Gatwick is the second largest airport in the UK and tends to be seen as the ‘overflow’ runway choice for many long-haul carriers flying into London. But it is a gateway to many European destinations and budget airlines like EasyJet and Ryan Air fly into Gatwick too (unlike Heathrow), so it’s a good option if you’re coming for a mini break.
It’s not the closest airport to central London—in fact, it’s close to the halfway point between the city and the south coast, but transport to and from Gatwick has improved a lot in recent years and is frequent, so you can be out of arrivals and into the centre of the city in around an hour.
There are two terminals, so make sure you note whether you’re landing at the North or South Terminal when planning your transfer.
Depending on your budget, and how fast you want to get into town, there are:
4 transport options from Gatwick Airport to central London
(Provided by EasyBus or National Express)
Price: From £5-£10
Pros: CHEAP with regular services into destinations including Earls Court and Victoria (both Zone 1)
Cons: It’s slow, average journey times are 1 hr 30 minutes and you will be at the mercy of the traffic of the M25 (the infamous circular motorway around London). Possibly not a great option if you’re arriving around rush hour (Mon-Fri 7:30 to 9:30 and 17:30 to 19:30).
Regular train service
Price: £9.50–£15.70 (you can now use contactless/Oyster from Gatwick)
Pros: Quicker than the bus. Cheaper than the Gatwick Express—it’s the same train line, but it stops at more stations, and you’ll be competing for space against commuters, who won’t love you if you’ve got a lot of luggage. Trains go to either London Bridge or Victoria, both of which are in Zone 1.
Cons: It’s a bit more expensive than the bus, it’s a busy commuter line and slower than the Gatwick Express.
Got extra money and want to get to central London in a hurry? Then get on board the Gatwick Express!
Price: Just under £20
Pros: Fast and regular service into London Victoria
Cons: EXPENSIVE (We advise you to save the money for an over-priced pint instead.)
If you’re travelling in a small group, or as a family it might be worth pre-booking a cab. You can use online services like Taxicode to compare prices, get quotes and check reviews and start from around £15 per person.
Alternatively, Uber charges from £35-£50 to go to central London destinations including Soho and Waterloo.
Pros: Cheap if costs can be split, and it’s more comfortable and direct than public transport (where you’ll almost certainly need to navigate London Underground to get to your accommodation). Room for luggage.
Cons: Varying costs (Uber surcharges, expensive cab fares during peak hours).
Ditching your luggage
Arriving into London early and don’t fancy hauling your luggage around for the day? Providers like Luggagent will same-day deliver your suitcase from the airport to your hotel or residence for around £40.00. Just register beforehand and drop your cases off at the desk. They can also pick your luggage up and bring it to the airport for you—potentially giving you an extra baggage free day of exploring! What’s more, if you use our link you can take an extra bag free of charge—courtesy of our friends over at Tokyo Cheapo.