With 4 major airports, countless train stations connecting the city nationally and internationally, and an international coach station London is an exceptionally well-connected city that welcomes visitors from all across the globe every day. Working out where to stay in relation to the airport you're flying into can be tricky for first-time visitors, so we've pulled together this guide of the best neighbourhoods in London to stay in for easy access to the airport.
With 'How can I get to London airports?' being a top question asked by visitors to the city we've included our top travel tips too. We highly recommend booking your airport travel, both inbound and outbound, in advance as tickets tend to be significantly cheaper online. Once you've made it to the city, then grab yourself an Oyster card or use contactless payments to access the underground and bus services.
London City Airport
As the most centrally located airport for access to the big city there are plenty of options when you're travelling to or from London City Airport. The DLR (Docklands Light Railway) has a station located right at the airport which makes it one of the easiest ways to travel there. The DLR connects to the London underground network which means you can reach pretty much anywhere in the city but to make your life extra easy you could look into staying in one of the areas that are right on the DLR.
Just a few stops out, Canary Wharf is in the heart of London, which makes it a great base to explore from. It takes 20 minutes to get there from the airport which means you could be off the plane from your early morning flight and sitting down to brunch at the Canary Wharf branch of the Breakfast Club (pancakes highly recommended!) in no time at all.
Another DLR station option is to head to Stratford, the home of the London 2012 Olympics. Again, it'll take around 20 minutes on the train so a quick opportunity for those of you a little prone to a last-minute packing marathon and dash to the airport for your flight home. Once you've unpacked, you could even take a ride on the nearby ArcelorMittal Orbit slide (the world's longest tunnel slide!) to really blow away the travelling cobwebs.
Heathrow Airport is located to the west of London and has several different transport options connecting it to the city centre. The fastest option is the Heathrow Express train which goes straight through to Paddington Station. Trains leave regularly and travel time is around 15 minutes.
Not too far from Paddington Station is the trendy bohemian area of Notting Hill. If you've packed light or fancy a little stretch of the legs after a long flight, you can walk to Notting Hill in around half an hour or jump on the Hammersmith and City underground line for a couple of stops if you've got heavy luggage. Travelling in August? You might be lucky enough to catch the infamous Notting Hill Carnival, one of the world's largest street festivals!
On the east side of Paddington Station, you'll find the affluent area of Mayfair, that most expensive spot on the Monopoly board. It's again around a 30-minute walk, but you could take a detour through London's most famous green space, Hyde Park, to get some fresh air after being cooped up on the plane.
London Stansted Airport
Located the furthest out from the city centre, the easiest travel option from London Stansted airport is to catch the Stansted Express train. It takes you into London Liverpool Street station in approximately 50 mins with trains leaving the airport every 15 minutes.
A 10-minute stroll will take you into the centre of trendy Shoreditch where, after dropping your luggage off at your accommodation, you'll find no shortage of excellent English pubs to toast your arrival in the big city.
A quick tube ride from London Liverpool St on the Central Line will take you into the West End area of London. Known for its world-famous stage shows you could be flying across the Atlantic in the morning and giving a standing ovation to the latest Lloyd-Webber show in the evening.
To the west of the city, you'll find Gatwick airport. The Gatwick Express goes straight through to Victoria Station every 15 mins and takes around 30 mins to arrive. Victoria offers mainline train connections, a tube stop and is situated just next to the Victoria coach station for national and international bus and coach travel.
If it's central London you're after though then the London underground is your best onward connection. Two stops north on the Victoria line will see you in the heart of London's best shopping destination, Oxford Street. So, if you're in the capital city to shop til you drop this could be an ideal area to find somewhere to stay.
Head one stop south on the Victoria line, and you'll find yourself in leafy Pimlico. Located in zone 1 and just a stone's throw from the centre of all the action, this is a great area to base yourself in while you explore the city. In fact, Pimlico is within an hour reach of most of the city's airports (except for that pesky London Stansted but even that one is just an hour and 15 minutes away!).
This makes it easy to get to and easy to get around from. Once you've settled into your accommodation, you'll find you've probably had quite enough sitting down in stuffy transport and so we would recommend a stroll along the riverfront to get a burst of fresh air. A 20-minute walk will see you in the heart of the action with Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye right at your feet.
Once you've confirmed which airport you'll be flying into, next on the list will be finding somewhere comfy to stay while you're on your trip. Dolphin House serviced apartments are a quick walk from Pimlico tube station or an even quicker taxi ride from Victoria station. On arrival, you'll find yourself in an airy private apartment complete with a modern bathroom, huge comfy beds and a pantry style kitchen. Arrived late and too tired to head out into the city on your first evening? Don't worry, we've got you covered with a restaurant and grill right onsite alongside a pool, gym and spa to stretch those aeroplane aches and pains away.