Last updated 18 January 2021 at 10.15am 

You will need to plan how to reach Leeds and how to travel to your accommodation once you have arrived in the UK.  When you plan the details of your journey and travel connections remember to allow time for any delays and queues at immigration control.

When you enter the UK do not use the electronic ePassport gates, as you will not receive the correct immigration stamps if you enter via this method. 

UK transport providers are putting measures in place in response to the covid-19 pandemic. You can find more details on their individual websites. 

From Monday 18 January at 4am anyone arriving in the UK needs to self-isolate on arrival for 10 days, so you must make sure you understand the UK government rules on self-isolation. You’ll still need to self-isolate, even if you’ve received a covid-19 vaccine abroad. 

From 4am on Monday 18 January 2021, you must have proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test to travel to England.

You can also find information about the UK government’s Test to Release scheme, where you may be able to choose to pay for a private covid-19 test from an approved provider in order to reduce your period of self-isolation after international travel.  

Before you leave home

Before leaving home you should:

  • Keep checking the UK government guidance on testing and self-isolation requirements as this is changing regularly.
  • Take a coronavirus test in the 3 days before you start your journey to England. You will need to present the proof of your negative test before you board to travel to England.
  • Complete the government passenger locator form before you travel to the UK.
  • If you wish to take part in the Test to Release scheme, you’ll need to enter details on your passenger locator form. 
  • Know where you will stay on your first night and for 10 days if you need to self-isolate.
  • Know the arrangements for collecting your accommodation key. 
  • Know the 24-hour phone number for your accommodation.
  • Make sure you have enough masks/face coverings for your journey.

Many accommodation site offices are not open in the evening, so if you plan to arrive in the evening, contact your accommodation in advance to check how to collect your keys when you arrive.

It is also essential to carry the University’s Security Office contact details in case of an emergency. You can also check what else you need on our What to bring page.

Travelling to Leeds

Read the UK government guidance on how to travel to the place where you are self-isolating. It is useful to research your public transport options from different airports before you book your flight.  

Until the end of February 2021, the University is providing travel and arrival support at Manchester Airport and Leeds Bradford Airport. More information is on our Arriving page. If you plan to arrive after February 2021, keep checking this page for updates nearer the time. 

If you need to use public transport it is useful to know that tickets are usually cheaper when booked in advance, although less flexible if you are delayed on your journey.

You can find train times and buy tickets on the National Rail website. Please note there is disruption expected to train services between London and Leeds in early 2021 due to planned engineering works.  

Travelling by coach will often be cheaper than other options. There are a number of coach companies operating in the UK, you can check prices and buy tickets at National Express and Megabus. Please note Coach travel with National Express is currently suspended and no services are running until 1 March 2021. 

If you will be travelling in London, find out about London buses and the underground. More information about UK public transport is available from Traveline.


You can find travel information on four airports you might choose to travel to here. Leeds Bradford and Manchester airports are the most convenient, especially if you have heavy luggage and a long journey to reach the UK. The University is arranging transport to the University from Leeds Bradford Airport and Manchester Airport until the end of February. More information is on our Arriving page

Leeds Bradford Airport

Leeds Bradford Airport is around 12 kilometres from the centre of Leeds. As it is a small local airport, immigration queues will often be shorter than other airports. The University will provide transport from Leeds Bradford Airport to campus on key dates. Alternatively you can take a taxi which can be pre-booked through Arrow Cars. The Uber app also works in Leeds. Buses also run from the airport to Leeds city centre but you are likely to need to take a taxi from there to your accommodation.

Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport is around 90km from the centre of Leeds.

The University will provide transport from Manchester Airport to campus on key dates. 

  • Train: you can get a direct train from Manchester Airport to Leeds train station. The journey will take around one hour and twenty minutes. 
  • Coach: you can also take a coach from Manchester Airport to Leeds Coach Station, which will usually be the cheapest option. The journey will take around two hours and 30 minutes.
  • Taxi: the taxi fare from Manchester Airport to Leeds Train Station will be significantly more expensive than public transport. The journey will take around one hour and twenty minutes. You can pre-book a taxi through Arrow Cars. The Uber app also works in Manchester.

London Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow Airport is around 320km away from Leeds.

  • Coach: The coach is usually the cheapest option and the journey will take between six and eight hours. You will need to change coaches at London Victoria coach station.
  • Train: There is no direct train from Heathrow Airport to Leeds. This route involves a journey that is difficult with heavy luggage, including changing trains and using the underground. The journey will take around three hours and forty minutes. 

London Gatwick Airport

Gatwick airport is around 380km from Leeds city centre. 

  • Coach: the coach is usually the cheapest option and the journey will take between seven and a half and nine hours. You will need to change coaches at London Victoria coach station. 
  • Train: There are varying routes between Gatwick and Leeds train station that consist of between one and three changes. All take around three and a half hours.  

Travelling to your accommodation

When you arrive in Leeds you may wish to take a taxi to the accommodation that you have arranged for your first night in the city. There are permanent taxi ranks at the airport, train and coach stations. Alternatively you can pre-book through Arrow Cars. The Uber app also works in Leeds.

Check the dates when we will be providing a welcome service at Leeds Bradford Airport on our Arriving page.  

If you are delayed or have problems with your journey, phone your accommodation before you leave the airport or station.

If you are not able to contact your accommodation, take a taxi to the University's Security Office where staff are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Travel safety tips

  • Keep your passport safe and never give it to anyone except an immigration official.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash. Do not leave your bags unsupervised during your journey.
  • Take out travel insurance. It will not stop something going wrong but it will protect you financially.
  • Keep checking the government guidance on self-isolation on arrival
  • Bring enough face coverings for your journey and keep checking the latest UK government covid-19 advice and the safety measures on the websites of your transport providers.
  • Check you have packed in your hand luggage your travel documents, essential documents and medication, and contact details of your accommodation and the University Security Office. More information is on our What to bring page.

Find out more about how we can support you when you arrive.