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How to get in London

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London Eye  (London Eye, https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/File:London_Eye.JPG)

Get in

By plane

Air France, easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways have regular flights to London.

Air links with Europe are countless. France is particularly well endowed, with direct flights from major cities, but also from small provincial towns, especially in the great West (Brest, Dinard, Tours, Poitiers, Limoges, Bergerac, La Rochelle …) but also the South (Carcassonne, Perpignan, Montpellier, Marseille.) Only the North East of France is not well connected to London (only Euroairport Mulhouse/Basel has low-costs routes), but several foreign airports near the borders have regular services to London at attractive prices (example: Ryanair to Karlsruhe-Baden airport). With Ryanair, it is likely that your flight from the Province to London will cost you less than if you go to Paris.

Many flights from Canada also exist. From Montreal-Trudeau (YUL), British Airways and Air Canada provide daily service to Heathrow Airport. In high season, Air Transat and Look charter operators provide service two or three times a week with Gatwick Airport. Via New York, Detroit, Boston or Chicago, Montreal traveler can broaden the range of companies liaising Transatlantic London.


rail connections to London airports  (Summary map of rail connections to London airports, https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/File:London_airport_links_map.png)

London is served by five airports: Note: If you take the train to London, the round trip prices are cheaper and it may be possible to buy a ticket online in advance at a discount.

  • London City (LCY) – the closest, located east of the business district of Canary Wharf. Connected to downtown by a light rail (DLR).

  • Heathrow (LHR) – southwest, the airport is connected to the metro network (line “Piccadilly”) which provides easy access to London by public transport. One of the biggest airports in Europe in terms of traffic.

(Rail and Tube lines go to different terminals at Heathrow, https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/File:Heathrow_rail_links.png)

  • Gatwick (LGW) – south. Has a railway station from where you can take an express train to the capital, the Gatwick Express which connects the airport to London Victoria Station in 30 minutes. However, the airport is also served by Southern suburbs regular trains who take only 1 or 2 minutes more (for London-Victoria) for a much lower price and as frequent as Gatwick Expess. Some trains serve London Bridge.
  • Stansted (STN) – northeast. By train, the airport is 45 minutes from Liverpool Street Station with Stansted Express (about £ 15 one way). By coach or minibus, several companies like National Express, Terravision (about £ 13 AR) or EasyBus provide regular shuttle (every half hour) from the center of London. From Liverpool Street, the airport is 55 minutes.
  • Luton (LTN) – north of London. By train: about 1 hour for several London stations. A shuttle costs £ 1 connecting Luton Parkway station to the terminal. About £ 11. By coach: National Express or Terravision (about £ 12). By minibus: easyBus from central London.

Taxi from/to the airports: order your taxi in advance on TotallyAirports, it will cost cheaper than taking a taxi in a station or on the street.

By boat

Big Ben and Westminster  (Big Ben and Westminster)

You can take the boat to go to Britain from several mainland ports:

  • Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne-sur-Mer to Dover (Dover)
  • Le Havre or Cherbourg to Portsmouth and Caen Ouistreham and St Malo to Portsmouth from Cherbourg to Poole

and Dieppe to Newheaven. Further west from Roscoff to Plymouth

  • from Hoek van Holland or Hamburg to Harwich.

From the port of arrival, you will take a train or go by car to get to London. The main companies operating the crossing are Brittany Ferries, P & O Ferries, SeaFrance, Stena Line and DFDS Seaways.

For the people most pressed, some companies offer to “pick” the vehicle first. In fact, this is a paid service (about € 16) which allows, after booking, to place your vehicle in front of the car-bridge to be among the first to disembark from the ship arriving down. The services available on board are numerous including: bars, restaurants, games room (no, no, no casinos …) and large living rooms with panoramic views of the sea.

However, bad news for people with seasickness as the breaking waves are fairly common in the Channel. Therefore, it is advisable to obtain a remedy easy to find in pharmacy in order to play this phenomenon and to show your biggest smile.

For the landings at Dover, it is easy to go to London. Two options are available to motorists:

  • By Canterbury: leaving the port, follow the A2 named Jubille Way and a few miles further on enter the M2 motorway where one can arrive at the gates of the capital by Dartford.
  • By Folkestone: leaving the port, follow the A20 road through Dover by a wide boulevard before giving the fast expressway of the same number that automatically overlooks the M20 arriving at Folkestone.

In both cases, to get to the heart of the city, follow the signs for Central London once past the junction with the M25, the London orbital.

Allow between 1 hour and 1 hour 30 route between the port of Dover and London.

By train

  • St Pancras railway station (St Pancras International)

Eurostar trains from the train stations of Paris-Nord and Brussels Midi (via Lille, Calais, Ashford and Ebbsfleet following schedules) have their London terminus in this station. To reach London by Eurostar, you need:

  • 2 h 15 from Paris
  • 1 hour 51 from Brussels
  • 1 hour 20 from Lille

3 classes of comfort (and price) up these trains: Standard, Standard Premier, Business Premier.

If the Eurostar is the most convenient way (and quickest to a lesser extent) to rally in London from these three cities, it is probably one of the most expensive ways to get there. Indeed, if you take your tickets 1-2 weeks in advance, you’ll easily expense € 350-400 roundtrip for 2 persons (sometimes it will fall back on the Premier classes by lack of availability of Standard class).

Of course, one can also go to London by Eurostar to € 88 (for 2 persons one-way). But to enjoy this award, you must book a minimum 3 months in advance (even more in advance sometimes depending on periods).

By bus

Eurolines, Megabus and OuiBus companies provide connection from the main European capitals. Count 8 hours to travel between Paris and London (actually 7 h 30 to 9 h 30). Most shuttles arrive at the bus station in Victoria.

They now have partly wifi and power outlets for passing the time. Some through the tunnel, other ferry. In all cases, you will be awakened at night by the border police for passport control. So be careful not to forget or lose it, because otherwise you will be stuck in the middle of nowhere, with the sole alternative of waiting your passport by the next bus or return to your starting point.

Prices are equal to or lower than the train or plane and have the advantage of staying fixed longer when those Eurostar have already mounted. Megabus and OuiBus are particularly aggressive on certain dates and times on prices.

By car

From France, through the Channel Tunnel you can reach Folkestone from Calais in 35 minutes (Eurotunnel). Prices are per vehicle, not per person, which can be advantageous if there are more persons in a car.

At Folkestone take the M20 towards London and Ashford via Chadwick.

At peak times on weekdays (7 am – 6 pm) you have to pay a congestion charge of £ 8 to enter the city center.

Also note that parking (even in the suburbs) is highly regulated and poorly marked. The pound costs about £ 200 per car. Tip: please drive away in the suburbs, near the last subway station in a supermarket parking lot. The best is probably to park at Metro Station Brent Cross (north) for 3 pounds a day. The underground parking is still quite small, get there early to get a place. Please note that parking is free on Sundays almost everywhere, and in some places on Saturday, and that the congestion charge does not apply on weekends and holidays.

You can park free between Camberwell green and peckham. Same for the Tooting neighborhood.

Translated from WikiVoyage


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