Located 64 kilometres northeast of London, London Stansted Airport is the third busiest airport in the United Kingdom. The airport serves several of United Kingdom’s low-cost carriers, as well as major international airlines, to mainly European and Mediterranean destinations, apart from other locations worldwide. More than 40 airlines operate from Stansted’s main terminal.
London Stansted has had an interesting past – it used to be a Roman burial site 2,000 years ago, before it was converted to a USAAF bomber base in 1942. Later it was completely revamped and reopened as a civil aviation airport in 1986, and grew to become the London Stansted Airport we know today.
The airport has one terminal, which is organised into three areas: check-ins and the main concourse along the entrance, arrivals on the right and departures on the left. The gates are not situated in the main terminal building; instead, they are found nearby in three separate oblong buildings, called satellites. To reach Satellites 1 and 2, take the transit system that connects the departure lounge with the buildings. The trains in the transit system run frequently, and are free of charge. Further, they are fully wheelchair accessible for travellers with limited mobility. The last building, Satellite 3, is accessible via a walkway.
There are many facilities in the terminal – the airport even has a chapel! At the Arrivals hall, a wide selection of shops, restaurants, currency exchange desks, car rental reservation counters, and more ensure that travellers arriving in Stansted can begin their trip pleasantly. In the Departures hall, after clearing security before entering the departure lounge, passengers leaving can expect an array of food and retail options to keep themselves occupied while waiting to board. Whether before or after security check points, there are many eateries ranging from fast food joints to restaurants. Most of these eateries provide children’s menus. As for shopping, worry not about excess baggage as travellers are allowed to bring one airport shopping bag in addition to their handcarry. Quite a few shops in London Stansted are suitable for children, offering children’s books and a variety of games, comics and confectionery. Check out the famed Hamleys toys, or the books and games in WH Smith.
Head to the airport’s amusement area, where travellers can play arcade and computer games to pass the time. Other activities include plane watching, where parents can bring their children to view aircraft taking off and landing from strategic locations in the airport. London Stansted has numerous spots for this, which provide a clear view of the airplanes operating on the runways.
In London Stansted Airport, there are no rooms to sleep in should passengers be on long stopovers. Instead, travellers may consider booking a short stay at airport hotels for a comfortable night. Airport hotels such as the Hilton, Radisson SAS and Express by Holiday Inn provide great accommodation at reasonable prices. Otherwise, there are many more hotels close to London Stansted Airport. These hotels usually provide complimentary transfers to and from the airport, so travellers do not have to worry about not catching their flight. Check with the hotel concierge to make arrangements early.
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