Getting to the Airport

James Ballantyne Regional Program Manager


July 14, 2014

With the end of semester just around the corner, it will soon be time for you to depart back to the US. The semester has flown by and the next few weeks will be gone in a flash. Therefore, to help you save money and time, we have devised a quick guide on the best ways to get to the airport.

Quick overview of your options

  • Pre-booked private hire minicab - convenient & inexpensive when shared (£40-£60)
  • Train (overground) - quick & inexpensive (£18 online and £19 in person)
  • Coach/bus - inexpensive but slower & less convenient (from £5)
  • Underground train - frequent, cheap but possibly inconvenient with luggage (from £3)
  • Black cab - (£60-£100)

Please note that public transportation can be subject to delays, cancellations and changes to advertised services. Arcadia cannot be held responsible for any changes to the services listed here. Please ensure you check online resources listed for the most recent service updates

Quick Guide - at a glance


Airport Express Train

National Rail or Heathrow Connect Train




*From £22

(15 minutes from Paddington)


(25 minutes from Paddington)


(1 hour from Victoria Coach Station)

From £3

(50 minutes from Earls Court)


*From £13.80

(30 minutes from Victoria Rail Station)


(30 minutes from London Bridge/Victoria)


(1 hour 20 minutes from Victoria Coach)





(up to 50 minutes from St. Pancras International)


(1 hour 10 minutes from Victoria Coach)



*From £19            

(45 mins from Liverpool St Station)


(45 minutes from Liverpool Street Station)


(1 hour 45 minutes from Victoria Coach Station)


*Discounts available for ISIC card holders

Modes of Transport

Mini-Cab/Shared Taxi:

For its convenience (and cost if shared), this is our recommended option.

We DO NOT recommend you use black cabs - it will be very expensive.

Travelling by yourself in a mini cab is expensive, but it is much better value for money if you split the cost with a companion. The most convenient option as you can be picked up at your accommodation and dropped off at the airport.

Here are some companies that students have used in the past.

Just Airports - 020-8900-1666

Airport Direct - 020-7916-9309

Airport Express - 020-7916-0099

Meadway Cars - 020-8458-5555

Express Train/National Rail

Particularly good if you've only got one piece of luggage with you as there isn't vast amounts of room on the train. The downside is the need to travel to the train station.


Great for those with more than one piece of luggage as it will all be put underneath the coach where it will be safe and secure, but you will need to travel to the departure point.


Only use if you are travelling light!

Not only is there very limited space on the trains, but very few stations have step-free access, so if you do have a heavy suitcase, you’re going to have to drag it up and down stairs!

Specific Airport Information

There are various ways to get to each airport so read on to find out what mode of transport is best for the airport you are departing from.

Heathrow Airport

By Tube:

The Piccadilly Line runs direct from Russell Square to all Heathrow terminals.  The journey will take approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.  Trains do not run all night so check when the first and last train is to make sure you can arrive on time for your flight.

By Heathrow Express:

The Heathrow Express runs direct, high-speed trains from Paddington Station. The journey will take 15 minutes from Paddington station in central London to Heathrow Central (Terminals 1, 2 or 3) and 21 minutes to Terminal 5. If you are travelling to Terminal 4 you will need to take the free shuttle train after arriving at Heathrow Central (total journey time 27-32 minutes).

If you buy a ticket in person, at the office you can 25% off the full price (£18) with a student ISIC Card.

Groups of 4 or more passengers travelling together on the Heathrow Express on weekends can save up to 50%. You can purchase your Group Weekender tickets at the Heathrow Express ticket office at Paddington Station.

By National Rail:

A train service (Heathrow Connect) also from Paddington, is a cheaper option to the Heathrow Express, but takes longer as it stops at local stations along the way  and it takes 25 minutes.

By Coach

National Express run a coach to Heathrow Terminals 1,2,3 from Victoria Coach Station (NOT rail & bus station). The journey takes around 1 hour.  There are free transfers to terminals 4 and 5 upon arrival.

Gatwick Airport

By Gatwick Express:

The Gatwick Express runs direct, high-speed trains from Victoria Rail Station. The journey takes 30 minutes and trains depart every 15 minutes. If you have an ISIC card it is cheaper to pay at the kiosk as you get a 25% discount which you can't get online.

Groups of three or four people travelling together need only pay for two adults between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport. These offers are also available for larger groups (of more than four) but there must be at least two paying adults per group offer. You must book your tickets online at least 24 hours prior to your date of travel.

By National Rail

This is the easiest route via public transport to Gatwick, direct from St. Pancras International Station.  Trains are roughly every 15 minutes, depending on the day and time of day. The journey time is approximately 50 minutes.

To book tickets online, go to the First Capital Connect website.

By Coach Service

National Express runs a regular coach service every hour to Gatwick from Victoria Coach Station (NOT rail & bus station). The journey time is approximately 1 hour 20 minutes.

Luton Airport

By National Rail:

First Capital Connect rail services run from St Pancras International station to Luton Airport Parkway. You need to take a courtesy (free)  shuttle bus to the airport from the train station in Luton, available outside of the main airport terminal. Trains depart every 15 minutes and the journey takes 20 - 45 minutes.

By Coach:

Terravision run a low cost coach service leaving from outside Finchley Road Underground Station. YOU MUST BOOK ONLINE AT LEAST 24 HOURS BEFORE BOOKING AND PRINT OFF YOUR TICKET PRIOR TO BOARDING.  Travel times are 55 minutes to Luton Airport.

Stansted Airport

By Stansted Express:

The Stansted Exprerss service runs from Liverpool Street station. If you have an ISIC card you can get a 25% discount off the full price if paying at the train station kiosk. Trains run every 15 minutes at peak times), and the journey takes approximately 45 minutes.

By Terravision

Terravision is a low cost coach service leaving from either Liverpool Street Station or Victoria Coach station (NOT train & bus station).  YOU MUST BOOK ONLINE AT LEAST 24 HOURS BEFORE BOOKING AND PRINT OFF YOUR TICKET PRIOR TO BOARDING. Travel times are 55 minutes from Liverpool Street station, and 1 hour 15 minutes from Victoria.