Getting to London from London City Airport

26 June 2011

Arriving in London

The two main airports serving North American travelers are Gatwick and Heathrow. Both have information showing service to London but as you have just landed, and perhaps for the first time, you may be a bit overwhelmed. Stop and take a breath; you will get in to London and not miss anything. This may be a good time to start using the proper lingo. London does not have a “downtown”. If you inquire, ask someone how to get to central London. If you ask how to get to the city they may think you want to go to The City, which is a specific part of central London. The “City” is the financial district: Lloyds, Bank of England as well as St. Paul’s and the Tower of London. There are many ways to get to London but I have limited my information to only a few that the majority of visitors typically use. Taxis and private-hire cars are available but at an expense.

Airport Checkpoint Alert

You may be restricted in what you can bring through a security checkpoint at any airport. After checkpoint you may purchase liquids such as water or alcohol in the departure area or Duty Free before getting on a plane. WARNING! You may have to go through another checkpoint at you destination airport if you are changing planes or going through customs. When I went through customs in Philadelphia I never left the secure area and after I re-checked my bags I went to the next gate. In Charlotte I re-checked my bags but I had to pass another checkpoint on my way to the next gate. Any liquids would have had to be placed in my checked-bags first. But I had no idea that another C-P was ahead. You should check with a member of staff first or risk loosing you duty free spirits.

London City Airport (LCY)

London City Airport is located in London’s East End.

DLR from LCY

The Dockland Light Rail from Bank and Tower Gateway stations (both Zone 1) serve London City Airport (Zone 3). Travel time is expected to be about 30 minutes or less.

National Rail from LCY

National Rail does not go directly to the airport but one can travel to nearby stations by tube and DLR. The airport has additional information.

Keep your ticket with you, as you will need it to exit the station in London. You will be required to show or insert your ticket in a turnstile to exit the station. You should not need to do this with Gatwick Express as you get more of a receipt rather than what looks like a ticket.

Bus Service from LCY

No need for a national bus service when the airport is in the city. London bus serves the airport. The bus may not take you to central London but it will get you to a DLR station and information on this can be found on this airport’s page.

Shuttle Service

There are a number of companies offering shuttle service between London airports and to central London. I am hesitant to mention them as their operation could change. A web search will bring them to you.

Money Issues

In a technical sense you can enjoy your visit with just a credit card. But it may be good to have a few pounds in your pocket. Depending on how you travel to central London, you may need to pay in cash. ATM’s, known as cash points, are well placed and Euros as well as GBP are dispensed. ATM information for Luton Airport: here.