- WHERE TO STAY
- PUBLIC TRANSPORT
- CRUISE PORTS
Kensington covers a large area just to the west of the centre of London. Most of the hotels in Kensington are along Cromwell Road and through following the Piccadilly and District lines of the London Underground in Earl's Court, Gloucester Road and South Kensington.
There are plenty of sights and attractions in Kensington including Kensington Palace, the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum. The area is also well known for its excellent shopping.
Kensington is a popular place to stay for all people travelling to London but it is especially useful if you are arriving from Heathrow as it is the closest hotel area to the airport. The Piccadilly Line running through Kensington from Heathrow runs 24/7 at weekends.
A lot of the accommodation in Kensington is easily walked to from the underground stations in the area Earl's Court, Gloucester Road, West Brompton, South Kensington, Olympia and Kensington High Street.
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 transfer plans.
Kensington is a large district, but for most hotel accommodation in the area the London Underground (Piccadilly and District lines) will be the core of getting into and out of the area. The Piccadilly line offers direct and frequent trains to Heathrow Airport about every 5-minutes.
easyBus also run a van shuttle service from West Brompton Underground Station to Gatwick.
The London Underground runs every couple of minutes between about 5.30am and midnight and buses run 24/7. If you have a particularly late or early flight then night buses that run when the Underground is closed will get you to Marble Arch, Trafalgar Square or Hyde Park Corner where you can interchange to other night buses almost anywhere in central London. A night bus, the N9 also goes out to Heathrow but doesn't go along the Cromwell Road, but slightly north of it through Kensington High Street and Hammersmith.
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.
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 Euston 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.
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 transfer tours - late flight solution
The London Underground from Heathrow with an Oyster or Travelcard offers the cheapest option.
Trains run every 5-min direct to Earls Court, Gloucester Road and South Kensington. Earls Court is a major Underground interchange. At weekends the Piccadilly line runs 24/7 from Heathrow through Kensington.
Be prepared for crowded carriages, you may not get a seat, and dragging your cases up escalators and down long corridors to your platform.
Heathrow Express and the TFL Rail Heathrow trains are the fastest public transport into London but their London terminus Paddington requires you to back track to Kensington.
It would probably be cheaper to get a private car from the airport to Earls Court than for two people to get the Heathrow Express.
The TFL Rail Heathrow train to Ealing Broadway, then the District Line through Kensington is another option but no faster than the Undergound direct.
You know you've arrived in London when you see its famous black cabs form the taxi rank outside each terminal at Heathrow.
Journey times will be between 30-45-min 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.
For hotels in the Earls Court and Gloucester Road area a private car is price competitive for two or more people against public transport, except the London Underground.
London black taxis are on the expensive side, especially if you get stuck in any traffic delays on your journey.
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 much cheaper than using the Heathrow Express train.
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.
For larger groups, it's always cheaper as you get a low cost per passenger.
The cheapest option from Gatwick into London is by bus. easyBus run a small van type bus to West Brompton Underground (outside the Ibis Hotel), very handy if you are staying in the Earls Court area.
Fares can be very cheap booked on-line in advance, luggage allowances are not good.
A larger National Express Gatwick bus runs from Victoria. Jouney times are typically 90-min or more depending on traffic conditions, which is typically double that of the alternative trains.
The Gatwick Express to Victoria Station is the dedicated airport train for which you pay a significant premium to the slower alternative Southern Trains.
These use the same tracks but as these are commuter trains, they make more stops and take longer. From Victoria the London Underground runs direct to Kensington.
Another option if you are staying in Earls Court is to get a train from West Brompton Station to Clapham Junction where you can connect with Gatwick trains.
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. For larger groups you get a low cost per passenger as well as the convenience of a personalised door to door service.
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.
The cheapest option from Stansted into London is by bus. For Kensington, a good option minimising delays by road congestion is to get the National Express Bus service between Stansted and Stratford, then get the London Underground. The closest any Stansted bus transfer comes to Kensington is the National Express Stansted bus service to Victoria, the Circle or District line of the Underground again completing your journey.
Stansted Express is the dedicated airport train priced at a premium for the speed, frequency and comfort. The only caveat is the Liverpool Street terminus which is on the other side of central London from Victoria. From Liverpool Street to Kensington hotels you'll need to change London Underground trains at least once. You can also get off the Stansted Express at Tottenham Hale an interchange with the Victoria Line of the Underground and enter the London Underground system here.
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 personalised door to door service.
Stansted is a long way outside of London, about 40 miles from Kensington. 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 as you exit customs at Stansted are also always available.
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. From here, a direct London Underground link takes you to Kensington.
Luton train is not a dedicated airport train. You will need to take a 5-min free shuttle to Luton Parkway Station for the train and get off at St Pancras Station. From here, a direct London Underground link takes you to Kensington.
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. Convenient for larger groups with a low cost per passenger.
Luton is a long way out of London, about 35 miles from Kensington. At peak hours during working days there will be delays and the distance means the price will not be cheap. Luton private cars with meet n greet are also available at Luton airport.
From City Airport, take the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and change at Canning Town, where you can take the Jubilee Line to Westminster, here you switch to the District Line train into the Kensington stations. You can use Oyster Cards or other ticketing options in one fare.
The only viable public transport between Southend Airport and central London are the regular trains that terminate at London's Liverpool Street Station. The Circle and District lines of the London Underground connect directly between Liverpool Street and Kensington.
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.
There are also direct trains on most days between Victoria and Southampton, these take a longer route to the Waterloo trains. The Victoria and Waterloo lines to Southampton interconnect at Clapham Junction, a few miles south of Victoria.
However, both Waterloo and Victoria are not close to Kensington, a taxi to Victoria may cost you as much as the bus fare to Southampton.
There are 4 cruise terminals at Southampton, you will need to take a short taxi ride between Southampton Bus or Rail Station to access your cruise terminal.
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 drop offs at the hotels in Kensington and pick-ups from many of the hotels in Kensington. There should be one close by to your hotel.
Price is competitive even against public transport, especially when you factor in the taxi transfers either end with public transport. There is also a much more relaxed luggage policy.
Full day guided tour transfers between Southampton and Kensington hotels are available visiting world-class attractions like Stonehenge and Windsor Castle.
London to Southampton Cruise Bus
Southampton to London Cruise Bus
Southampton is a 2-hr drive from Kensington 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. .
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 to Dover are much faster and unlike the buses luggage is only limited by the amount you can carry on-board. You can also get trains to Dover from Charing Cross and London Bridge on a different line.
Neither bus or train public transport will take you to the Dover cruise terminals. It is a 5-min taxi ride from both bus and train stations at Dover to the cruise terminals.
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 Kensington and pick-ups from many hotels in Kensington, 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 picks up at Kensington hotels and will be at your cruise terminal around lunch time 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 Harry Potter Studio Tour with hotel drop offs in the late afternoon/early evening.
Dover is 2-hrs drive from Kensington 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.