London Gatwick Airport (LGW) is the United Kingdom’s second-busiest airport and Europe’s eighth-busiest. It is located in Crawley, West Sussex, about midway between London and Brighton.
The airport is a major hub for British Airways, easyJet, Norwegian and Virgin Atlantic.
Facilities at Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport has two terminals that are connected by a transit system. Both terminals have all the shops and restaurants that you would expect at a large international airport as well as business lounges for frequent flyers.
Places to eat and drink at the South Terminal include several cafes and a pub before security plus more cafes, bars, another pub and restaurants including Caviar House & Prunier, Nando’s and Wagamama after security.
Lounges in the South Terminal include the No 1 Lounge, British Airways Club, British Airways First Lounge and Clubrooms lounge. You can pay to visit the Clubrooms or No 1 Lounge, but holders of the American Express Platinum card, Diners Club cards and Priority Pass members get into the No 1 Lounge for free and business class travellers on British Airways and other oneworld airlines as well as oneworld frequent flyers with Sapphire status (such as British Airways Executive Club Silver and Qantas Gold frequent flyers) flying with a oneworld partner airline have access to the British Airways and Clubrooms lounge. All have free food and drink (including beer and wine), but the Clubrooms lounge is fancier and has free champagne.
Places to eat and drink at the North Terminal include a couple of cafes and a pub before security plus more cafes, bars, another pub and restaurants including Shake Shake and Wagamama.
Lounges in the North Terminal include the Club Aspire, Clubrooms, Emirates, My Lounge, No 1 Lounge, Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse and Virgin Holidays V-Room. You can pay to visit the Club Aspire, Clubrooms, My Lounge and No 1 lounges and holders of the American Express Platinum card, Diners Club cards and Priority Pass members get into the Club Aspire, My Lounge and No 1 Lounge for free, Emirates business class travellers have access to the Emirates lounge, Virgin business class travellers have access to the Virgin lounges and oneworld frequent flyers with Sapphire status (such as British Airways Executive Club Silver and Qantas Gold frequent flyers) have access to the Clubrooms lounge when flying on a oneworld airline. All lounges have free food and drink (including beer and wine), but the Clubrooms lounge is fancier than the other non-airline-specific lounges and also has free champagne.
Both terminals also have the usual selection of shopping options including branches of Boots, Harrods, M&S Simply Food, WHSmith, duty-free shops and a usual selection of clothing, sunglass and luggage shops. Seriously, who waits till they get to the airport before buying their luggage?
When you arrive at the airport, signs will tell you which terminal to go to. In most cases airlines use the following terminals (although it is best to double-check before passing through security in case of last-minute changes):
- Aer Lingus – South Terminal
- Air Arabia – South Terminal
- Air Baltic – South Terminal
- AirEuropa – South Terminal
- Air Malta – South Terminal
- Air Transat – South Terminal
- Aurigny – South Terminal
- Austrian – South Terminal
- Balkan Holidays – South Terminal
- British Airways – South Terminal
- Cathay Pacific – South Terminal
- China Airlines – South Terminal
- Cobalt – North Terminal
- Croatia Airlines – South Terminal
- easyJet – North Terminal
- Emirates – North Terminal
- Enter Air – South Terminal
- Georgian Airways – North Terminal
- Germania – South Terminal
- Iberia Express – South Terminal
- Icelandair – North Terminal
- Iraqi Airways – South Terminal
- Meridiana – North Terminal
- Montenegro Airlines – South Terminal
- Norwegian – South Terminal
- Pegasus Airlines – South Terminal
- Qatar Airways – North Terminal
- Royal Air Maroc – North Terminal
- RwandAir – North Terminal
- Ryanair – South Terminal
- Sata – South Terminal
- Swiss – South Terminal
- TAP Portugal – South Terminal
- Tianjin Airlines – North Terminal
- Titan Airways – South Terminal
- Travel Services Smartwings – South Terminal
- Tui – North Terminal
- Tunisair – South Terminal
- Turkish Airlines – South Terminal
- Virgin Atlantic – North Terminal
- Vueling – South Terminal
- Westjet – North Terminal
- Wizz Air – South Terminal
- Wow Air – South Terminal
Getting to and from London Gatwick Airport
London Gatwick Airport has excellent transport connections to London, Brighton and destinations throughout the UK. Generally, the train is the fastest and most convenient way to travel to and from the airport but there are also bus and coach services that are handy if your first night in the UK is neither Brighton nor London.
The Gatwick Airport railway station is located at the South Terminal and there are over 900 train services each day from Gatwick Airport to London and other destinations in England and you can be in either Brighton or London is just half an hour. From Gatwick Airport railway station you can go directly to 129 train stations and over 700 stations with just one change.
Gatwick Express, Southern and Thameslink run frequent train services between Gatwick and London with each of these operators running trains at least every 15 minutes during the day, and hourly at night.
Both Gatwick Express and Southern have departures from Victoria station to Gatwick Airport, which is a 30-minute journey with Gatwick Express and 35 minutes with Southern Railway. Thameslink trains run to London Bridge railway station and many trains continue through the city and onward to Cambridge, Luton and Peterborough with Central London stops at City Thameslink, Farringdon and London St Pancras.
Gatwick Express is the fastest option as it is an express service while Southern and Thameslink are considerably cheaper but they are slower as they stop at other stations en route to central London. You can pay using an Oyster card or contactless payment card (and this is cheaper than buying a ticket) and both Southern and Thameslink train services are around half the price of the Gatwick Express service.
Gatwick Express, Southern and Thameslink also run south from the airport to Brighton.
GWR trains go from Gatwick to Reading with onward connections to Oxford, Gloucester, Bristol, Cardiff and Cornwall.
Bus and coach
EasyBus is the cheapest way to travel between Gatwick Airport and London. If you book in advance online you get into London for £2 one-way, although it costs £10 if you buy your ticket from the driver. EasyBus operate minibuses between Gatwick Airport (departures from South and North Terminals) and either Victoria Coach Station or West Brompton tube station (near Earls Court) plus a direct service linking Gatwick Airport with Oxford, prices for the Oxford service start at £16. The easyBus service into central London takes around an hour, around twice as long as taking the train, but it is handy if you’re staying near Earl’s Court or Victoria and the savings make the extra travel time worth it, particularly if you have booked your ticket in advance to secure the cheapest fare. EasyBus services run every 15–20 minutes and the easyBus app (available for both Android phones and Apple iPhones) lets you track the location of the bus in real-time.
Megabus have regular coach services from Gatwick Airport to Heathrow Airport, Bristol, Cardiff and Swansea and National Express have direct coach services to Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Southampton, Brighton and London. Both Megabus and National Express fares start at around £10 if you book well in advance but are more expensive after the cheap seats have sold out.
The Airline service from the Oxford Bus Company has an hourly express coach service linking Oxford with Gatwick Airport.