luton airport

Transport from Luton Airport to Central London

Luton Airport is the United Kingdom’s fifth largest airport, thus a particularly busy one. Luton Airport, also known as London Luton Airport, is located just 34.5 miles (55.5 km) northeast of central London.

Luton Airport services a wide range of passengers whose goal is a city break in London. If you look for and book a cheap flight to London, there is a good possibility that Luton Airport will be offered as an affordable alternative airport.

In the following guide, you’ll learn all about how to get from Luton Airport to central London.

Luton Airport to London – Transport Options

First, let’s take a look at the available options when choosing a mode of transportation from Luton Airport to central London. There is a great difference in both price and travel time amongst them depending on your choice. You’ll also get great by booking them online.

Choosing your mode of transport also depends on where you’ve booked your accommodation. Read on so you can make a smart choice.

Cheapest: Bus to London

Buses from Luton Airport to central London operate 24 hours a day. So, no matter what time you arrive at the airport, you can get to your accommodation any time of the day. Several private companies operate these buses with prices as low as a few British pounds.

The standard price is typically £10 and the trip takes about one hour and a half.

In my opinion, the most reliable bus company servicing the route is National Express.

Read all about the buses from Luton Airport to London here.

Fastest: Train to London

Another option is to take the train from Luton Airport to Central London. To get to the train station, you must first take a shuttle bus from the airport to Luton Airport Parkway Station.

The shuttle bus ride takes only 5 minutes and is free if you have booked your ticket in online (recommended).

The train journey from Luton Airport Parkway to London (St. Pancras Station) can be as short as 20 minutes (standard travel time is approximately 30 minutes).

The price of a train ticket may vary but with a ticket purchased from VisitBritain, you can get a ticket for only £25 (single ticket costs £14.50).

Read more about the train here.

Minicab (not Taxi!) from Luton to London

If you prefer privacy and convenience, you can book a private chauffeur (a Minicab) to drive you directly from Luton Airport to your hotel in London. Prices for a private driver typically start at £50 for a normal 5-seater car with airport pick-up.

This is particularly a good choice if you’re travelling with a group.

I say it is best to book a private driver online since it will be extremely expensive if you just take a regular taxi from Luton Airport to London.

Use MiniCabit.com to get and compare prices from various companies or read more about chauffeur services from Luton Airport to London by clicking below.

The guide to minicabs from Luton to London.

Guide – Bus from Luton Airport to London

luton to london bus

One of the easiest way to get directly from Luton Airport to Central London is by bus. Buses are stationed outside the arrivals hall at the airport.

So if you would like a direct service from airport to the city, unlike taking the train with a shuttle service in between, taking the bus is the obvious choice.

The bus is also the most economical mode of transport, thus a popular choice of many tourists that land in Luton Airport and visit London.

Tickets usually start at £10 however you can get them cheaper by booking ahead of time and taking advantage of online exclusives.

National Express buses run approximately every half hour.

Bus route to London

We made the below map to show you the bus route stops from Luton Airport to the Victoria Station, the terminal station, in central London.

Please note that the map below is indicative only and stop points may be inserted after every train station. Bus stops may not necessarily be in front of the station.

Bus stops are as follows:

  • London Golders Green
  • London Finchley Road
  • London St John’s Wood
  • London Baker Street
  • London Portman Square
  • London Marble Arch
  • London Victoria Rail Station
  • London Victoria Coach Station

The bus ride from Luton Airport to the terminal Victoria Coach Station takes 65 to 105 minutes depending on the time of day you travel as traffic in London can be tough during peak hours.

How to buy bus tickets

As mentioned earlier, there are several (extra) cheap bus tickets, which you may be lucky to get your hands on if you book well in advance (several months before departure). These tickets can be bought directly from the bus company, National Express.

Check regularly and see if there are cheap tickets on your desired travel dates. However, be reminded that when buying directly from National Express in advance, you must take the departure schedule as indicated on the ticket.

This means that if your flight is delayed, there may be a chance that you will miss your bus and may waste money on the ticket. It can be a gamble.

If you are unfortunately hit by flight delay, you may still buy a bus ticket at the airport.

Team-up with VisitBritain

visitbritain shopLuckily, there is another way to buy the bus ticket from Luton Airport to London, which ensures you a seat in ‘the next bus’. VisitBritain, in collaboration with National Express, has a special fare for tourists who will visit London and are landing in Luton.

  1. Buy a voucher online at VisitBritain’s website.
  2. You will receive the voucher via email and must be printed out.
  3. At the Luton Airport arrivals hall, go to the National Express counter and exchange your voucher for a designation bus ticket valid for the next bus.

You will have a worry-free transport if you choose this option as you are always guaranteed a ticket for the next bus to London.

The ticket desk at Luton Airport is open 24 hours a day. You don’t have to worry then even if you arrive in London at night because buses run round-the-clock.

Recommendations:

Buy your bus ticket from Luton Airport to London as voucher from VisitBritain to ensure your bus ticket is still valid even if your flight gets delayed.

Then, buy your ticket from London to Luton Airport directly at the National Express website to guaranteed a seat on your chosen departure schedule, ensuring an on-time arrival at the airport for your flight.

If you book a return ticket from VisitBritain, you may get into a vexing situation where the bus is full.

Links:

Book your bus voucher from Luton to London at VisitBritain – click here.

Book your bus ticket from London to Luton Airport directly from National Express – click here.

See the bus timetable here.

Buses depart right outside the arrivals hall of the airport – you won’t miss it.

Just follow the signs to the end where buses are stationed.

Trains from Luton Airport to London

Taking the train from Luton Airport to London is also a good option, depending on where in London you have booked your accommodation.

There is no train station in Luton Airport, so you have to take a dedicated shuttle bus from the airport to Luton Airport Parkway Station – a trip that takes just under 5 minutes.

Signs to the shuttle bus are visible at the arrival hall exit, therefore quite easy to find. These buses run every 10 minutes during the day and every hour at night, as frequent as trains to London.

The train from Luton Airport Parkway to London stops include these major stations:

  • London St Pancras (next to King’s Cross Station)
  • Farringdon
  • City Thameslink
  • Blackfriars
  • Elephant & Castle

The map below shows where in London these stations are located:

The fastest journey from Luton Airport Parkway to St Pancras takes about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, there are also trains that stop at more stations on the way to London and can take up to 45 minutes.

Cheap train tickets with VisitBritain

Similar with bus tickets, VisitBritain also offers special tickets for tourists traveling by train from Luton Airport to central London.

Just choose an arrival date and you can then use this ticket to trips operated by the train company, Thameslink, on the said date.

So, it does not matter if your flight is delayed – you can take all trains all day.

When you buy the train ticket via VisitBritain, shuttle bus ticket from the airport to Luton Airport Parkway station is already included in the price.

  • It costs £1.60 if you buy your shuttle bus ticket at the airport.

The train ticket price from Visit Britain is £14.50 for a single journey and £25 for a return journey.

If you’re going back to Luton Airport within 30 days, I recommend buying a return ticket, which can be used for all scheduled train departures by Thameslink. Shuttle bus is again included in the price.

Click here to buy your ticket and read more.

  • Train tickets are sent via email and must be printed out.
  • The ticket must be presented upon boarding the shuttle bus and upon entering the Luton Airport Parkway station where round-the-clock guides are ready to help.
  • Your ticket must be shown again when you go up from the platform at the train station in London.

You can check train times online at Thameslink here or download the timetable here.

Private Taxi (not regular taxi!) from Luton Airport to London

Yes, there are ordinary taxis right outside the airport. It is the classic black British taxis that are charming but expensive. It is definitely unwise to take a regular taxi from Luton Airport to London, as it will be extremely expensive.

The journey from Luton Airport to London takes an hour at the minimum so your meter could go astronomically high in no time!

An economically wise alternative is booking a private driver online (a minicab). This way you are assured that the price is good and you can set up a budget for the entire trip in advance.

Most privately-hired cars include a meet-up service where the driver waits for you at the arrivals hall with a sign with your name on it.

This service is free, of course, since the driver would be much inclined to finding you and getting you started on your London getaway as soon as possible.

Rates for a private taxi to Central London

I found several price samples for private taxis from Luton Airport to various locations in Central London. Prices are found via the Minicabit website, which I highly recommend to get a price overview of and eventually book private taxi trips from the airport to London.

Price examples:

  • Luton Airport to King’s Cross Station – £51
  • Luton Airport to Paddington Station – £48
  • Luton Airport to Marble Arch – £48
  • Luton Airport to Victoria Station – £52
  • Luton Airport to Shoreditch High Street St – £57
  • Luton Airport to London Bridge – £57

Minicabit is a website that compares the cost of your trip from different minicab firms. This gives you an overview of which company is cheaper.

You can also choose several different types of cars and indicate how many pieces of luggage you want to have in the car. The total price is automatically calculated on the website, so you have a full picture of what your trip down to London will cost.

See for yourself on MiniCabit.com

Questions?

If you have questions about transportation from Luton Airport to London, you are welcome to post a comment below.

I’ve flown to Luton many times so I have a good grasp of the smartest ways to get into London.

I hope you have a great trip!

Kristoffer

Kristoffer

I may not be a born and bred londoner, but I've had my fair share of trips to the English capital. Since 2013 I've been writing travel guides to London and I visit the city regularly so I can provide the best London Travel Hacks for you to read.

3 Comments

  • JJ

    Hello Kristoffer. We are flying to Luton Airport and have already booked our hotel in the Paddington area (the Phoenix Hotel that you recommended in the hotel guide). What is the easiest way from Luton Airport to this hotel?

    We are 2 adults and 1 child (13 years old). I thought maybe the bus and then the tube?

    Thanks in advance from Rome , very good guide you have here!!

    April 7, 2017 at 8:04 am
    • Kristoffer
      Kristoffer

      Hi JJ

      Thanks a lot, I’m glad that you have used my advice and booked the Phoenix Hotel in Paddington – that’s a great and cheap hotel!

      I’d recommend you to buy tickets for the National Express bus from Luton Airport to London. Get off the bus at Marble Arch and take the Underground (tube) in the westbound direction. You’re only going to ride on the tube for 3 mins before you’ll have to get off at Queensway Station. From there you can walk to the hotel in only 6 mins – see the route on Google Maps here: https://goo.gl/maps/CKTH4ZYkD9u

      I would advice you to buy the ticket FROM Luton Airport to London in the VisitBritain shop (link in the guide) and the ticket FROM London via National Express (link is in the guide as well) so that you have a secured seat on the bus.

      For the Underground (and public transport in London in general) I would recommend that you buy the Visitor Oyster Card online in advance. It’ll save you 50% on all public transport in London and when you buy it from the VisitBritain shop they’ll post it to your home address so you’ll have it ready when you arrive in London.

      Link to the Visitor Oyster Card here.

      I hope this helps and I wish you a great trip to London 🙂

      April 7, 2017 at 8:24 am
      • JJ

        Thank you so much kristoffer!!

        April 7, 2017 at 9:53 am

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