Which transport between Stansted Airport and London?

Your Stansted to London transport options identified and compared

London Stansted Airport Coach Station

London Stansted Airport coach station

Stansted Airport is situated 38 miles (61km) north of London, a long and very expensive taxi ride or at first sight a bewildering choice of 6 public bus services and one train service. 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 London Terminus that may be far from 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 it's 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

Frequent and fast: 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 - 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 two competing operators, (National Express and Airport Bus Express) offering a total of six separate services.


The further your bus choice ventures into London the bigger the chance of delays through traffic congestion. You therefore adopt one of two strategies.


Stansted Bus London Boarding Points

Either you go for one of the services that do not go into the centre but drop you by an Underground Station in the suburbs like Stratford and complete your journey by tube or you identify the service that goes closest to your destination or departure point in London and risk traffic congestion delays.


Airport Bus Express or National Express for your Stansted - London transfer?

Although superficially both National Express and Airport Bus Express offer very similar services, there are real differences when you look closer:


Airport Express offer a simple flat fee ticket price with a small discount for round trip journeys.

National Express have dynamic pricing, basically the further in advance you book tickets the cheaper the fare.

In broad summary, if you can book your tickets well in advance National Express will probably be cheaper, buy at short notice and Airport Express may have the edge on price.

Ticket Flexibility - What if your flight is late?

With National Express you have to select an individual schedule. However, for Stansted they offer flexible travel now, so you can get a coach up to 3-hrs earlier or up to 3-hrs later than the time indicated on your ticket for no additional charge. You can buy more expensive flexible tickets or pay a supplement on reservation allowing you 12 hours flexibility either side of your chosen schedule if you prefer.

With Airport Express the ticket is flexible and can be used any time, any date and any direction.


National Express have the definite edge here, offering better frequencies and 4 services with additional choiice as a result of your chosen bus stop in London.

Child Fare Concession Age Band

National Express childrens fare age band is 3-15 year old, Airport Express is 4-12 years old.

Luggage Allowance

Very similar for both operators, 2 cases plus an item of hand luggage per person.


Standard Adult Fare



Stansted Express - Liverpool Street



Stansted Express Advance booking



National Express - Stratford

£10-£17 †

£17-£32 †

National Express - Kings Cross via Liverpool Street

£10-£17 †

£17-£23 †

National Express - Victoria via Waterloo


£23 †

Airport Bus / Terravision - Stratford /Liverpool Street



Airport Bus / Terravision - Baker Street/Victoria



# Fare only available at Stansted Express website, non refundable or exchangeable

† Lowest fare online only advance purchase Funfare tickets - limited number of tickets, the earlier you book the better the availability. Higher fare is for payment on the day or at short notice online.


Private car or charter bus with driver may well be cheaper for groups than bus

A vehicle with driver just for your party has a lot going for it, especially if you are a small group or larger.

The driver will meet n greet you as you exit the customs/luggage hall of the passenger terminal (or at an airport hotel) and lead you to the waiting vehicle for an immediate departure.

The driver also monitors your incoming flight and will adjust his/her arrival time to the actual time your flight arrives.


We can supply vehicles from sedans to 70 seat coaches and if you want to do some sightseeing on the way, no problem too, with or without guiding.

Private Airport Car Transfers
Every effort is made to keep all our information correct and the advertised prices up to date. We endeavour to be as accurate a source of information as possible but Travellers Toolkits cannot be held responsible for any price differential between our stated prices and those of the companies supplying the product or accuracy of information provided on our sites.