Flying into London: London City vs Southend
Updated: May 6, 2022
As part of our London blog series, we wanted to share with you guides on travelling into Central London from all six London’s airports to help your journey and take as much stress as possible. Unlike other major cities, London is complicated with six airports. We understand you might be thinking “well, London is a major tourist and business destination, so surely it needs six airports, right?”. Well, Paris and New York both have three each…
This blog is specifically about London City and Southend – the budget airline hubs for European destinations.
If you’d like a quick overview of all six airports, read Our Guide to London's Six Airports.
If you’re flying from outside of Europe or non-budget airlines, read here for Heathrow & Gatwick.
If you’re flying for business or another alternative from mainland Europe, read here for Stansted & Luton Airports.
Just by the way – I’m not going to be adding rental cars into these travel possibilities. I can’t say this enough – London, much like New York or other major international cities, is not a city for driving. I will add taxis into this.
And also – really, really do your best to not travel into Central London between 7:30-9am with loads of luggage. This is prime rush hour and you’ll be at the mercy of Londoners who will be in more of a hurry than you. Just be considerate – it is a working city after all.
Now, let’s get to it: City & Southend!
London City Airport
The most central of London’s airports, London City Airport is in Zone 3. It’s typically known as the business airport of London due to its business proximity to the business district (Canary Wharf). It only flies to a select few destinations within Europe…and not the budget airlines.
If you have the opportunity to fly into London City Airport at a reasonable price, and you’re staying in East London, do it!
The trusty London Underground is the best and most convenient option. London City Airport is on the DLR line and has regular services to Bank station in the City district. From there you can catch almost all tube lines across the city easily. A one-way ticket costs between £2.50-£3.50 and you can use either an Oyster or Credit Card.
A taxi could be a good option if you want an easy drop off to your hotel. It can take 30 minutes, depending on traffic, in a metred taxi and can cost approx. £25. Uber also works and could cost less.
36 miles/58km East of London, Southend is the smallest of the airports only flying to Spain and Portugal via Ryanair and Wizz Air. The train is the least complicated and cheapest option, so it’s the only option we’ve included.
Southend Airport has its own station – a train to Liverpool Street Station takes under an hour and costs approximately £18 one-way.