How to Travel from London to London City Airport by Underground and Taxi

London City Airport at dusk

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London City Airport (LCY) is located about nine miles east of central London and handles short-haul international flights with a strong emphasis on business travel to destinations across Europe. London City Airport opened in 1988 and has a single runway and one terminal. Due to the airport's size, arrivals and departures through London City Airport can be much quicker and easier than at the larger London airports, Heathrow and Gatwick.

Journey times to central London are shorter than from the other London airports as it is nearer to the city center. Whether you go by public transit or taxi, the times are comparable and depend more on traffic conditions or train delays. If you want to save money, using the London Underground to get to LCY is simple and affordable. Taxis are pricier, but if you're carrying luggage or with a family, then it may be worth the extra cost to avoid all of the hassles that come with riding the subway.

  Time Cost Best For
Public Transport 22 minutes from $4 Traveling on a budget
Taxi 22 minutes from $38 Arriving stress-free

What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Central London to LCY?

Being the closest airport to the city center, LCY is conveniently located off the DLR lightrail line and simple to reach by public transport. Unlike Heathrow or other airports that have a dedicated—and expensive—direct train to the city center, LCY is accessible via the Underground where you pay the standard fare and nothing more.

If you're coming from anywhere in the city center (Zone 1), you'll only pay between $4 to $7, depending on the time of day and how you pay (you'll save money by using the Oyster Card instead of paying with cash). An Oyster Card can be bought for a small deposit (5 pounds, or about $7) and fares are then added as a credit to the plastic card. You can use your Oyster card for all of your transport for London journeys on the tube, buses, some local trains, and the DLR. When you have finished your trip to London you can keep your Oyster Card and use it on your next trip, pass it on to a colleague or a friend traveling to London, or get a refund at a ticket machine if you have less than 10 pounds of credit on the card.

London City Airport has a dedicated station on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), an above-ground train that connects the airport directly to Bank station in 22 minutes and to Stratford International station in 15 minutes. You'll likely have to make at least one transfer to get to your final destination, but you pay only one fare for all trains, making it easily the most affordable option to get anywhere in London.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Central London to LCY?

The airport is so close to the city center that the fastest way to get there really varies based on where exactly in the city you're coming from and the time of day you're heading to the airport. If you are staying near a DLR stop or a station that is well-connected to the DLR line, the train can get you to LCY in a little as 20 minutes. Even coming from Paddington Station—which is on the opposite end of the city and requires two transfers—should only take about 45 minutes (assuming there are no delays, which is not safe to assume).

Taxis may seem like the obvious option for speed and efficiency, and if you aren't staying near a Tube station then they probably are, since London's ubiquitous black cabs are everywhere and easy to catch. But as a general rule, if you're staying near a Tube station, the time it takes to get to LCY from that station is more or less the same whether you go by subway or taxi cab. The biggest variable is, undoubtedly, traffic. If you can, check road conditions before heading out of your hotel to compare travel times and avoid getting stuck in a traffic jam.

The fare is metered and you should expect to pay between at least $45–$60 to get to most parts of central London. Watch out for extra charges such as late-night or weekend journeys. Tipping is not compulsory, but 10 percent is considered the norm.

What Is There to Do in London?

Few cities have attained the alpha status that London has, being one of the economic, cultural, historical, fashion, entertainment, and tourism capitals of the world. Visitors to London would need months—if not years—to explore everything this mega-city has to offer, and it's a place you could visit again and again and always discover something new. However, a few highlights are obligatory stops for anyone visiting for the first time, such as iconic buildings like Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, and Westminster Abbey. Museum-lovers can't miss out on the British Museum or the Tate Modern, both of which are behemoths and could be an entire trip in themselves. For exploring, eating, and shopping, Camden Market and Covent Garden are two of the most popular places to visit, but don't overlook the markets outside of the city center for a more local experience.

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