Traveling to London soon and flying to London Stansted and wondering if you can buy a prepaid sim card on arrival at the airport This is a complete guide for buying a sim card at London Stansted Airport.

Find out where to buy a sim card, up to date prices as per January 2024, the best e-sim cards for the UK, my recommendation, info about international sim cards, how to get to London city center and everything else you need to know about arriving at London Stansted Airport.

The first thing I do when I get to a new country is either buying a local prepaid sim card or an e-sim card to make sure I stay connected. As Traveltomtom is am aiming to travel to every country in the world I get to a lot of different countries and therefore on Traveltomtom you can find almost 200 sim card guides from all over the world: Europe, Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam, FrankfurtUSA, New York, Newark, AsiaVietnam, Spain, Indonesia, Guatemala, Iceland, Panama City, Colombia, Papua New Guinea and many more.

Of course you can also find my complete guide about the best prepaid sim cards for tourists in the UK in 2024 or a list of the best e-sim cards for traveling to the UK in 2024.

So when you are planning your next adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card and e-sim card advice for your holiday destination. Bookmark me!

My recommendation

Traveltomtom recommends buying a Three UK prepaid sim card at London Stansted Airport. For £20 GBP ($25 USD) you get 20 GB data.

This also makes it a super easy conclusion and recommendation that e-sim cards are the best way to stay connected when traveling to the UK. There are already UK e-sims that start from $5 USD and for $21 USD you get 20 GB data.

Unfortunately there are still no e-sim cards available at London Stansted Airport, only physical prepaid sim cards. But you can buy an e-sim card for traveling to the UK online.

Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for the UK via Nomad, Airalo or SimOptions.

For a much more detailed guide about using e-sim cards when traveling to the UK check out my comparison of the best e-sim cards for the UK in 2024.

Since Brexit UK sim cards are not great anymore for traveling onwards to Europe.

Therefore Traveltomtom recommends looking into international travel sim cards. Check out my article about the best international sim cards for traveling in 2024 and see which one suits your trip.

You can order them online and they will either be delivered to your home address before your trip or you receive an e-sim in your email. Click here for an article specialized on the best sim cards for traveling in Europe in 2024.

Best e-sim cards for the UK

E-sim cards are the most convenient and easiest way to stay connected when traveling to London in 2024. No more visiting a sim card store or swapping physical sim cards. You arrange everything online within just a couple minutes.

You order an e-sim card for the UK on the internet, you receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and within less than 2 minutes you have a UK e-sim card installed on your phone.

Upon arrival in the United Kingdom it automatically connects you to an available network and you enjoy data on your phone pretty much when the plane lands.

Make sure your phone is e-sim compatible before ordering an e-sim card for the UK.

For all FAQ's about using e-sim cards when traveling to the United Kingdom click on the link to read my detailed guide.

There are several e-sim card providers, here are the most trusted ones.

Airalo

airalo esim card plans for united kingdom 2024

Airalo offers multiple data-only e-sim cards for traveling in the UK and Traveltomtom has used Airalo lots of times without any problem Check out the Airalo e-sim card deals for the UK in 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $5 USD
  • 2 GB data for 15 days = $7.5 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $10 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $15 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $22.5 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $36 USD

Click here for more info or to directly order an e-sim card for the UK via Airalo.

The above Airalo e-sim cards for the UK are from Uki Mobile and are data-only. Calling and texting is NOT supported. The data allowance is only valid in the UK, there is no free EU roaming with these e-Sim cards. They operate on the 4G/LTE networks of O2 and Three.

SimOptions

simoptions international esim cards for uk 2024

SimOptions offers different e-sim cards, so called international e-sim cards for traveling. These e-sim cards are valid in up to 39 countries and include EU data-roaming and as well as calling and texting.

Check out the SimOptions international e-sim card plans for 2024:

  • 15 GB data + unlimited calls for 15 days = $21.90 USD
  • 10 GB data (5G ready) + $2 calling credit for 30 days = $24.90 USD 
  • 12 GB data + 30 minutes international + unlimited calls/text for 14 days = $29.90 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $34.90 USD (data-only, no EU roaming)
  • 30 GB data + unlimited calls for 30 days = $44.90 USD
  • 30 GB data + 120 minutes international + unlimited calls/text for 14 days = $49.90 USD
  • 50 GB data (5G ready) + unlimited calls/text for 28 days = $59.90 USD

Click here to order an international e-sim card for the UK via SimOptions or find more offers and info in the link.

Nomad

nomad esim card plans for uk 2024

A third trusted and reviewed e-sim provider is Nomad. Traveltomtom has used Nomad in more than 10 countries around the world.

Here are the regular Nomad e-sim card plans for the UK in 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $7 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $8 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $11 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $15 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $21 USD

Click here to order an e-sim card for the UK from Nomad.

Before ordering an e-sim card for the UK make sure your phone is first of all unlocked and second, your smartphone needs to be e-sim compatible otherwise an e-sim won't work.

For more UK e-sim card offers and much more details check out my comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to the United Kingdom in 2024 with an answer to all FAQ's about using e-sims for traveling to the UK.

Those who do not have an e-sim compatible phone can order a physical prepaid sim card for traveling in the UK and get it delivered to their home address before their trip. For $49.90 USD you get 30 GB data + unlimited calls within Europe and 120 minutes worldwide. Click on the link to order this physical prepaid sim card via SimOptions or find more info.

RELATED: check out these cheap Airbnbs in London for under $100 per night. I found you the best listings with great reviews!

Where to buy a sim card at London Stansted Airport

where to buy a sim card london stansted

Just like at London Gatwick Airport and London Luton Airport there are prepaid sim card vending machines at London Stansted Airport. It works exactly like ordering a snickers. The sim card vending machine at London Stansted Airport is located at luggage belts.

At the end of the hall next to the luggage belt you can get your prepaid sim card for tourists. Be aware that If you go through customs, you can NOT go back inside the baggage hall to buy a sim card from the vending machine. 

But there is another place where they sell sim cards for tourists at London Stansted Airport. In the arrival hall, immediately after you walk out of the arrivals door there is a WH Smith shop on your right hand side, see the picture above.

Prices prepaid sim cards at London Stansted Airport

The below info and prices are updated as per January 2024. Prices are in Pounds Sterling and £1 GBP = $1.27 USD and $1 USD = £0.78 GBP.

Next to the luggage belts you can already buy your UK sim card for tourists at the sim card vending machine. At London Stansted Airport the vending machine is loaded with the exact same prepaid sim card options as at London Gatwick Airport.

Sim Card Vending Machine

sim card vending machine london stansted

It is all self-service at the sim card vending machines but there is very detailed information about the following UK sim cards: Vodafone, Lyca Mobile, EE and Three. There are 6 different sim cards to choose from:

Vodafone 20 SLV for £20 GBP - $25 USD

vodafone uk sim card london stansted

  • 200 UK minutes
  • Unlimited UK texts
  • 1GB data UK + extra 4GB
  • Valid 30 days

It says that data is only valid in the UK. But well... let's forget about Vodafone anyway: too expensive! I would NOT recommend buying a Vodafone sim card at London Stansted Airport.

Three All in One Bundle Unlimited for £30 GBP - $38 USD

three uk sim card london stansted

  • Unlimited calls in the UK
  • Unlimited texts in the UK
  • 12GB data
  • Valid for 30 days

You can use your Three data all over Europe and on top of that in: Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and USA. 

EE National Bundle for £20 GBP - $25 USD

ee uk sim card london stansted

  • 150 UK or international minutes to 34 destinations
  • 150 UK texts
  • 10.5GB data
  • Unlimited EE to EE calls and texts
  • Valid for 30 days

EE International Bundle for £25 GBP - $32 USD

ee uk sim card london stansted 1

  • 250 minutes UK or international
  • 500 UK texts
  • 13GB data
  • Unlimited EE to EE calls and texts
  • Valid for 30 days

Something extra about EE sim cards is that they are the only mobile internet provider that has a wifi connection at London Underground stations. There is no phone signal in the London tube, but you can connect to EE wifi at stations when you decide to buy a EE sim card at London Stansted Airport.

Lycamobile UK Plan Super for £25 GBP - $32 USD

lyca mobile uk sim card london stansted 1

  • 3000 minutes in the UK
  • 100 international minutes to selected countries 
  • 3000 texts in the UK
  • 6GB data
  • Valid for 30 days

Lycamobile UK Plan Ultra for £35 GBP - $45 USD

lyca mobile uk sim card london stansted

  • Unlimited calls in the UK
  • 100 international minutes to selected countries 
  • Unlimited texts in the UK
  • 15GB data
  • Valid for 30 days

Lycamobile uses the network of O2 in the UK.

WH Smith Shop

If you want a little more service then I recommend you to go to the WH Smith shop directly on your right hand side when you walk into the arrivals hall. There is even a lovely lady walking around willing to help you finding the right sim card for your trip to Europe.

sim card stansted airport

stansted airport sim card

EE UK prepaid sim card

The WH Smith shops offer the same EE sim cards as the sim card vending machine at the luggage belts.

Lebara Mobile UK prepaid sim card - £20 GBP - $25 USD

  • 500 international minutes to 41 destinations
  • 500 UK minutes
  • 1GB data
  • For £2 extra 200 international minutes

Not the best UK sim card for tourists at all as you can easily call through Whatsapp, Viber, Skype for free nowadays and 1GB data is gone in 1 hour.

Lebara Mobile £30 GBP - $38 USD

  • Unlimited international minutes to 41 destinations
  • Unlimited UK minutes
  • 1000 UK texts
  • 5GB data
  • £5 additional PAYG credit

In case you have read more of my sim cards for Europe articles like the one from Amsterdam Airport or Frankfurt Airport you will understand why I am NOT a fan a Lebara Mobile. Simply no value for money and pricey compared to the other prepaid sim cards available.

Three UK prepaid sim card

sim card stansted airport london

At WH Smith they offer 3 different Three UK sim cards for £20, £30 and £45. The packages are slightly different than the UK prepaid sim cards in the vending machine. All the packages offered at WH Smith give you 3000 UK minutes and 3000 UK texts. The difference is the data bundle: 1GB, 12GB and Unlimited data. So for £45 you have unlimited 4G internet for 1 month.

Best sim card at London Stansted Airport

When comparing all the prepaid sim cards Traveltomtom rates Three UK as the best prepaid sim card at London Stansted in 2024!

You get around 20 GB data for £20 GBP ($25 USD), the most value for money when it comes to data. Still rather expensive when comparing this what the UK sim cards for tourists you can buy in London City Center.

Therefore check out my guide for the best prepaid sim cards for the UK in 2024.

But there is no easier way to get connected when traveling to London then an e-sim card. And let me tell you that e-sim cards for the UK are even cheaper then buying a prepaid sim card on arrival at London Stansted Airport.

You can order a UK e-sim directly online and arrange everything within just a couple clicks. You are online as soon as the plane lands in London. For $21 USD you already get a UK e-sim card with 20 GB data.

Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for the UK via Nomad, Airalo or SimOptions.

Check out Traveltomtom's comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to the United Kingdom in 2024.

If I had the choice buying a sim card at London Stansted Airport at either the vending machine or the WH Smith shop, then I totally would go for the lovely lady at the WH Smith shop.

where to buy a sim card london stansted 1

Also when arriving at London Stansted Airport and you are willing to call home for free for 2 minutes, then head to the WH Smith shop as they give you 2 minutes free calling time with the phone below. Just a nice service of them as they took all the paid-phones away at London Stansted after the recent renovation.

Buy a prepaid sim card for the UK online

international prepaid sim cards for traveling to uk 2024

If your phone is not e-sim compatible but you would like to order a sim card for traveling to the United Kingdom online before your trip then check out the following.

Arrive prepared for your trip to London with an international prepaid sim card. You order them online and a physical prepaid sim card will be delivered to your home address. You put this sim card in your phone and it automatically connects to an available network upon arrival in London, basically when the plane lands you are instantly online.

SimOptions offers the following international prepaid sim cards for the UK:

1. O2 Go Card - $24.90

  • 10 GB data
  • $2 calling credit (no top-up)
  • valid for 30 days
  • valid in 34 countries
  • 4G/LTE

2. Three Data Pack - $24.90

  • 10 GB data
  • Unlimited calls/sms
  • Valid 30 days
  • Valid in 56 countries
  • 4G/LTE

3. Orange Holiday ZEN - $29.90

  • 12 GB data
  • Unlimited calls/sms in Europe
  • 30 minutes worldwide
  • 200 sms worldwide
  • Valid 14 days
  • Valid in 34 countries
  • 4G/LTE

4. Bouygues Telecom - $44.90

  • 30 GB data
  • Unlimited calls in Europe
  • Valid 30 days
  • Valid in 39 countries
  • 4G/LTE

5. Orange Holiday Europe - $49.90

  • 30 GB data
  • Unlimited calls/sms in Europe
  • 120 minutes worldwide
  • 1,000 sms worldwide
  • Valid 30 days
  • Valid in 39 countries
  • 4G/LTE

Click here to order an international sim card for traveling to the UK via SimOptions.

In the days before e-sims Traveltomtom has used the Orange Holiday Europe multiple times for my trips to Europe.

A last reminder that if your phone is e-sim compatible then you simply order a data-only e-sim card for the UK via Airalo or click here to order an e-sim card for the UK including free EU data roaming and unlimited calls and texting via SimOptions and there is Nomad that also has amazing UK e-sim card deals.

For more info about using e-sim cards in the UK check out my complete guide for buying an e-sim card for traveling in the United Kingdom in 2024.

From Stansted Airport to Luton Airport

from london stansted to luton

May you just like me somehow end up on the wrong airport or you have a connection flight to catch at an other London airport? Take the National Express bus 737. That bus will bring you directly from Stansted Airport to Luton Airport in about 1,5 hours. Price: £15.60 GBP

How to get from Stansted Airport to London city center

There are many ways to get to London, some more expensive than others of course. When it comes to public transport you have two options: bus and train.

Bus from Stansted Airport to London City Center

from stansted airport to london

There are several bus connections connecting London city with Stansted Airport. If you want to take the National Express bus you can walk up to their service desk right in front of Arrivals inside the terminal. They have busses going to London every 10 minutes and the drive will take about 50 minutes depending on traffic. Tickets can be purchased for £8 already, though more expensive when you book them at the airport.

Train from Stansted Airport to London City Center

When taking the train you simply go down to the train station and buy a ticket for London at one of the machines. There are always people walking around to help you in the process. The train will take you In three stops to Tottenham Hale for £16.70. The tickets can be up to 50% cheaper when booked in advance.

Thank you for reading my tips for buying a sim card at London Stansted Airport, I hope they were useful. Let me know if you have any more questions, leave me a comment below and I am more than happy to help!

Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of January 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.

Enjoy your trip to London!