London airport & cruise ship transfers

Make an informed choice with your airport and cruise transfers to and from London


London Heathrow Airport Arrivals

Transfer sections

London currently has five major airports that support regular commercial flights. Even the smallest airport, City Airport, has over 3 million passengers passing through each year.

All five airports form a ring around London, each between 5 and 40 miles outside from the centre.


London has two major cruise ports, Southampton and Dover, each some two hours drive from Central London hotels. Two smaller ports Greenwich and Harwich are used occasionally, nearly all by the smaller cruise ships.

All airport and cruise transfers - key facts


Map of Relative Position Of London's Airports
  • Shared van style hotel shuttles are almost unknown in the UK. In London there is one service that serves Heathrow Airport but very few people use it. A shared London shuttle service to major cruise ships at Southampton and Dover operates but only for major ships during the summer season and there is only one schedule each day.


  • The most popular transfer by far from airport to Central London is by train. Only Stansted and Luton airports do airport buses that have a good share of the market. Only Heathrow Airport is close enough to London to make private cars and taxi services a popular option.


  • Cruise port transfers to and from London are dominated by coach with cruise line operated services and independent alternatives. Cheaper public transport options are available but do not visit the cruise terminals.


  • London hotel districts are spread out over a wide area. There is no downtown area in the North American sense. Where your hotel is located in Central London will make a big difference in terms of cost, convenience and time of your transfer.


Your transfer choices from specific hotel districts

If you already have your accommodation in London booked and your flight or cruise is also booked just click on the link for the hotel district you are staying in on the menu left for the best transfer options for that district.


Or if you want to find out the best airport for transfers to your hotel, again select the hotel district which your hotel is within.


Select the “hotel district guide” menu option for a discussion and comparison of Central London's main hotel districts.


Heathrow Airport transfers

Heathrow Airport is about 15 miles west of London. It has 4 terminals, numbered 1, 3, 4 and 5. Which terminal you are arriving at can make a big difference to the smoothness of your transfer. The passenger terminals are literally miles apart serviced by three different train stations not all serviced by the same transfer options.


The fastest, money no object service is the Heathrow Express train service to London's Paddington Station, 15 minutes every 15 minutes is its motto. The only reason not to use the Heathrow Express is cost or that Paddington is inconvenient for the location of your hotel. Another cheaper train called TFL Rail Heathrow runs the same route but is slower as it makes stops, less frequent, but is much cheaper.

 

The third train option is the London Underground, by far the cheapest transfer option. The Underground is best part of an hour into London, (that may still be faster than a taxi at busy times). There will be an Underground Station near your hotel.


There is a cheap airport bus to London Victoria, but its not a dedicated airport bus and is not convenient if you are using Terminals 4 or 5. Likewise there is a Hotel Shuttle service but very few people use it.

 

Heathrow is really the only airport that leisure travellers would consider a taxi or a private car service, especially if they are staying in Kensington, the closest hotel district to Heathrow and inconvenient for Paddington trains.

Heathrow Airport transfers - Full transfer details


Gatwick Airport transfers

Gatwick airport is 30 miles south of London. For most people transferring between Gatwick Airport and Central London, the answer is train, the only question being which one. Even the slowest trains are much faster than a taxi or private car and for the most part more comfortable. Like Heathrow there is a fast expensive train called the Gatwick Express train and much cheaper stopping trains. There is also a choice of routes into London.

 

There is a cheap bus service, National Express, but road transfers from Gatwick to Central London are very slow and stop-start.. As said before, a private car or taxi can only make sense if you are a large group and/or have lots of outsize luggage.

Gatwick Airport transfers - Full transfer details


Stansted Airport transfers

Stansted Airport is the furthest airport from Central London. For most a taxi or private cars is too expensive to make sense for a transfer to Central London. Its really a straight choice between train or one of the many airport buses..

 

The train is called the Stansted Express and like the Heathrow Express and Gatwick express is the fastest most comfortable transfer option of the lot. The main drawback of the Stansted express is its London terminus, Liverpool Street. Deep in the business area of London it is quite a long way from where most leisure travellers will have their London accommodation.

 

The alternative are the many airport bus services that between them cover most parts of Central London. Some of the services do not come into the centre of London but stop on the outskirts of London at an Underground Station, thus avoiding the worst of any traffic congestion.

Stansted Airport transfers - Full transfer details

Luton Airport transfers

Like Stansted, Luton Airport is best part of 40 miles to the north of London. Its really a straight choice between the Thameslink Trains and the airport bus service. As ever the train option is much faster, but more expensive than the bus. The train service goes through the eastern side of the centre of London, including St Pancras, Blackfriars and London Bridge. The bus runs through the western side of Central London through Marble Arch, Baker Street and Victoria, much closer to where most leisure travellers will have their hotels.


The Luton Airport train service doesn't actually go to the airport itself, instead there is a shuttle bus service that travels the 5 minute journey between airport terminal and Luton Parkway Station. The price of the bus shuttle is included in the price of your rail ticket.

 

There are two Luton Airport bus services run by National Express and Green Line, competing head to head on near identical routes.

Luton Airport transfers - Full transfer details

Southampton cruise port transfers

It's about 80 miles (128km) between Southampton to the centre of London. Between Southampton and Central London there is a wide choice of transport, both public transport and private hire, tour transfers and van shuttles.

Heathrow airport is passed by road into Central London from Southampton.


The cheapest transfer option between Central London and Southampton are the National Express scheduled buses but more people use the the Southampton train services, which are much faster but more expensive than the bus service. Neither visit the port and the cruise terminals though.


The vast majority of cruise ship passengers will user the wide variety of coach and shuttles services and private taxi transfers are very competitive too.

Southampton cruise transfers - Full transfer details


Dover cruise port transfers

It's about 75 miles (120km) between Dover and the centre of London. Dover is very similar to Southampton but is east of London whilst Southampton is south west of London. There is a wide choice of transport, both public transport and private hire, tour transfers and van shuttles between Dover and London.


The cheapest transfer option between Central London and Southampton are the National Express scheduled buses but more people use the the Dover train services, which are much faster but more expensive than the bus service. Neither visit the port and the cruise terminals though.


The vast majority of cruise ship passengers will user the wide variety of coach and shuttles services and private taxi transfers are very competitive too.

Dover cruise transfers - Full transfer details


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