus services. However, few people actually use airport bus services from Gatwick.


Although they are cheaper, the airport buses take twice as long as the train, are prone to traffic congestion delays and have restrictions on ticketing flexibility and luggage that don't apply to the three train services that most people will use.

Airport Buses Between Gatwick & London details

To make an informed decision on which option is best for you, you first need to be sure of where exactly in London your destination or departure point is. London is a very spread out city, and just knowing where your London accommodation is will probably rule out a few of the options on offer. Seems obvious but you would be surprised how many people don't know whereabouts in London their accommodation is when deciding on the best transfer option for them.

There is no single best way to travel between Gatwick and London, there is the cheapest, fastest etc, but no universal best option for everyone.

Gatwick Airport to/from Central London - your options

  • Gatwick Express train. This is the fastest, most comfortable and expensive option (apart from a private car), though there are good deals. The terminus in Central London at Victoria is also central and a good transit point to your accommodation. If comfort and speed is everything then this is your choice. If you normally would get a taxi to and from the airport, do yourself a favour, take the Gatwick Express to Victoria then get black London cab from there.


  • Southern trains run the same route as the Gatwick Express. They take about 15 minutes more to Victoria as they are stopping trains. They can get very crowded at peak times , but are much cheaper than the Gatwick Express. Before you get to Victoria the train will stop at Clapham Junction where you can change trains to Waterloo Station by County Hall on the opposite side of the River Thames to Big Ben.


  • Thameslink trains runs a different route into Central London. It is almost as fast and is significantly cheaper than the Gatwick Express. It stops at several stations mostly in the City Of London, the business area of London . One stop is St Pancras, a major cheap hotel district in itself and very handy if you are staying in the Bloomsbury hotel district and is also the terminus for the Eurostar trains to Paris. Another station London Bridge you can change trains to Charing Cross, London's most central station in the heart of London by Trafalgar Square.


  • National Express coaches provide a full size bus connection that runs 24x7 between Gatwick and London Victoria. Whilst fares are significantly cheaper than rail. Journey time is around three times longer than train and frequencies are only hourly. The only reason to use this service is price.


  • easyBus provide a frequent minibus shuttle between Gatwick and London West Brompton Underground. Buses are minibuses and fares are variable and done on the low cost airline model, the earlier you book (online) the cheaper the fare. The terminus at West Brompton is not convenient though unless you are staying in the Kensington area of London. Make sure you are aware of the easyBus luggage policy and also what happens if you miss the bus schedule you select at time of booking.


  • Hotel van shuttle - Although a common airport transfer in many countries, van shuttles in the UK are rare as they find it hard to compete with airport buses and trains. At Gatwick there is a van shuttle option but the number of people using it is small. The service manages to be the most expensive option but offering the lowest frequencies and among the slowest transfers. You might find a better idea is to get the Gatwick Express train into London then a taxi to your hotel.


  • Private car/taxi - Unless you have mobility problems or a lot of luggage a private car doesn't make much sense. The Gatwick Express Train plus a cab at its terminus in London, Victoria is going to be much faster, more comfortable and much less cost than a private car or taxi.


  • Groups will be attracted by the price and convenience of their own vehicle. Trying to keep a large group together on public transport can be stressful. Once you have about 10 people or more a charter bus with driver becomes price competitive, a group of 30 or more and it becomes a no-brainer. A lot of groups also take advantage to have an orientation of tour of London as part of the transfer.

District by district summary of Gatwick transfer convenience

Kensington (Earl's Court, Gloucester Road, South Kensington, Knightsbridge)

Trains - OK to Victoria

Airport Buses - OK - easyBus go direct to Earl's Court area of Kensington

Private Cars/Buses - Not recommended

Paddington, Bayswater, Lancaster Gate, Marble Arch

Trains - Tedious, with significant transfer in London

Airport Buses - Tedious, with significant transfer in London

Private Cars/Buses - Not recommended

Victoria, Pimlico, St James

Trains - Excellent on Victoria trains

Airport Buses - Excellent on National Express

Private Cars/Buses - Not recommended

Trafalgar Square, Leicester, Square, Covent Garden

Trains - Good - Victoria, then taxi or Thameslink train to Charing Cross changing at London Bridge

Airport Buses - Good, National Express to Victoria then taxi

Private Cars/Buses - Not recommended

Bloomsbury, Euston, King's Cross, St Pancras

Trains - Good, Thameslink service to St Pancras or Farringdon

Airport Buses - Tedious, not recommended

Private Cars/Buses - Not recommended

County Hall

Trains - Good, Southern train to Waterloo, changing at Clapham Junction

Airport Buses - easyBus from/to Waterloo

Private Cars/Buses - Not recommended

Blackfriars, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, City Of London

Trains - Excellent, Thameslink trains to London Bridge or Blackfriars

Airport Buses - Not recommended

Private Cars/Buses - Not recommended

Docklands & Canary Wharf

Trains - Tedious, Thameslink train to London Bridge then taxi or public transport

Airport Buses - Not recommended

Private Cars/Buses - Worth thinking about

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