Traveling to London soon? Let me help you getting a sim card on arrival. Avoid high roaming costs and slow overseas data roaming. Buying a sim card at London Stansted Airport is easy. In this guide I tell you where to go, which one to but and everything else you need to know about a UK sim card for tourists.

All of the information in this blog is up to date as of January 2021 and based on my own experiences. Recently I traveled to London and went to all 4 airports to update my guides for buying sim cards in London as well as my articles about best prepaid sim cards in the UK.

Also let me tell you about one of my biggest travel fails ever! After visiting more than 100 countries and being on the road as a professional travel blogger for more than 7 years I still was able to show up at the wrong airport last year in London! So please be careful and don't get confused... it even happens to professional travelers. Yes, I missed my flight! :)

Over the last year I wrote almost 100 guides for buying sim cards in places like: USA, Vietnam, Spain, Indonesia, Guatemala, Iceland and many more.

like buying a sim card at Rome Airport, Gatwick AirportParis, Brussels and I used this opportunity at London Stansted Airport to check it out for you.

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

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UK sim cards and traveling in Europe in 2021

Because of new regulations in power since June 2017, mobile roaming costs in Europe are banned. Great news for people on a trip around Europe, which means that you are able to use the UK sim card you will buy at London Stansted all over Europe.

Brexit and free roaming in Europe

Although Brexit really happened, the free roaming stayed on untouched. Until further notice you can still use your UK sim cards all over Europe. That means you can use the data on a UK sim card in all other European countries at no extra costs.

Order a sim card for the UK online

No need to buy a sim card on arrival in London if you order one online before your trip to the UK. There are a lot of international prepaid sim cards that you can order from the Simoptions website and will be shipped to your home address. These international sim cards are working in the UK and the rest of Europe. For example: unlimited calls/text and 12 GB = $30. Click on the link above or the banner below for more info.

europe sim card orange 728x90

 

Where to buy a UK sim card for tourists at London Stansted Airport

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 collection.

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. In the arrival hall, immediately after you walk out of the arrivals door there is a WH Smith shop on your right hand side. Check the picture below!

where to buy a sim card london stansted

Prices UK sim cards at London Stansted Airport in 2021

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.

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:

sim card vending machine london stansted

Vodafone 20 SLV for £20

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

vodafone uk sim card london stansted

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

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

three uk sim card london stansted

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

  • 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 uk sim card london stansted

EE International Bundle for £25

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

ee uk sim card london stansted 1

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.

Lyca UK Plan Super for £25

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

lyca mobile uk sim card london stansted 1

Lyca UK Plan Ultra for £35

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

lyca mobile uk sim card london stansted

Lyca Mobile uses the network of O2 in the UK.

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

Lebara Mobile £20

  • 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

  • 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

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.

Here are all the available UK sim cards for tourists at WH Smith London Stansted Airport in one overview.

sim card stansted airport london

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Best UK sim card at London Stansted Airport in 2021

When comparing all the above sim cards I personally think that:

The EE UK is the best prepaid sim card at London Stansted in 2021!

You get 13 GB data for £25, 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.

Also an EE sim card will provide you an exclusive wifi signal in the London Underground. Very handy when you go sightseeing and travel from one side to the other in London.

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.

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.

where to buy a sim card london stansted 1

From Stansted Airport to Luton Airport

May you just like me somehow end up on the wrong airport or you have a connection flight to catch at the other 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.

from london stansted to luton

How to get from Stansted Airport to London city

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

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.

from stansted airport to london

With the train from Stansted to London

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.

Free $30 Airbnb Credit

When signing up through this link for a new Airbnb account I can get you $30 off your first booking! Also when looking for the best cheap London Airbnbs I can show you a list of 15 great homes with good reviews and all for under $100 per night. Click on the link for more info!

Buy a UK sim card for Europe online

The following 4 international sim cards are a selection of the best sim cards for traveling to the UK. You can order them directly on the Simpotions website, specialized in sim cards for travelers.

1. Orange Holiday ZEN - $29.90

  • 8 GB data
  • Unlimited calls in Europe
  • 30 minutes worldwide
  • Unlimited sms in Europe
  • 200 sms worldwide
  • Valid 14 days

2. Three PAYG AIO15 - $29.90

  • 10 GB data
  • Unlimited calls within Europe
  • Unlimited sms within Europe
  • Valid 30 days

3. Three PAYG AIO20 - $39.90

  • 12 GB data
  • Unlimited calls within Europe
  • Unlimited sms within Europe
  • Valid 30 days

4. Orange Holiday Europe - $49.90

  • 20 GB data
  • Unlimited calls in Europe
  • 120 minutes worldwide
  • Unlimited sms in Europe
  • 1,000 sms worldwide
  • Valid 14 days

Personally I would recommend one of the last two available options: Orange or Three. The sim card will be shipped to your home address and will automatically be activated from its first use. Click on one of the links above or the banner below for more info.

europe sim card orange 728x90

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

Enjoy your trip to London!

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