How to Travel From London Stansted Airport to London by Bus, Train, and Car

The exterior of Stansted Airport.

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London Stansted Airport (STN), one of the busiest of the British city's six airports, is located 35 miles (56 kilometers) to the northeast of central London. The airport is home to many of the U.K.'s low-cost airlines serving mostly European and Mediterranean destinations. To get from London Stansted Airport to central London, travelers can take a bus, train, taxi, or rental car. While the train is the fastest, the cheapest way to get into town is by bus.

  Time Cost Best For
Bus 80 minutes From $6 Saving money
Train 45 minutes $12 Speedy arrival
Car 45 minutes 33 miles (54 kilometers)
National Express Bus in London
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What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From London Stansted Airport to London?

The least expensive way to get to London from London Stansted Airport is by bus; two companies offer daily service. Airport Bus Express runs every half hour to Liverpool Street and Victoria Bus/Coach Station, with rides lasting about 80 minutes starting at $13. These modern buses have free WiFi, air conditioning, and heating. Another equally comfortable option is National Express, with four air-conditioned routes to London: Portman Square, Victoria Coach Station, Kings Cross, and London Stratford. The buses usually leave every 20 minutes and last about 95 minutes depending on the route and number of stops. Prices begin at $6. Commute times can vary from day to day depending on traffic or construction work on the road. With all of the bus services, it is usually cheapest to buy tickets in advance. If you haven't booked ahead, you can ask the driver for the onboard fare.

Stansted Express Train Terminal
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What Is the Fastest Way to Get From London Stansted Airport to London?

Taking a train is the quickest way into central London. The Stansted Express typically leaves every 15 minutes during the day, and every 30 minutes in the early morning and late evening, with a journey time of 45–50 minutes to Liverpool Street station. You can book tickets online or via the Stansted Express app—people who make reservations early often get discounts on tickets, which start at $19. Greater Anglia trains leave daily every 15 minutes from London Stansted Airport to London Liverpool Street. Rides take about 47 minutes and prices begin at $12; it is best to book online in advance.

How Long Does It Take to Drive?

A taxi will take around 45 minutes to Liverpool Street, approximately 33 miles (54 kilometers) away. Since there aren't any black cabs leaving from Stansted, use a licensed and reputable minicab instead (from $100). Avoid unauthorized drivers who offer their services at airports or stations. Get a quote and reserve through the airport's online taxi system—or ask about 24/7 taxis at the taxi reservation desk in the international arrival concourse. Before you head out from the airport, ask the driver how much your ride will cost. In addition, there are several major car rental companies at London Stansted Airport (you may also reserve online in advance). Prices start at $15 a day plus gas for an economy car used by two adults.

When Is the Best Time to Travel to London?

London is a popular city to visit all year, so if you would prefer to arrive when fewer visitors are in town, one of the best times to take a trip is late winter/early spring (January to April, excluding the Easter holidays). Visitors enjoy London’s New Year’s Day Parade near Piccadilly and Chinese New Year in the city's Chinatown in February. Another good time to see London is in the fall (September to November) when the BFI London Film Festival and the huge Lord Mayor’s Show and parade come to town. Summer, Christmas, and the school holidays are the busiest seasons.

What Is There to Do in London?

London has numerous and varied activities that attract visitors from around the world. You can check out historic sites like Big Ben—a gigantic bell inside a clock tower— the royal Kensington Palace, or the famous changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Some tourists enjoy a show at one of the historic theaters in West End or the British afternoon tea tradition including tiny sandwiches and scones at high-end hotels or local department stores. Sipping on a pint of beer in a historic pub is another favorite thing to do. Kids and adults alike love the Harry Potter Studio Tour behind the scenes of the beloved Harry Potter movies.

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