Gatwick Airport is the second busiest airport in UK after Heathrow. It is also pretty much overcrowded, yet not as much as Heathrow. But still, it can be quite an endeavor to get to the city with all your bags, for minimum time and money. Gatwick like Stansted Airport is about 30 miles away from central London. However there are many travel options as Gatwick is the second largest international UK airport.
What’s the best way for you to get to London from Gatwick Airport? We’ll try to compare different travel variations by price, fastness and utility. The way of travel you will choose, always depends on the quality of services you get in exchange for your money.
Fastest Way to Get There
Like with the other London Airport transport services, here with Gatwick Airport transfers is the same. The fastest transportation method is by express train. Trains are quick, usually run in every 15 minutes and travel is comfortable, clean and quiet. For those of you, who do not worry of higher expenses the train is the best choice. From Gatwick to London you can choose between several train lines, which run daily.
The journey with Gatwick Express to the heart of London lasts only 30 minutes, which is almost nothing, considering the huge city traffic, not only on business days, but on holidays as well. Besides that, the express train leaves in every 15 minutes, so you don’t have to wait. The train stops at Central Victoria Station, which is in the very center of London perfect point for connections or to take the underground to your final stop.
Now about the price… well, it is bit higher than all other transport options. The Express has a lot of online deals, for duo, return journeys or off peak tickets. The standard single journey costs £19.90 when purchased from a ticket office. If you buy it online the price is £17.70. Here children travel for £9.95. We mention that because on some other services / like Heathrow Express/ children under 16 years travel free of charge.
Right now /between November and January / Gatwick Express is changing the usual timetable, due to some improvement works, so you better check their website before buying a ticket. The train is non-stop, it travels 24 hours a day. Passengers are not limited to the luggage and can carry pets, and bicycles on board.
Many of the travelers cannot make the difference between Southern Trains and Gatwick Express, as they both provide transfer from Gatwick Airport to Victoria Station. Southern Railways is a different rail operator. It’s less expensive, but with less advantages on board.
First – Southern Trains do not run 24 hours a day while Gatwick Express do. Southern Trains have many different types of tickets and online deals, based on criteria such as: off peak or anytime tickets, season tickets, group tickets, first/second class, return journey fares and many other. The normal price for ticket bought on the station /not online/ is £15.30 or if purchased in advance is £11.00.
You should have in mind that Southern Railway Station is attached to Gatwick Southern Terminal, but you have to walk about 100 yards to get there. From the North Terminal a person can take a shuttle free of charge. All of Southern trains also run on every 15 mins but on the Gatwick station there are 5 platforms so you better check the departure boards before. Not to mention that on Victoria Station the platforms are 12 and it gets even more complicated to find your platform.
Again, passengers are not limited to luggage they can carry on board, but unlike the Express, Southern Trains will not give any assistance. In the trains you will not find additional space for bags and cases, so you might have to travel on foot. A bought ticket doesn’t reserve you a seat and when the train arrives already full, you might have to travel on foot again. The journey is about 15 minutes longer – 45 mins to Victoria.
Planning and pricing is everything about traveling in UK. If the lower price is your main criteria, get on board of Southern Trains and hurry to take your seat.
This is the third operator running between Gatwick and Central London. With a several key stops in the Central area of the city, Thameslink is the only public transfer train that goes around the city center. The main stops are : St Pancras, London Bridge, Blackfriars and Farringdon which are all key station. This might be one of the major positives about Thameslink, because a lot of budget hotels are placed in this area while London Bridge and The Tower are one of the main sightseeing points.
The other aspect, that beats the other lines is the price, Thameslink is the cheapest option. The prices of one way standard ticket and anytime travel ticket may vary between – £10.20 and £15.40. Of course you can choose among a huge list of online discounts. Tickets don’t reserve seats and Gatwick is not the first station – the train usually arrives full.
The journey time depends on time of travel and your destination. From Gatwick to London Bridge, with some of the departing trains you have to make change and the travel can take 1h 15 mins. Direct trip is about 30 minutes. Basically speaking, Thameslink is not a good solution on peak hours of the day and for passengers with lots of luggage.
The service like Southern Trains is available in the South Terminal in about 100 yards by walking.
Quick and Comfortable Travel
For those, who are not fans of public transport, waiting, changing vehicles or calculating online discounts, travelling on the road is their best option. You can get from Gatwick to London either by car, taxi or minicab. Prices are higher, but comfort is guaranteed. Despite these privileges your trip on wheels will last longer – from 1 hour to 1h and 30 minutes.
Even though there are so many options for transport car renting is still up to date. You can find many websites with search engines which allow you to compare prices per day, types of vehicle, pick up and drop off destinations. We will try to give you basic information about car renting in London. More specific from Gatwick Airport as starting/ending point. This option is good, in case you’re a tourist and you’re landing and departing from the same airport.
The average price for a small or medium car is between £50 to £65 per day. When hiring a car all of the companies provide VAT and other protection taxes included in the price. The tax for airport pick up is also in the final price. Remember that all rental cars require a deposit when collecting the vehicle. Usually the amount to be given is £300 or more. Also, in case of damage or accident insurance fees are between £1200 and £1600 depending on the type of car.
All other extras such as child seats are payable at the time of collection and are always additional. Customers receive their car with a full tank. However fuel is not included in the price, so they must either pay for it or return the car full again.
There are nearly 21,000 black cabs in London and most of them are owned by their drivers. There many taxi companies like Addison Lee. It is a well known fact that UK taxi services especially in London, are ranked as number 1 in the world. So if you’re seeking comfort and safety take a cab. Black cabs are convenient for people without a preliminary plan / so necessary for all other types of transport / taxi desks are placed in the arrivals hall and you can book one 24/7.
Sometimes you might be stuck in queue for a taxi, but it’s unlikely to wait long. Taxis are safe and drivers will assist you with your luggage. All of them provide child seats and if required wheelchair special place / or a special car / . The price vary between £77 for a sedan to £180 for a van, depending on your final destination.
Private transfers are services which provide something similar to a taxi service, but with a fixed price. It’s suitable for people with poor knowledge of the city or for big groups. Private buses up to 16 people are available for booking. How it works?
A driver is waiting for you at the airport and drops you off at your address. The price is per person, depending of the type of car. Usually the standard price is around £25 to £30.
Again a service with a fixed price, only this time the price is for single trip /not per person/. Minicabs mainly accept debit/credit cards for payment so it is advisable to book in advance. You will not find minicab desks at the Airport. Minicab service is still a new and modern practice, compared to black cab traditions and they operate exclusively online. Booking, quotes, payment, everything is online. This is the most flexible service, which will take you to every point of the city.
Our price example will be for 4 passengers for one way trip between Gatwick Airport and London Bridge – the price is around £50. When you are booking your minicab, you can require a lot of additional extras – pet friendly car, child seats, car for transferring big luggage, wheelchairs or household items. With all these supplements your price is still very acceptable – over £70, but under £100 for 4 passengers.
Many tourist and locals prefer bus transfers from Gatwick airport to the city, as it is the most budget-friendly way to travel around. In London two main bus operators run services between the airport and the city – National Express and easyBus.
National Express coaches are large buses and they will drop you off at Victoria Bus Station. Unfortunately along with the lower price comes the slower movement. The traffic in peak hour on weekdays is heavy and your journey with the bus might take more than 90 minutes. Don’t depend on exact arrival at the airport or the station if you have chosen the bus. Lots of delays occur during the travel cycle. Ticket purchase is final and it is valid only for the scheduled time.
To avoid wasting your money in case of flight delay you can pay additional tax for flexibility.
National Express buses go and stop at both terminals – they are quite easy to find. Great advantage is that coaches run 24 hours a day and you can travel 24/7. At Victoria Station National Express has a complex of facilities, along with toilets, ATM and fast food restaurants. Tickets can be bought either from a desk on the terminals/station or online, but not from the driver. The price for a single scheduled trip starts from £7.
easyBus also goes to the center, but to a different ending point -Brompton Underground Station – less central than Victoria. From there you have to use the Tube to reach the centre. However, some scheduled trips with easyBus do stop at Victoria Station, but not all of them. They provide mini buses which are less comfortable for travel. In case you miss your bus you can take the next one within an hour, if seats are available. Luggage is not limited, but the space inside the bus is.
The time for travel is almost the same as with National Express. easyBus parks outside the Terminal and you will have to walk about 150 yards. You can buy tickets online or from the driver. The price from Gatwick to West Brompton is £9. easyBus, unlike National Express is not a non-stop service. Our advice when using airport buses for your transfer is to double check your time of departure and your stopping point to avoid losing money.