London metropolitan area has 6 international airports and many smaller airports. The capital city of the UK has the busiest airport system in the world. Last year, more than 175 million passengers stopped by one of London’s international airport. When planning to visit the UK, it is important to consider which airport you will arrive at. Indeed, the airports are quite spread out. Depending on your final destination, you may prefer one or another. If you are flying from London, it is also important to find the most convenient airport for you. Let us guide you and discover the pros and cons of the 6 international London airports.
Heathrow Airport (LHR)
Heathrow airport is located in the West of London. It is by far the largest airport in London. For most non-EU travellers, Heathrow is the point of entry to the United Kingdom. It is the main airport for medium and long-haul flights. As one of the busiest airports in the world, you should expect it to be always packed. Regularly, Heathrow is rated as one of the worst airports in the world, for being too busy. Since 2012, Heathrow Airport has been handling more than 70 million passengers per year. That makes it the 3rd busiest airport in the world, after Atlanta and Beijing. However, there are expansion plans as it is currently running at 99% capacity. You can reach Central London via the motorways M4 and M25, a train to Paddington Station, the tube, and the DLR.
Gatwick Airport (LGW)
Gatwick Airport is the second busiest London’s airport. Located in West Sussex (South West of London), it covers the most destinations of all London’s airports. EasyJet’s uses Gatwick Airport as its main base. You can reach Gatwick Airport via car (M23), bus from London, and train from Victoria Station. Gatwick Airport is a convenient airport quite close to the city centre. The commute to reach London is around 45 min.
Stansted Airport (STN)
Stansted Airport is the 3rd busiest London’s airports. It is in Essex (North-East compared to London) and is connected to the city via motorway or train. Ryanair uses Stansted as its main base. It is also where VIP lands as Harrods Aviation operates from Stansted. It is a convenient airport if your final destination is the northern part of the city. You will reach London Liverpool Street Station in approximately 1 hour.
Luton Airport (LTN)
Luton Airport is situated in the North of London, in the county of Bedforshire. It is London’s fourth busiest airport. It is really close to the city and is convenient if your final destination is the northern part of the city. You can reach Luton airport in as little as 22 minutes from London St Pancras via train. However, there is a shuttle between the train station and the airport (1 mile) The main carriers are Easy Jet and Wizz Air.
London City Airport (LCY)
London City Airport is the closest to the central London. It is only 4 miles from Canary Wharf, one of the business hearts of London. Business travellers will prefer City Airport as it reduces the commute to a few minutes. However, this ideal location limits the size of the aircrafts flying from and to City airport. There is a long-haul to New York operated by British Airways. But most of the traffic is short and medium haul. To reach Central London, you can use the DLR station. It will lead you to the station Bank, which offers interchanges with London’s tube.
Southend Airport (SEN)
Southend is the most recent London’s airports. Previously, it was only used for commercial air transportation. But since 2012, you can fly from and to London using Southend Airport. This airport is located in Essex (East c London). As it is not too large, you can go from plane to train in 15 minutes with hand luggage. You can reach London Liverpool Street via train in 1 hour.
When you are travelling in the United Kingdom, remember to always carry your passport and your European Health Card (EHIC). If you are an EU citizen, the EHIC will cover you if you are in need of medical treatment.
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