Tips on Traveling From Luton Airport to Central London

Aerial view of Luton Airport
Jason Hawkes/Getty Images

London Luton Airport (LTN) is located approximately 30 miles (48km) to the north of London. It's one of the UK's fastest growing airports and is its fourth-largest in terms of annual passengers. It can be a good alternative to Heathrow or Gatwick airports, especially for the more budget-minded travelers. Luton primarily serves other European airports and includes flights from mostly budget airlines.

History

Luton opened in 1938 and was used as a base for Royal Air Force fighter planes during World War II. It sits on the Chiltern Hills north of London, near the River Lea Valley. Since the end of the war, it's been a commercial airport of one iteration or another, housing executive aircraft, charter airlines and commercial package delivery companies.

It was renamed from Luton Airport to London Luton Airport in 1990, partly to reiterate that it was relatively close to England's capital city.

Getting to and From the Airport

If you do fly into Luton, be advised that it's a bit further away from the center of London than other UK airports. So you'll need a plan for getting from Luton to central London if you fly there. 

While there are plenty of options available, including rail, tube, taxi, and bus, London is a huge city with a complex transit system. Don't wait until you arrive there before making a plan for how you'll get into town

Traveling by Train

Luton Airport Parkway station is close to the airport, and a regular shuttle bus connects the two. Passengers can purchase rail tickets that include the price of the shuttle bus service. The shuttle takes around 10 minutes. 

  • Thameslink operates trains from Luton Airport Parkway to central London stations including Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon, and Kings Cross St Pancras International. Trains operate every 10 minutes at peak times, and the service runs 24 hours. 
  • East Midlands Trains operates an hourly service between Luton Airport Parkway and St Pancras International. 

Duration: Between 25 and 45 minutes, depending on the route. 

Traveling by Bus

Please note, that the following services often operate on the same bus. 

  • Green Line route 757 operates a 24-hour service with up to four buses per hour to and from London Victoria, Marble Arch, Baker Street, Finchley Road and Brent Cross.
    • Duration: Around 70 minutes.
  • The easyBus service to and from London Victoria operates every 20 to 30 minutes, 24 hours a day.
    • Duration: Around 80 minutes. 
  • Terravision operates to and from London Victoria via Marble Arch, Baker Street, Finchley Road, and Brent Cross. The service operates every 20 to 30 minutes, 24 hours a day.
    • Duration: Around 65 minutes.

    Getting a Taxi

    You can usually find a line of black cabs outside the terminal or go to one of the approved taxi desks. The fares are metered, but watch out for extra charges such as late night or weekend journey fees. Tipping is not compulsory but is generally expected.

    Duration: Between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on traffic.