Author: Bob Handford
The Stansted Express train is the fastest option for anybody wanting to travel between Stansted Airport and the centre of London and running every 15 minutes is the most frequent public transport option too. Its other main asset is that unlike all the alternative road based options you won’t get caught up and delayed in traffic congestion on London’s crowded roads. It must be every travellers nightmare to be travelling out to the airport and stuck in traffic with the possibility of missing the check-in deadline as a result. Particularly at Stansted, dominated by low cost budget airlines where you will lose your flight if you are late.
The major downside of the Stansted Express is cost, (the alternative airport buses are half the price) and only other real negative for most leisure travellers is the London terminus at Liverpool Street which is far from most people’s accommodation in London. Some of the airport buses go much closer or stop at major hotel districts like Victoria.
For 2012 the adult return fare on the Stansted Express train to Liverpool Street is around £30 contrasting with the Teravision bus to Liverpool Street costing just £14
Stansted Airport is nearly 40 miles (about 65 kms) outside the centre of London, so its a significant transfer. The fastest option, the Stansted Express train takes 45 minutes.
Its so far out its well beyond the catchment area of London’s public transport, so unlike Heathrow Airport you cannot use Oyster and Travelcards to cheaply get to and from the airport using the London Underground or similar.
At Stansted’s single modern terminal getting to the train is simplicity itself, the station is underneath the arrivals hall. You’ll be on the platform within 3 or 4 minutes of exiting the customs hall into the public area. There are only two platforms and there should be a Stansted Express train with its doors open enabling you to board immediately. The trains rarely are crowded.
Its worth noting that the Stansted Express is not a 24×7 operation, last train departing is around midnight, (later at weekends). You’ll need one of the airport buses if you need to travel in the small hours.
The trains themselves are functional and do the job.
You have the option of getting getting off the train at Tottenham Hale before the main London terminus at Liverpool Street. Liverpool Street is on the other side of Central London to many people’s London hotel and a quick look at the London Underground map may give you some inkling of why Tottenham hale is popular with many locals as their interchange with the London Underground, the Stansted Express fare is slightly less too.
What you get when paying the premium for the Stansted Express is frequency with a rapid departure and minimal risk of delays. In short peace of mind.
The alternative airport buses have lots of risks of which traffic congestion is perhaps the major one, if you are a worrier you will want to give lots of contingency time, especially on the way out to Stansted.
Thats really the decision, either pay for the Stansted Express and have a relatively stress free and effecient transfer into and out of London or save yourself significant money and accept the extra time required and extra risk of unforseen delays as the price.
There is a full comparison of all the transfer options between Stansted Airport and Central London at our dedicated pages. These cover current prices as well as helping you identify which options go nearest your London accommodation.
I’ve also done a blog on the Terravision Stansted Airport Bus complete with a ‘What To Expect’ video clip, to facilitate your analysis.
Pictures speak louder than words, so below is a video clip showing you what to expect when travelling with the Stansted Express