MILTON KEYNES
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There are bus and rail services linking Milton Keynes with all the principal neighbouring airports. The main choices are described on this page. Links to relevant timetable sites are provided where appropriate.

Whichever route you choose, take care to allow time for delays and failed connections. Some bus companies recommend choosing a bus that is due to arrive at least one hour before check-in; in addition they will not accept responsibility for delays outside their control.

It is a good idea to be familiar with alternative routes in case there are problems with your  first choice. For rail journeys it is worth re-checking train times a few days before travelling because the on-line timetables are regularly updated. It is also worth checking the national rail site service disruptions page shortly before you travel.

 
BIRMINGHAM INTERNATIONAL
GATWICK
HEATHROW
LUTON
STANSTED
VISITING MILTON KEYNES?
 

Birmingham International

There is a direct rail service between Milton Keynes Central and Birmingham International (see route diagram). Usually there are 3 trains per hour -  one fast journey operated by Virgin (typical journey time: 40 minutes) - and two slow journeys operated by LondonMidland (typical journey time: 75 minutes). Note that trains on this route do not operate in the early hours of the morning. Timetable information is available from the national rail timetable site. There is a less frequent express bus (service 777) from Milton Keynes Coachway (80 minute journey time) and it does offer a few journeys in the early hours.

For a day trip to the airport from Milton Keynes, check out LondonMidland's fares on the rail page.

 

Gatwick

Regrettably there is no longer a direct rail service between Gatwick and Milton Keynes Central. The direct service was withdrawn in 2002 to reduce congestion on the lines south of Milton Keynes. Rail passengers from Milton Keynes now have a choice of 3 routes.

  Route Pros & Cons
  Milton Keynes Central to East Croydon (via Olympia); 
East Croydon to Gatwick 
  • avoids crossing London using the Underground and requires the fewest changes
  • the fares for this route are also a little cheaper than crossing London
  • the Milton Keynes to East Croydon train only runs once an hour and can suffer from overcrowding at peak times
  Milton Keynes Central to London Euston; 
Underground from Euston to Victoria; 
Gatwick Express from London Victoria to Gatwick
  • both the Virgin and Gatwick Express trains are comfortable
  • services on this route are generally frequent
  • crossing London by Underground can be difficult if you have a lot of luggage - especially at peak times
  Milton Keynes Central to London Euston; 
Underground from Euston to King's Cross/St. Pancras; 
Thameslink from St. Pancras to Gatwick
  • services on this route are generally frequent
  • crossing London by Underground can be difficult if you have a lot of luggage - especially at peak times
  • Thameslink is less comfortable and more prone to overcrowding than Gatwick Express


Journey times by all three routes are similar (typically 2 hours but longer at weekends). Plan your journey using the national rail timetable site and it will select the fastest route for your preferred departure time (use the View Details button to see the route it has selected). Tickets valid for travel via London can be used on all 3 routes - note that Network card discounts are not available for travel on the Gatwick Express.

As an alternative to rail there is an express bus (service 230 or 707) from Milton Keynes Coachway. Buses run approximately 2 hourly (including the early hours of the morning when trains do not run). The journey time is about 3 hours.

 

Heathrow

There is no direct rail service from Milton Keynes to Heathrow but there is a direct bus route and a choice of rail routes involving a change of train.

Which Terminal?

Heathrow has 4 active terminals. Terminals 1 & 3 share bus and rail stations but terminals 4 and 5 are not close to the other terminals and so have their own bus and rail arrangements. Also note that some buses call at terminals 1 & 3 separately rather than use the central bus station. (Terminal 2 is now closed for re-development)

See finding your bus for more information. 

Wrong Terminal?

If you accidentally disembark at the wrong terminal, there is no need to panic. Terminals 1 & 3 are connected to each other by pedestrian subway. Terminal 4 is connected to terminals 1 & 3 by the Heathrow Express train. Terminal 5 is also connected to terminals 1 & 3 by Heathrow Express. Journey time is only a few minutes and travel on the Heathrow Express between the Heathrow stations is free. 

For travel between terminals 4 & 5, bus service 482 or 490 is recommended.

 

Heathrow by National Rail & Underground

  Route Pros & Cons
  Milton Keynes Central to London Euston; 
Underground from Euston to Heathrow
  • frequent services throughout most of the day
  • using the London Underground can be difficult if you have a lot of luggage - especially at peak times 

 

Heathrow by National Rail & Heathrow Express

  Route Pros & Cons
  Milton Keynes Central to London Euston; 
Underground from Euston Square to Paddington;
London Paddington to Heathrow

note: Euston Square is separate from the main Euston station and is a short walk along the Euston road

  • frequent services throughout most of the day
  • the Heathrow Express is fast & comfortable
  • time saved using the Heathrow Express partially offset by the need to travel from Euston to Paddington
  • the Heathrow Express is expensive - Heathrow to London Paddington is 20 one way, 36 return. Railcard holders can obtain a discount.
  • the Heathrow Connect service runs over the same route to terminals 1 & 3 but takes an extra 15 minutes (because it stops). Onward travel to terminals 4 or 5 requires a change of train. The Connect service is much cheaper at 9.50 one way, 19.00 return.  Railcard holders can obtain a discount.

 

Heathrow by National Rail & Greenline Bus Link

  Route Pros & Cons
  Milton Keynes Central to Watford Junction; 
Watford Junction to Heathrow via Greenline 724 bus

note: the Greenline bus departs from bus bay 1 at Watford Junction station. It will drop passengers at the Central Bus Station (for terminals 1 & 3). Terminals 4 & 5 are not served.

see finding your bus for details of where to pick the bus up at Heathrow
 

  • avoids crossing London using the Underground and requires the fewest changes
  • service frequency is every hour for much of the day, 2 hourly on Sundays.
  • the fare for the bus link part of the journey is 8.00 one way. Fares can be paid separately on the bus or added to your rail ticket

 

Heathrow Train Times

The journey time for all the above options is typically about 2 hours (longer at weekends). Use the national rail timetable site  and enter Milton Keynes Central and Heathrow in the To or From boxes as appropriate. The planner will select the fastest route for your preferred departure time (use the View Details button to see the route it has selected). 

Regrettably it is no longer possible to force the planner to show a particular route. 

A timetable for the Watford bus link can be downloaded from the Greenline website.

 

Heathrow by Direct Bus

A direct bus (services 230/707) operates from Milton Keynes Coachway to Heathrow 17 times a day with a typical journey time of under 2 hours.

 

Finding Your Bus at Heathrow

Finding a bus at Heathrow can be a minefield for the unwary. Some of the signs for bus services are confusing and some detailed information is not up to date. Many different bus companies serve Heathrow and some have on-site representatives but they will not necessarily be knowledgeable about all services.

 

Terminals 1, 2 & 3

If you arrive at terminals 1 or 3 you need to be aware that there is a central bus station linked to these terminals by pedestrian subways. However, terminals 1 & 3 also have individual bus stops. Some buses serve these terminals individually rather than use the central bus station.

Currently all buses to Milton Keynes use the bus station. Service 724 to Watford junction also uses the bus station.  So from terminals 1 & 3  follow the signs for the Central Bus Station. 

Be aware that on some signs, the bus link to Watford is not listed under 'Bus Services' but may appear under 'Train Connections' or 'Rail Links' or 'Rail Air' . The bus will normally have Greenline branding. 

Bus Stop Guide
Bus Location

Stop

707 to MK Central Bus Station 6-15
Greenline to Watford Central Bus Station 1/2

subject to alteration

 

Terminal 4

National Express route 230 to Milton Keynes picks up from the terminal 4 arrivals forecourt. 

National Express route 707 to Milton Keynes & the Greenline bus to Watford Junction do not serve terminal 4. It is necessary to take the free Heathrow Express rail service from terminal 4 to terminals 1&3 and then make your way to the Central Bus Station. 

Terminal 5

There is a new bus station for terminal 5. National Express routes 230/707 to Milton Keynes serve terminal 5 directly. 

The Greenline bus does not serve terminal 5. It is necessary to take the free Heathrow Express rail service from terminal 5 to terminals 1&3 and then make your way to the Central Bus Station. 

 

Heathrow Day Trip

For cheap off-peak day trips from Milton Keynes to Heathrow, consider a LondonMidland One Day Travelcard and use the rail/Underground route. 

 

Luton

There is no direct rail service from Milton Keynes to Luton but several express bus routes provide a reasonable service. There are 22 National Express buses a day from the Coachway to Luton Airport - the journey time is just 45 minutes. Alternatively, Stagecoach service 99 picks up at the front of Milton Keynes railway station and the shopping centre and runs to Luton Airport approximately hourly with a journey time of just under an hour - this service does not operate through the night.

 

Stansted

A direct bus (service 777) operates from Milton Keynes Coachway to Stansted 11 times a day with a journey time of about 2 hours 15 minutes.

 

 

NOTICE

The information contained here is believed to be correct and there is no intention to mislead but times, fares and special offers often change and so it is always worth checking with the operators for the latest information. Click here for useful links and phone numbers.

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