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Airports in London

London City Airport (LCY)

Overview

London's smallest airport, London City Airport is a single-runway facility that serves London's financial district. The facility is sometimes referred to as STOLport, which stands for Short Take Off and Landing.

Located just six miles (10km) from the centre of London, is conveniently located for business travellers looking for easy access to the financial district, however it is increasingly popular with leisure and budget travellers taking advantage of cheap flights to popular holiday and ski resorts, and destinations like Zürich, Geneva and Milan. The airport was named as having the best public transport links in the world by Business Traveller Magazine in 2008, a testament to the ease in getting to the airport from London.

London City Airport is currently upgrading its facilities ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and as the airport is just two miles (3.2km) from the Olympic Village, it is expected to be very busy during this period.

Travellers should note that London City Airport is not open 24 hours a day due to noise restrictions, but operates from 6:30am to 10pm Monday to Friday, 6:30am to 12:30pm on Saturday, and 12:30pm to 10pm on Sundays.

Location

The airport is situated at the Royal Docks, 10 miles (16km) from the West End.

Getting to the city

Docklands Light Railway (DLR) departs from London City Airport every 8-15 minutes to Canning Town, Woolwich Arsenal and Bank. There are regular Transport for London buses from the airport to stations throughout London. Nearby National Rail stations are reached via the Jubilee line from Canning Town (a seven-minute DLR journey). Licensed taxis (black cabs) are available outside the terminal building, a taxi to the centre of London will take only 20 to 30 minutes and cost roughly £20. Car rental desks are situated on the ground floor. There are also chauffeur services available from Quay Cars.

Time

GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).

Contacts

Tel: +44 (0)20 7646 0088.

see full airport guide


London Gatwick Airport (LGW)

Overview

Located three miles (5km) north of the town of Crawley in West Sussex and 28 miles (45km) south of central London, London Gatwick Airport is the second-largest airport in London and the United Kingdom, serving more than 33 million passengers each year.

Despite the long distance from central London, London Gatwick Airport takes advantage of excellent public transport links into the city for a surprisingly easy commute. Flights to London Gatwick are provided by a variety of low-cost and charter airlines, offering flights to a number of popular holiday resort areas like the Canary Islands, Costa del Sol, and Greece. The airport also offers flights to many worldwide destinations, including Dubai, Orlando, Geneva, Toronto, Harare, Havana and Beijing.

The airport has a variety of restaurants and duty-free shops, but that's just the beginning of the entertainment at London Gatwick Airport. The facility's No. 1 Lounges offer everything from complimentary refreshments and games to spas and mini-cinemas, making any layover at London Gatwick a pleasure.

Location

The airport is situated 28 miles (45km) south of London.

Getting to the city

The easiest and quickest way into London from Gatwick is on the Gatwick Express train, which takes 30 minutes to the central Victoria railway station and costs £15. Local buses call at both terminals and run between Gatwick and key destinations including Crawley, Horley, Redhill and Horsham. Taxis are also available from the airport into town, while coaches take passengers to destinations including Heathrow, central London, Bristol and Brighton (ticket desks are in the North and South Terminals). Car rental companies operate from both terminals.

Time

GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).

Contacts

Tel: +44 (0)870 000 2468.

see full airport guide


London Heathrow Airport (LHR)

Overview

The busiest airport in the UK and fourth-busiest worldwide, London Heathrow Airport handles an amazing 65 million passengers each year. Located 15 miles (24km) from central London, the airport is served by 90 airlines (including British Airways, who uses Heathrow as its home base) offering flights to London Heathrow from 180 destinations worldwide.

London Heathrow Airport is the main gateway for flights to London. Despite its distance from the city centre, Heathrow utilises extensive public transport options that create easy, hassle-free transfers into London.

The airport itself is immense, with four large terminals (and another on under construction). It can be easy to get lost, but the facility is well-signed and staff members are always on-hand to help. Nevertheless, passengers should allow plenty of time when making connections.

In terms of attractions and entertainment, London Heathrow Airport has near-endless options for shopping and dining in each terminal. Even just people-watching in the diverse crowds is a good way to pass the time while waiting for a flight at London Heathrow Airport.

Location

The airport is situated 15 miles (24km) west of London.

Getting to the city

The quickest way into London is on the Heathrow Express train, which leaves every 15 minutes for Paddington station and takes 15 minutes with one-way tickets starting at £21 if purchased online or £26 if purchased onboard. Paddington has good connections to the other London railway stations and all parts of London via the London Underground (the tube). The National Express coach service takes passengers to central London and other towns and cities throughout the UK. Heathrow is on the Piccadilly underground line, which takes passengers into central London in around 50 minutes and costs £5.50. The N9 night bus departs to central London every 30 minutes from the central bus station. Taxis are available outside each terminal, and mini-cabs can offer more competitive prices than the black cabs but must be booked in advance - call +44 (0)208 574 0868. Car rental companies operate from all terminals.

Time

GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).

Contacts

Tel: +44 (0)8700 000 123.

see full airport guide


London Luton Airport (LTN)

Overview

London Luton Airport is located 31 miles (56km) outside of central London in Bedfordshire. Despite its inconvenient distance from the city, the airport is the fourth-largest airport serving London and processes more than 10 million passengers each year. Serving as a base for low-cost airlines easyJet, Monarch Airlines, Thomson Airways and Ryanair, there are many cheap flights to London Luton Airport available from destinations around Europe and a few destinations in northern Africa. The abundance of cheap flights available from London Luton entices budget-conscious travellers to use the airport, which is connected to London by bus and train.

Location

The airport is situated 32 miles (52km) northwest of London.

Getting to the city

Trains leave regularly to Kings Cross, Farringdon, City Thameslink, Blackfriars and London Bridge stations. Train journeys to central London take 20-25 minutes with providers such as East Midlands Trains and First Capital Connect. Tickets can be bought from the Onward Travel centre at the airport or online. Luton Airport Parkway Train Station is connected to the terminal by a free shuttle bus service. Easybus, Green Line and National Express buses run daily between the airport and central London. Taxis operate from outside the airport terminal 24-hours a day and car rental is also available.

Time

GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).

Contacts

Tel: +44 (0)1582 405 100.

see full airport guide


London Stansted Airport (STN)

Overview

Processing roughly 18 million passengers each year, London Stansted Airport is one of the more popular airports serving greater London. The airport serves as a home base for low-cost airline Ryanair, offering cheap flights to London Stansted from more than 100 destinations around Europe and northern Africa, including Rome, Faro, Dublin, Barcelona, Gran Canaria, Berlin, Oslo, Thessaloniki and Fuerteventura. London Stansted Airport is known for its efficiency, and despite its remote location in Essex, 35 miles (55km) from central London, is popular with both business and leisure travellers. Buses and trains make easy and hassle-free connections to central London, cementing the airport's popularity with budget-savvy travellers.

Location

The airport is situated 34 miles (55km) northeast of London.

Getting to the city

The Stansted Express rail service operates between London's Liverpool Street station and the airport, taking approximately 45 minutes. There are also bus and coach services to Victoria Coach Station, Heathrow and Gatwick airports, among other London and national destinations. The bus and coach station is opposite the main terminal entrance. Coach tickets are available from the ticket desk in arrivals and at the station; a ticket to Victoria costs £10.50. Taxis are available outside the terminal building and car rental is also available.

Time

GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).

Contacts

Tel: +44 (0)844 335 1803.

see full airport guide


Southampton International Airport (SOU)

Overview

In 2008, Southampton International Airport won the Airports Council International Airport People Award for dedication to customer service and satisfaction. The airport itself comprises of one building, which houses both the international and domestic terminals of the airport.

Southampton International has a limited selection of shops, but it is close to a range of transport options and located just 4 miles (6.5km) from central Southampton. In 2010, the airport served 1.7 million customers. Interestingly, the airport is rumoured to have been built over the remains of a Roman villa. It is an easy airport to navigate and the staff are friendly and helpful.

Location

The airport is located in Hampshire, a few miles outside of Southampton,

Getting to the city

The airport is connected to Southampton Central and other parts of England via several train services, including South West Trains and CrossCountry. The journey to Southampton Central takes approximately 8 minutes, while London is 67 minutes away. There are also buses to downtown Southampton, with the U1C running every 15-20 minutes; the journey takes roughly 35-40 minutes.

Time

GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).

Contacts

+44 (0)23 8062 0021

see full airport guide


London City Taxis: the taxi fares above are intended as a guideline only.

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Tom has lived all over the world and has travelled extensively. He now lives in the Cotswolds, England.

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