The Best way to travel to and from Gatwick Airport


Even though it’s technically located in West Sussex, Gatwick Airport remains to be London’s second largest and busiest airport after Heathrow. Situated 29.5 miles south of central London, Gatwick Airport is one of the most efficient single-runway airports in the world, and reaches over 200 destinations in 90 different countries. And even though it only has two terminals, approximately 35 million passengers pass through Gatwick Airport each year.

There are a number of different rail and bus transport options for anyone hoping to get to and from Gatwick Airport, and although the train tends to be the most popular option for passengers, they can certainly put a dent in your wallet if you’re not careful.

If you’re looking around for cheaper transportation options to get both to and from Gatwick Airport, here are some tips to keep in mind:

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How to get to and from Gatwick Airport by train

How long does it take?

  • 30 minutes (Gatwick Express)
  • 35 minutes (Southern Trains)
  • 30 to 50 minutes (Thameslink)
  • 30 to 35 minutes (Terravision)

How much does it cost?

  • £19.90 (single) to £34.90 (return) for Gatwick Express
  • £17.70 (single) or £31.05 (return) for Gatwick Express (when purchased online in advance)
  • £12 to £15 (single) or £24 to £30.80 for Southern Trains to Victoria
  • £8 to £14 (single) or £16 to £28 for Southern Trains to Victoria (with an Oyster card)
  • £9.40 to £10.30 (single) or £19.50 to £20.60 for Thameslink trains (to St. Pancras from Gatwick Airport)
  • £8 to £14 (single) or £16 to 28 (return) for Thameslink Trains with Oyster card (to St. Pancras from Gatwick Airport)
  • £17.75 (single) or £31.05 (return) for Terravision

Where are the pick-up points?

  • Gatwick’s South Terminal for all trains (from Gatwick)
  • London Victoria station for Gatwick Express and Terravision (from London)
  • East Croydon, London Bridge, London Blackfriars, Clapham Junction, and Victoria for Southern Trains (from London)
  • Blackfriars, City Thameslink Farrington, and St. Pancras for Thameslink (from London)

The Pros:

  • Fast
  • Convenient
  • Reliable
  • Comfortable

The Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Can get crowded during peak times
  • May have to stand with your luggage on a carriage for long periods of time

The Gatwick Express train is by far the most preferred method of transportation to get to and from central London and Gatwick Airport.

Non-stop trains run every 15 minutes, and take about 30 minutes (or 35 minutes on Sundays) between both pick-up points. With the first train departing at 4:35 a.m. and the last train departing at 1:35 a.m., the Gatwick Express is ideal for anyone arriving or departing during the late hours of the night, or the early hours of the morning.

The Gatwick Express only arrives and departs from the South Terminal, so if you happen to be arriving and/or departing from the North Terminal, you can follow the signs to the South Terminal, and then take the free transit shuttle which operates between both terminals 24/7 and takes about two minutes of travel time.

Southern Trains run the same route as the Gatwick Express, with four trains running every hour between Gatwick and Victoria station. The Gatwick Express trains take about 15 minutes longer as they make stops at Clapham Junction and East Croydon, so if you happen to be staying somewhere close to either of these stops, purchasing a ticket for a Southern Train would probably be a more convenient option. You can also save a ton of money on train tickets by booking them online beforehand, or by using an Oyster card.

Another option for travelling by train to and from Gatwick Airport is the Thameslink service, which is usually cheaper than both the Gatwick Express and Southern Trains. However, because Thameslink runs through the centre of London, its services are more prone to delays, and can be unreliable if you plan on travelling during the peak hours of the morning. However, Thameslink may be a better option if you happen to be staying in a hotel near St. Pancras or Bloomsbury, as it conveniently connects to both districts in London.

Terravision also runs trains to and from Gatwick Airport to the London city centre, which run roughly about every 30 minutes during the day to London Victoria station. The first train departs Gatwick Airport at 4:35 a.m. and runs about every 30 minutes until 6:50 a.m. After this, there is a Terravision train which departs every 15 minutes until 12:50 a.m.

How to get to and from Gatwick Airport by coach

How long does it take?

  • 1 hour and 21 minutes for National Express (from London Victoria station)
  • 1 hour and 29 minutes for National Express (from Gatwick to Victoria station)
  • Just over an hour to and from Earls Court (for easyBus)

How much does it cost?

  • From £5 (single) and from £10 (return) for National Express
  • £2 to £11 (single) or £4 to £22 (return) for easyBus

Where are the pick-up points?

  • North and South terminals for easyBus (from Gatwick)
  • Stop 3 at Gatwick Airport South Terminal for National Express (from Gatwick)
  • Bay 8 or 9 at Victoria Coach station, Vauxhall, Stockwell, Streatham, Mitcham, Rosehill, Sutton (Centre), Sutton (Rail Station), Belmont, Banstead, Lower Kingswood for National Express (from London)
  • Earl’s Court for easyBus (from London)
  • Bus stop 6 South Terminal coach station for easyBus (from Gatwick)

The Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Discounts for group bookings

The Cons:

  • Takes longer (especially during peak hours)
  • Delays due to traffic
  • Can be unreliable during the peak travelling hours

The majority of coach companies operate to and from the South Terminal forecourt, and a few may make a stop at the North Terminal just outside the international arrivals on the lower level as well.

National Express coaches tend to be the most popular company for travelling by coach to and from Gatwick Airport, and although it takes about three times longer than the train, it is a much cheaper option for anyone on a strict budget.

From Gatwick Airport, the National Express makes several stops between the Victoria coach station and both the South and North terminals which include Vauxhall, Stockwell, Streatham, Mitcham, Rosehill, Sutton Centre, Sutton Rail Station, Belmont, Banstead, and Lower Kingswood.

When purchasing your ticket, you can also choose the Flexible Add-On ticket (costing £5 each way) which allows you to board any available National Express coach either 12 hours before or 12 hours after your original departure time; and you also have the option of amending and/or refunding your ticket up to 24 hours before departure.

You can purchase a National Express ticket at one of the National Express desks in either the North and South Terminal. Each passenger is allowed two 20kg suitcases as well as a piece of hand luggage, and must show the driver either a printed or electronic ticket before boarding the bus.

EasyBus is another great (and cheap!) option for anyone wanting to travel between Gatwick Airport and central London, and the company certainly gives National Express a run for its money. Normally buses depart every 15 minutes to 20 minutes (during peak times), and usually run from 3 a.m. to 11 p.m. from Gatwick Airport.

easyBus operates both to and from the North and South terminals to Earls Court, West Brompton, London Waterloo and the London Victoria coach station. The final stop is at West Brompton, however this stop may not be convenient unless you are staying at a hotel or hostel in the Kensington area.

Earl’s Court serves as both the drop-off and pick-up locations (which are located on Lillie Road), and passengers can choose whether they want to be dropped off at the North or South terminals when travelling from central London.

With easyBus, you can use the same ticket to travel on the next available bus (up to 60 minutes either before or after) your selected booking time, so you don’t have to worry about missing your booked bus. However, if you are delayed by more than an hour, you will have to purchase another ticket.

How to get to and from Gatwick Airport by bus

How long does it take?

  • Anywhere from one to three hours

How much does it cost?

  • £2.10 (single)

Where are the pick-up points?

  • Just outside the South Terminal entrance (from Gatwick)
  • Anywhere along the Fastway 10, Fastway 20, 22, Fastway 100, 200, 400, 420 and 460 routes (from London).

The Pros:

  • The cheapest transportation option
  • Valid for Travelcards and Oyster Cards
  • Great for late night/early morning departures and arrivals
  • Convenient if you’re travelling somewhere other than London

The Cons:

  • Not convenient if you’re staying in central London
  • Takes the longest amount of time to get to and from the airport (especially during peak hours)
  • Transferring buses mid-journey (and sometimes more than once)
  • Researching the various routes and stops for your journey
  • Waiting outside at a bus stop for possibly long periods of time

There are approximately 30 buses running every hour which operate to and from Gatwick 24 hours a day; however, most connect Gatwick Airport to the various towns and cities surrounding London rather than central London itself. Nevertheless, if you happen to be staying outside of London and you’re hoping to save money on transportation costs when travelling to Gatwick Airport, then the local buses are by far the best option in terms of cost (but not necessarily convenient).

There are several Metrobus routes to choose from, and while some run every six minutes, others may only run every two hours (so make sure you do your research beforehand).

The Fastway 10 route runs every six minutes daily and serves Bewbush, Broadfield, Crawley, Manor Royal, and City Place, while the Fastway 20 runs up to every 20 minutes, and serves Broadfield, Three Bridges Station, Manor Royal, City Place. The Fastway 100 route also runs every 20 minutes, every day of the week, and serves Maidenbower, Three Bridges Station, Manor Royal, Horley, Salfords, and Redhill.

Other daily routes include the Route 200 (every 30 minutes, between Gatwick and Bewbush), and the Route 460, which operates every 60 minutes and stops at Crawley Town Centre, Manor Royal, City Place, Horley, Redhill, Reigate, Lower Kingswood, Walton-on-the-Hill, Tadworth, Preston, Tattenham Corner, Epsom

Some routes only operate during the weekdays, like Route 22 (serving Crawley, Horley, Charlwood, Leigh, Dorking and Holmbury St Mary), which runs every two hours, and Route 400 only operates on Sunday every 60 minutes (serving East Grinstead, Copthorne, Three Bridges, Crawley Town Centre, Manor Royal, City Place, Redhill, Godstone, Caterham).

There are normally bus route timetables at every stop so you can see when the next bus is arriving, and where the final stop will be. You can purchase your ticket in cash when boarding the bus from the driver, although paying by cash or credit/debit card at a Metrobus travel shop is usually cheaper.

How to get to and from Gatwick Airport by van shuttle

How long does it take?

  • 60 to 90 minutes, depending on traffic

How much does it cost?

  • Anywhere from £34 to over £100

Where are the pick-up points?

  • South Terminal for Gatwick Flyer (from Gatwick)
  • Wherever you want! (from London)

The Pros:

  • Convenient
  • Ideal for groups, families
  • Assistance with luggage

The Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Delays due to traffic
  • May take longer during peak hours

If you’re staying at a hotel in London with a large group and/or with your family, then hiring a shuttle van to get you to and from Gatwick Airport would be the most convenient option. Although it’s expensive, if you’re travelling in a large group it can be economical if each of you divide the costs, however, if you’re travelling alone or even in a group of two or three people, hiring a shuttle van will put a huge dent in your bank account.

Nevertheless, if you want to avoid the hassle of carrying your luggage around and figuring out various timetables, hiring a van shuttle can save you a ton of stress. You can ask the driver to come meet you or a member of your group in the Arrivals Hall after you pass through customs and collect your luggage, and they can drop you off right at your hotel doorstep in London.

The Gatwick Flyer is the most common van shuttle company operating Gatwick Airport, and its fares are usually half the price of a taxi. The driver will handle your luggage for you, and even help you carry it to and from the van to your door and/or airport terminal. Hiring the Gatwick Flyer is especially convenient if you want to travel to southeast London, however, if you want to travel somewhere in central or western London, it may be a better and cheaper option to take the Gatwick Express to Victoria, and then hire a taxi from there.

How to get to and from Gatwick Airport by taxi

How long does it take?

  • 1 hour and 15 minutes to and from central London

How much does it cost?

  • Around £72 – Get an accurate quote here

Where are the pick-up points?

  • Wherever you want!

The Pros:

  • Convenient
  • Reliable
  • Assistance with luggage

The Cons:

  • Expensive
  • May experience delays due to traffic
  • Takes longer

Unfortunately the iconic black taxis of London do not operate at Gatwick Airport as it is too far out of the city centre; however, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a wealth of different taxi companies to choose from; (around 600 of them to be exact).

Checker Cars are the designated “official” taxi operator for Gatwick, and other companies include Airport Cars Gatwick, Gatwick Airport Taxi, Gatwick Taxi, AirportCars, Western Cars & Taxis Gatwick, and Jewel Cars Gatwick Taxi, just to name a few.

There are taxi kiosks located outside both terminals of the airport, and you can always call and book your taxi beforehand so the driver can meet you in the Arrivals Hall after you clear customs.

Taxis usually charge by the meter, however, some minicab companies offer fixed fares to and from London.

Gatwick Airport has also recently partnered up with Uber, so passengers can get a £15 ride either to or from Gatwick to central London. However, in order to get this promo you will need to sign up for an account with Uber for the first time.

If you are coming to Gatwick Airport you might also want to join any of the free tours that are available on offer.