Can I sleep at Stansted Airport?

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Can you sleep at Stansted Airport? Yes you can, and this is how I did it.

Why Sleep at Stansted Airport?

During my travels the need arose to sleep inside Stanstead airport overnight for 6 hours as hotels nearby were extortionately priced.

London Stansted Airport is actually located in Essex and not London. This means that it is not connected to the tube/underground network and only way to reach it by public transport is by overground train. These trains do not run past 12am. As I was travelling solo a taxi was also too expensive to consider.

My flight left at 5:30am meaning I would have to be at the airport at around 03:45 to be there in good time, this wasn’t an option with public transport. Hence the overnight stay.

Sleep at aiport

How to get to Stansted airport?

The best option is to catch a direct train from London Liverpool Street Station to the airport at around 11pm. This will mean you arrive at the airport just before midnight. A ticket usually costs around £16.

When can I go through security at Stansted airport?

On arrival at the airport you will not be allowed to go through security until around 02:30. Until this time your best bet is lie down and take it easy near the entrance but inside of Stansted. If you go further into the airport nearer the desks you’ll be asked to move on later in the night as they clean the area. Get some sleep and wait until security opens. I highly recommend bringing a small sleeping bag, as even in September it was a tad cold.

Moving through security

It’ll be the quickest security you’ve ever done if you head straight through when it opens, as few people are around. In the departure lounge, even as this time, you’ll find nearly all the food shops open including Pret, WHSmith and Boots etc. Result!

Where can I get a sim card?

Need a sim card on landing or about to fly off? Rather than the hassle of finding/getting a physical sim card, an easier method these days is to get an e-sim. Simply select the country or region you are in and get data and calls on your phone. More info can be found here.

Prices are reasonable, usually only $25 for 20GB of data. We now always use this method when travelling as it just saves so much time and bother!

Where can I sleep at Stansted Airport

As it gets nearer to the first flights of the day, around 4am, it can get very busy before the gates are called. Be prepared to search hard to get a seat.

Sleeping at Stansted Airport
Grab a few more zzz after security.

In summary you’ll probably only get three hours sleep in total but I found the experience to be much less painful than I expected. It’s totally safe as there are lots of staff always about. Most of the shops being open was also a massive help. Good luck!

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