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London at a Glance

  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Time zone: UTC + 1 hour
  • Currency: British pound sterling (£/GBP)
  • Language: English
  • Power & standard plug type: 230 V, 50 Hz, Type G (British standard)
  • Weekend days: Saturday, Sunday

When is the best time to book tickets to London?

London is the world’s most popular destination for tourism. Each year the city attracts around 30 million guests from overseas. While it’s nearly impossible to avoid crowds when visiting the UK’s capital, you still can cut your travel expenses.

Avoid the peak season

London is especially crammed with tourists during late spring and summer. Easter and Christmas holidays are also extremely busy times. Consequently, flight prices reach the highest levels. In the shoulder season  (from March through April and from mid-September through November) airline tickets witness price reduction while the weather is still comfortable. January and February are typically the cheapest months to visit London. But they are the coldest as well.

Buy tickets from London on Sunday, fly out on Friday

According to the fresh data, if reserving tickets from London on Sundays, the price drops by nearly 4%. Wednesdays are the most expensive days for booking a flight back home.  Another tip is to leave London on Friday to save up to 21% compared to a Sunday departure.

Book flights in advance

It’s commonly recommended that travelers reserve a flight to London 60 days before a planned trip. After this milestone, the price of tickets will constantly increase, peaking on the day of departure.

What should you know about airports in London?

There are six international airports serving London, and only two of them are located within the city.

London City Airport (LCY)

The airport is comparatively small, with a limit of 111,000 flights per year, a single terminal, and a runaway, which is too short to handle large aircraft.

LCY caters to 11 airlines and almost 40 international destinations, including New York (business-class only). It serves as a hub for BA CityFlyer,  which flies across the UK and to continental Europe.

How to get from LCY to Central London

Nested in the heart of the old Docklands area, this airport is just 6.2 miles (10 km) away from the City of London. There are two convenient ways of traveling to the financial heart of the capital.

By Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
Transfer time20+ minutes
Trip cost - from 2.8 GBP (around 3.50 USD)

The DLR trains run every ten minutes on average, from 6 a.m. until midnight. Fares between LCY and Bank DLR Station range from 2.80 to 4.90 GBP (3.40 to 6.00 USD) depending on the payment method and the time of day.

By taxi
Transfer time15+ minutes
Trip cost - from 24 GBP (around 29 USD)

Traveling by taxi may save you 5 to 6 minutes while the price will start at 24 GDP (29 USD). Cab fares are higher at night, on weekends and holidays.

Heathrow Airport (LHR)

Heathrow is London's major international gateway, the second busiest airport in the world (after Dubai) and the busiest airport in Europe. With its two parallel runways and four terminals, it caters to over 80 million passengers a year. Airlines flying to and from Heathrow cover over 180 destinations in 90 countries, while the three busiest international routes to and from LHR are New York, Dubai, and Dublin. Two carriers — British Airways and Virgin Atlantic — use Heathrow as their major hub.

How to get between terminals 

Terminals 2 and 3 are just a ten-minute walk from each other. You can travel between them using a pedestrian underpass.  Free shuttle trains and buses run between Terminals 4 and 5, connecting them with two other terminals as well. The journey will take 20 minutes on average, including waiting time.

How to get from LHR to Central London

Lying **14 miles (22.5 km) **west of Central London, Heathrow offers a number of transfer alternatives.

By Tube (London underground)
Transfer time45+ minutes
Trip costfrom 3.10 GBP (around 4 USD)

There are three separate Tube stations at Heathrow,  serving Terminals 2 and 3, Terminal 4, and Terminal 5. The Piccadilly line allows tourists to reach hotels in the city center in 45-80 minutes. Trains depart every few minutes from around 5 a.m. till midnight. On Friday and Saturday, the Piccadilly line serves all terminals (except for Terminal 4) 24/7.

The Tube is the cheapest transfer option since a single fare ranges from 3.10 to 6 GBP  (3.80 to 7.30 USD) depending on the payment method and the time of day.

By National Express Bus
Transfer time60+ minutes
Trip costfrom 7.20 GBP (around 9 USD)

Air-conditioned coaches frequently depart from the Central Bus Station between Terminals 2 and 3 and reach Victoria Coach Station in Central London within an hour. The service charges 7.20 GBP (8.80 USD) for a trip. The first bus leaves at 4:20 a.m. and the last one at 10:05 p.m.

By Heathrow Express
Transfer time15+ minutes
Trip costfrom 22 GBP (around 27 USD)

It is the fastest way to get to Central London. Every 15 minutes non-stop premium trains carry tourists from Heathrow to Paddington in the West End. The trip takes 15-20 minutes, costing 25 GBP (30.50 USD) during peak times and 22 GBP (26.80 USD) during off-peak times. The service is available from 5 a.m. till midnight.

By Tfl Rail
Transfer time30+ minutes
Trip costfrom 10.10 GBP (around 12 USD)

Tfl rail, which in the future will become part of the Elizabeth line, is a cheaper and slower alternative to the Heathrow Express.  TFL trains run between Heathrow and Paddington every 30 minutes, making several stops along the route. Travel time is approximately 30 minutes, with a peak / off-peak fare of 10.50 / 10.10 GBP (12.80 / 12.30 USD) correspondingly. Service is available from around 5 a.m. till midnight.

By №9 night bus
Transfer time1 hour 15 minutes
Trip costfrom 1.50 GBP (around 2 USD)

If you miss the last tube or train, you can go to central London by the №9 night bus  — instead of taking an expensive cab. The bus departs from Terminal 5 and Heathrow Central Bus Station (between Terminals 2 and 3)  every 20 minutes, from around 11:30 p.m. till 5 a.m. The trip to Trafalgar Square takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes and costs just 1.50 GBP (1.80 USD).

By taxi
Transfer time30+ minutes
Trip costfrom 48 GBP (around 59 USD)

London’s famous black cabs pick up passengers at all terminals 24/7. The drive between Heathrow and Central London takes 30 to 60 minutes, with fares ranging from 48 to 90 GBP (58.60 to 110 USD).

London Gatwick Airport (LGW) Gatwick is the second busiest gateway serving London after Heathrow and the world’s leading low-cost airport. Its single working runway and two terminals (North and South) manage to handle annual traffic of 46 million passengers from over 70 countries. Over 50 carriers regularly fly from Gatwick and reach around 230 destinations, with the share of budget airlines exceeding 60%.

Gatwick serves as the second main hub for British Airways and Virgin Atlantics and as an operating base for two low-cost carriers  (Norwegian Air Shuttle and Britain’s easyJet) as well as for two British charter airlines (Thomas Cook Airlines and TUI Airways).

How to get between terminals

North and South Terminals are far apart and not linked by an interior walkway for pedestrians. To transfer between them, you should take a free monorail train that runs every two-three minutes.

How to get from LGW to Central London

Gatwick neighbors the town of Crawley, some 28 miles (45 km) south of Central London. Despite the significant distance, the trip to Central London won’t be too long. Let’s look at available options.

By train
Transfer time — 30+ minutes
Trip cost — from 11 GBP (around 13.50 USD)

Three train operators connect Central London with the railway station located near the South Terminal.

Non-stop Gatwick Express departs every 15 minutes connecting LGW with Victoria Station in the center of London. The journey takes no more than 30 minutes, and a one-way ticket costs 17.80 GDP (21.70 USD) if bought online.

A trip to Victoria Station by Southern trains lasts from 30 to 60 minutes and intervals between departures vary from just a few minutes to thirty, depending on the time of day. Yet, the tickets are somewhat cheaper, starting from 12 GBP (14.60 USD).

Thameslink carries passengers to London Bridge for 11 GBP (13.40 USD), with the trip taking up to 40 minutes.  Trains leave LGW three times per hour on average.

By bus
Transfer time — 1 hour 50 minutes
Trip cost — from 7 GBP (around 8.50 USD)

The cheapest way of traveling from Gatwick Airport to Central London is using the low-cost EasyBus service. Coaches run from 4 a.m. till 1 a.m. departing every 15 minutes at peak times. They drop off passengers at popular London destinations such as Baker Street, Victoria, and Waterloo stations. The seat price can be as low as 7 GBP (8.50 USD) while the trip can be as much as 1 hour 50 minutes.

By taxi
Transfer time — 1 hour 30+ minutes
Trip cost — from 67 GBP (around 82 USD)

If booking a taxi online in advance, a fare for a drive to Victoria Station starts at 67 GBP (81.7 USD) and you can share these expenses with three other passengers. The journey will take up to 1 hour and 30 minutes.

London Stansted Airport (STN)

This single-terminal, single-runway airport connects to over 200 destinations> in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. It serves as a base for three large low-cost carriers  — British EasyJet and Jet2.com and Irish Ryanair. The annual traffic nears 29 million passengers.

How to get from STN to Central London

Forty-two miles (68 km) away from Central London, Stansted boasts convenient transport connections with the capital, suiting any budget. Train and bus stations are just two minutes walk from the terminal. Whatever option you choose, booking tickets in advance will save you money.

By train
Transfer time — 47 minutes
Trip cost — from 18.10 GBP (around 22 USD)

Stansted Express picks up passengers every 15 minutes and delivers them to Liverpool Street in London in just 47 minutes. A single ticket price starts from 18.10 GBP (22 USD).

By bus Transfer time — 1 hour 20+ minutes
Trip cost — from 6 GBP (around 7 USD)

Two operators carry tourists from STN to Central London.  Stansted Airport Bus Express departs every 30 minutes from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. You can get to Victoria Station for as little as 6 GBP (7.30 USD). Travel time is 1 hour 20 minutes on average.

National Express buses drop off passengers at popular spots including Baker Street, Paddington, Victoria, and Liverpool Street stations. The estimated journey time is around two hours, with the lowest ticket price of 14 GBP (17 USD).

By taxi
Transfer time — 60+ minutes
Trip cost — from 70 GBP (around 84 USD)

You can book a cab from Stansted Airport Taxi Service online and your taxi will wait for you by the airport’s info desk. The lowest estimated fare for the journey to Central London (Buckingham Palace) is around 70 GBP (84 USD) with a car taking up to 4 passengers.

London Luton Airport (LTN)

Luton Airport mainly houses low-cost airlines, providing affordable flights to more than 30 countries and 70 destinations in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Wizz Air UK, EasyJet and TUI Airways established their headquarters in Luton while Ryanair uses the airport as an operational base. Its single runway and two-story terminal handle the traffic of over 16.5 million passengers a year.

How to get from LTN to Central London

Luton is approximately 28 miles (45 km) north of London’s center, and passengers can quickly reach the capital thanks to a convenient transportation system.

By taxi
Transfer time — 1 hour 10+ minutes
Trip cost — from 19.70 GBP (around 24 USD)

Regular trains run directly from Luton Airport Parkway to London’s Paddington station every 10-15 minutes on average. The journey takes 1 hour 10 minutes, with the lowest ticket price of 19.70 GBP (24 USD).

You need nearly 10 minutes to get from the airport to the train station by a shuttle bus that serves passengers from 5.00 a.m. till midnight.

By bus
Transfer time — 1 hour 20+ minutes
Trip cost — from 11 GBP (around 13 USD)

Buses and coaches stop to pick up passengers right outside the terminal building 24/7.

National Express provides transfers from Luton to Victoria Coach Station and London Paddington Rail Station every 30 minutes. The average journey time is 1 hour 20 minutes, while the ticket price starts at 12 GBP (14.60 USD).

Another operator, Green Line, carries passengers to London Victoria for 11 GBP (13.40 USD). Coaches run at 30-minute intervals during the day and once an hour at night.

By taxi
Transfer time — 45+ minutes
Trip cost — from 66 GBP (around 79 USD)

If pre-booking a cab from Luton Airport Taxi Service, the lowest cab fares to Central London will be around 66 GBP (79 USD).  It’s a good option for groups of 3 to 4 people.

London Southend Airport (SEN)

With its 45 destinations across almost 20 European countries and 1.4 million passengers a year, Southend looks modest compared to other London airports. However, SEN gradually increases traffic and adds new routes. Currently, EasyJet and Ryanair have their bases at Southend, using its single terminal and extended runway for low-cost flights.

How to get from SEN to Central London

Southend lies in the heart of Essex, nearly 36 miles (58 km) away from the capital’s center. The airport offers ample transport connections to make the journey to London quick and easy.

By train
Transfer time — 50+ minutes
Trip cost — from 16.70 GBP (around 20.50 USD)

The railway station is just a two-minute walk away from the terminal building.  Running every 15-30 minutes, Greater Anglia trains will take you directly to Liverpool Street in London within 52 minutes.  An off-peak single ticket starts at 16.70 GBP (20.40 USD)

By taxi
Transfer time — 50+ minutes
Trip cost — from 110 GBP (around 134 USD)

The official taxi service at Southend Airport is provided by Andrews Taxis. Apart from regular transfers, the company offers a taxi share scheme for passengers who arrive late at night and miss the last train to London. A cab will carry up to 4 passengers to London Liverpool Street dividing the cost of 110 GBP (134.20 USD) between them.

What is the best way to get around London? 

Though you can still pay in cash for paper tickets, electronic options will save you 50 to 75% on a single trip. Public transport services accept contactless cards, mobile payments, and Oyster cards  — pre-charged smartcards used by a majority of Londoners and visitors to get around the city.

You can buy a Visitor Oyster card for 5 GBP (6.10 USD) from a ticket machine at Underground and DLR stations. There are also Oyster Ticket Stops in stores and newsagents all over London.

What’s the weather like in London? 

London is typically associated with rain, clouds, and chillness. In truth, it is one of the sunniest British cities, and doesn’t experience unbearably hot or cold temperatures. Though cloudiness and showers happen throughout the year, the weather is never so extreme to stop you from going outside and having a good time.

Summers in London are comfortably warm, with average daily highs falling between 68° and 77°F (20-25°C). The coolest months are January and February when temperatures can drop to 33°F (1°C). However, on average they are around 41-48°F (5-9°C).

In spring the weather is often unpredictable. Warm days give way to cold ones and vice versa.

Most frequently it rains in October and November,  but overall the late fall is not significantly wetter than any other season in London.

What is the average price of a night’s stay in London?

One of the most expensive cities in Europe, London has plenty of affordable hostels for budget-savvy tourists. A bed in a mixed dormitory room for 8 to 20 persons can be as cheap as 9-10 GBP (11-12 USD). For this price, you can even count on a free breakfast. However, chances are you’ll find yourself in some dingy and cramped place far from the city center.

A night in a decent hostel in Central London costs from 25 to 50  GBP (30 to 60 USD) in a shared dorm room. Prices for a private room usually start at 50 GBP (60 USD). If you prefer staying in a budget hotel, be ready to pay from 50 to 100 GBP (60 to 120 USD) per night.

What are the must-try dishes in London? 

London is a multicultural city with restaurants offering practically any national food. But of course, you should try authentic British meals first.

Start your day with the full English breakfast that includes eggs, sausage, bacon, black pudding made of dried pig blood, baked beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, and toast. This nutritious, filling meal will give you enough energy for extended city walks while the price starts at an affordable 10 GBP (12 USD).

Fish and chips have been dominating the British food scene since the 19th century. You can buy a massive portion at a walk-up window for a mere 7 GBP (8.40 USD) and enjoy it sitting on a park bench.

Pie and mash is another must-try food while in London. Small pie and mash shops offer a classic trinity of a minced beef pie, smooth mashed potatoes, and parsley sauce for just 3 GBP (3.60 USD).

What are the must-see places in London? 

The list of top London attractions is fairly well-known: Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey,  Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Globe Theater, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Hyde Park, the British Museum, and the London Eye.

Fortunately, you can see most of these spots in a day, as they are within walking distance of each other. It will take longer, however, to appreciate all of them in depth.

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