Currently London (airport) (code YXU) has direct plane connections to the following cities:
Flights to London are sometimes (but not always) very expensive. Alternative airports with ground transportation to London are Toronto and Detroit.
From London airport to the city itself: Until recently, the only public transportation from London airport was provided by a limousine or taxi service. The limousines or taxis are normally waiting outside the arrival area. If there is no taxi or limousine waiting, you can call them from one of the non-pay phones in the arrival area.
The main company operating this service is Checker. The fee is usually not determined by a metre, but looked up in a map, and thus is independent of travel delays. The trip to downtown London costs currently about 45$. Please remember that a tip of between 10% and 15% is expected.
There is now also an infrequent bus service, Route 36 operated by London Transit. So far the connections are poor, and one will have to change several times.
You have to go through immigration (passport control) and customs at the first point where you enter Canada (unlike Europe, for instance).
Avoid bringing (parts of) plants, seeds or animal products (e.g. sausages, cheese). These are strictly controlled.
If you arrive in Canada at airport A from outside Canada and continue to airport B within Canada you can check your luggage through to airport B. However, you will have to pick up your luggage at the airport A to take it through customs. Before that, you have to pass Immigration Canada, that is, passport control. Typically, when leaving the customs area you will find a booth at which you can drop off your checked luggage again. If you are new to the airport, ask an officer at the customs exit for directions regarding connecting flights.
Travellers from outside North America who arrive in Canada via a US airport are likely to have to clear customs also in the US.
If you arrive directly from outside Canada at London airport, customs and immigration are handled there.
There is a limousine service from Toronto and Detroit airports to London operated by the company Robert Q.
The drive from Toronto airport to London takes about two hours. The one from Detroit to London takes a bit longer because of the US border.
In London there are two normal drop-off and pick-up locations: the Ramada Inn and the Robert Q depot. For an additional fee you can buy home drop-off and home pick-up. This could save you the fee for a taxi. To select this option when booking online use "London (Address)" as your destination or origin. Usually for home drop-off or pick-up you will be taken from/to one of the normal locations to/from "home" by pre-paid taxi.
You can make advance reservations with Robert Q or just walk to their desks at the airports. Advance reservations are very strongly recommended. The typical return fare is about 115$ for Toronto and about 140$ for Detroit. The fare for home drop-off or pick-up would be added and then sales tax (HST) on top of it.
London is on the routes which connect Toronto with Windsor and Sarnia. The trains are operated by VIA RAIL. Trains feeding into this system would, for instance, come from Ottawa, Montréal or New York. Train travel is convenient but slow in comparison to Japan or central Europe. Using first class is a realistic option as usually all meals and beverages would be included in travel fare.
The major highways by which London is reached include highways 401 (Toronto, Windsor, Detroit), 402 (London, Sarnia), 7/4 (Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, London,).
For car rental one needs a credit card in almost all cases. Car rental without one is practically impossible. For visitors from outside North America there may be special rates when the car is booked from the home location. In some cases, an international drivers licence may be required.
It is usually not difficult to find accommodation in London. However the distances in the city are large. For example, a bus takes about 20 minutes from the centre, the corner of Dundas and Richmond streets, to the university. It takes about one hour to walk that way -- a pleasant walk though, through parks along the Thames.
Here a few suggestions for accommodation are listed. However, if you decide to find a place to stay on your own, take the following considerations into account:
These hints are mainly meant for first-time visitors from outside North America.