We've done the research and have put together a guide on travelling to the UK from Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the latest rules around vaccination, quarantine and testing requirements.
If you're booking a flight from Australia, you'll have the most options if you select London Heathrow (LHR) as your destination. Alternatively, select London (Any) and you'll be able to see all available flights into any London Airport. However, this can include flights into airports farther away from and less connected to the city centre.
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London has an expansive transportation network to get you from central London to the airport and surrounding areas. Since the city is so spread out, the London Tube is the best way to visit the major attractions. Only some attractions are within walking distance of each other, but all are near a transit station.
London public transport
Types of transport. Public transport within the city includes the London Underground which is also referred to as the Tube, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), the Emirates Air Line cable car and a river bus as well as buses, local trains and trams. Trains can be used to access tourist cities outside of the city, for example, Bath, Oxford, Cambridge and Windsor. Some of the main train stations that can get you out include Paddington, Kings Cross St Pancras, Victoria and Liverpool Street.
Paying for transport. The best way for tourists to pay for transport is to pay-as-you-go instead of buying single tickets. If you have a contactless card, you can use it to pay for transport or you can purchase an Oyster card and pre-load it. Simply use the card to tap on when you first get on transport and tap again when you depart. You can buy an Oyster card at all stations and some visitor centres, and you can use the Oyster card for trips on any of the above mentioned forms of transport.
Best apps for getting around. The Citymapper app provides a journey planner for all types of transit. It shows real-time departures, transit maps, disruption alerts and is integrated with Uber.
London Tube map
The London Tube is the most popular way to get around London and is an easy and budget-friendly transport option.
Getting to and from the London airports
London Heathrow. From Heathrow to the city centre, the fastest option is the Heathrow Express, which takes 15 minutes from terminals 2 and 3 and slightly longer from terminals 4 and 5. The most budget-friendly option is the London Underground. The Piccadilly Line runs from all terminals and the journey takes 50-60 minutes. The National Express coach runs to Victoria coach station and takes 40-80 minutes. Other options are the Feltham rail link to London Waterloo and Heathrow Connect to Paddington.
London Gatwick. The Gatwick Express train reaches London Victoria in the city centre within 30 minutes. Coach buses like easyBus and National Express services, which you can find at the lower south terminal forecourt, run low-cost options to central London.
London City. A DLR station is connected to the London City Airport terminal. It connects to the London Underground for access to the city. Two public bus routes, the 473 and 474, also run from the airport.
Stansted. National Express coach buses have 15 pick-up and drop-off stops in central London. The Stansted Express train is the quickest transport departing every 15 minutes.
Luton. The Luton Airport Parkway train provides services to central London and departs every 10-20 minutes. There is a shuttle from the Luton Airport outside the terminal at Bay T to the train station. National Express and Green Line coaches run to and from Victoria London station.
Which London airport is easiest to get to?
Heathrow is the most accessible of London's airports. A Heathrow Express train leaves from Paddington station every 15 minutes and takes approximately 15 minutes. You can also get to Heathrow terminals by taking the tube. The journey from King's Cross it takes approximately 50 minutes.
Which London airport is closest to the city?
The closest airport to London is London City Airport (LCY) as it's only 12.5 km outside of the city itself.
Taxis and rideshare
Taxi. Taxis can be hailed from the side of the road or found at designated ranks. They can also be pre-booked.
Rideshare. Ola and Uber both operate in London.
London car hire
Renting a car in London is not very common and we don't recommend it to tourists. Public transport in London is very reliable and easy to use when visiting all of the major attractions. As London is quite large and the attractions are spread out, it is not always possible to walk from attraction to attraction.
If you do need a car, or are heading out on a UK road trip departing from London, Avis, Hertz, Budget, Europcar, Enterprise, National, Alamo and Sixt are available for car rentals in London. Use DriveNow to compare prices and find the best deal.
In comparison to Australia and to the rest of Europe, London is considered to be an expensive city.
Compared with the average Aussie price of a mid-range three-course meal for two London is slightly more expensive. In Australia we'd usually pay about $80 for a three-course meal for two people, whereas in London, you'd be looking at something like $90 for the equivalent.
Draught beer is slightly more expensive too, as it would usually cost about $7 in Australia, whereas London prices are more like $7.30 (averaged out).
Coffee is more expensive as well. Aussies would usually expect to pay in the region of $4, and in London, you'd be more likely to pay around $4.30.
Generally, public transportation and taxi services are more expensive too.
There are a number of things that Aussies visiting London will notice are cheaper. For example, general groceries and imported bottled lager are all priced lower than the equivalent products back home.
Does London use Euros?
No. London, and the rest of the United Kingdom, uses pound sterling (£/GBP).
There are a number of free museums throughout London. These include the British Museum, the Museum of London, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. It's worth noting, that whilst it isn't obligatory, they do ask for donations upon entry.
Are London museums open on Sundays?
Yes. The majority of London's museums are open on Sundays. Some may have slightly different opening hours in operation on Sundays, but most are accessible seven days a week.
Is London safe?
London is relatively safe compared to its size. As you would when travelling to any city, it's important to maintain due care and attention where your personal safety and possessions are concerned. Some additional safety points to be aware of are listed below.
Travel. It's best to plan your route before setting out. Only use taxis or registered minicabs. Avoid walking alone at night wherever possible, and stick to well-lit roads. Ensure that you cross roads safely, only use designated crossings, only cross when the green man is showing and take note of the signs indicating which direction to check to spot any oncoming traffic.
Bars/restaurants. Conceal any property of value. Many venues have clips under the tables that can be used to secure your handbag or briefcase. Don't accept drinks from strangers.
Rare occurrences, but additional important info. Report any unattended bags or belongings you might spot in public places. Watch the National Police Chiefs' Council's (NPCC) video which advises what you should do in the rare event of a firearms or weapons attack. You can also download the free CitizenAid app on Android or Apple, which gives advice on immediate actions in case of an incident.
Does London get snow?
London does get snow, usually during the mid-winter months and occasionally a cold front will occur in March or even April. London rarely gets much snow however. And it's hard to predict as it doesn't snow every year. The past decade has seen above-average temperatures throughout the seasons, which has lessened the opportunity for the cold ground required for snow to fall and stick.
Stephanie Yip is the travel editor at Finder and has been writing about travel and lifestyle for over a decade. She has written for Travel Weekly, Escape, Showpo, The Nibbler and Hostelworld. She was also the editor of kids magazine DMAG. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Communications from the University of Technology Sydney and has visited 55 countries (and counting).
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