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Which Transport Between Stansted Airport And London?

Your Stansted - London transport options identified and compared

London Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport is situated 38 miles (61 kms) north of London, a long and very expensive taxi ride or at first sight a bewildering choice of 7 public transport options. There is no universal “best” way between London and Stansted Airport.

To make an informed decision on which option is best for you, you first need to be sure of where exactly in London your destination or departure point is. London is a very spread out city and just knowing where your London accommodation is will probably rule out a few of the options on offer. Seems obvious but you would be surprised how many people don't know whereabouts in London their accommodation is when deciding on the best option for them.

Stansted Express - Fast, Frequent and Relatively Expensive

(With a London Terminus That May Be Far From Your Where You Want To Be In London)

The Stansted Express train is the most frequent and fastest Stansted Airport to Central London transport , though surprisingly only about 10 minutes quicker than the scheduled travel time of the much cheaper airport buses that also go to and from Liverpool Street.

As well as being the fastest transport its also the most comfortable, the only option where you can stand up and stretch on your journey and the only option where a refreshment trolley comes to your seat!

Other plus points is that luggage is only limited by the amount you can carry on board without assistance and unlike the airport buses you won't get stuck in London's traffic.

Stansted Express Interior

Stansted Express Passenger Cabin

For many visitors to London the big minus with the Stansted Express is its London terminus at Liverpool Street. Liverpool Street is in the City of London, London's main business area. There are few hotels here and what hotels that are here are more geared towards global financiers on expense accounts than leisure travellers. To get to the hotel districts that most leisure visitors use from Liverpool Street can take as long as the train from Stansted.

Airport Bus Services - The Big Selling Point = Price

If low cost is the main purchasing decision then you are going to choose one of the airport bus services. There are three competing operators offering six separate services, (see map at the bottom of the page).

The further your bus choice ventures into London the bigger the chance of delays through traffic congestion.

You therefore adopt one of two strategies.

Either you go for one of the cheapest services that do not go into the centre but drop you by an Underground Station on which you complete your journey or you identify the service that goes closest to your destination or departure point in London.

The Best London Stansted Airport Bus?

At the moment its very hard to compare the various lines on price as some operate a fixed fare tariff and others offer dynamic internet pricing like the low cost budget airlines where fares are volatile. Broadly speaking Terravision is the benchmark to beat on price.

In the airport direction it is very wise to give yourself lots of contingency time with the buses so you don't miss your flight, which at Stansted with the low cost budget airlines can be very expensive to put right.

Luggage Allowances

One area where there is a wide variance between operators is luggage allowance. In order of the most generous to least generous ...

The Stansted Express train you are only limited to the amount of luggage you can independently bring on board.

Terravision buses do not have a luggage policy in terms of quantity and seem totally relaxed about luggage.

National Express buses allow 2 cases per person, neither of which should weigh over 20kg (44 lbs) and a small item of luggage before hefty excess luggage charges are levied and you are given second priority on boarding the bus over those who are within the luggage allowance.

easyBus, whom operate small mini-buses have the smallest luggage allowance just one bag limited by weight and dimensions plus one item of hand luggage.

What If My Flight Is Late?

Another area where there is a variance between operators is if you do not buy a fully flexible fare and buy one of the cheaper advance fares on-line where you have to stipulate the time of the bus departure.

National Express Coaches

One option is to simply pay a £5 fee to switch to another schedule at the ticket office. You will also be charged any difference between the fare you paid on-line and the walk-up fare available on the day.

The second option (if you are purchasing a return fare) is to purchase a “Flexible airport journey” - pay a £10 additional supplement per person, (half price children). The facility allows you to board any available coach 12 hours before or 12 hours after your original departure time, amend your ticket to a new departure date or get a refund on your ticket up to 24 hours before departure, all without charge.

This facility is only available for on-line purchases and only for return trip purchases. The flexible airport journey supplement is made available as an extra on the extras screen displayed immediately after you have selected your coach tickets during the purchase process.

Terravision Coaches

If your London Stansted flight arrives early or late, you may use the same ticket at no extra cost to travel on the next available Stansted Airport to Central London bus service subject to seat availability.


You can use your ticket only on buses within 60 minutes of the schedule on your ticket. Note, easyBus use small buses which may not have spares seats available on alternative schedules within the 60 minutes.

Stansted Express

Subject to any special restrictions imposed on promotional tickets you can simply board the first train departing Stansted Airport.

Terravision Stansted Airport Bus Video
The Stansted Express

Child Classifications For Ticketing

The Stansted Express is again the most generous for child fares. Children between 5 and 15 getting child rates and those under 5 travelling free.

National Express are very close to the Stansted Express. Children between 3 and 15 getting child rates and those under 3 travelling free.

Terravision child rates apply to those between 5 and 12 years with those under 5 travelling free.

easyBus have no child fares.


On Stansted to London fares its very hard to give firm numbers as they are so changeable and each operator has different strategies on promotional pricing.

Stansted Express have published fares that change each January but will often have promotional fares and group fares which the bus operators do not. If you are a visitor to London doing the normal first time sightseeing thing, then return Stansted Express tickets qualify you for the 2 for 1 admission promotion to many of London's major sights where such savings could pay for the cost of your ticket!

Both easyBus and often National Express run on an on-line ticketing model very similar to the low cost budget airlines at Stansted. Basically the earlier you book or if you travel at a very slack period of the day you will be rewarded with a cheaper ticket price.

Terravision stick with a published standard fare with an on-line discount which to give them credit is often the cheapest fare available.

Private Cars & Buses For Groups

Given the distance of Stansted Airport from Central London very few people take a taxi or a cheaper private car pre-booked.

For groups though chartering a bus can make very good sense both on cost and convenience.

Stansted - London Private Cars & Buses - More Details

London - Stansted Fare Comparison of Public Transport 2015


Standard Adult Fare*



Stansted Express - Liverpool Street



Stansted Express Web Duo - (2 people) #



Terravision - Stratford



Terravision - Liverpool Street



Terravision - Victoria



National Express - Stratford

From £6, £12 Return †

National Express - Liverpool Street

From £10, £17 Return †

National Express - Victoria / Marble Arch

From £12, £19 Return †

easyBus - Baker Street



easyBus - Old Street



* Standard adult ticket. Other promotional fares may appear from time to time.

# Promotional fare only available at Stansted Express web site, for 2 people travelling together - may be withdrawn at any time

† On-line only fare.

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