Transportation

Air

The major airports in London are:

  • Heathrow
  • Gatwick
  • City
  • Stanstead

The best way to get to and from Heathrow is the Heathrow Express, which leaves from Paddington Station every 20 minutes. The trip takes about 15 minutes and can drop you off at any terminal at Heathrow. Tickets can be purchased online, at the train station or on the train. There is no discount for pre-purchased tickets.

The Gatwick Express goes to and from Gatwick from Victoria Train Station. Tickets can be purchased at the station or on the train, but they are slightly cheaper if purchased prior to boarding.

City Airport is located right outside of the city, but not a lot of flights are offered in and out from this airport. A pre-bookable shuttle bus service and excutive ride share service runs between Central London and the airport.

Stanstead is further away – about a 45 minute cab drive. The Stansted Express runs every 15 minutes and reaches London Liverpool Street in 45 minutes. Alternatively, National Express East Anglia trains run to Stratford (east London) via the Lea Valley. All trains depart from Stansted Airport rail station, situated directly below the terminal. London Underground connections are available at Liverpool Street, Stratford and Tottenham Hale (on the Stansted Express line).

Lastminute.com is a website that offers cheap last minute tickets and vacations. It is worth checking out if you are trying to fly somewhere at the last minute!

Rail

National Rail Services – Visit www.thetrainline.com for train schedules, routes, and to pre-purchase tickets. Group discounts (3-for-2 or 4-for-2) are available on some lines to some destinations during the week. Ask at the ticket office as they will not typically offer up the discount.

Eurostar – (www.eurostar.com) Departs from St. Pancras (King’s Cross) so you can easily get there by tube, bus , or taxi. Trains depart regularly to France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

Around Town

Oyster Cards – Buy an Oyster Card ASAP! There is a slight deposit for the card and then you can add any amount to your oyster card either at the station through a kiosk or at the tickets counter or online. Travel with an Oyster Card is HALF PRICE. Register your card online to have it top up automatically, protect it if it is stolen, and receive weekly tube station closure emails.

Busses – Busses in London are very easy to use and travel most places in the city. You can purchase tickets aboard most busses, unless the bus stop offers a ticket machine. View a bus map at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/gettingaround/maps/buses/.

Tube – Your Oyster card is the best way to travel on the tube. It is usually the fastest way to get around the city. Tube maps are available at most stations or online at www.tfl.gov.uk.

Taxis – To catch a taxi in London, simply stick out your hand. It is polite to tell the driver where you would like to go prior to entering the taxi. If you have a particular route you would like to take, let the driver know before you begin the journey. To pay, get out of the taxi and pay through the front window. Tipping is not required. Rounding up the fare is considered appropriate.

Car Hires – There are several companies who will take you around town or to and from the airports by booking prior. Addison Lee (www.addisonlee.com) is one such company.

Other useful tools – An A to Z map book is a must have when you first move to London and also when you have lived here for years! London’s streets are confusing so even locals use the A to Z. You can buy one at any book shop, WH Smith, or convenience store.

The iphone has a tube application to help you find your way on your journey. Google Maps has a downloadable program for Blackberry users so that you won’t have to carry the A to Z.

Visit website www.hopstop.com to plan your journey whether you intend to walk, bus, or tube to your destination, or www.walkit.com if you want to get walking directions.