Getting to Britain

Travelling to the UK by air

Travelling to the UK by air

Flying to the UK from countries all over the world is easy, with London Heathrow the largest airport in Europe and well connected to central London. Other key international airports in the UK include London's Gatwick, Stansted, City and Luton; in the north of England Manchester and Newcastle; in west England Birmingham; in Wales Cardiff; in Scotland Glasgow and Edinburgh, and in Northern Ireland Belfast.

Arriving at British airports

Heathrow has 5 terminals, and some other airports often have more than one, so before you fly, check which terminal your flight arrives at or leaves from to aid onward travel. The different Heathrow and Gatwick terminals are each connected by free shuttle services. To transfer between Heathrow and Gatwick, frequent buses with National Express take about 75 minutes. Buses between Heathrow and Stansted or Luton airports take up to 90 minutes so remember this when planning flight connections.

Travelling from the airport

You will find all British airports well connected with local public transport options. For example, London Heathrow and Newcastle in north England airports are each linked with the cities' Underground (subway) rail networks. Arriving at Heathrow you can also take the Heathrow Express, a fast, direct train to London's Paddington railway station (approximately 15-20 minutes, depending on which terminal you travel from). Arriving at Gatwick you can take local train services or the faster, direct Gatwick Express to London Victoria (30 minutes). Stansted and Manchester also have regular express train connections. Edinburgh has an easy tram connection to the city centre.

National Express coaches provide direct connections between major airports (London’s Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, Luton, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Coventry, East Midlands and Bristol) and many British cities and towns. They also have a regular service between Gatwick and Heathrow and are usually a cheaper option to rail.

Travelling within Britain by air

With distances small within the UK, domestic air travel isn't essential, but is a good option if you want to save time – for longer journeys such as between London and Scotland, or to get to one of the many fantastic offshore islands around the country. Internal flight providers include British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, FlyBE and Aer Lingus.