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Why This London Airport Is Suddenly So Easy To Get To

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4 months ago

If you’ve ever looked up flights to London, you’ll know that you have not one, not two, not three, not four(!), but five airports in London to choose from. It is very often the case that you can get a cheaper flight if you fly into an airport other than Heathrow.

And Heathrow can be a maze unless you know how to properly navigate it.

But then you’d land only to realize that you have to fork out so much to get from the airport to Central London – or you would have to spend so much more time traveling from the airport to Central London.

As of 2023, all of that changed. So which London airport is now so easy to get to and from London and why? Let us tell you.

Terraced houses in London with plants

Airlines like easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz Air offer cheap flights to London from Europe, but it usually comes at a cost. Some of them are probably super obvious to you (very reduced leg room on flights, £50 fees if you don’t check in online before your flight, heavily scrutinized carry-on baggage sizes).

But one thing that won’t be immediately obvious is the transport links into the airport that those airlines fly into. Without good transport links, it can take much longer to get from the airport into the city.

Mural in Shoreditch Woman with colored hair
Murals are all over London – you just need to know where to look

All of that changed for London’s Luton Airport when the Luton DART (Direct Air-Rail Transit) opened earlier this year.

Previously, you would need to take the train from London’s St. Pancras International train station to a railway station near to the airport named (misleadingly, I think) Luton Airport Parkway Station. You would then need to go out of the station and take a bus from the station to the airport itself.

It was the only airport in London that didn’t have a direct train from a station in Central London to the airport itself. The bus was quite unreliable and you never knew when it would depart or arrive. Taking a car isn’t a bad option – especially if you have kids or heavy luggage.

Old town in Edinburgh Old Tolbooth Wynd

To be clear, you still need to take the Luton Airport Express from platform 1 at St. Pancras International train station to Luton Airport Parkway Station (more on St. Pancras International train station below).

The difference is that now you just have to walk up a short flight of stairs and cross the platform to get to the Luton DART platform which will whizz you right to Luton Airport in just four minutes. It’s just that easy! One more thing though:

Travel tip: DART operates on a separate ticketing system to the rest of London’s rail network, so you’ll need to pay for a separate ticket (about £5).

There’s plenty to see in London, like Dennis Severs’s House in Spitalfields

This is in addition to the cost of your ticket from St Pancras International to Luton Airport Parkway Station. But at only £10 it’s one of the cheaper direct-to-airport train tickets in London.

If you’re landing or flying from Luton Airport, you should know that the whole journey from the airport to Central London or vice versa is about 45 minutes. Unfortunately, the Luton Airport Express runs only every half hour, so you could find yourself waiting quite a while for the next train.

Coronation Celebration British Flags
The Brits love to celebrate with their flag

If you’re like me and you like to cut it very close to your flight time, keep in mind that you’ll want to check the train schedule to make sure that you’re at St Pancras International at the right time.

So when you’re planning a trip into London or from London to a European city, we would no longer advise steering clear of Luton because of transit difficulties. It’s now a breeze to get through, and given the abundance of low-cost carriers that fly from Luton, you’re guaranteed to land a bargain flight into London or into a European city.

And a quick word on St. Pancras International. A lot of people are confused by where St. Pancras International train station is. The answer is it is connected to King’s Cross train station. If you get off there, you’re basically already in the building.

St Bartholomew the Great Church Outside
London is filled with amazing sights, like St Bartholomew the Great, the oldest parish church in London (over 900 years old)

The train from London directly to London Luton Airport is from St. Pancras International.

Luckily it’s very easy to find: enter St. Pancras International and look for platform 1 which is where all of the direct, 22-minute trains from London to Luton Airport depart from. You can tap your contactless card and board the train – no need to buy a separate ticket.

I also want to mention the Renaissance Hotel in St. Pancras International. It’s simply beautiful and would make an amazing base for London travels, especially if you plan to spend time in North London.

But no matter where you land in London, you’ll want to make sure that you’re ready to go with the best London itineraries to get the most out of your trip.

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