London, United Kingdom (GB)
Gatwick Airport lies a lengthy 45km south of London city centre, but is well connected by train. While the Gatwick Express is heavily marketed and is the more comfortable option, the Southern and Thameslink trains are only a few minutes slower and a lot cheaper.
All trains leave from the Gatwick Airport station in the centre of the South Terminal. It's well signposted. If you arrive at the North Terminal, take the Sky Train Shuttle to the South Terminal.
Southern: Takes you to Victoria station, via East Croydon and Clapham Junction, in 30-40 minutes. This service can be crowded in rush hour, and you may need to queue at the vending machines in the station when buying tickets, so leave plenty of time. Cost: From GBP 16.70 one-way to Victoria (prices vary a lot depending on day of the week, time of day, and how often the train stops) Thameslink: Some go London Bridge, which is handy for the City if you're in town on business. Journey time is 30-40 minutes. Others go to St Pancras International, which is good for north London and the Eurostar. Journey time is 1 hr 9 mins. Cost: From GBP 11 one-way to London Bridge (prices vary a lot depending on day of the week, time of day, and how often the train stops)
Gatwick Express: The Gatwick Express non-stop service is a good option if you want to get in the city quicker, and don't mind paying a bit extra. It takes you to Victoria station in 30 minutes. Trains run every 15 minutes from around 05:45-23:20. Cost: GBP 19.90 one-way and GBP 35.60 return
Journey time is typically 1 hr 20 mins to central London. You can pre-book cars, which can be cheaper, but not all companies are reliable.
Cost: GBP 110 or more
Gatwick Airport is the second busiest airport serving London, after Heathrow. It lies around 45km south of central London, in the county of West Sussex. It's a fairly manageable airport but has been known for its queues at passport control and slow baggage claim. Its biggest user is EasyJet.
The airport consists of two terminals in separate buildings:
If you have six hours or more to spare, hop on the train to Brighton for just GBP 9.50 return. Trains go every 15 minutes all day long from Gatwick Airport, and the ride takes about 30-35 minutes via the beautiful, rolling South Downs and Sussex countryside.
Brighton has plenty of quirky stalls and shops to explore, mixed with vibrant sea air, and many young Londoner commuters and daytrippers. Visit the Victorian pier and the Royal Pavilion, and eat the best fish and chips in the country. Then get back to Gatwick in time for your flight.
This trip is recommended in the summer where you can get the full benefit of a nice day on the pebble beach (but it can be crowded in sunny weather).
Make the most of your layover and explore another, quieter side of England in Horley.
Head for Gatwick Airport station, Platform 1, buy a ticket (GBP 2.80 return fare) and take the three-minute train ride to sleepy Horley. Trains run all day long, every 15 minutes.
Once there, grab a bite at the New Curry Bengal, around the corner from the station. You'll find friendly staff, always with a warm welcome. If you're upset about your flight being delayed, this place will cheer you up. The garlic chicken’s excellent. Then grab a pint at one of several excellent traditional English pubs. We like Ye Olde Six Bells on Church Road.
YOTELAIR offers very small but nicely designed cabins at reasonable prices. It calls it 'affordable luxury'.
It's in the public area of the terminal so you need to enter the UK before you can stay here.
Location: South Terminal, before security, next to international arrivals
Cost: GBP 70 and 100/night
Opening hours: 24 hours daily
As a passenger at Gatwick Airport, you get free newspapers and magazines. They’re available at clearly marked pick-up points after departures, en route to the gates, as well as in several restaurants. The London Evening Standard is available each weekday afternoon, along with a wide selection of popular magazines.
Gatwick Airport offers charging points before and after security where you can sit and charge your mobile device. You can use these free of charge.
ChargeBox kiosks in the departure lounges let you charge your phone securely. These secure lockers are equipped with charging leads for most handsets. Just plug in your phone and follow the easy instructions. Each locker key is unique, so your phone is secure while you’re away.
Cost: GBP 1.50 for 30 minutes
Location: Departure lounges of both terminals.
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A driverless shuttle train takes you the 1.2km distance between terminals in two minutes. You'll need to use it to get to the South Terminal if you arrive in the North Terminal and want to travel to London by train.