Luton Airport is far to the north of London, miles outside the M25 roadway that encircles the city. You might get some idea of the distance by the fact that Heathrow Airport is just inside the M25, but still an hour away from central London on the Underground. There’s a reason why there are lots of comfortable hotels near London Heathrow. Having to transfer between the two airports is not the best way to spend your stopover in London, but don’t worry: there are plenty of ways to make it bearable.
To travel between Heathrow and Luton, the only direct route is the Heathrow-Luton Express shuttle bus. The journey takes almost two hours, and you may experience delays of up to 15 minutes if you’re unlucky enough to be travelling in peak hour, so when you book your flights be sure to leave at least 4.5 hours between arrival and departure. If you are using Heathrow Terminals 4 or 5, your bus trip will be 25-30 minutes longer – so take that into account, too.
At Luton, you can find the bus easily by going out of the main doors from the departure hall. Luton is a small airport and the bus stop is clearly marked. At Heathrow, things are more complicated. If you land at Terminals 4 or 5, you can take a free ride on the Heathrow Express train to Heathrow’s Central Bus Station. If you landed at Terminals 1, 2 or 3, you’ll need to walk – just follow the “bus” signs. It’s roughly ten minutes of walking to reach the bus station, but the route is lined with moving walkways and lifts for those with heavy luggage.All in all, it’s set to be a long day of travelling if you go directly between the airports!
Be sure to book your bus tickets online before you leave home. You’ll be able to take advantage of discounts for booking in advance: tickets costs from £22 one-way or £35 return. But it’s also the only way to guarantee you’ll get a seat. Leave it too late, and you may find that other travellers have snapped up all the space.
To make it easier, why not book a longer stopover? Not only will you save money in many cases, but there are plenty of comfortable hotels near London Heathrow where you can sleep, shower and recharge before getting on your next plane. Being much closer to London than Luton, Heathrow is a better bet if you want to see the capital – but it’s also close to several other great attractions, perfect for a few hours of sightseeing while you have the chance.
Navigating public transport is tricky on London’s outskirts, so we recommend booking a private transfer for this part. To the west of Heathrow lies Windsor Castle, the largest inhabited castle in the world. Yes, the Queen and her family still live there on and off – you can tell whether a Royal is in residence by looking for the Union Jack flag flying above the castle. The castle is incredibly old but still in pristine condition, and you can visit almost every part of it to see what life used to be like for Britain’s royals. You can also take a peek into Queen Elizabeth II’s childhood with an exhibition featuring her dolls and excerpts from her diary.
A private transfer can pick you up from any of the hotels near London Heathrow with all your bags, and take you to Windsor for a few hours of sightseeing and stretching your legs in the fresh air before dropping you at the airport to catch your next flight. You can nap in a comfortable hotel room and board the plane fresh, relaxed and ready to handle everything your journey throws at you.