Skywise to Take Off in March 2015

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London flight prices
Escape the South African heat and head to London this February to cool down. With these low prices you won't have a reason not to!

flight path from London to Johannesburg


Cheap JNB-London from R7,638*
(Qatar - depart 9 Feb, return 19 Feb 2015)

Cheap CPT-London from R7,788*
(Qatar- depart 5 Feb, return 15 Feb 2015)

Cheap DUR-London from R9,214*
(Emirates - depart 5 Feb, return 15 Feb 2015)

Direct JNB-LON from R11,022*
(SAA - depart 11 Feb, return 19 Feb 2015)

Direct CPT-LON from R12,036*
(British Airways - depart 12 Feb, return 19 Feb 2015)

Premium Econ. JNB-LON from R21,073*
(Air France- depart 12 Feb, return 19 Feb 2015)

Premium Econ. CPT-LON from R22,028*
(Virgin Atlantic- depart 09 Feb, return 19 Feb 2015)

B. Class JNB-LON from R28,785*
(Turkish Airlines- depart 16 Feb, return 25 Feb 2015)

B. Class CPT-LON from R31,400*
(Qatar- leave 17 Mar, return 23 Mar 2015)

1-way JNB-LON from R4,304*
(Emirates- 06 Feb 2015)

*This is not an offer, but merely a snapshot of cheapest airfares as we saw them. There was very limited availability (don't expect it to be on every date, it was the cheapest we could find) when we checked & prices may have increased already. Click through the link on the price to check whether the price is still available. Remember to change class once page has loaded to check prices for Premium Economy and Business Class. For Direct Fligth prices, select direct flights once page has loaded.

Cheap Flights to London

With the number of South Africans living there, London is like the 10th province of South Africa. So, it's not terribly surprising that there are direct flights to London from both Johannesburg and Cape Town. Flying via the middle-east with the likes of Emirates is often cheaper. The bullet-proof method of booking the cheapest flight to London from South Africa is by typing your flight details into the flight price comparison tool on the left & reserving the cheapest flight.

  • On 29 April 2014 Heathrow Express rail workers plan on going on strike from 3am.

  • If you're tired of slumming it with the hoi polloi on an airline, then your problem is half solved. From the 15th May 2014 Qatar Airways is operating flights in Airbus A319s from Doha to LHR which only have a business class section. This solves half the problem for you - you'll still need to share the plane with economy class passengers on the way from South Africa to Doha. This means Qatar Airways will be flying a whopping 6 daily flights from Doha to London Heathrow Airport.

Direct flights
1-stop flights
Heathrow Airport
Gatwick Airport

(see our flights to UK page for a full discussion of flight routes into the UK)

Direct Flights

  • There are direct flights from Johannesburg to London with SAA, Virgin Atlantic & British Airways.

  • There are direct flights from Cape Town to London with British Airways & Virgin Atlantic (These flights from Virgin will be cancelled completely at the end of April 2015.). SAA quit direct CPT-LHR flights in 2012.

News

  • 24 December 2013. London Heathrow Airport has warned of delays & cancellations, and trains aren't running on time for once. Flooding has resulted in the power being cut at Gatwick Airport's North Terminal, and there are long flight delays.

  • 3 October 2013. The Civil Aviation Authority in the UK has proposed that London Heathrow Airport not be allowed to raise its charges by more than UK retail price inflation (Heathrow Airport had requested that an annual increase in landing taxes of inflation plus 4.6% for the 5 years from April 2014, whilst airlines had requested a 9.8% per annum cut in charges). London Gatwick Airport has been allowed to have its airport charges increase by retail price inflation plus 0.5%.

  • 30 March 2013. Emirates commences A380 flights to London Gatwick, becoming the first airline in the world to do so. There are no direct flight links between Gatwick Airport and South Africa.

  • 24 Feb 2013: Mkuseli Apleni, the director-general of the Department of Home Affairs, says that the SA government has approached the UK to reinstate visa-free travel. "We now have one of the world’s safest passports that cannot be forged. The process of issuing passports is more credible and has stringent checks and balances to ensure that applicants are genuinely South Africans...We make sure we know who is landing in South Africa, from where and using what mode of transport. We also cross-check during the arrival that names and passports correspond so that we are sure of visitors, the purpose of their visit and citizens."

    "This has also affected our neighbouring states even though we have visa-free status, except for Madagascans and Angolans, since South Africa now requires a transit visa if (a traveller’s) destination is not South Africa." said Apleni

  • 12 Feb 2013: Flights to London may become more expensive, as London's Heathrow Airport has applied to increase passenger charges. Their proposal is that passenger charges increase from £19.33 per passenger now to £21.96 in 2014, and £27.30 from April 2018.

1-stop flights

  • You can fly 1-stop from Johannesburg to London with Qatar Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad, Egyptair, Turkish Airlines, Kenya Airways, Swiss, Jet Airways (codeshare), Air France or KLM.

  • You can fly 1-stop from Cape Town to London with Emirates, South African Airways, Condor, Turkish Airlines, KLM, Air France or Lufthansa.

  • You can fly 1-stop from Durban to London with Emirates, SAA, BA or Virgin Atlantic (codeshare).

To get from other parts of South Africa to London, first fly to Johannesburg (or fly to Cape Town), and then connect onto a flight to London.

About London

When to Go

Don't believe Londoners self-deprecating jokes about a 2-day summer - there are quite a few warm days, and you'll be surprised at how hot it can get, in particular in July & August.

Winters in London are fairly cold and damp, and we prefer going in June/JulyAugust when the weather is warmer and there's less rain, which provides an opportunity to light up a braai with friends from the (large) South African community.

However, summer is also when the city is at its busiest, as hordes of toursts descend on it. If you like hanging with Japanese tourists, visit London during April/May - Japan's traditional holiday months.

Whilst London is a year-round tourist destination, the winter months are quieter, with the exception being December. Snow is rare, so don't count on that white Christmas. January is the quietest month, and often when you can get the best deals for flights and accommodation.

Of course if you have seaon-related activities you want to watch, like cricket or rugby/football (don't you dare call it soccer!), that will decide for you when to go.

Medical Emergencies

Be sure to take out travel insurance which covers medical emergencies, as visitors to the UK do not enjoy free National Health Insurance coverage.

Emergency Phone Numbers

999 is the emergency numbers to call, but if you phone 112 or 911 on a cellphone, you'll still get through. Emergency phone calls are free.

First time in London

It must have been about seven o’clock in the morning when we flew in over the city. A night spent bursting with excitement and not much sleep had left us eagerly anticipating our arrival. I strained to see past my two boys, as I pointed to the rows of semi-detached cottages woven together forming unfamiliar patterns. A moment that can only be captured once in a lifetime, the wonder of seeing our boys flying in over a foreign country for the first time. Despite fatigue and an arduous hour getting through customs, we had finally arrived as we stepped out into the bustle of Heathrow airport. Public transport would be a new experience for our South African children as we steered the boys onto the London Express which would take us directly to Paddington Station. Wide eyed and somewhat overwhelmed, I sadly realised that this was the boys first train ride ever. With the comfort of a padded seat and a great view of the ever so green countryside, it was a spectacular taste of what England could behold. Excitement mounted as we drew closer and found ourselves in darkness below the pulsating depths of the city. We made our exit and found our way upward to stand at the entrance of Paddington Station. There was a vibrancy of sound as we viewed the activity of city life living around us. The boys begged to ride in one of the many London Taxi’s that saw parked nearby. Exhausted, we piled into the backseat of one of them; this was after all a day to capture many first time experiences. Gill.

London Attractions

The first thing to do when in London is get your bearings - gain a birds eye-view of the city by going up the London Eye. And nothing says you were there quite like a shot of yourself with London in the background. Other ways of getting your bearings is obtaining a map and walking around - you'll be surprised how much close everything is together and realise that you don't always have to take the tube.

self shot on the London Eye

Do the tourist traps like Madame Tussauds, the Towers of London and the London Dungeon. Spend time on Trafalgar Square and check whether the guards really do blink at Buckingham Palace. Go relax in the parks - it's relatively safe compared to South Africa, although pickpocketers are a real nuisance. The National Gallery is a real treasure, but it's huge and there are many quality works. Also on your list should be the British Museum, Tate Modern, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum.

Time zones

The time difference between South Africa and the UK varies from being 1 hour ahead in the South African winter (when the UK has daylight saving) to 2 hours and in the South African summer.

UK

GMT + 1 during UK summer
GMT + 0 during UK winter

South Africa

GMT + 2

London Calling

Mandatory to listen to, before your visit to London.

South African food in London

If you're feeling homesick in London, you may want to try the following restaurants for some South African cuisine:

High Timber

8 High Timber Street, London
0207 248 1777
info@hightimber.com

Jungle Braai

28 Osborn Street, London
0207 247 0073
info@junglebraai.com

Mohawk Spur

Southside Shopping Centre, Wandsworth, London
0208 874 0831
mohawkspur@yahoo.co.uk

Vivat Bacchus

47 Farringdon Street, Holborn, London
0207 353 2648
info@vivatbacchus.co.uk

Travelling to London - accounts

So, what's it like to travel to London - here's an account:

Legendary Harry Morris travels to London

Here's a little extract from the book "Genius for the Defence" recounting how the famous Johannesburg advocate Harry Morris, travelled to London:

"In 1927 Morris considered it time for a respite from the avalanche of briefs and tooks his wife and sons on a trip abroad. Their progress from Johannesburg was marked by an unsettling succession of thirteens. The railway coach numbers totalled 13. The dock porter's number was 13. They sailed on Friday, May 13, and their cabin numbers, 24 and 25, added up to 13. But none of these coincidences proved of ill omen and thereafter any superstition the Morris family might have harboured about the figure 13, was banished.

On board the cruise, Morris was a great favourite. He was always in demand for deck games, concerts and daily activities and he assisted gaily in the duckings at the crossing-the-line ceremony.

In England Morris put his sons in a boarding school and set off with his wife on a Continental tour. His visits to the great European galleries gave him a wider knowledge and appreciation of art. And on his return to the Cape a fortuitous south-easter was instrumental in putting this knowledge and appreciation to some practical use. The mailship, Windsor Castle, was blown across Table Bay by a gale force wind and docked several hours late. The Johannesburg train left without the ship's passengers and Morris spent the afternoon with Morris Green, a shipper and financier, nostalgically roaming Cape Town and examining art dealers' collections. In one shop they bought 52 paintings."

Airports

London Heathrow Airport

Most international flights from South Africa land at London Heathrow International Airport. Navigate to London Heathrow flight information to check whether flights are on schedule.

Phone Number

The phone number at London Heathrow Airport is 0844 335 1801.

Trains
  • Every 15 minutes a Heathrow Express non-stop train leaves Heathrow for Paddington station.

  • Heathrow Connect goes along the same route as the Heathrow Express, but also has some stops along the way (and is a bit cheaper).

  • The London Underground (The Tube) is the cheapest train and has the most stops.

National Express
  • Slightly cheaper even than the London Underground are National Express coaches.

Buses
  • There are bus services from London Heathrow, but you may find you have to change several times to get to London (the exception being the night service to Aldwych).

Taxis

Yes, you can take a taxi, but expect to pay a lot for black cab.

Hotels near the Airport

If you're keen on staying really near the airport, we recommend trying the Premier Inn Heathrow Airport or the YOTEL at London Heathrow Airport. There's also the Sheraton Skyline Hotel London Heathrow, the Ibis London Heathrow Airport, the Holiday Inn London - Heathrow Ariel, the London Heathrow Marriott and the Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow Hotel.


View Larger Map
Car rentals

Carefully consider whether you really want to hire a car from Heathrow Airport, as it's often easier to just take the tubes in London. Car rental agencies operating from London Heathrow include Europcar, Avis, Budget, Enterprise Rent a Car and Hertz.

Gatwick Airport

There are far fewer flights from South Africa when end up in Gatwick Airport than Heathrow. Navigate to Gatwick flight information to check whether your flight is on schedule.

Phone Number

The phone number at London Heathrow Airport is +44 844 892 0322.

Trains
  • The Gatwick Express runs every 15 minutes to London Victoria, taking about half an hour to get there.
  • Southern Railway runs every 15 minutes to London Victoria via Clapham (slightly cheaper than the Gatwick Express, but takes about 5 minutes longer).
  • First Capital Connect is the cheapest rail, running to London Bridge, Blackfriarys, and a number of other stations.
National Express
  • There are National Express coaches from Gatwick to Stansted, Heathrow Airport, as well as London Victoria.

Buses
  • It's just over an hour with easyBus to Earl's Court.

Taxis

Yes, you can take a taxi, but expect to pay a lot for black cab.

Hotels near the Airport

We recommend staying at the Premier Inn London Gatwick Airport, the YOTEL London Gatwick Airport or the Sofitel London Gatwick.


View Larger Map
Car rentals

Car rental agencies operating from Gatwick Airport include Avis, Europcar, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Hertz, Budget and Abbey Self Drive.

Thank you for reading to the bottom of this article, and hopefully you now have sufficient info to book your flight to London. If not, please pop us a message below - in fact leave a message anyway, we love hearing from our clients :) Wishing you only blue skies and tailwinds on your trip to London. This is the reaction we got when we shared one of our London airfares on twitter :)

that's a good price tweet

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