London Stansted Airport is a great budget alternative when flying in or out of London. Located about 30 miles outside of central London, this airport is the home base for a number of low cost European carriers including EasyJet and Ryanair.

Getting to and from London Stansted is particularly convenient with a number of trains and buses connecting Stansted with central London, its surrounding cities,  as well as Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, and Manchester Airport. A great budget option that we found is the easyBus service which costs about 10 GBP one way and takes about an hour and 15 minutes from London.  Pre-booking a return trip will result in a cheaper fare and ours was greatly reduced at 3 GBP for the return journey.

If you have an early flight out of Stansted, you’ll want to consider staying nearby as we did.  Staying locally near Stansted can save you over 50 GBP compared to London hotel rates and the proximity to the airport means you’ll save both money and time.

With a relatively early flight booked on Ryanair to Parma, Italy, we hopped aboard a shuttle bus to nearby Holiday Inn only to find the hotel was full. (Clearly the good folks at the Holiday Inn didn’t know who we are!) It does pay to reserve your room online and in advance using to avoid finding out that there’s ‘no room at the Inn”.

Spotting a sign for the Premier Inn across the street, we grabbed our bags and walked over.  Conveniently located just a mile from the airport, Premier Inn offers everything a weary traveller needs. The room was clean and modern, and the beds were comfortable, really comfortable. The breakfast buffet at the onsite restaurant, Thyme, offers both hot and cold options and was delicious and a great start to the day at 9 GBP.  I glanced at the regular daytime/evening menu and spotted lots of family-friendly options.  We found the staff in both the hotel and the restaurant to be very friendly and helpful, and the service was excellent. If you feel like stretching your legs, there is a 24-hour Starbucks and a 24-hour McDonalds close by.  Premier Inn offers great value at 79 GBP a night.  Their Good Night Guarantee states, ‘Get a great night’s sleep or get your money back.’ That’s a nice touch.

Premier Inn is the UK and Ireland’s fastest growing hotel company and winner of the world’s leading Budget Hotel brand in 2011 and the Best Leisure Hotel Chain of the Year at the British Travel Awards in 2012.

Their slogan is ‘Everything’s Premier except the price’. We have to agree.