Getting to London
From the Airport
London is generally the most common and cheapest entry-point for visitors to continental Europe. It is served by two international airports, Heathrow (LHR) - the busiest in the world - and Gatwick (GTW). Both airports lie on the outskirts of the city with easily accessible rail transport into the city of London.
From Heathrow Airport
The cheapest option to London is the Underground (or “tube”). The Piccadilly Line runs from Heathrow terminals to the heart of the city. The fare is £4 one-way. The trip takes about 50-60 minutes and runs frequently until 11:30pm daily. The new Heathrow Connect to/from Paddington Station costs £6.90 o/w, £12.90 r/t and take about 25 minutes.
If you are in a hurry, the Heathrow Express train zips non-stop to Paddington station in 15-20 minutes for £16.50 one-way, £32 round-trip. From there, you can catch a taxi or transfer to the various tube stations.
From Gatwick Airport
The Gatwick Express train operates 24hrs from the airport to Victoria station in 30-35 minutes for £16.90 o/w, £28.80 r/t. From there, you can catch a taxi or transfer to the various tube stations.
From Stansted Airport
Many of the low-cost airlines now use this airport as their main hub. The Stansted Express train operates 24hrs from the airport to Liverpool St. station in 45 minutes for £17 o/w, £24 r/t. From there, you can catch a taxi or transfer to the various tube stations.
Paddington Station Check-in
On the day of your flight, instead of trekking all your gear to the airport, you can check your bags at the airline check-in desks at Paddington Station (your luggage is sent ahead to the airport). This way you can spend your last hours exploring the city without your luggage and then take either the tube or one of the express trains to the airport.
If you are arriving in London by rail from mainland Europe, it will most likely be via the famed Chunnel. The masterpiece of modern engineering that now links Britain and France is not cheap; however you arrive directly into the beautifully redeveloped Waterloo station on the south side of the Thames. Other major rail arrival points include Victoria and Paddington Stations. Connections to various tube lines are available from all three stations.
Many long-distance bus lines travel to and from London (via train through the Chunnel or ferry). On a single bus you can traverse the entire European continent to Istanbul, Turkey. The major coach company is National Express (affiliated with Eurolines). Its buses arrive and depart from Victoria Coach Station, adjacent to the Victoria train station.
A sometimes comfortable and often very affordable means of reaching Britain and London from Europe is by boat. Ferries leave from Germany, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and other countries for various British ports, the largest of which is Dover.