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Stansted to Heathrow

My plan right now is to come into London Stansted at 23:30. I need to go out of London Heathrow terminal 5 the next day around 13:00. I can stay in a hotel around either airport but what's the best or least expensive or most reliable way of getting from Stansted to Heathrow? I guess most reliable is most important but I really would like to pay less than L100.

Posted by
26054 posts

best or least expensive or most reliable

these are strange bedfellows.

The basic choices are taxi, train/tube, train/tube/train, bus, or next year or the year after, whenever they open the Elizabeth Cross-Rail line that was to open last year, train/train.

I would expect all of those to be quite reliable. Taxi or pre-booked car service are probably most expensive, bus least.

I wouldn't want to start any of those journeys at midnight - why just add to the agony? So hotel on or near Stansted. Of all the London area airports it is the one I know least except for driving past on my way to a beautiful RHS garden but I know I have seen signs for a Holiday Inn or one of that family. There will probably be a Premier too, and maybe a Days Inn.

If your flight leaves at 1 in the afternoon, you'll need to be there a couple of hours ahead for Europe, and at least 3 hours (plus any covid issues) for North America. I'd much rather do that in the morning.

Posted by
4882 posts

I presume that your flight is quite some time in the future, as Turkey is on the U.K.’s current red list and you would therefore have to quarantine on arrival.

Even if your flight is on time, it will be well after midnight by the time you are through the airport. Before Covid, I always found that it took longer to get through Stansted than Gatwick.

Public transport is far more limited after midnight, so it would be easier to stay at Stansted and travel in the morning. Are you travelling during the week or at the weekend? If during the week, you will be heading into London with lots of commuters and peak time rail fares will be expensive. You will have to be at Heathrow at either 10 or 11am, depending on where you are heading or earlier if there are any extra Covid precautions required.

By rail, it’s a train into London Liverpool Street, tube to Paddington then another train out to Heathrow.

Posted by
7620 posts

How many in your party?

A car service like this, may be a splurge but not ruinous if split among others, or based on a per person comparison to the bus fare.

I have not used this service but have seen positive comments about on this forum.

Getting to a motel room not much before 1 AM and then needing to catch a bus before 7AM sounds grueling. ( 5 hrs sleep , maybe?)

I would rather get to LHR ( or nearby) that night and be able to sleep in a bit. ( probably get 7hrs sleep)

The late night traffic should make for a fairly quick trip.

Posted by
624 posts

I have done Stansted to London Heathrow many, many times and I always use the National Express buses. Make sure you select T5 using a direct route otherwise you will need to change at Victoria Station in London or use T2/T3 and take the train to T5. (which would be OK). I believe there is a 7:05 am that takes 1:45 mins. Remember to get to Heathrow about 3.5 hours before your flight. I would stay at a Stansted airport hotel and then walk down to the bus area. There are many buses lined up in the morning but finding the correct bus is easy. The buses (coaches) are very nice and comfortable and typically they are not very full. The buses are very reliable. Price runs around £19.00 per person. is a hotel with a walkway into the terminal. I think this is only one of two hotels that you can walk to. Stansted is a very busy terminal (pre-covid) and parking and getting picked up is challenging. Best to walk to the hotel and walk back into the terminal and downstairs for the buses.


Posted by
31 posts

Thank you for the great info. Yes, the trip is in the future. Right now I'm living in the US and have been double vaccinated and am hopeful that will help. I am concerned about switching airports, though, and getting stuck. I might look for an all Heathrow alternative.