Gatwick Airport (IATA: LGW) is London's second airport (in terms of passenger numbers), behind Heathrow and serves the south-east of the United Kingdom. It is the world's busiest single-runway airport and has two terminals called North and South.
Licensed as an aerodrome since 1930, in recent decades the airport often was regarded as Heathrow Airport's overflow. However, Gatwick meanwhile has developed its own market share, which was helped by politically motivated separation of ownerships of Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
The airport has seen much renovation recently, which still continues.
There might also soon be a second runway here, with the British Government having put off a decision to decide where to expand airport capacity in the country until Summer 2016.
One interesting feature of Gatwick is that part of the North terminal is a passenger bridge to/from pier 6 that is high enough to allow aircraft to taxi beneath the bridge.
A large number of major and minor airlines operate domestic, European, and intercontinental flights to/from Gatwick, catering for business and leisure travelers alike. Many airlines that can not get landing rights at Heathrow (various reasons) then choose to operate into Gatwick. Point-to-point flights make up the majority of flights; flights into network carrier's respective hubs exist, but play only a minor role.
Different airlines operate from different terminals, some of the major airlines are listed here:
|easyJet||EZY (flight numbers starting with "8")||North|
|easyJet||EZY (flight numbers starting with "5")||South|
Note that easyJet flies from both terminals; so to work out which terminal to go to, know that fights with fight numbers starting with "5" fly from the South terminal, while flight numbers starting with "8" fly from the North terminal.
There is a list of destinations that you can get to from Gatwick on Wikipedia, (see link to the left under "Related sites") or the websites of specific airlines for details.
- See also: Rail travel in Great Britain
Gatwick Airport was the first UK airport to combine air and rail travel and has its own railway station, which is attached to the airport's South Terminal.
Gatwick Airport train station is situated on the London to Brighton main line with frequent train services operated by several train operators, including Gatwick Express, Thameslink and Southern. You can buy tickets from machines, the ticket office in the terminal, and on-line from virtually any country by printing a voucher at home and exchanging it for tickets at the ticket office. Advance purchases can result in some savings.
Gatwick Express is a high-speed, non-stop rail service operating between London Victoria Station and Gatwick Airport. Trains operate every 15 minutes between the hours of 05:00 to 23:45 (from London Victoria Station), and 05:50 to 00:35 (from Gatwick) with journey times of 30 minutes (35 minutes on Sundays). You won't be able to miss the Gatwick Express trains as they have their own, unique livery.
Thameslink and Southern trains to London Victoria or London Bridge are only a few minutes slower than Gatwick Express, they do stop in between Gatwick and the last stop. Fares on these operators' tickets are lower in cost. They also offer transfer to points south and west, e.g., Southampton. Like many airfares, the earlier you buy tickets (up to 90 days), the less expensive they tend to be. Purchase can be made from nearly anywhere by internet using the sites noted below, often also by phone).
Route 21 of the National Cycle Network passes under the South Terminal, allowing virtually traffic-free cycling northwards to Horley and southwards to Three Bridges and Crawley. A goods-style lift runs between the terminal and ground level (labelled "Lift to Cycle Route"), near Zone L.
Some taxi firms offer to take you to Gatwick from around the country. This will probably be quite uncomfortable if you have to travel long distances, but then again, it's your own "private" car. Some firms that offer these services are listed here:
- Roadrunners Taxis, ☎ +44 1293 780780, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Offers a range of cars which can take different amounts of passengers; including estate cars and private minivans. £70 (from Victoria station with "standard" car).
- Airport Cars UK, ☎ +44 330 088 2222, e-mail: email@example.com. Offers a range of cars, including saloons, estates and 8-seaters. Its website claims to have transported John Travolta and Shane Richie. £68.30 (from Victoria station with a "standard" taxi).
- Western Cars, ☎ +44 1293 510510, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Offers a range of cars, including saloons, estates, 8-seaters and wheelchair accessible cars. They mainly cover Sussex, but do go further afield as well. £72 (from City ThamesLink Station in central London with a "saloon" car).
Junction 9 is Gatwick Airport's own spur from the M23 motorway. Once you leave the main M23 at junction 9, travel west to a roundabout and for the South terminal, take the first exit from there or for the North terminal, take the second exit. Just so you don't miss it, the South terminal exit has a large arch with an advert on it over it, while the North terminal doesn't. If you're going to the North Terminal, then take the second exit at the next roundabout (it has its own big arch here) or the third exit for the long stay car park. From there, you will be able to follow signs to the car park you are looking for, whichever terminal, (see below) or the main entrance to the airport itself. Junction 9 is about 9 miles south of the M25 London ring road and with traffic on the M25 often heavy (or worse) make sure to start your drive out to the airport early enough.
The closest car parks to the terminals are the short-stay car parks, which are located right next to the terminal buildings. To get to the South Terminal south stay car park, take the directions in the Get in section above, then continue along the road, following signs for the short stay car park, staying in the right-hand lane. For the North terminal short stay car park, again, follow the directions above for the North terminal, then continue along the road, following signs for the car park, staying in the left-hand lane.
Long-term parking is provided both on-airport and off-airport. The on-airport long-stay car parks are situated about a five-minute bus journey from the terminal buildings (buses are provided for the sole use of getting from the car park to the main terminal). Off-airport parking is suitable for both long- and short-stay. Most car parks are situated about 15 minutes from the airport. For the South terminal long stay car park, after leaving the roundabout, (see above), stay in the left-hand lane and take the second left, then follow signs for which car park you want. For the North terminal long stay car park, after leaving the roundabout, instead of taking the second exit, take the third exit, following signs for "Long stay". Go past the petrol station which is on the right, then take the third exit at the next roundabout. Follow this long road to the next roundabout before taking the second exit, you're now finally there! You can then follow signs to which car park you want.
On 10 July 2013, Gatwick introduced its Surface Access Plan, which saw the introduction of its Approved Operator Scheme for meet-and-greet parking.
Only Approved meet-and-greet parking operators are permitted to conduct vehicle collection and returns from the airport terminal forecourts. Approved Operators must hold the Safer Parking, ParkMark award for all car parks used and be approved by Trading Standards Buy With Confidence Scheme.
Approved meet-and-greet operators
See full list at Gatwick Airport's website.
|Address||On/Off Airport||Distance / Transfer Time||Security|| Park Mark
|Help Me Park||City Place and Leylands Car Park||Off||Customer is met at terminal. No transfer required.||CCTV, security fencing and 24hr on-site security.||Yes||Approved Operator and Buy with Confidence awarded|
Connecting to/from Heathrow
National Express buses are your fastest option, but you should still allow plenty of time to make the transfer as you will have to re-check luggage at the other airport. Factor in, that traffic on the M25 is often heavy or worse adding to travel time. Buses may charge substantial extra fees for overweight, out-sized or excess numbers of luggage. And they allow only one small piece to carry-on. Consult their web site for details.
There is no direct train route.
- One alternative is to take Gatwick Express or Southern trains to Victoria Station, then London Underground's District line to Hammersmith (take a train with destination "Ealing Broadway" or "Richmond"), then the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow (a long trip on the Tube). Large luggage can be a challenge whenever the Tube is busy, and wherever stairs must be negotiated between street and station platforms, e.g., Victoria.
- Another alternative is, once at Victoria station, to take the Circle line to Edgware Road, getting off at Paddington station, then hopping onto Heathrow Express from there.
- Or you could take a Thameslink train to St Pancras station, making your way upstairs then getting the Tube from King's Cross St Pancras to Heathrow on the Piccadilly line.
- No through fare for the three different modes of transport is available.
If you have a car and want to drive, leave Gatwick and take the M23 north towards the M25, then take the M25 clockwise until junction 14. There will be plenty of signs to follow for Heathrow from there (a little plane symbol followed by the word "Heathrow"). Going the other way around, leave Heathrow and take the M25 anti-clockwise until you get to junction 7, then take the M23 southbound to junction 9, follow signage from there.
There is only a need for a transportation service when getting between the two terminals, that is what the monorail is for.
There is a free shuttle train between the South Terminal/railway station and the North Terminal. To access the monorail, just follow signs for the other terminal. So if you're in the South terminal, follow signs for the North terminal and if you're in the North terminal follow signs for the South terminal.
To the gates
Some gates require long walks, so make sure you give yourself enough time to get there. Check beforehand how long it takes to get to the gates, and keep an eye out on the departure boards to see when your gate is announced, as at Gatwick, they don't announce the gates over a tannoy.
The airport operators make sure that anybody with time to spend finds an opportunity to spend also some money.
Eat and Drink
Both terminals have numerous restaurants and food outlets in the public space as well as past security checks. There are also places like McDonald's and Starbucks available in the terminals. Mini-supermarkets, such as Marks & Spencer's are available in both terminals before security, and Boots selling sandwiches and crisps is in both terminals after security (and before security in the South terminal).
- The London Bar (Go to the main atrium area of the departure lounge and climb the escalator, then follow the banister around to the end with a large Frankie & Benny's sign, it is just in front of this). 04:00 to 20:30. This upmarket restaurant which sells cocktails, spirits and champagne, as well as Ploughman's and Anti-pasti is in the South terminal after security. Ploughman's: £9.99; Mojito: £10; Bottle of Shiraz: £30.
- Grain Store, ☎ +44 1293 501328. 04:00 to 21:30. This very new restaurant (opened in late January 2016), serves family-friendly food and is in the South terminal after security.
- Caviar House & Prunier (Head to the main atrium area, near the Duty Free, then follow the corridor by Dixons Travel, and turn left at Harrods, it will be on your left), ☎ +44 1293 557383. 06:00 to 20:30. This swanky, quite expensive (albeit usually quiet) caviar bar is available after security in both terminals. Smoked Salmon: £17; 9 Oysters: £25; Whole Lobster: £29.50.
- Jamie's Italian (Follow signs for Gates 45–55 & 101–113, then climb the escalator to the left of the London News Company. Once climbed, follow the floor round past JD Sports and Café Rouge, it's now in front of you), ☎ +44 1293 567581. 04:00 to 20:30. The British TV chef, Jamie Oliver's restaurant, serves rustic, Italian food and is in the North terminal after security. Tagliatelle Bolognese: £11.25; Rib-eye Steak: £22.50; 250ml glass of Sauvignon Blanc: £8.80.
- Comptoir Libanais (Follow signs to Gates 558–554, then climb the steps between the big Gates 558–574 sign and the London News Company), ☎ +44 1293 567125. 04:00 to 21:30. A restaurant serving Lebanese food (Libanais is French for Lebanese) which has other locations throughout London. It's after security. Falafel: £4.75; Falafel Wrap: £7.95; Lamb Kofta Burger: £9.95.
- Caviar House & Prunier (Find the World of Whiskies and the Sunglass Hut shops, then head towards the Boss and Lacoste shops, it is to the right of these), ☎ +44 1293 557294. 06:00 to 20:30. This swanky, quite expensive (albeit usually quiet) caviar bar is available after security in both terminals. Smoked Salmon: £17; 9 Oysters: £25; Whole Lobster: £29.50.
Shopping opportunities are plentiful in both terminals, with slightly more stores in the South Terminal. Per the article for Duty free shopping, such stores here are dominated by just one firm. Though well-stocked with a wide range of products, they reflect little competition, but do help you avoid UK taxes.
45 minutes free WiFi is available. Connect to the Gatwick Free wi-fi network and logon to myGatwick. You can create a myGatwick account in adavance. There is also pay-for Boingo WiFi and Surfbox internet terminals with printers (10p per minute, 50p per page).
Both North and South Terminals have prayer rooms, located landside, before security.
- The South Terminal prayer room is on the third floor, the same level as the entrance to security.
- The North Terminal prayer room is on the ground floor near international arrivals.
A number of hotels of various categories have set up near the airport; some of them are directly connected to one of the terminals by enclosed walkways sheltering guests from the elements. More budget oriented hotels are within walking distance from Terminal North.
At the airport
- Bloc, ☎ +44 20 3051 0101, e-mail: email@example.com. A hotel which claims to be "savvy" and "state-of-the-art", it is right next to security in the South terminal. Some rooms, called "sleep" rooms, don't have windows, while "aspire" and "VIP" rooms have corner windows. Rooms range in size from 9.5 square metres to 32 square metres. £70.30 per night (for a "sleep" double room).
- Yotel, ☎ +44 20 7100 1100, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Its entrance is in the international arrivals area of the South terminal, its rooms are called "cabins" and you can stay by the hour (min. four hour stay). A standard cabin (only sleeps one) is about 7 square metres and a premium cabin (only sleeps two) is just over 10 square metres. The rooms do have a sort of modern, Japanese feel to them though. £32 for four hours (standard cabin); £70 for 24 hours (standard cabin).
- Hampton by Hilton, ☎ +44 1293 579999, e-mail: LONGN_hampton@hilton.com. A more "upmarket" hotel, which is surprisingly large. It is situated near to the North terminal, and has a shuttle to the South terminal. The rooms are of sizes you would find in non-airport hotels, and the hotel has its own gym. £85 per night (twin room).
- Premier Inn, ☎ +44 871 527 9354, fax: +44 871 527 9355. This hotel is near the North terminal and is what is an "average" chain hotel, with a bar and restaurant etc. Its rooms are cosy and have en-suite bathrooms. A twin room is a double bed and a sofa bed. £79 per night (double room).
- Russ Hill Hotel, Russ Hill, Charlwood, Gatwick, RH6 0EL, ☎ +44 871 222 0063. This hotel is about a 12 minute drive away from the actual airport, but is set in a slightly nicer place, in an older style hotel building. It has a range of rooms, including singles and family rooms. The hotel offers airport parking at its own car park or at a compound 6 miles from the hotel.
- The Corner House Hotel, 72 Massetts Road, Horley, Surrey, RH6 7ED, ☎ +44 1293 784574, fax: +44 1293 784620, e-mail: email@example.com. Located in the nearby town of Horley (about a 5 minute drive away), it has 25 rooms (20 of which have en-suite bathrooms) which have a homely feel. It has a bar and restaurant and provides a transportation service to/from Gatwick for its guests. It also has its own "secure" airport parking. £53 per night (single with en-suite); £79 per night (family of four with en-suite).
It may be easier to take a taxi to the airport terminals from these nearby hotels, see the taxi section above and also check if the hotels have the numbers of any local taxi firms in case these are cheaper.
- Crawley is about 3 miles south of the airport.
- East Grinstead is about 10 miles east of the airport.
- Redhill is about 7 miles north.
- Dorking is about 10 miles northwest.
- Brighton is about 30 miles south and has direct train services from the airport.