How to get to London from Stansted Airport

Although quite small, London Stansted is one of the busiest airports in the UK, serving as the main airport for European flights in London.

London Stanstead Airport, indicated with codes STN or EGGSS, is the third busiest airport in London and the fourth busiest in the UK. Even though it isn’t particularly big, with only one terminal serving all passengers and flights, Stansted still manages to be the primary London base for European low-cost airlines. In fact, it offers connections to more than 150 destinations in 30 different countries.

Stansted Airport
Stansted Airport operates a single 3 km-long runway for all its flights.

The Arrivals area for both domestic and international flights at Stansted is located at the northeastern end of the airport. The check-in desks are in the middle, and the Departures area is at the southwestern end.

Although London Stansted is much smaller than Heathrow, it receives far more passengers from European routes. Stansted’s one terminal serves 12 airlines, including low-cost ones like Ryanair and EasyJet, as well as national airlines like Emirates and British Airways. This makes it quite a busy airport, so it is recommended to arrive at least 2 hours before your departure time.

Stansted Airport has as many as eight hotels in its vicinity. The majority of them are within walking distance and those who are not, offer shuttle services connecting them to the terminal. You can book and check the availability of the hotels directly from the Stansted Airport website .

In terms of transport options between Stansted Airport and London’s city centre, there are mainly three. You can take a train (the Stansted Express), a coach bus (National Express or Airport Bus Express), or a cab.

Stansted Airport Train - Stansted Express

The Stansted Express offers the fastest transfer between Stansted Airport and Central London. There are three stops in London where you can get off: Tottenham Hale (North London), Stratford (East London), and London Liverpool Street (Central London).

The Stansted Express only takes 50 minutes to get to London Liverpool Street, and there is a train available every 30 minutes. The station is directly under Stansted airport’s only terminal, so it only takes five minutes to get there from the Arrivals area.

You can buy your ticket online in advance or at the station on the day. If you intend to use your Stansted Express ticket to redeem the 2FOR1 offers, you will need to get it at the station and make sure it has the National Rails logo. Just remember to keep your ticket so that you can show it at the sites you want to visit.

title Our recommendations
content If you’re arriving and leaving from Stansted Airport and you want to use the 2FOR1 offers, then get a return ticket from the automatic machines or from an attendant at the station. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy the 2FOR1 offers for the entire duration of your stay.

Full-price single tickets for the Stansted Express between Stansted Airport and London Liverpool cost £21.90. Return tickets cost £34.60, so we always recommend getting a return ticket if you’re departing from Stansted as well. By buying your tickets in advance, you can get heavily discounted prices, with fares as low as £9.90 for an adult one-way ticket and £19.80 for a return. Children aged between 5 and 15 usually pay half the adult fare.

Type Regular Child 5-15 Advance adult Advance child
Single £21.90 £10.95 £9.90 £4.95
Return £34.60 £17.30 £19.80 £9.90

Children under 5 travel for free on the Stansted Express.

Stansted Airport buses and coaches

There are several bus and coach companies providing transfers between Stansted Airport and the city centre. All buses and coaches depart from Stansted Airport bus station, located just outside the airport’s only terminal. The two main companies connecting STN to Central London are Airport Bus Express and National Express.

Journey duration varies slightly depending on the route and traffic conditions, but you can expect a bus journey to last anywhere from 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes. As per usual, if you are flying out of Stansted on your way home, it’s more convenient to get a return ticket than two singles, so we recommend you do that.

Airport Bus Express

Airport Bus Express has two bus lines to the city centre running every 30 minutes. The two routes offered are Stansted Airport - Liverpool Street (with a mid-way stop at Stratford) and Stansted Airport - Victoria Bus Station (with a stop at Baker Street).

Their prices vary depending on demand, season, and how early you book your ticket, but they normally range from £8.00 to £15.00 per adult ticket. Children aged 2 to 12 normally travel for £5.00. You can get your tickets online in advance from the Airport Bus Express website or in person once you get to the bus stop.

National Express

National Express offers a significantly higher number of routes connecting Stansted Airport to Central London. The 6 available lines are as follows.

  • Stansted Airport - London Victoria Station (8 stops total, including Baker Street and Marble Arch)
  • Stansted Airport - London Victoria Station (4 stops total, including London Mile End)
  • Stansted Airport - London Victoria Station (only stopping at London Startford in between)
  • Stansted Airport - London Victoria Station (only stopping at Heathrow Airport in between)
  • Stansted Airport - London Bethnal Green (stopping at Liverpool Street and Shoreditch)
  • Stansted Airport - London Stratford (direct)

Prices for the National Express vary depending on availability and how early you buy your ticket, but they normally range from £11.00 to £17.00 per adult ticket. Tickets for children aged 2-15 cost between £5.50 and £7.50. You can buy your ticket on the National Express website or do it in person once you get to the airport’s bus station. Just know that for online purchases, there normally is a £1.00 pre-booking surcharge.

Stansted Airport taxis

Stansted, like all airports, has its taxi ranks just outside of the Arrivals area. You can simply get in one of the taxis waiting in line when you get outside.

Cab fares in London are not fixed, but a taxi transfer between Stansted and Central London normally costs between £50.00 and £60.00, which you’ll be able to pay by cash or card. The journey lasts around 1 hour, depending on traffic conditions.

If you prefer to book ahead and have a more precise idea of the fare, you can also book a private hire vehicle in advance. In London, PHVs are called minicabs and their fares are normally to be paid through the individual private hire company, although some of them might allow cash payments.

If you want to know more about cabs, private hire vehicles, and the best companies in London, check out our dedicated article for all the information you need.

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How to get to London from Stansted Airport