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How to travel from Stansted to Chelmsford

Updated on April 22, 2011

Stansted Airport, home of the cheap flights

Stansted Airport is the home of cheap flights such as RyanAir and EasyJet, but it's also the most convenient airport if you want to visit Essex, England, and places such as Chelmsford. There are a few ways to get between Stansted and Chelmsford, and here they are, from the cheapest to the most costly, so there is something for everyone.

The details: bus, taxi or rental car?

but not the train, and here's why!

Stansted is a small airport. Even though it's called /">'London Stansted Airport', it's nothing like the other big London airports like Heathrow. Whether you take the bus, taxi or a rental car, everything is on-site. The only reason to take a shuttle bus is to get to long term parking. Stansted has plenty of directional signs, so whether you take a bus, train, car or taxi, just keep following the signs, it's not such a big airport, so it's impossible to get lost. So to travel from Stansted to Chelmsford, here are your options:

1. Take the local 42A bus, from the First Group bus company

This is the 'cheap and cheerful' option, making all stops between Stansted and Chelmsford. You can find the schedule on the First Group Bus website, but it's roughly Monday to Friday, from 06.27-19.30 with a smaller schedule on the weekend.

It's easy to find the bus, just follow the signs to the bus depot, it's on-site at Stansted Airport's lower level, and then look on the information screens to find out which bay the 42A will be parked in.

This option will take approximately 1 hour and will cost you a few pounds.

2. Take the X30 Express bus

This is run by the same company as the 42A, but it's a nicer bus with cushy seats, wifi, and fewer stops. The schedule is here, with the first pickup of the day at 04.00 and the last at 01.30, so it aligns well with those crazy early and late budget airline schedules.

It's a little more expensive, although only £ 8.50 for a one way or £ 12.50 for a return (as long as you plan to return within 30 days) and your travel time will be around 35 minutes.

3. Take a taxi

Checkercars is the official taxi company at the Stansted Airport. As you exit from the departure area, their desks will be shortly in front of you. You give the address of the location where you are going, they enter it into their computer and they give you the total cost. If you are paying by credit card, they will add on 3% as a credit card processing fee, so better to pay with cash. Then, drivers are standing by, so they will assign your ticket to someone nearby, and that driver will escort you out to the taxi stand which is directly in front of the exit. Their cars tend to be silver with green writing.

The taxi fare from Stansted to Chelmsford will be somewhere around 40-50 GBP, depending on the number of persons, time of day, etc. and will take around 35 minutes (they usually follow the same route as the express X30 bus).

4. Rent a car

All of the major car chains have an outlet at Stansted: Budget car rental, National Car Rental, Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Alamo, Enterprise and Sixt, so you can check their websites to find the best deal for your dates. The car rental offices are on-site, some are in the main hall and the rest are in little cabins that are at the car lot. The cars themselves are also on-site, just make sure that your car rental company gives you a code to exit the parking lot as there are gates that require a number code to leave.

What about the train, I heard there is a train station at Stansted and at Chelmsford?

Yes, there is a train station, but it will take you into London or Cambridge rather than Chelmsford! Chelmsford is on a different train line, so to go from Stansted to Chelmsford by train, you would need to take the train to London and then change to a different train line to Chelmsford. To do so would make your trip double or triple the bus travel time and also a lot more expensive, so not a recommended option.

For other Chelmsford area information, check out:

How to take the train from Chelmsford to London

The secrets of finding a cheap place to stay for V festival in Chelsmford

Reader Feedback and Questions:

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    • uk american profile image

      uk american 3 years ago

      @joseph-keogh-5: The X30 departs from the main bus station beside the rail station. There are a row of shops at the bus station (Tesco, Gregg's, 99 p store, etc.), look for the (now closed) Chinese buffet, the X30 leaves from the stop in front of it.

    • profile image

      joseph-keogh-5 3 years ago

      Where does the X30 bus depart from in Chelmsford? I presume its the main bus station beside the rail station? The first group website isn't all that clear and google is not helping!

    • uk american profile image

      uk american 6 years ago

      @anonymous: If the 'city' is Chelmsford, then take the bus. If the 'city' is London, either the train or London-bound buses are your best option.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thanks for the tips. I'm flying in with the family and was wondering, as it's a late night flight, what is my best option at nighttime? I don't mind staying at a hotel near Stansted airport but all things considered I'd rather get into the city if I can.

    • uk american profile image

      uk american 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi Josh: Would agree, Easyjet is much preferred over Ryanair.

      And not only is parking expensive, it's so far away. I much prefer the bus in this case.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      definitely fly Easy jet if you can. so cheap and convenient. ryan air on the hand...heard too many bad stories to want to take part in that one. As far as airports go...Heathrow is a nightmare, other small ones are fine like London Luton, but the parking in Stansted Airport is a joke. they overcharged me twice when I was parked up there..