I am a US citizen. I have an 8-hour layover in London. Do I need a visa to enter London?

  • 2
    No. There is a tone of info on this topic on the Internet. Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 22:40

2 Answers 2


As a US citizen, you're allowed to enter the UK visa-free and stay for up to 6 months, subject to an immigration examination.

So yes, you can visit London


Crazydre is correct.

London has several airports.

  • Heathrow
  • Gatwick
  • Stansted
  • Luton
  • City

You don't say which airport you're arriving at, but most US flights arrive at either Heathrow or Gatwick

Heathrow is West of London, travel times vary from 20 minutes (Heathrow Express) to 1+ hour (Underground, bus/taxi). The Heathrow Express arrives at Paddington which will require further transportation to the tourist sights.

Gatwick is South of London the quickest way from there to London is "Gatwick Express", which arrives at Victoria station. This is relatively close to the tourist sights, possibly even walking distance from Buckingham Palace.

Stansted is North East of London, the express train service takes 45 minutes and arrives at Liverpool Street. This is in the City (East) and is probably another 30 minutes by tube from tourist sights

Luton - not aware of the transport options since I've never flown from it.

City is also in the East and is served by a flight direct from New York on a business class only jet, BA001 & BA002. There is no express rail service, but it is on the Docklands Light Railway which connects to the City of London (Tower Gateway).

Please consider this though:

  • You'll need an hour to pass through UK immigration
  • You'll need around an hour to travel to central London to see the sights you want to see
  • You'll need to be back at the airport 2 to 3 hours before your flight departs, so you'll need to back on your transportation about 3 to 4 hours before your flight departs.

Given this, you might only spend 2 hours in Central London.

Windsor Castle is very close to Heathrow, might be worth going there instead of Central London.

  • Luton is connected by shuttle bus to Luton Airport Parkway station, from which Thameslink trains go to central London (St. Pancras and several stations in/near the City). Total travel time about 40 minutes to an hour. Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 16:22

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