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From Buckingham Palace to the official Changing of the Guard and the famous Westminster Abbey, there is so much to explore and enjoy in London. Spring (March – May) is by far the best time to visit London. At this time, you get longer daylight periods and mild temperatures. Temperatures in the spring average 11 – 15 degrees Celsius with periods of rainfall. Central London does fill up during the Easter weekend, and most shops are closed on Easter. Try to plan your spring visit so that you avoid the Easter holiday. Summer is also an ideal time to visit and temperatures are around 18 – 30 degrees Celsius from June – August. With favourable temperatures, you can take advantage of the city’s rooftop bars, beer gardens and plush gardens. If you prefer mild temperatures and a non-crowded city, then travel during autumn from September – November. The temperatures will average 11 – 15 degrees Celsius. During this season, you can enjoy the Totally Thames Festival and the endless Halloween fun.
There are no direct international flights from Australia into London. Therefore, expect a plane change and possible layover. Airlines that offer international flights to London include: Emirates, QantasLink, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Air New Zealand, Thai Airways, Malaysia Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Air Canada, China Southern, United Airlines, China Eastern, Japan Airlines, Air China, Philippine Airlines, Air India, South African Airways, Korean Air, Vietnam Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Royal Brunei, All Nippon Airways, EVA Air, and Garuda International.
The Heathrow Express offers non-stop trains to Paddington every 15 minutes and it only takes 15 minutes from Terminals 2 and 3. Standard single fare is £30 GBP during peak times and £27 GBP during off-peak hours.
The London Underground rail using the Piccadilly Line runs from all terminals into city centre. Travel time is approximately 50 – 60 minutes. Single fare to central London is £6 GBP.
Catch the Heathrow Connect train at Terminal 2 or 3. The train departs every 30 minutes and takes approximately 31 minutes. The fare is £10.20 GBP to Paddington.
Coaches go to city centre throughout the day taking 40 – 80 minutes in travel time. Bus stops are located at Terminals 2, 3, 4, 5. Take the Central Bus Station line and expect your travel time to be just over 1 hour. Travel fare from the airport starts at £6 GBP one-way.
Feltham Rail Link
Take the 285 Bus to Feltham Rail Station, then board the train to London Waterloo. Combined travel time is approximately 1 hour 40 minutes. Single fares start at £5 GBP.
Private mini cabs and taxis are available. Take a black taxi outside your terminal to city centre. Minimum fare is £2.60 GBP, while the rate for central London is £46 – £87 GBP and the ride takes approximately 30 – 60 minutes.
The Gatwick Express is a non-stop service that runs to Victoria every 15 minutes and takes approximately 30 minutes for the ride. A single adult ticket is £19.90 GBP and for children, the fare is £9.95 GBP.
Taxis are available outside the terminals as well as through Airport Cars Gatwick. Taxis take approximately 1 hour to arrive in city centre and the fare is approximately £77 GBP.
The National Express Bus will take you from Gatwick into Victoria. A one-way ticket is £8 GBP and the bus runs round-the-clock. Services are offered on the hour, but the bus ride does take longer than the train.
Luton Airport is a major base for low cost airlines and is located 56 kilometres away from Central London. It is well-connected with a range of transport options.
LTN is serviced by East Midland trains which take you from Luton Airport Parkway station to Central London in approximately 21 minutes. The airport train station is a 10-minute ride by a regular shuttle bus service run by the Luton Airport.
Buses and Coaches
National Express operates frequent bus services with a journey time of 75 minutes and several convenient stops in Central London. Terravision and easyBus are some of the high-frequency, low-cost express bus service operators between Luton Airport and Central London. The Greenline #757 service from the airport to Central London will take around 60 minutes and cost approximately £10 GBP for a single adult.
A metered trip from the airport to Central London will cost approximately £80 GBP. Do remember to check the fare with the driver or the cab company before finalising your ride.
LCY is one of the most accessible airports in London as it is only 9.5 kilometres east of Central London and 4.8 kilometres from Canary Wharf. Airlines currently operating from this airport include British Airways, Alitalia, Blue Islands, CityJet, KLM, Lufthansa, SkyWork and Swiss International Airlines. This single runway airport connects to London city by local bus #473 and #474. You can also take the Underground from the airport’s tube station Docklands Light Railway (DLR) to the interchange at Canning Town, Stratford or Bank stations. Taxis and rental cars are also easily available. A taxi from the airport to the city centre will cost approximately £30.00 – £40.00 GBP and take just over 30 minutes.
Stansted Airport is located 64 kilometres north-east of London and is home to many of UK’s low cost airlines serving European and Mediterranean destinations. The Stansted Express train departs from the train station below the airport terminal every 15 minutes and arrives at London Liverpool Street station in approximately 47 minutes. National Express operates a 24-hour coach service to Victoria Coach station and prices start at £8.00 GBP (plus £1.00 GBP booking fee) for a single ticket. easyBus operates services every 15 minutes on a 24/7 basis. Journey time to London Baker Street is approximately 1 hour and online prices start as low as £2.00 GBP for a one-way ticket. Terravision operates a non-stop coach to Victoria Coach station and also 2 other routes to London Liverpool Street station and Stratford respectively. Fares start at £6.00 GBP for a single trip. A taxi journey from the airport to Central London for 1 – 4 people will cost approximately £100.00 GBP.
There are 8 trains running every hour during peak time from Southend Airport station to Central London station with a journey time of approximately 50 – 60 minutes. A single ticket costs £16.40 GBP and provides easy connections to the tube network. Andrews, the official taxi service provider at Southend Airport, operates round-the-clock shared taxis from the airport to Central London. A 7-seater taxi costs £20.00 GBP per person with minimum 5 people, whereas a 4-seater taxi costs £25.00 GBP per person with minimum 4 people. If you wish to hire a vehicle, car hire agency Europcar has a dedicated centre at the airport.
London transportation is quite extensive, and you will find numerous travel routes as well as cheap fares throughout city centre. Most attractions are within walking distance, so do try to see where you can walk to from your hotel and save some money on local travel.
London is served by 12 lines that run from Docklands Light Railway and connect to the other train networks. Purchase an Oyster card or Travelcard so that you can get better value for your travel budget. With the Oyster card, each trip is £2.40 GBP. Download the app so that you can plan your routes easily and minimise travel times.
A single bus fare is £1.50 GBP with a maximum cost of £4.40 GBP per day. Choose from the bus tour route, night bus, and city centre bus lines. Routes 9, 14, 15, and 22 stop at popular attractions, while the Routemaster visits all of the James Bond attractions and includes routes 8, 9, 10, 11, 24, 38, 148, and 390.
Black taxi cabs are available throughout downtown and you can hail a cab at any time. The minimum fare is £2.60 GBP. Fares outside of London may be negotiated with the driver.
London is full of things to see and do, including free attractions. Stop at one of the many museums in the city, including the Natural History Museum, Sir John Soane’s Museum, or the Museum of London. If you want a taste of the quirky English culture, then you must visit the jar of moles at Grant Museum of Zoology. Get a taste of ancient tradition and see the Egyptian mummies at the British Museum. There are also pickled creatures and odd-shaped skeletons at the Hunterian Museum, but keep in mind that it will be closing for 3 years from May 2017. Charming old sewing machines are on display at London’s Sewing Machine Museum. Spend the afternoon at one of the many parks in the city, including Wimbledon Common, Bushy Park, and Hyde Park. The Changing of the Guard is free and is an amazing ceremony just outside Buckingham Palace. Do not forget to walk in the footsteps of The Beatles by crossing the infamous Abbey Road!
London can be an expensive place to visit, but there are ways to lower the costs and get the most out of your trip here.
Buy the Oyster Card
Single fares on the tube and bus lines are intentionally high to discourage their use. You will have cheaper fares and a daily limit (which means you do not pay over a specific amount per day) when you buy the Oyster Card. You can purchase the Oyster card online or at the airport from a kiosk.
Take Advantage of Free Attractions
London has plenty of attractions offered for free, including Hyde Park, the Changing of the Guard, Southbank Centre art, the British Museum, the National Gallery, and Tate Modern.
Buy a London Pass
The London Pass gets you in for free at more than 60 attractions in city centre, including the Tower of London, London Bridge, and Westminster Abbey.