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London Stansted Airport Guide

london stansted airport guide

In this section you will find traveller airport reviews as well as our London Stansted Airport Guide with info on WiFi, lounges, facilities and services....and yes, even the names of some airport hotels in case you decide that sleeping in the airport is not for you!

Its just the biggest youth hostal I have ever seen... So many people all over, in the seats, on the ground, and wherever you can imagine. -phabioo

Airport Overview

Welcome to London Stansted Airport! Located about 30 miles/48 km northeast of Central London, Stansted is home to many low-cost carriers that serve the greater London area.

To help you plan your layover or overnight sleepover, we are here to give you the low-down on what travellers have reported to us during their time at London Stansted Airport.

What to expect

  • The airport is small and crowded, as it hosts several budget airlines.
  • Several food and beverage spots are open 24-hours.
  • Free WiFi is available for 60 minutes; after that you have to pay. See WiFi below.

Where to sleep

  • While not exactly sleep-friendly, the airport tolerates overnight travellers trying to sleep.
  • Arriving by 11pm is too late for a decent sleeping spot, you’ll likely be sleeping on the floor.
  • A few benches and chairs are scattered near Arrivals and by the landside shops. Not enough for everyone, so be prepared to sleep on the cold floor.
  • Some travellers report security doing a middle-of-night wake-up.
  • The International arrivals area has more space and comfier chairs. To avoid the floor, several cafes, including Costa Coffee and Pret-a-Manger, often let you sleep there if you purchase something.
  • The airport was once referred to as "Camp Stansted" by travellers who brought tents and air mattresses. After last year’s renovations the airport is still fairly sleep-friendly but doesn’t tolerate the camp vibe. Consider a small yoga mat or blanket instead.
  • Fairly quiet but bright – bring an eye mask.
  • For uninterrupted sleep, there is a hotel connected to the airport by a covered walkway and other nearby options that provide an airport shuttle. See Airport Hotel below for more info.

Good to know

  • Recent renovations have removed public showers.
  • There are plenty of electric outlets to charge your electronics.
  • Economy class passengers can find comfort in one of the lounges that are accessible with a lounge pass or Priority Pass membership. See Airport Lounges section for locations and rates.

For more information about the services and facilities available, scroll down to continue exploring our London Stansted Airport Guide. Consider sending us your London Gatwick Airport tips to help us keep this information up to date.


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London Stansted Airport Information

In this guide we may refer to locations as "landside" and "airside". Landside is the public area of the terminal located in the non-secure zone, before security. Airside is the secure area of the terminal that you must reach by going through security.

Airport Lounges

If you are an economy class traveller, you can enter these lounges at London Stansted airport either by purchasing a lounge pass or through a membership program. Visit the individual lounge page for more details (ie. facilities, hours, pass and membership information):

» Buy a Lounge Pass

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Airport WiFi / Internet

Free WiFi is available at London Stansted Airport for 60 minutes. Connect to the " _stanstedairport" network. You may also purchase time after the free period expires, rates are 1 hour for £3, 3 hours for £5 and 24 hours £9. Additionally, Internet kiosks are also available. Locations: Domestic Arrivals (Landside) • Departure Lounge (Airside) • International Arrivals (Landside).

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Airport Hotels

If sleeping in Stansted Airport does not appeal to you, there are hotels near the airport:

  • Radisson Blu Hotel London Stansted Airport - (2 min walk from the terminal) Connected via covered walkway. Day rooms for 4 & 8 hour blocks are offered between the hours of 8:00AM - 6:00PM.
  • Holiday Inn Express London Stansted Airport - (5 min from the airport) Shuttle bus operates every 30 minutes from 4:00AM to 12:45AM (£3.00 per person, 17 and under free).
  • De Salis Hotel Stansted - (5 min from the airport) The hotel’s airport shuttle runs every 20 minutes, 24-hours a day, for GBP 4.50 per person (discounts given for parties of 2 or more). Airport pick-up is available on demand (until Midnight) by calling the hotel from the Express Pick Up/Set Down between the coach station (2 min from Arrivals). Pre-booking your airport pick-up is recommended, but not necessary.
  • Hilton London Stansted Airport - (6 min from the airport) Shuttle bus operates from 4:15AM to 1:00AM (£3.00 per person, 16 and under free). The shuttle bus departs Coach Station Bay 27 at the airport on the hour and 30 minutes past the hour. The shuttle bus departs the hotel for the airport every 15 and 45 minutes past the hour.
  • Warmans Barn Hotel - (8 min from the airport) No airport shuttle.
  • Premier Inn Stansted Airport Hotel - (15 min from the airport) Shuttle bus operates every 30 minutes starting from 3:45 am ( £3.00 per person, 15 and under free). Drop-off and pick-up point is at Coach Station Bay 28.

To find a cheap room, there is a list of hotels near Stansted Airport on Tripadvisor that can be sorted by price.

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More Services, Facilities & Things To Do On A Layover At The Airport

  • Arcade Games - Location: Voyageur Entertainment (Landside and Airside)
  • ATM - Locations: Cash machines can be found throughout the airport (Landside and Airside).
  • Family Services - The following services are available for families travelling with children:
    • Baby Changing Facilities - There are over 10 locations that have baby changing facilities: Landside, in Zone A • Airside, near the gates • Arrivals Area, near the baggage reclaim.
    • Baby Milk - Boots Drugstore is located Airside and offers pre-order service for baby milk, simply place your order 5 days before your travel and pick up post security, freeing up space in your hand luggage for other essentials.
  • Baggage Trolleys - available for a refundable deposit of £1, €1 or $0.25 coin. You will find change machines in the international and domestic baggage claim halls.
  • Chapel - Location: Landside, Check-in Zone J, opposite Caffè Alba. Hours: 5:00AM - 11:00PM.
  • Currency Exchange - Location: Moneycorp has six locations in departures and arrivals. They also have ATM’s that dispense GBP and Euros.
  • Duty Free & Shopping - In addition to a World Duty Free store, there are other stores such as Body Shop • Fat Face • Glorius Britain • Hamleys • JD Sports • Next • Rituals • WHSmith.
  • Games - Voyager Entertainment offers video games for the "big" kids. Location: Landside and Airside.
  • Fast Track Service - As a premium service, customers with Fast Track security passes will be given priority service to ensure that waiting is kept to a minimum. Cost: £4.50 book online before 10 PM.
  • Food & Drinks - There are no 24 hour food concessions at the airport. However you have a good variety both landside and airside that operate from the first to the last flight each day.
  • Information Desk - There is an Information Deck located in the International Arrivals area. Hours: open 24 hours.
  • Luggage storage / Lockers - Location: International Arrivals Hall, Landside, at the Airport Services Desk. Hours: Open 24 hours. Rates: Small items - £3 per day/£18 per week and for large items £10 per day/£60 per week. Most major credit and debit cards can be used for payment.
  • Pharmacy - Location: Boots, after security (airside). Hours: 4:00AM - 10:00PM.
  • Prayer Room - Located landside in Check-In Zone J, opposite Caffe Alba. If you enter, please be respectful of the people who do use the facility for prayer. You may be asked to leave by security. Open from 05:00AM - 11:00PM.
  • Showers - At one point there were free showers in the Departures area (Airside) and another in the International Arrivals area (Landside). Recent renovations may have changed this situation, as a reviewer in Nov 2014 was unable to find them.
  • Smoking - There are no designated smoking areas inside the terminal. Once you have passed through security, there will be nowhere to smoke.
  • Spa - Cloud Spa is located airside, offering spa services such as manicures, pedicures and massages.

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Airport Hours

The airport is open 24 hours.

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Airport Transportation: Getting To/From The Airport

Bus and Coach

Stansted Airport has a bus and coach terminal, located opposite the main terminal entrance. Tickets are sold at ticket desks in Arrivals, at the bus and coach terminal (open 24 hours), or on board from the driver. The following buses and coaches serve the airport:

National Express offers low-cost, frequent service between Stansted and various main underground and bus stops throughout London, as well as other London-area airports, for fares starting at £5. For passengers traveling to or from destinations outside of London, National Express connects Stansted Airport with over 900 cities and towns across the country. Key cities served by National Express include Birmingham, Cambridge, Thetford, Norwich, Oxford, Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Brighton and Ipswich.

The following is a list of local buses and the destinations they serve: Stansted Aircoach X30 (Southend); Airport by Bus 133 (Colchester and Braintree); TGM 510 (Harlow); First 42A (Chelmsford and Galleywood); TGM 308 (Bishop’s Stortford); Uno Bus 700 (Baldock) and Service 5/7/7A (Saffron Walden/ Stansted Mountfitchet).

Car Rentals

The following car rental companies are located at the airport: Alamo • Avis • Budget • Enterprise • Europcar • Hertz • National • Sixt.

Local bus

Stansted Airport's bus and coach station is opposite the main terminal entrance. Tickets can be bought at the ticket desk in arrivals (open 6:00AM - 1:00AM), in the coach station (24 hours, seven days a week) or on board. Bus fares and times are subject to change, so confirm with the operator before you travel. For more details on schedules, visit the Stansted Airport web site.

Trains

Stansted Airport rail station is located directly below the terminal building, just a 2-minute walk from Check-in and Arrivals. Train tickets are sold online, at the rail station or in the Arrivals area of the airport terminal.

Stansted Express offers the fastest, most direct service between Stansted Airport and central London. Trains depart every 15 minutes, running between the airport and Liverpool Street with a stop at Tottenham Hale in either direction. London Stratford can also be reached via change of trains at Tottenham Hale. Travel time between the airport and Liverpool Street is 47 minutes, and travel time between the airport and Tottenham Hale is 36 minutes. Connections to the underground are available at Tottenham Hale (Victoria line) and Liverpool Street (Central, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City lines). Trains depart Liverpool Street as early as 3:40AM on Monday, Friday and Saturday mornings, and run as late as 11:25PM. Trains going to London operate daily from 5:30AM - 12:30AM. Fares start at £8 per person. For timetables and ticket information, visit the Stansted Express website.

Stansted is also served by hourly long-distance train service, linking the airport directly to Cambridgeshire and the Midlands. Trains run to Audley End, Cambridge (35 min travel time), Ely, Peterborough, Leicester (2.5 hour travel time) and Birmingham (3.5 hour travel time). Connections to northern England and Scotland are via Peterborough (service to Leeds, York, Newcastle and Scotland) and Leicester (service to Derby and Sheffield).

Taxi

24x7 Stansted is the official taxi service provider of Stansted Airport, offering 24-hour transportation to and from the airport. Fares are flat rate, accessed according to final destination, with any extra fees or tolls already included. Credit cards are accepted. Shared rides and discounts for pre-booked returns are available. Taxi service from the airport must be pre-booked online, by phone or via 24x7 Stansted kiosk, located in International Arrivals or accessible via courtesy phone from the Domestic Arrivals Baggage Reclaim area.

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Quick Tips

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Last Updated: 26 April 2016

The information in this Airport Guide is based on information collected and/or received from the airport's and their web sites. The information above is subject to change without notice. Use it for informational purposes only to help you during your stay. To report errors, or to add/change any items mentioned in the guide, please email us at guides@sleepinginairports.com.

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