A Complete Guide to the Most Popular International Airports in the UK

Before planning a trip to the United Kingdom it’s important to familiarise yourself with all of the international airports in the UK so that you don’t end up having to pay extra to get from the airport to wherever you’re staying. No matter where you’re planning staying, this guide will provide you with all the information you need on which international airports will fit best with your itinerary. From where to stay near the airport to which airport is the easiest to get to, and even a map of all the international airports in the UK, we’ll cover everything that will help you plan the perfect trip right from the start.

Quick answer: main international airports in the UK

There are 14 international airports in the UK with 10 in England, 2 in Scotland, 1 in Wales and 1 in Northern Ireland. Starting in the south of England you’ll find Bristol Airport with Cardiff Airport just across the border in Wales. There are 5 international airports in London including London Stansted, London Luton, London City, London Gatwick and London Heathrow. Birmingham Airport is in the Midlands and then there’s Manchester Airport, Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Newcastle Airport in the north of England. Moving into Scotland there’s Glasgow Airport in the west and Edinburgh Airport in the east, and finally Belfast Airport in Northern Ireland.

What’s in this post?

If there’s an airport in this post that you’re particularly interested in you can skip straight there by clicking on the name of that airport in the contents section below. If not, then continue reading to learn all about international airports in the UK.

This site contains product affiliate links. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links.

Which cities in the UK have international airports?

There are 13 international airports in the UK across 10 cities including,

  • Belfast 
  • Bristol 
  • Birmingham 
  • Cardiff
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Liverpool
  • London
  • Manchester
  • Newcastle upon Tyne

How to get to popular UK destinations

International airports near Cambridge

The closest large international airport to Cambridge is London Stansted Airport at around a 40 minute drive.

International airports near Nottingham

The closest large international airport near Nottingham is Birmingham International Airport at around an hours drive

International airports near York

The closest large international airport near York is Manchester Airport at around one hour and 20 minutes drive

International airports near Snowdon

The closest large international airport near Snowdon is Liverpool John Lennon Airport at around 2 hours and 15 minutes drive

International airports near Liverpool

The closest large international airport near Liverpool is Liverpool John Lennon Airport at around 25 minutes drive from Central Liverpool

International airports near Manchester

The closest large international airport near Manchester is Manchester Airport at around 25 minutes drive from central Manchester

International airports near the Scottish Highlands

The closest large international airport near the Scottish Highlands is Glasgow Airport or Edinburgh airport, both at between 3 and 6 hours drive depending on where you’re staying in the Highlands.

International airports near Cornwall

The closest large international airport near Cornwall is Bristol Airport at around 2 hours and 46 minutes drive

International airports near Oxford

The closest large international airport near Oxford is London Heathrow Airport at around 1 hours drive

International airports near Derry

The closest large international airport near Derry is Belfast International Airport at around 1 hour and 15 minutes drive

Map of the international airports in the UK

What are the international airports in London?

There are 5 international airports in London, some are more central to London than others but all have direct links to the city either by tube, train or bus. London Luton is in Buckinghamshire and London Stansted is in Essex, both are around an hour from Central London. London Gatwick also isn’t on a tube line or in one of the London zones 1-5. If you’re looking for an airport within zones 1-5 then book your travel to arrive at London City Airport or London Heathrow Airport.

London City Airport (LCY)

London City Airport Code: LCY

Address: Hartmann Rd, London E16 2PX

Closest City: London

London City Airport website

London City Airport is the airport that is most central to London and can be found in the South East of the City. To get into central London you can join the DLR line at the London City Airport station, this will take you into Bank where you can connect to the Northern, Central or Waterloo and City underground lines.

Where to stay near London City Airport

Use the map below to take a look at all of the hotels near London City Airport on Booking.com

 

London Gatwick Airport (LGW)

London Gatwick Airport Code: LGW

Address: Horley, Gatwick RH6 0NP

Closest City: London

London Gatwick Airport website

Gatwick airport is located around 30 miles south of London and is the second largest airport serving the London area. Whilst it’s not on a tube line, you can jump on the Gatwick Express which takes you directly into London Victoria where you can connect to the Circle, District and Victoria tube lines. Trains run every 30 minutes and take around 30 minutes to get into London.

Where to stay near London Gatwick Airport

Use the map below to take a look at all of the hotels near London Gatwick Airport on Booking.com

 

London Heathrow Airport (LHR)

London Heathrow Airport Code: LHR

Address: Hounslow TW6 1QG

Closest City: London

London Heathrow Airport website

Heathrow is the biggest and busiest airport in the UK, serving 61.1 million passengers every year. It’s such a popular airport because of its proximity to London and ease to travel the rest of England. Located on the Piccadilly and Elizabeth tube lines, Heathrow Airport has a direct link to central London making it ideal if you’re visiting the city. London Heathrow is also well placed for a road trip around England. You can pick your car up from the airport and get straight on to the M25 – one of the man motorways in the country.

Where to stay near London Heathrow Airport

Use the map below to take a look at all of the hotels near London Heathrow Airport on Booking.com

 

London Luton Airport (LTN)

London Luton Airport Code: LTN

Address: Airport Way, Luton LU2 9LY

Closest City: St Albans

London Luton Airport website

London Luton Airport is located to the North of London, around 3 miles from the town of Luton and 26 miles from Milton Keynes City. If you’re travelling into Central London jump on a National Rail Service train for a direct link. There are several stops in London so it can take between 25 minutes to 1 hour and depending on which part of London you’re heading to.

Where to stay near London Luton Airport

Use the map below to take a look at all of the hotels near London Luton Airport on Booking.com

 

London Stansted Airport (STN)

London Stansted Airport Code: STN

Address: Bassingbourn Rd, Stansted CM24 1QW

Closest City: Chelmsford

London Stansted Airport website

London Stansted Airport is located to the east of London in Essex, around 30 miles from Cambridge, 35 miles from Colchester and 30 miles from Brentwood for those TOWIE fans! If you’re travelling into London you can jump on the Stansted Express directly into Liverpool Street station where you can connect to the Central, Circle, Hammersmith and City, Metropolitan, and Elizabeth tube lines. Trains run every 15 minutes and take around 1 hour to get into London.

Where to stay near London Stansted Airport

Use the map below to take a look at all of the hotels near London Stansted Airport on Booking.com

 

What are the international airports in the UK?

There are 9 other international airports that you need to know about for a visit to the UK, these are across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Belfast International Airport (BFS)

Belfast Airport Code: BFS

Address: Airport Rd, Belfast, Crumlin BT29 4AB

Closest City: Belfast

Belfast Airport website

Located in the East of Northern Ireland, Belfast Airport is ideally placed to visit Derry and the Causeway Coast. The closest city is Belfast at around 20 miles away.

Where to stay near Belfast Airport

Use the map below to take a look at all of the hotels near Belfast Airport on Booking.com

 

Bristol Airport (BRS)

Bristol Airport Code: BRS

Address: Bristol BS48 3DY

Closest City: Bristol

Bristol Airport website

Located in the south west of England, Bristol Airport is ideally placed to visit Devon, Cornwall and the Cotswolds. The closest city is Bristol at around 8 miles away.

Where to stay near Bristol Airport

Use the map below to take a look at all of the hotels near Bristol Airport on Booking.com

 

Birmingham International Airport (BHX)

Birmingham International Airport Code: BHX

Address: Trident Rd, Birmingham B26 3QJ

Closest City: Birmingham

Birmingham Airport website

Located in the West Midlands, Birmingham Airport is ideally placed to visit the Birmingham City Center and Stratford-upon-Avon. The closest city is Birmingham at around 10 miles away.

Where to stay near Birmingham Airport

Use the map below to take a look at all of the hotels near Birmingham Airport on Booking.com

 

Cardiff Airport (CWL)

Cardiff Airport Code: CWL

Address: Rhoose, Barry CF62 3BD

Closest City: Cardiff

Cardiff Airport website

Located in the south east of Wales, Cardiff Airport is ideally placed to visit Cardiff, Swansea and the Pembrokeshire National Park. The closest city is Cardiff at around 12 miles away.

Where to stay near Cardiff Airport 

Use the map below to take a look at all of the hotels near Cardiff Airport on Booking.com

 

Edinburgh Airport (EHI)

Edinburgh Airport Code: EHI

Address: Edinburgh EH12 9DN

Closest City: Edinburgh

Edinburgh Airport website

Located in the south east of Scotland, Edinburgh Airport is ideally placed to visit the Scottish Highlands, Aberdeen, or even to venture into Northumberland in England. The closest city is Edinburgh at around 10 miles away.

Where to stay near Edinburgh Airport

Use the map below to take a look at all of the hotels near Edinburgh Airport on Booking.com

 

Glasgow Airport (GLA)

Glasgow Airport Code: GLA

Address: Glasgow, Paisley PA3 2ST

Closest City: Glasgow

Glasgow Airport website

Located in the south west of Scotland, Glasgow Airport is ideally placed to visit the Scottish Highlands and Inverness. The closest city is Glasgow at around 10 miles away.

Where to stay near Glasgow Airport

Use the map below to take a look at all of the hotels near Glasgow Airport on Booking.com

 

Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LPL)

Liverpool John Lennon Airport Code: LPL

Address: Speke Hall Ave, Speke, Liverpool L24 1YD

Closest City: Liverpool

Liverpool Airport website

Located in the north west of England, Liverpool John Lennon Airport is ideally placed to visit North Wales. The closest City is Liverpool at around 10 miles away.

Where to stay near Liverpool Airport

Use the map below to take a look at all of the hotels near Liverpool Airport on Booking.com

 

Manchester Airport (MAN)

Manchester Airport Code: MAN

Address: Manchester M90 1QX

Closest City: Manchester

Manchester Airport website

Located in the north west of England, Manchester Airport is ideally placed to visit the Lake District or York. The closest city is Manchester at around 10 miles away.

Where to stay near Manchester Airport

Use the map below to take a look at all of the hotels near Manchester Airport on Booking.com

 

Newcastle International Airport (NCU)

Newcastle International Airport Code: NCU

Address: Woolsington, Newcastle upon Tyne NE13 8BZ

Closest City: Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle International Airport website

Located in the north east of England, Newcastle International Airport is ideally placed to visit Newcastle City, the rest of Northumberland, or even to venture into Scotland. The closest city is Newcastle upon Tyne at around 10 miles away

Where to stay near Newcastle International Airport

Use the map below to take a look at all of the hotels near Newcastle International Airport on Booking.com

 

FAQs on the international airports in the UK

What are the top 3 airports in the UK? 

The three top airports in terms of passenger numbers in the UK are London Heathrow Airport, London Gatwick Airport and Manchester Airport with well over 100 million passengers combined every year.

What’s the largest international airport in the UK?

The largest international airport in the UK is London Heathrow with 5 terminals (4 passenger and 1 cargo), 2 runways and 84 destination countries.

What is the easiest airport in England? 

Overall the easiest airport in England is London Heathrow as not only is it really easy to get into central London but it’s also just off of the M25, a major motorway that loops London and connects several other motorways that spread across the country.

Of course, this also depends on where you’re travelling to in the UK – you wouldn’t want to fly into London Heathrow if you’re visiting Northumberland. You’d choose to fly into Edinburgh Airport or Newcastle International Airport instead. 

What is the best airport to get into London?

Either London City Airport, London Gatwick Airport or London Heathrow Airport are all good airports to get into London. However London City Airport and London Heathrow Airport are the only two airports within zones 1-5 and on a tube line. 

Summary of the international airports in the UK

In summary, navigating the many international airports in the UK is a key part of planning your UK trip. Choose the wrong one and you could end up at the wrong end of the country, or even in a different country altogether.

When deciding which airport in the UK to fly to it helps to have some understanding of where you’ll be travelling to in the UK and plan your flight in and out of the UK with that in mind.

It’s likely that if you’re planning a UK trip you’ll be flying into London Heathrow as it is the biggest airport in the UK. However hopefully this guide shows you that there are other options both in London and further afield that you now feel comfortable to explore.

Similar Posts