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Which Transport Between Stansted Airport And London?

Your Stansted - London transport options identified and compared

London Stansted Airport Coach Station

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.

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

Stansted Express Interior

Stansted Express Passenger Cabin

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 seven 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 services that do not go into the centre but drop you by an Underground Station in the suburbs like Golders Green or 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.

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.

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.

London - Stansted Fare Comparison of Public Transport 2017


Standard Adult Fare



Stansted Express - Liverpool Street



Stansted Express Web Duo - (2 people)



National Express - Stratford

£6-£11 †*

£12-£16 †*

National Express - Liverpool Street

£6-£8 †*

£12-£14 †*

National Express - Victoria via Waterloo

£5-£13 †*

£10-£19 †*

National Express - Marble Arch /Portman Square/Paddington

£5-£13 †*

£10-£18 †*

Citylink / Terravision - Kings Cross/St Pancras



Airport Bus / Terravision - Stratford //Liverpool Street



Airport Bus / Terravision - Baker Street/Victoria



* Group fares available for 3 or more passengers

# Promotional fare only available at Stansted Express web site, for 2 people travelling together - may be withdrawn at any time

† Lowest fare on-line 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 on-line.

Stansted - London Transfer Route Map
Stansted Airport Coach Of National Express Boarding At Liverpool Street

National Express Bus Boarding At Liverpool Street

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 for a "flexible add-on" supplement which allows you to board any available coach 12 hours before or 12 hours after your original departure time.

National Express also offer fully flexible fares which just like their airline equivalents you pay a premium for.

Airport Express

Airport Express tickets are fully flexible.

Stansted Citylink

If your London Stansted flight arrives early or late, tickets will remain valid for 24 hours from the scheduled departure time and passengers will be offered seats on the next available journey on a first come, first served basis.

Stansted Express

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

Family & Group Fares

If you have a group of 3 or more the Stansted Express train and the National Express coach services terminating at Liverpool Street or Stratford offer group discounts on-line. Stansted Citylink do not

If you have larger groups than family size there are buses available to charter from 8 seats to 72 seats, see the Stansted private transfers page.

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 and Citylink are very close to the Stansted Express. Children between 3 and 15 getting child rates and those under 3 travelling free. Airport Express the child ageband is 4 to 12 years.


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!

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.

Citylink and Airport stick with a single published standard fare.

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

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