A review of transportation services to and from UK major airports


There are many ways to get to and from different UK airports, some better than others! 

 

Airport transfers in the UK are nearly always the easiest and most efficient way to travel to airports from destinations around the country. Here at Flex Taxis, we provide UK airport taxis that will take you from A to B at a fixed, fair price. 

 

Let’s look at all of the different ways to reach the UK’s airports. There are multiple for each airport, although it’s without a doubt that airport taxis in the UK are the fastest way to get to every airport. 

 

To reach all London airports by public transport you'll generally need to go into Central London and back out, which shows how much using an airport taxi can save time. 

 

Heathrow

 

The nation’s biggest airport, Heathrow is where many long-haul flights leave from. With five terminals, planes from Heathrow head to destinations on all six continents. It is the second busiest airport in the world, after Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the US, and served 80.8 million passengers in 2019.

 

The entire site covers 12.27 square kilometres and it is the main British Airways and Virgin Atlantic hub. It’s a huge space, and you will really appreciate being met by someone at the airport!

 

Heathrow is on the Piccadilly Line, which connects to the District Line at Hammersmith. From here it's possible to reach Central London stations like Charing Cross via Embankment. This route can be a little fiddly and time consuming, and it often involves packed out trains with no seat and hauling bags up and down stairs. 

 

Another option for Heathrow is the bus. The National Express leaves from Victoria various times throughout the day and takes around an hour. It is also possible to take National Express buses from cities like Reading, Bristol and Oxford. The issue with taking buses is always that it can take a lot of time, you'll need to be there very early, and will still have to faff around with baggage when getting transport to the bus itself.

 

Heathrow is located on the M4, 15 miles west of Junction 15 of the M25. A London Heathrow airport taxi is always the quickest way to reach it.

 

Gatwick International Airport

 

Gatwick International Airport is located near Crawley in West Sussex. It is the second busiest and second busiest airport in the UK, after Heathrow, and is the ninth busiest airport in Europe. 

 

There is a North Terminal and a South Terminal (make sure that you double check which one your plane is departing from and which one you will arrive into!). The terminals cover 98,000 m2  and 160,000 m2 respectively. It only has one operating runway  - there are two at the airport, but the secondary runway is only used if the main one is out of service. This makes it the second busiest airport in the world that only uses one runway.

 

Planes from Gatwick fly to short and long-haul destinations across Europe, North America, Asia and Africa. 

 

Gatwick Airport is accessible to London by a direct train from London Victoria station, taking about 30 minutes. It is also connected to Brighton in about 30 minutes. Of course, this involves getting to either Victoria or Brighton station! Buses are also available, which take about an hour from London Victoria station. 

 

Gatwick is located at the end of a spur from junction 9 of the M23, which is connected to junction 7 of the M25. It’s easy to get to from South London, Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Brighton, and a cheap taxi from Gatwick to London can take you around all these areas.

 

Stansted Airport

 

Located northeast of Central London in the district of Uttlesford in Essex, Stansted is the main low-cost airport in London. It is the largest base for RyanAir, an Irish low cost airline. The airport is located 42 miles northeast of Central London.

 

Stansted Airport is connected to London via the Stansted Express from London Liverpool Street Station. This takes around 47 minutes. There are also National Express coaches serving the airport from London Victoria Bus Station, which take around 2 hours. 

 

The airport is just off the M11 motorway, on the A120 which links to junction 8. The M11 leads off of junction 6 of the M25. Stansted is close to North London, Hertfordshire, Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk and other counties in the East Midlands. A taxi from London to Stansted or reverse can serve all these areas and more. 

 

Luton Airport

 

Luton Airport is situated just 1.5 miles from Luton, a Bedfordshire town in England. There has been an airport on the site since 1938, when the area was used for RAF fighters. However, the use of the airport soared in the 1960s, when a fifth of all UK holidaymakers departed from the airport. 

 

Nowadays, it is a base for low cost carriers like EasyJet, TUI Airways, Ryanair and Wizz Air. It serves mainly European destinations, although there are some charter and scheduled flights to North Africa and the Middle East. 

 

Luton is connected to London City by the Thameslink services. These trains go through lots of stations around South and Central London, including Orpington, Bromley and Peckham, as well as London St Pancras. From Luton Station, you’ll need to take a bus to Luton Airport

 

It’s also possible to take a National Express bus from London Victoria, Oxford, and other destinations. 

 

When driving, Luton Airport is located 32 miles from Central London, on the A505 dual carriageway which is at junction 10 of the M1. A London Luton airport transfer would serve Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and all surrounding counties from Luton.

 

London City airport

 

This international airport is the closest to London, just 7 miles from the City of London, in the London Borough of Newham. It is the nation’s main business airport, with flights connecting the city to other business hubs like Zurich and Hamburg. Many business travellers will fly from London City airport in the morning and then return in the evening after meetings in one of Europe’s business capitals. London City Airport has around 4.5 million passengers every year. 

 

London City Airport is the closest airport to the city centre, as the name suggests. The DLR connects London City Airport to the city itself, with services every 8 to 15 minutes, linking to stations like Woolwich Arsenal and Stratford International. The airport is located in London Zone 3. 

 

As London City Airport is located in the city itself, it is not on a motorway but is near to the Canary Wharf/ Isle of Dogs area. A taxi from London City airport can take customers anywhere in London and the surrounding area. 

 

London City airport

 

London Southend Airport is located in Essex, 36 miles from Central London. It was developed in 2008, giving it a new terminal, extended runway and a connection from its station to London Liverpool Street, putting it on the map for flights to Europe. EasyJet has a base there, and Aer Lingus frequently flies to Dublin.

 

Southend Airport is connected to London by train from Liverpool City Station. It takes about an hour to travel to the Essex Airport. The X30 bus connects Southend Airport and Chelmsford. The Jetlink X1 airport serves London Victoria, Embankment Station, Canning Town Station and Lakeside Bus Station.

 

By road, Southend Airport is located just off the A127. It is well connected to Essex, Kent, Suffolk and Norfolk and other counties. A taxi from London to Southend Airport, or reverse, can be arranged to these counties or further afield. 

 

Manchester Airport

 

The largest airport in the north of England, Manchester International Airport is located in Ringway. It is 8.6 miles southwest of Manchester City Centre, and the third busiest airport in the UK not serving London. It serves nearly 30 million passengers every year, and is currently expanding terminal two to double the size.

 

It serves lots of Europe destinations, as well as various places in Asia, the Middle East, North America and Africa. 

 

Manchester Airport is located just south of Manchester City Centre. Direct trains leave Manchester Piccadilly and take around 20 minutes. 

 

As the station is located in the heart of the airport, connected to terminals by moving walkways, it’s easy to get to each terminal. There is also a Stagecoach Bus that links Manchester with the airport. 

 

As with all public transport options, the disadvantage of using these is the need to get to the stations/ bus stops and the hassle of travelling with baggage. 

 

Manchester Airport is next to the M56 and has links to the the M6, M60 and M62. It is 9 miles south of Manchester City Centre, so it is very easy to organise a taxi to take you around Manchester and the nearby areas. For example, we at Flex Taxis can organise a Preston to Manchester Airport taxi or a Bradford to Manchester airport taxi. 

 

Birmingham Airport

 

This international airport is located 8.1 miles southeast of Birmingham city centre, in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull. In 1939, it was Elmdon Airport, and then used by the RAF in the Second World War, reopening to civilian air traffic in 1946. Flights serve domestic destinations in the UK and international locations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America. Several low cost carriers have a base there, like Jet2.com, Ryanair and TUI. 

 

There are various bus options from various destinations to the airport. The X1 goes to Birmingham and Coventry, the 966 goes to Erdington and Solihull, the 97/97A connects Birmingham City Centre to the Airport and operates 24/7, the 75/75A connects Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham International Station and the 91 connects Chelmsley Wood and Birmingham International Station. 

 

To get to the airport by train, you’ll need to take a train from Birmingham New Street to Birmingham International Rail Station, from which you can take the Air-Rail Link to the airport. This is, of course, a little fiddly. 

 

Birmingham Airport is located on Exit 4 of the M6, and then on the A446 and B4438. It is about 15 miles from the city, or about half an hour of driving. UK airport transfers in the Birmingham area can serve all areas around the city and the surrounding towns, including a Birmingham airport to East Midlands taxi and more.

 

Leeds Bradford

 

The main airport that serves the City of Leeds and the City of Bradford, Leeds Bradford airport is located about 7 miles northwest of Leeds and 9 miles from Bradford Centre. The airport also serves York, Wakefield and Harrogate. It is a base for Eastern Airways, Jet2.com and Ryanair. 

 

From Leeds City Centre, one can take the Flying Tiger 757 bus, which takes about 38 minutes. Buses run Monday to Sunday, every 30 minutes. The Flying Tiger 757 bus also serves Bradford when travelling in the other direction.

Rather than bother with the bus, the airport is located close to Leeds City and and Bradford City. An airport taxi to Leeds Bradford can serve these cities and areas around, including Hull, Sheffield, and Manchester. 

 

Bristol Airport

 

Bristol Airport is located in Lulsgate Bottom in North Somerset and is a commercial airport serving Southern England. It is the largest airport in the South West, and is located 8.1 miles from Bristol city centre. It is the ninth biggest airport in the UK, with nearly 8.7 million passengers in 2018. It has an EasyJet and Ryanair base.

 

The A1 Airport Flyer bus serves Bristol City Centre and links it to the airport. It takes around half an hour. However, public transport from other Somerset destinations like Bath and Weston-Super-Mare have to link in Bristol. This makes travelling to Bristol Airport by bus very inconvenient. 

 

Bristol airport transfers can serve Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset and South Gloucestershire, as well as Bristol and Bath centre. Bristol Airport is located on the A38, easily accessible from the M5 and M4. 

 



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