The cheapest way to get from Stansted Airport to London (Oyster Card)



Japanese Language Teacher🇯🇵【日本語教師】(used to be a Junior high school Japanese teacher/元中学国語教師) World Trip🌎/Education✏️【旅行・教育について】

First time in London, England!🇬🇧

"It's expensive..."

OK. Let's start by solving the problem of getting to and from the airport.

The airport I used this time was "London Stansted Airport".

This is the airport we use when flying LCCs (Ryanair mostly) from within Europe.

It is a "not good" airport among the several airports in London (in terms of accessibility), but you can get around cheaply and easily depending on how you go about it.

The key is "First come, first served".

”Train" or "bus"?  +  how often you use public transportation

Choose train or bus

From the airport, you can choose between "train" and "bus" transportation.

You can choose a taxi as well, but it is expensive, so I omit it.

You can simply decide which to use based on the "time" and "cost" of each, but you should be able to find the best solution if you consider even "how often you will use public transportation" after your arrival in London.

If you use an "Oyster card" or an "IC card" that accepts electronic payments to travel by bus or train within London, you will pay

  • Bus: up to 4.5 £
  • Train: up to 7.2 £(depend on the Zone)

This is the maximum amount per day. (*It is much more expensive to buy tickets with cash.)

If you think about where you will arrive, how far you will go to your hotel, and how often you will use the bus or train afterward, you should be able to make the most economical choice.

*The deposit required when issuing an Oyster card has increased from 5£ to 7£.

*The Stansted Airport is not in London so you cannot use an Oyster card.


1    By "TRAIN" from London Stansted Airport

By train the airport underground

  • Travel time: less than 1 hour
  • Fare: 7£〜

The "Stansted Express" train is the "fastest" way to go to the city of  London.

The train departs from the airport basement and stops at only three places until the last station in London, so it is a fairly nonstressful way.

The fare is "7£~", but this is only for "off-season" & "very early booking".

When I looked at it a week before my date of travel, it showed 20£, so it is truly a "First come, first served" fare.

As soon as you have decided on a flight, search this site and check the fares.

You can go underground from this door

After arrival at the airport, you will probably see a bus ticket office right in front of you.

From the door next to it, you can go directly to the underground station.

Buy the bus ticket: Online or at the platform

Stansted Express HP

Tickets can be booked in advance through "Stansted Express" or purchased on the station platform.

By far the best way to do this is to book "online".

You will get a better discount than if you buy directly at the station, and the earlier you book, the greater that discount will be.

The "Oyster Card" cannot be used on trains between Stansted Airport and London.

The "Oyster Card" is only for use within London. Stansted Airport is located outside of London.

The airport staff told me that there is no Oyster Card machine or store in Stansted Airport, so if you need the card, you should purchase it after arriving in London.

Be aware of stops: may not stop near your hotel or destination

Just 3 stops

The "Stansted Express" only stops at three stations after departure.

If you are going to "within London", you will probably get off at "London Liverpool Street", which is the last stop (the other two are farther north).

However, "London Liverpool Street" is also located slightly north of the center of London, so it may be a little inconvenient depending on your hotel and other needs.

If you want to see "London Bridge" etc. as it is, it is relatively close.

In the case of traveling by "bus", which I will introduce next, it will go further into the city, so there is a possibility that it may be easier, though it may take more time.

Of course, from "London Liverpool Street", you can also use an "Oyster Card, etc." to get around.

2   By "BUS" from London Stansted Airport

Takes about 2 hours by bus

  • Travel time: 1.5 hours
  • Fare: 5£〜

The "national express" bus is the "cheapest" way to go to London city.

Although it takes longer than the train, the fare is cheaper, and there are many stops in London, so it is easier to get around after getting off the bus.

However, the fare for "buses" is also "5£~", but this is for "off-season" and "very early booking".

I traveled by "bus" on this trip, and the fare was "16£" when I bought it last minute, and "14£" for the bus I booked 5 days before my return.

The "First come, first served"here too. Once you have decided on a flight ticket, check the "national express" website first to see the fare.

Buy the Bus Ticket: Online or Airport Counter

national express HP

There are two ways to purchase tickets: through the "national express" website or at the airport counter after arrival at the airport.

Basically, the most economical way is to make a reservation in advance through the "national express" website.

The earlier you make a reservation, the higher the discount rate.

If you book a flight through the "Ryanair" website, you can also buy a "bus" ticket at the same time as the flight. *You can also buy a bus ticket after purchasing a flight.

When I checked the price the day before use, it was "11£".

If you use "Ryanair", check here first because it may be cheaper than "national express".

Buy at the Airport Counter(You can also buy by the bus stop)

Airport Counter

You can buy the BUS TICKET at the airport counter after you came from the security gate.

Another ticket office by the bus stop

There is another place to buy tickets next to the bus stop.

If the bus ticket counter in the airport is crowded, it may be smoother to come downstairs first and buy tickets here.

A6:to London

Then wait in line for bus stop "A6" in the photo.

Simply board the buses one by one as soon as they arrive.

Be careful when purchasing "timed bus tickets" online.

Although it is more economical to book early, if you purchase a bus ticket within a specified time and do not make it on time due to flight delays or other reasons, you may have to purchase it again.

You can also buy a ticket without a "timed" ticket, although it is a little more expensive, so it is better to buy peace of mind that way. It also honestly depends on lucky how long it takes to enter the country.

You can go to「London Victoria Coach Station」, but it takes long time

it may crowd

If you take the bus, the last stop is London Victoria Coach Station.

The bus will take you much further west than London Liverpool Street.

Major tourist attractions such as Buckingham Palace and Big Ben are located near the bus terminal, so you can go sightseeing immediately after getting off the bus.

It takes about 1.5 hours, but once you get to London, you may think that jogging is faster.

It depends on the time of day and the season, but if the bus is crowded, it will take about 2 hours, so if you have enough time, I think you should take the "bus" to save money.


Oyster cards cannot be withdrawn at Stansted Airport

oyster card

Now, many people use this "Oyster Card" for sightseeing in London, but as I wrote in the beginning,

There is no "Oyster Card Ticket Vending Machine" or "Oyster Card Counter" at "Stansted Airport". (I asked a staff member to confirm this).

The "Deposit: 7£" required for the issuance of the "Oyster Card" and the remaining money in the Oyster Card can be withdrawn.

If the balance is less than 10£, you can withdraw it from the ticket machine, and if it is more than 10£, you can withdraw it from the ticket counter.

However, since there are no ticket machines or ticket counters at "Stansted Airport", it is not possible to withdraw the money.

You need to withdraw the money in London.

My two Oyster cards in the photo are the sad ones that I could not withdraw without knowing.

My dream of eating airport food with the money I withdrew has been scattered. Please be careful.


Thank you for reading this far.

The basic rule is to take the train if you want the "fastest" way and the bus if you want the "cheapest" way, but you will not lose money if you make your choice based on how much you plan to use public transportation in London.

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Japanese Language Teacher🇯🇵【日本語教師】(used to be a Junior high school Japanese teacher/元中学国語教師) World Trip🌎/Education✏️【旅行・教育について】


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