A Guide to London’s Airports

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As one of the most visited cities in the world, owing to its diverse experiences, the broad array of attractions, and the blend of historical, cultural, and modern things to see and do, London isn’t just easy to travel through via train and tube, but is also well connected to other cities and countries around the world.

Surrounded by several of the largest airports in the UK, London is home to a total of six airports which operate both national and international flights on a daily basis. And in this blog, we’re sharing everything you need to know about which airports are the most convenient, which offer the best connection to your hotel near Moorgate and central London, and how to ensure a great travel experience when arriving and departing from these airports.

Which are the main airports in London?

There are six main airports which are considered to be located within London. These are Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, London City Airport, Luton Airport, Southend Airport, and Stansted Airport.

Heathrow and Gatwick tend to be seen as the main airports as they operate the most flights on a daily basis and serve the largest number of airlines, travelling to the most expansive and diverse list of destinations. Having said that, London City airport is the only one of the six which is genuinely located within what you might deem to be central London, with the surrounding London City suites all offering accommodation to those using the airport as well as those working in and travelling to the city.

A few things worth noting about the main airports in London is that all of them are easy to access and are connected to the city by public transport. In addition, all of the airports have car rental companies that operate bases from just outside the airport grounds, ensuring that all those arriving in London have the ability to hire cars with ease for as long as they want.

Which is the best airport?

The beauty of having so many airports in and around London is that the crowds are somewhat diluted between all six sites, however some offer a better experience than others in terms of facilities and what’s available.

As Gatwick and Heathrow are the largest, with the most terminals and the biggest footprint in terms of inside space and runways, they offer the most diverse collection of restaurants and leisure spaces for travellers to enjoy before and after their flight. The various lounges, which are available to book at an upgrade, ensure that your journey is nestled in comfort and luxury before you even reach the plane, while the duty free shelves are stocked to bursting with goods at a reduced rate.

Although not as big in terms of size, London City Airport is another one to mention here as the overall experience is considered premium when compared with that of the other airports in London. London City is a smaller airport but as it primarily serves commuters travelling across the country and as far as Europe, the setting is much more luxurious and stylish than that found in most of the other locations. London City airport is just a short taxi or underground ride from The Montcalm at the Brewery London City, connecting this and other surrounding hotels to destinations across the world.

How do you know which airport you need?

With six main London airports, knowing which one you need is something that would once have required significant research – however, with the availability of flight booking apps, travellers can now simply add their international destination and they will be able to see a list of the best suited London airports for their trip.

What many travellers don’t realise is that the London airports all operate and serve different airlines. While many airlines are present across most of the six airports, more specific airlines which serve niche destinations that are, for example, further outside Europe, may only offer flights from one or two of the airports. In addition to this, not all the airports offer flights to all destinations, so it likely that you will need to be flexible when considering your onward travel.

How can tourists get from the airport into the city?

Travelling from your hotel near Chiswell Street London to the airport is not as difficult or as arduous as it sounds – largely due to the fact that airport runs are so commonplace in London that there are multiple different travel options available.

While some travellers choose to book a taxi either through the Uber or another taxi app, or by hailing a taxi from one of the many taxi ranks located across the city, others utilise the extension attached to many of the underground tube lines which link central London directly to the different terminals of the city’s major airports. There are also buses and coaches available which run to and from the airport, or you might choose to hire a car for the duration of your stay which gives you the flexibility to travel as and when you want.

What time do you need to arrive at the airport?

This is always a major question posed by tourists – and one that nobody really knows the answer to. Arriving at the airport needs to be done in enough time that you can check in and go through bag drop, allowing time for potentially large queues and long waits before you can then pass through security and into the departures lounge.

Typically, the airports suggest allowing around three hours between arrival and boarding. Some travellers arrive earlier than this, though you will find that some of the smaller airports in and around London do not allow passengers to pass beyond the check in point until a maximum of three hours before their scheduled flight time. This helps to alleviate crowds in departures and keeps the airport setting manageable.

With so much information about the airports available, planning your next trip starts here!