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London Airports To County Hall / Waterloo Transfer Options Compared

An analysis of public & private transport to County Hall and Waterloo Station from airports and cruise ports


London Airport Transfers

Author: Bob Handford

County Hall and Waterloo Station sit adjacent to one another on the south bank of the River Thames in a very central location, directly opposite Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. In the last decade there has been an explosion of mostly large, chain hotels in an area that previously had very little in the way of accommodation. Despite the very central location, none of London's four major airports have direct airport links to this district.


County Hall Hotel Map

County Hall
Hotel Map

For most leisure travellers, Heathrow is the only major airport where the cost of taxi transfers are worth considering within most people's budgets. Even so, Heathrow is the other side of London from the County Hall and Waterloo Area, and you will be doing well to make the journey by road in an hour, probably a lot, lot longer. The exception to the rule perhaps being if you have a group or lots and lots of luggage. A private charter bus is worth considering for such groups.


A good first task is to identify precisely where your accommodation is in the County Hall/ Waterloo Station district. A lot of the accommodation is easily walked to from Waterloo Station, a major transport hub in London.


A good second investment in time prior to travel is to understand the basic's of using London's public transport. You will be using London's public transport to get around London during your visit, full stop.

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

Public transport passes in London can be complicated to understand, especially if you have children so reading our Travelcard or Oyster Card page will pay dividends for a small investment in your time.

County Hall and Waterloo Station Local Public Transport Connectors

The two big transport hubs in the area are Waterloo Station and across the river at Westminster Underground Station at the end of Westminster Bridge. With luggage what might otherwise be a nice short walk may require a taxi.

The London Underground runs every couple of minutes between about 5:30 a.m. 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 and Paddington other major gateways with airport and cruise port transport.

Map Of Underground Links Between Waterloo Station & Main London Transport Gateways

Map Of London Underground Links Between Waterloo Station & Main London Transport Gateways

Late Flight, Early Hotel Check Out Dilemma?

Most hotels want you out of the room by lunch time, a problem if you have luggage and a late afternoon or evening flight. If your hotel doesn't offer a left luggage service then most of the main train stations in Central London do and all of the airports passenger terminals have manned left luggage desks.

Unfortunately there is no competition, all the left luggage offices at both airports and stations are run by the same company, The Excess Baggage Company. Perhaps as a result charges are high. Use your favourite search engine to find the Excess Baggage Company web site and current prices and opening hours.

Heathrow / Gatwick Airport Late Flight Solution

London Airport Map

An alternative to Left Luggage offices and also using your time productively rather than just killing time before your flight is to visit Windsor, close by Heathrow Airport.

We offer a service whereby you are picked up by vehicle from your London hotel and taken to Windsor. There is 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 etc.

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

A key aspect is that you do not pay 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.

The service is a private service, times are set by you and vehicles can range from cars to 50 seat touring coaches.

Windsor Late Flight Solution - More Details

Heathrow Airport Transfer To/From County Hall and Waterloo Station Area

Best Way From Heathrow To London

Cheapest - The London Underground from Heathrow with an Oyster or Travelcard offers by far 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. You will need to change train at least once.

Fastest - The Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station is the fastest, most comfortable transport between Heathrow and Central London. Paddington is still a long way from County Hall/Waterloo, whether by taxi or Underground Paddington to County hall will probably take as long if not longer than the Heathrow Express. The Heathrow Express trains runs every 15 minutes and takes just 15 minutes to Paddington. There is a much cheaper, less publicised airport train called the Heathrow Connect that is not as frequent and makes stops along the same route as the Heathrow Express, so is slightly slower.

One little used alternative is to get a local bus from Heathrow to Feltham Station, where there are trains every few minutes into Waterloo. The 285 bus runs 24x7 every few minutes from the Central Bus Station serving Terminals 2 and 3 to Feltham and takes about 20 minutes. The 490 bus starts at Terminal 5 and offers a similar service also picking up at Terminal 4. The train journey between Feltham and Waterloo is about 30 minutes.

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. For larger groups you obviously get a low cost per passenger as well as the convenience of a personalised door to door service.

Taxi & Private Cars - London's famous black cabs form the taxi rank outside each terminal at Heathrow. Journey time will be between 45 and 75 minutes depending on traffic conditions. Road congestion delays are routine Monday to Fridays between 6:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. going into London and between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. out of London on work days plus going into London on Sundays from about 3 p.m. until mid evening.

Price is an issue for most people with the London black taxi's. 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.

Gatwick Airport To/From County Hall and Waterloo Area

Gatwick Airport to London, Buses and Train Options Compared

Cheapest - The cheap option from Gatwick into London is bus. easyBus run a van size shuttle direct to Waterloo, National Express Bus run a full size bus to Victoria Coach Station. Victoria is not that far from Waterloo.

Fastest - By far the majority of people flying into Gatwick take the train. Thameslink Trains run frequently between London Bridges and Gatwick, you can take a connecting service from Waterloo East Station (connected to Waterloo) to London Bridge. Southern Trains take an alternative route into London Victoria. If you get off at Clapham Junction, there are trains from here every couple of minutes on the short journey to Waterloo.

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. For larger groups you obviously get a low cost per passenger as well as the convenience of a personalised door to door service.

Taxi & Private Cars - Travelling into Central London by vehicle is a frustrating option, there are no fast road links. Its a slow, stop, start endurance prone to road congestion delays. Unless you are a sizable group its much faster, cheaper and more comfortable if you get the train into London, then get a taxi from there.

Stansted Airport To/From County Hall and Waterloo Area

The Best London Stansted Airport Bus?
The Stansted Express

Cheapest -National Express run a direct airport bus service between Stansted Airport and Waterloo Station.

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. By London Underground you will need to change trains once to get to Waterloo.

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 obviously get a low cost per passenger as well as the convenience of a personalised door to door service.

Taxi & Private Cars - Stansted is a long way out of London, about 40 miles distance. The Stansted Express train will be cheaper, more comfortable and much faster than a car. Stansted private cars with meet n greet as you exit customs at Stansted are available.

Luton Airport To/From County Hall and Waterloo Area Area

Cheapest - The cheap option from Luton into London is bus. National Express run a cheap and frequent 24x7 bus service that terminates at London Victoria. The most convenient option for County Hall and Waterloo is to get off at the Finchley Road Underground bus stop from where the Jubilee Line goes direct to Waterloo.

Fastest - The faster but more costly alternative to the bus is the Luton train . It is not a dedicated airport train, you get off at London Bridge. From London Bridge you can switch to another train to Waterloo East station, connected to the main Waterloo Station. The 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, just a 5 minute journey.

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 obviously get a low cost per passenger as well as the convenience of a personalised door to door service.

Taxi & Private Cars - Luton is a long way out of London, about 35 miles from County Hall and Waterloo Area. 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 available.

City & Southend Airports

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 Canning Town where you can get the Jubilee Line of the Underground to Waterloo.

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 where you can gte the Underground to the Waterloo area.

Southampton To/From County Hall and Waterloo Area Area

Public Transport - The cheapest option on paper is to take public transport. The cheapest option are the National Express buses that terminate at Victoria Coach Station but the alternative direct trains from Waterloo to Southampton are much faster and unlike the buses luggage is only limited by the amount you can carry on-board and of course are much more convenient to get to.

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 County Hall 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 1:30 p.m.

The Southampton to London Cruise Bus direction service has 2 choices, one direct the other a full day tour transfer visiting Salisbury, Stonehenge and Windsor Castle.

Groups, Bus Charters & Private Cars - Southampton is over 2 hours drive from the County Hall and Waterloo Area 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 - More Details

Dover To/From County Hall and Waterloo Area Area

Public Transport - The cheapest option is to take public transport. The cheapest public transfer option are the National Express buses that terminate at Victoria Coach Station. The alternative trains from Waterloo East to Dover are much faster and unlike the buses luggage is only limited by the amount you can carry on-board. Waterloo East is joined to the main Waterloo Station, Victoria is an awkward short transfer where you will probably take a taxi.

Neither bus or train public transport will take you to the Dover cruise terminals. It is a 5 minute 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 County Hall and pick-ups from many hotels in County Hall, so there will be one close by your hotel.

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 Dover Cruise Bus picks up in County Hall around 8 a.m. and will be at your cruise terminal around lunch time with an optional visit to Dover Castle available.

The Dover to London Cruise Bus is a tour transfer visiting Leeds Castle and Canterbury with hotel drops at County Hall late afternoon.

Groups, Bus Charters & Private Cars - Dover is 2 hours drive from County Hall and Waterloo Area 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.

Private Vehicles Dover To/From London - More Details


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