London Heathrow airport is located about 22km (14 miles) west of Central London. The Heathrow Express offers the fastest connection to London Paddington. The London Underground is also available from the airport, and the Piccadilly Line takes about 1 hour to get you to and from the city centre. National Express also has coaches departing from Heathrow Airport to London Victoria station in central London.
From Gatwick Airport the Gatwick Express train offers a direct service between to London Victoria. Thameslink and Southern also run regional train services to London Bridge, London Victoria and Clapham Junction. National Express offer a coach service from the airport to London Victoria that takes around 1.5 hours.
Stansted is located 48 km (30 miles) northeast of Central London in Essex. The Stansted Express offers the quickest journey to central London, calling at Stratford and Liverpool Street Station. National Express runs a coach service from Stansted to both Stratford and Liverpool Street Station as well.
London Euston serves as a central London hub with its connections by bus, coach, underground, overground and national rail services. The London Underground Circle Line, Hammersmith & City Line, Victoria Line, Metropolitan Line and both branches of the Northern Line (Charing Cross and Bank) stop at Euston station. The London Overground to Watford Junction also stops here.
Main rail providers for Paddington station are First Great Western, Chiltern, Heathrow Express, and Heathrow Connect. Paddington is located in Zone 1 of London, making it very central and easy to get to. It is connected to the London Underground on the Bakerloo Line, Hammersmith & City Line, Circle Line and the District Line. Many bus routes also pass by the station.
The London Victoria Coach Station is the largest coach station in London and was opened near Victoria Station and Buckingham Palace in 1932. The station serves long distance coach journeys (both domestic and international). Major bus providers found at the station are National Express, Eurolines, Ecolines, iDBUS, Megabus, Evan Evans, David Urquhart, Interbus Kosice, Premium Tours, and Sindbad. The coach station is adjacent to Victoria Station and Victoria Bus Station (approximately 300 metres away), providing transport connections via London Buses, National Rail, and the London Underground Victoria Line, District Line and Circle Line.
You could spend months in London and still not see everything there is to see. If you're a first-time visitor then make sure to see Buckingham Palace or check out some of London's best museums. If you're looking for something a little different head to one of the pie & mash shops in the east of the city for something a little more local. Here are some more great things to do in London during your visit:
London has one of the oldest, most extensive and famous public transport systems in the world. Transport for London (TfL) oversees the London Underground, London Overground, London Buses, Dockland Light Rail, and London Rail. The network is an essential way to get around, there are 9 zones in total, with buses, tubes, overground, DLR and national rail services connecting the entire Greater London area.
Cycling is growing in popularity and while in London you will see hundreds of cyclists, but it still can be dangerous due to all the traffic. High visibility gear and wearing a helmet is always recommended.
Taxis are very common and are an iconic part of London. The infamous black cabs can be hailed if their light on top is light up. Black cabbies are some of the most knowledgeable when it comes to the streets of London, as they have to take a qualification exam about all the streets and routes across the capital in order to be licensed.
Walking is an essential and fun way to explore the capital, and there are many sidewalks and parks to walk through - but always be careful when crossing busy streets as crossing lights change quickly and most cars do not give pedestrians the right of way.
Squeezing London in one day can sometimes end in tears. It is a sprawling, many-faced kraken that will boggle your brain if you don’t have a plan. Don’t worry – we have five days out in London all taken care of. A little word of thanks, and a stamp of authenticity: all of the above tips were extracted from close friends of mine, and astoundingly, no one told me the same insider tip. So if you want to live it up like a Londoner, here are some refreshingly local tips for days out in London.
Start your day out in London at Brixton or Borough market. Both are labyrinths of arcades. Only in London could you feel entitled to see Japanese and Ethiopian food under the same roof. If you haven’t exploded from overeating, make your way up to the river. The mammoth (and free!) Tate Modern gallery or the hyper-contemporary Southbank Centre are ideal for whiling away the hours immersed in art.
In the evening, you can stand for £5 in the stalls of the Globe itself, just metres from the Tate Modern, you don’t even have to leave the Southbank Centre to go to a concert. Cross the road and see a masterpiece at the National Theatre. Or – my favourite – see a timeless classic or cult ripple-maker at the British Film Institute.
If you like it old-school, Greenwich market is for you; browse dazzling antiques whilst munching on a pastry. Down the road is Cutty Sark, the only surviving tea clipper and the fastest of its peers. You can actually walk under its suspended thousand-tonne girth and touch the planks whilst dreaming of all the tea it carried. Did someone say tea? Have some in the middle of a farm. Yes, a farm in the shadow of Canary Wharf, with pigs, sheep, and the happiest name ever: Mudchute Farm!
If you ever want to leave Camden, there are two choices: the stunning Regent’s Park for nice weather and open-air shows, or the Wellcome Collection, which takes an artsy microscope to the human body and mind – you can also see royal hair locks or Napolean’s toothbrush. End this weird and wonderful day trip to London with live modern music under the stunning arches of Union Chapel.
Get your caffeine and social justice fix in one cup at the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, then head to the John Soane Museum to admire his private art collection, or maybe just how much stuff a human being with funds and passion can amass. Or for a walk down memory lane Victorian-style, peek into Pollock’s Toy Museum.
For refuelling, the Fleet River Bakery is just steps from the Soane. For the evening, there’s the inexhaustible fountain of yummy, authentic, and cheap food, Chinatown. End your day trip to London at Bourne & Hollingsworth, a 40’s cellar bar in Soho which serves cocktails in tea cups.