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Arriving at a London Airport
You will probably arrive at one of London's five commercial airports. Transport links from all of the airports into the centre of London are good, although some are further away than others. There is information below on how to get from the airport to your accommodation and you can choose for us to organise your transfer or to make your own way. Click here to see a map of all London airports.
Airport transfers arranged by us
We are very happy to arrange for you to be collected at your arrival airport, and to be taken direct to your accommodation. This is a simple and trouble-free start to your course.
- Your driver will meet you as soon as you have passed through Customs.
- The driver will be holding up a sign that reads The London School of English with your name underneath.
All you need to do is to request this service and to make sure that you tell us your arrival details (date, time, flight number, arrival airport and departure airport). This service will cost £90 on arrival and £70 on departure.
Instructions if you have requested an airport transfer service - and what to do in the case of any problems:
If for any reason you cannot find your driver, follow the steps below:
- Go to the British Airports Authority (BAA) information desk and wait there.
- Listen to the public address system for any messages addressed to you.
- If you have not been contacted by the driver after 10 minutes, telephone the following numbers in this order for assistance:
+44 (0) 7788 653 217 (transfer service mobile phone number)
+44 (0) 1689 821 081 (transfer service office number)
+44 (0) 20 7605 4140 (emergency school number - listen for instructions).
The driver will wait for you for 1 hour and 30 minutes after your flight arrival time.
If you realise you are likely to be delayed for longer than this - for example because your flight is delayed, or you have problems in getting through customs, immigration, baggage control, etc - you should telephone one of the numbers above to inform the driver.
Making your own way
Although we are very happy to arrange an airport pickup it is not essential. Taxis are easy to get at Heathrow and actually cost less than a pickup. We do not recommend taking a taxi from other airports since they are some distance from London and taxis are expensive, but it is perfectly easy to take a combination of train and taxi.
Use the links below for more information about travelling to and from London airports.
London Underground's Piccadilly line provides you with a quick, cost-effective route to the airport from the capital. There is one station (Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3; in fare zone 6) serving the central terminal area. Journey time is under an hour and you shouldn't have to wait longer than ten minutes for a train - even off-peak. Purchase a Travelcard and you're covered for buses and some trains too. Underground walkways link the Heathrow tube station with the terminals. Tickets are available at London Underground stations; from ticket offices or machines. For travelling to many of our host families, it is practical to take the underground to Acton Town and then to take a taxi (there is a taxi office in Acton Town underground station).
- The first train to central London leaves Heathrow central station (Terminals 1, 2 and 3) at 05:13 (05:57 on Sundays) and the last train leaves Heathrow central station (Terminals 1,2 and 3) at 23:49 (23:30 on Sundays).
- The first train from central London arrives at Heathrow central station (Terminals 1, 2 and 3) at 06:32 (07:51 on Sundays) and the last train from central London to Heathrow central leaves Piccadilly Circus at 00:32 (23:38 on Sundays) arriving at Heathrow central at 01:18 (00:25 on Sundays).
These times are subject to change - it is advisable to check with London Underground travel information before travelling.
The Heathrow Express is a non-stop train service that offers the fastest travel option between Heathrow Airport and Paddington. Paddington is not particularly conveniently located for the school or for most of the accommodation we use but it is convenient for Central London. Services run every 15 minutes and the journey time is just 15 minutes; 7/8 minutes more to and from Terminal 4. A standard single fare is £16.50 and a standard return is £32. For details of special offers and to pre-book tickets visit the Heathrow Express Website or ring 0845 600 1515 (UK only).
Each Heathrow terminal has clearly signposted taxi ranks. Expect a fare of around £30-35 to West London. The journey time is about 30 minutes. Only take a licensed or London (black) cab.
The fastest train service into Central London is the Gatwick Express which travels direct to London Victoria station and operates seven days a week. Trains are non-stop and run every 15 minutes from 05:00 to 23:45 and at 03.30, 04.30, 00:01 and 00:32, with a journey time of 30 minutes on Monday - Saturday and 35 minutes on Sundays. Click here for ticket fares. Connex South Central and Thameslink also run a service from Gatwick, with a slightly longer journey time of 35 minutes. There are four/five trains per hour, Monday to Friday, with an hourly service overnight.
For information on these services call the National Rail Enquiry service on 08457 48 49 50 or see the Gatwick Express Website.
Gatwick is further from London than Heathrow and we do not recommend a taxi since they are very expensive. If you want the convenience of a taxi, you should book an airport pickup.
London City Airport
Take the Docklands Light Railway to Bank underground station. Here you can change to the Central Line, which goes quickly to West London. Unless your accommodation is near to a Central Line station, we suggest that you go to Holland Park and take a taxi from there.
You can take a taxi from London City airport to West London. Only take a licensed or London (black) cab.
Thameslink operates a fast, frequent service direct between central London and Luton Airport Parkway train station. Luton Airport Parkway is around 35 minutes away from King's Cross Thameslink station. When you land at London Luton Airport, catch the free Luton Airport Express shuttle bus from outside the terminal at Bay 1. This will take you to Luton Airport Parkway station in around 10 minutes where you can catch a Thameslink train southbound into London.
Green Line 757 provides an express coach link between London Luton Airport and Central London. For information visit the Arriva Website.
Luton is further from London than Heathrow and we do not recommend a taxi since they are very expensive. If you want the convenience of a taxi, you should book an airport pickup.
The airport railway station is situated below the terminal building. Train tickets can be purchased at the railway station. The Stansted Express is a fast and convenient way to and from Stansted Airport, with trains departing every 15 or 30 minutes, with an average journey time of approximately 45 minutes. They arrive at London Liverpool Street, and from there we suggest that you take the Central Line, which goes quickly to West London. Unless your accommodation is near to a Central Line station, we suggest that you go to Shepherd's Bush station and take a taxi from there. Only take a licensed or London (black) cab.
At the time of writing the last train to leave Stansted Airport for Liverpool Street leaves at 00.30 (Monday - Thursday and Saturday), 01.30 (Friday and Sunday). Click here to check the most up to date timetable. However, the Stansted Express takes approx. 45 minutes from Stansted Airport to Liverpool Street. The last Central Line tube to leave Liverpool Street travelling west to Shepherd's Bush is at 0022 (Monday - Saturday) or 2338 (Sundays), so make sure that you can connect to the tube in Liverpool Street. Click here to check the first and last trains on all tube lines. We recommend that you allow at least one hour between your train leaving Stansted Airport and the last tube so you have time to buy your tube ticket and get to the platform before the last train.
If your flight is due to arrive late in the day and you are concerned about a possible delay and the impact this would have on your journey into and across London click here to read about our airport transfers.
The coach station is located below between Zone C and D of the Short Stay Car Park. Tickets can be purchased from the coach ticket desk in the arrivals area in the terminal (06:00 - 21:30) or in the coach station (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Tickets may also be purchased on the coach. Services include:
- A6 - London Victoria (Central London)
Connects Stansted Airport with London Victoria - Central London via Golders Green, Finchley Road Underground Station, St Johns Wood, Baker Street, Marble Arch and Hyde Park Corner.
Operates up to every 10 minutes - 24 hours a day.
Further information : 0870 5747 777 (UK only) or visit the National Express Website.
- A7 - London Liverpool Street and London Victoria (Central London)
Operates to London Liverpool Street and Victoria every 30 minutes between 0000 and 0430 hours.
Further information: 0870 5747 777 (UK only) or visit the National Express Website.
- A9 - London Stratford
A non-stop service to London Stratford every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day.
Further information: 0870 5747 777 (UK only) or visit the National Express Website.
- Terravision Express Shuttle - London Victoria (Central London)
A non-stop service between Stansted Airport and London Victoria. The journey takes approximately 75 minutes. Tickets cost from £9 one-way and £14 return.
Further information visit the Terravision Website.
Stansted is further from London than Heathrow and we do not recommend a taxi since they are very expensive. If you want the convenience of a taxi, you should book an airport pickup.