The Best way to travel to and from Stansted Airport


Being quite a distance out of central London (38 miles to be exact) finding a good deal on transportation between London and Stansted Airport can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. But luckily, there are a ton of options to choose from when it comes to travelling from Stansted Airport to central London, no matter what your budget is.

Unfortunately, there is no direct connection between Stansted Airport and London by tube or by public bus (unless you want to spend hours upon hours making transfers and waiting for connections, that is), so the best transportation option to get to and from Stansted and London would be to take a train, coach or taxi.

If you’re weighing your options as to what type of transportation to book to get to and from Stansted Airport, here are some things to keep in mind:

How to get to and from Stansted Airport by train

How long does it take?

  • 47 minutes (for Liverpool Street) and 36 minutes (for Stratford)

How much does it cost?

  • £8 (single) and £16 (return) when booked online in advance

Where are the pick-up points?

  • Liverpool Street (from London)
  • Tottenham Hale (from London)
  • Stansted Railway Station (from Stansted)

The Pros:

  • Discounts for larger groups, children
  • Convenient
  • Reliable
  • Fast
  • No luggage restrictions

The Cons

  • Drop-off location not the most convenient
  • More expensive than a coach

When it comes to getting from Stansted Airport to London by train, no company can compete with The Stansted Express, which is the most frequent and fasted method of travel to and from central London.

The boarding location for the Stansted Express is located under the airport terminal, which is only a two-minute walk from the Arrivals area. There are trains departing every 15 minutes from the airport, making it an ideal method of transportation no matter what time your flight lands or departs.

The Stansted Express’ terminus is at Liverpool Street, which is located in the heart of the City of London, making it easy to change to a tube to get to your final location. However, due to the fact that there are not many hotels located near Liverpool Street, most passengers will have to get on the London Underground or take a bus to get to their final destination, which may take as long as the train ride from the airport itself. However, Liverpool Street has a ton of different connections via rail services or tube, and is accessible via the Central, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City lines.

When travelling from London, passengers can depart from either Tottenham Hale or Liverpool Street with both stops running at ten to 15-minute intervals at 00, 15, 30 and 45 minutes past the hour. Normally, services run from 5:30 a.m. until 12:30 a.m., and there are trains departing as early as 3:40 a.m. from Liverpool Street, but only on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays.

You can purchase your Stansted Express tickets online, at the station, or in the terminal, however, it is much cheaper if you purchase your ticket online beforehand. There are also discounts available for young children, and children under the ages of five can travel for free.

How to get to and from Stansted Airport by coach

How long does it take?

  • Anywhere from 45 to 100 minutes
  • 1 hour and 40 minutes between Victoria Station and Stansted Airport
  • 75 minutes between King’s Cross and Stansted Airport

How much does it cost?

  • £5 to £12 (single) or £10 to £18 (return) for National Express
  • Anywhere from £5.95 to £9.95 (single) for easyBus
  • £8 (single) or £15 (return) for Terravision

Where are the pick-up points?

  • Stansted Airport’s bus station (from Stansted Airport)
  • Victoria Coach Station, Baker Street Stop 19, Stratford Stop L and 155 Bishopsgate for EasyBus (from London)
  • Portman Square, Marble Arch, Paddington, Baker Street, St Johns Wood, Finchley Road, Golders Green (A6, National Express)
  • Waterloo, Southwark, Victoria (A7, National Express)
  • Bethnal Green, Shoreditch High Street, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Mile End, Bow Church (A8, National Express)
  • King’s Cross Station for Terravision (from London)

The Pros:

  • Tons of pick-up points and drop-off locations
  • Cheap
  • Group discounts available

The Cons

  • Luggage restrictions
  • Delays due to traffic
  • Takes longer than the train

National Express coaches have 38 different pick-up points for passengers travelling to and from Stansted Airport, making it an ideal option for anyone staying in various areas around London. Services normally run every 15 to 30 minutes, depending on which route you’re taking, and each coach boasts free wiFi, power sockets, toilets, air conditioning, and much more. Passengers are allowed two cases each weighing no more than 44 lbs, and each person is allowed to carry a small item of luggage on board with them as well.

To board the coach, all you need to do is show the driver your ticket (either electronic or printed versions), and all the buses at the airport line up in their own bays at the bus station outside the airport’s passenger terminal; (when landing in Stansted, just follow the signs to the bus station after you come out of the customs area). The bus station also has its own waiting room so you can grab a seat, a snack, or a coffee as well.

National Express also offers a Flexible Fare add-on ticket option for £5 each way, which allows you to board any National Express coach up to 12 hours before or after your original departure time (which is ideal in case your flight is delayed).

EasyBus also offers coach services between Victoria station and Stansted Airport, with services running every 15 minutes from 3 a.m. to 11 p.m. (from the Victoria Coach Station) and 4 a.m. to 1 a.m. (from Stansted Airport). Please note that the pick-up and drop-off locations are only at Victoria coach station, which is about a five-minute walk away from the Victoria train station on Buckingham Palace Road.

There is also a service between Baker Street and Stansted (which runs every 40 minutes), and between Stratford and Stansted (running every 30 minutes). There’s also a route which connects Liverpool Street to Stansted Airport running every 30 minutes, and the pick-up and drop-off location is located at 155 Bishopsgate, a short walk away from the Liverpool Street train station.

Terravision also offers shuttle bus services from Stansted Coach Station, which depart every 20 minutes to King’s Cross.

How to get to and from Stansted Airport by taxi

How long does it take?

  • Around one hour (between Waterloo and Stansted Airport)

How much does it cost??

  • Around £74

Where are the pick-up points?

  • Wherever you want!

The Pros:

  • Most convenient
  • Get dropped off right at your hotel doorstep
  • Assistance with luggage

The Cons

  • The most expensive option
  • Delays due to traffic
  • Takes longer than a train, and sometimes longer than a coach

And last but certainly not least, if you’re looking for the most hassle-free method of transportation to get to and from Stansted Airport, then hiring a taxi is the way to go.

There are usually queues of London’s iconic black cabs outside Stansted Airport, so you can easily catch a taxi into London after you land in Stansted.

You can book a taxi beforehand, either by phone or online, and there is also a 24/7 reservation desk in the international arrivals area, as well as a courtesy phone in the UK and Ireland baggage reclaim hall. However, fares tend to be much cheaper if you book your taxi well in advance. If you do decide to book your taxi in advance, you can ask your driver to meet you in the airport by giving them your flight details and estimated time of arrival.

If you’re travelling in a larger group or with children, you can also ask for a minibus or coach taxi, and then split the cost with other members of your group to save some money. Also be aware that if you are travelling during peak hours (between 7:30 a.m. and 10 a.m., or between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays) your journey time may take quite a bit longer due to rush hour traffic.

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