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Airport and cruise port transfer details to City of London

Public and private transport options to City of London from airports and cruise ports

Transfer to Liverpool Street station from London airports
Liverpool Street Station is a main hub for many transfers

A lot of the accommodation in the City of London is easily walked to from the underground stations at Tower Hill, Liverpool Street and Aldgate. The City of London, which we'll define as the area enclosed by the old city walls, has no one single focus. Most of the hotels are in a small triangle between Liverpool Street, Tower Bridge and Aldgate. 

So, it is to this area that we will confine ourselves on this page, describing the transfer options to London's major airports and cruise ports.

               

London public transport basics

London public transport

Another essential travel plan is to start to understand the basics of using London's public transport. As London is a busy city you will most likely be using London's public transport to get around London during your visit. We have a dedicated page for you to find out more about Oyster card and other travelcard options.

Paying single fares for every trip is expensive, inconvenient and time consuming. You will need to purchase a London transport pass of one kind or another. You will also save yourself a lot of time and money purchasing the right pass before you get to your hotel, especially if London’s public transport forms part of your hotel transfer plans.

City local public transport connections

Heathrow is the only airport where the cost of taxi transfers can make them worth consideration. But even so, any vehicle transfer from Heathrow is going to take at least an hour. Transferring to the City of London will most likely take a lot longer, as it is the other side of London from Heathrow and cost a lot more.

The exception to the rule perhaps being if you have a group or lots and lots of luggage. A private charter bus is well worth considering for such groups.

The major transport hubs in the area are Liverpool Street Station, Blackfriars and London Bridge Station. Liverpool Street Station has direct airport bus and trains to Stansted Airport and trains to Harwich Cruise Port. London Bridge has direct trains to Gatwick and Dover cruise port. Blackfriars has direct trains to Gatwick and Luton airports.

Otherwise, you will require a taxi or local public transport to get you to your airport/cruise port transfer.

The London Underground runs every couple of minutes between about 5:30 am and midnight and buses run 24x7. Night buses that run when the Underground is closed provide an alternative if you have a very early or late flight. There are many services that run all night through the district to places like Victoria, Paddington and St Pancras, the other major gateways with airport and cruise port transport.

Late flight, early hotel check-out dilemma?

Left luggage at Excess Baggage Company in Victoria

Most hotels would like you to leave your room by lunchtime. This can be a problem if you have luggage and a late afternoon or evening flight. However, if your hotel does not offer a left luggage service, then most of the main train stations in Central London do. Also, all of the airports' passenger terminals have manned left luggage desks.

Unfortunately, the same company, The Excess Baggage Company, runs all of the left luggage offices at both airports and train stations. This means there is no competition and as a result prices can be high. If you need to use this service we recommend searching for the Excess Baggage Company website and check current prices, opening hours and for any special offers.

Layover tours: Solution to late flights from Heathrow and Gatwick

There is another alternative to left luggage offices where you can make use of all your available time, rather than just hanging around before your flight. The historic town of Windsor is just outside of London and very close to Heathrow Airport.

We offer a layover tour service where you are picked up by a vehicle from your London hotel and taken to Windsor. There is so much more to Windsor than the castle. It would take a couple of days to see everything. Eton College, Runnymede, Legoland, river trips, walks through the Royal Parks and of course Windsor has just hosted the Royal wedding between Harry and Meghan.

Layover Windsor tour before flying from Heathrow and Gatwick

You are taken to Windsor from your hotel and left to explore independently, leaving your luggage safely with the vehicle. You will already have agreed a time when the vehicle will return with your luggage for the 15-20-minute journey to Heathrow airport. Gatwick is an hour away.

A key aspect to this service is that you do not pay any waiting time as the company offering the service is based in Windsor, so it is the same cost whether you stay 3-hours or 10-hours in Windsor.

This is a private service, you set the times and the vehicles can range from cars to 50 seat touring coaches. So, if you want to make the most of your time in London even on your departure day then click the link below to learn more.
Windsor layover tours - late flight solution

Heathrow Airport transfer options to/from Liverpool Street & Tower of London area

London Underground is the cheapest transfer from Heathrow to City of London

Cheapest

The London Underground from Heathrow with an Oyster or Travelcard offers the cheapest transfer option. Journey times of well over an hour. Be prepared for crowded carriages, (you may not get a seat) and dragging your cases up escalators and long corridors.

Private charter buses from Heathrow

Groups

For groups of 6 or more a private charter bus is worth considering. Vehicles from 8 seats to 50 seats are available, offering a door to door service between airport terminal and hotel. Larger groups get a low cost per passenger as well as the convenience of a personalised door to door service.

Heathrow Express - the fastest transfer to Paddington and then the City of London from Heathrow

Fastest

The Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station is the fastest, most comfortable option. We say probably because Paddington is still a long way from the City of London, 20 minutes even by Underground. The trains run every 15-min and take just 15-min to Paddington.

There is a much cheaper, less publicised airport train called TFL Rail Heathrow that is not as frequent and makes stops along the same route as the Heathrow Express, so is slightly slower. You can also get off the TFL Rail Heathrow at Ealing Broadway Station, that has a direct Underground link to Liverpool Street.

London black cabs from Heathrow

Taxi & private cars

Journey times will be between 45 and 75 minutes depending on traffic conditions. Road congestion delays are routine Monday to Friday between 6.30am and 10am going into London and between 3pm and 7pm coming out of London on work days. Additionally, going into London on Sundays from about 3pm until mid-evening will be congested.

Price is an issue for most people with London black taxis. Much cheaper licenced private cars offer an alternative and also perform Meet n Greet as you exit customs. For a small family, a private car may be cheaper than using the Heathrow Express.

Gatwick Airport transfer options to/from Liverpool Street & Tower of London area

National Express coaches are the cheapest transfer from Gatwick to Victoria with connections to City of London

Cheapest

The cheapest option from Gatwick into London is by bus. National Express runs a full-size bus from Gatwick airport to Victoria Coach Station, from where the Underground services the City of London.

Private transfers from Gatwick to City of London

Groups

For groups of 12 or more a private charter bus is worth considering. Vehicles from 8 seats to 50 seats are available offering a door to door service between airport terminal and hotel.

Private charter buses from Heathrow

Taxi and private cars

Travelling into central London by vehicle is a frustrating option - there are no fast road links. It’s usually a slow, stop, start endurance test, often with added road congestion delays. Unless you are a sizable group, its much faster, cheaper and more comfortable if you get the train to Victoria, then take a taxi from there.

Price is an issue for most people with London black taxis. Much cheaper licenced private cars offer an alternative and also perform Meet n Greet as you exit customs. For a small family, a private car may be cheaper than using the Heathrow Express.

Gatwick Express - the fastest transfer to Victoria  with connections to City of London from Gatwick

Fastest

The majority of people flying into Gatwick transfer by train. Thameslink Trains run frequently between London Bridge, Farringdon, St Pancras, Blackfriars and Gatwick, London Bridge or Blackfriars, being less than a mile from most hotels in the City of London.

The alternative rail option is the Gatwick Express to Victoria Station, a dedicated airport train for which you pay a significant premium to the slower alternative Southern Trains that are commuter trains using the same tracks but make several stops along the way.

Stansted Airport transfer options to/from Liverpool Street & Tower of London area

National Express coach is the cheapest transfer from Stansted to Victoria with connections to the City of London

Cheapest

National Express run a direct airport bus service between Stansted and Liverpool Street. Another good option minimising congestion delays is to use the  National Express Bus service between Stansted and Stratford, and get the Underground to London Bridge or Liverpool St. 

Stansted Express - the fastest transfer to Liverpool Street station from Stansted

Fastest

The alternative to the buses is the Stansted Express train, the dedicated airport train for which you pay a significant premium for the speed, frequency and comfort over the bus alternative.
Liverpool Street is the terminus of the Stansted Express.

Private transfers from Stansted to the City of London

Groups

For groups of 8 or more a private charter bus is worth considering. Vehicles from 8 seats to 50 seats are available offering a door to door service between airport terminal and hotel. For larger groups you get a low cost per passenger as well as the convenience of a door to door service.

Private cars and taxi from Stansted

Taxi and private cars

Stansted is a long way outside of London, about 40 miles from the City of London. At peak hours during working days there will be road congestion, delays and the distance means the price will not be cheap. Stansted private cars with meet 'n greet on customs exit are also available.

Luton Airport transfer options to/from Liverpool Street & Tower of London area

National Express coach is the cheapest transfer from Luton to Victoria with connections to the City of London

Cheapest

The cheapest option from Luton into London is bus. National Express run a cheap and frequent 24/7 bus service that terminates at London Victoria.

The City of London is not near its route though, you will need to get the London Underground from Marble Arch or its terminus at Victoria. 

Luton rail is the fastest transfer to Blackfriars or London Bridge in the City of London

Fastest

The faster but more expensive alternative to the bus is the Luton train. You get off at St Pancras Station, Farringdon, Blackfriars or London Bridge, then connect to City of London. The Luton train doesn't go into the airport itself, a shuttle bus (part of your rail ticket) connects the passenger terminal at Luton with Luton Parkway Station.

Private transfers from Luton to the City of London

Groups

For groups of 8 or more, you can consider a private charter bus. Vehicles from 8 seats to 50 seats are available offering a door to door service between airport terminal and hotel. For larger groups you get a low cost per passenger, as well as convenience.

Private cars and taxi from Luton

Taxi and private cars

Luton is a long way out of London, about 35 miles from the City of London. At peak hours during working days, there will be road congestion delays and the distance means the fee is not cheap. Luton private cars with meet n greet as you exit customs at Luton are also available.

City & Southend Airports transfer options to/from the County Hall and Waterloo area

London City Airport transfers to the City of London

London City Airport

City Airport is served by the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which for visitors you can think off as part of the London Underground. City Airport is in zone 3 of the London public transport system. You can use Oyster Cards and other London public transport ticketing options to interconnect between DLR and the Underground in one fare.

From City Airport the DLR interconnects with the City of London with terminus stations at Bank and Tower Hill.

Southend Airport transfers to the City of London

London Southend Airport

The only viable public transport between Southend Airport and Central London are the regular trains that terminate at London's Liverpool Street Station.

Southampton cruise port to/from Liverpool Street & Tower of London area

Southampton cruise port transfers to/from the City of London

Public transport

The cheapest option on paper is to take public transport. The cheapest options are the National Express buses that terminate at Victoria Coach Station. The alternative, trains from Waterloo to Southampton are much faster and unlike the buses, luggage is only limited by the amount you can carry onboard. However, both Waterloo and Victoria are not that close to the City of London, a taxi to Victoria may cost you as much as the bus fare to Southampton. During the week there is a direct Underground line between Bank and Waterloo.

There are 4 cruise terminals at Southampton, you will need to take a short taxi ride between Southampton Bus or rail Station to your cruise terminal.

Cruise bus

A dedicated cruise bus operates in each direction between Southampton and Central London connecting with individual cruise ships. It is a door to door service with drops at all the hotels around Tower Bridge and pick-ups from the same hotels. Price is competitive even against public transport when you factor in the taxi transfers either end with public transport. There is also a much more relaxed luggage policy.

The London to Southampton Cruise Bus  stops one hour at Stonehenge on the way and you will be at your cruise terminal around 1:30pm and there is also a direct van shuttle option.

The  Southampton to London Cruise Bus  direction service has 3 choices, one is direct, the other two are full day tour transfers visiting Salisbury, Stonehenge and Windsor Castle or Bath and the scenic Cotswolds. 

Groups, bus charters and private cars

Southampton is a 2-hr drive from the City of London by private vehicle. Vehicles from cars to large buses are available to charter, either direct or stopping off somewhere along the way - Windsor Castle and Stonehenge are the most popular stops.

Private vehicles Southampton to/from London

Dover cruise port to/from Liverpool Street & Tower of London area

Southampton cruise port transfers to/from the City of London

Public transport

The cheapest option is to take public transport. The cheapest public transfer options are the National Express buses that terminate at Victoria Coach Station. The alternative trains from London St Pancras or from London Bridge to Dover are much faster and unlike the buses luggage is only limited by the amount you can carry on-board.

London Bridge is within a mile of most hotels in the City of London, Victoria is a fair trek across town. Neither bus or train public transport will take you to the Dover cruise terminals. It is a 5-min taxi from both bus and train stations at Dover to the cruise terminals.

Cruise bus

A dedicated cruise bus operates in each direction between Dover and Central London connecting with individual cruise ships. It is a door to door service with drops at hotels in the City of London and pick-ups from many hotels in the City of London, so there will be one close by your hotel.

Price is competitive even against public transport, especially when you factor in the taxi transfer costs at either end of your public transport journey. There is also a much more relaxed luggage policy.

The London to Dover cruise bus will be at your cruise terminal around lunchtime with an optional visit to Dover Castle available.

The Dover to London cruise bus service has a choice of a direct van shuttle or two tour transfer options, one visiting Leeds Castle and Canterbury the other visiting the Warner Bros Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter with hotel drop offs in the late afternoon/early evening.

Groups, bus charters and private cars

Dover is a 2-hr drive from the City of London by private vehicle. Vehicles from cars to large buses are available to charter either direct or stopping off somewhere along the way, Canterbury and Dover Castle are the most popular stops. Find out more about private vehicles Dover to/from London.