London Gatwick Airport
45km (28 miles) south of London
0844 335 1802
London Gatwick Airport is the second-busiest international airport in the UK – in terms of passenger traffic. Despite its sizeable distance from central London – it is situated north of Crawley almost 50km from the central business district – great transport links to and from the airport ensure that it remains an incredibly popular entry-point for visitors.
In fact, London Gatwick saw 31.3 million passengers in 2010, making it Europe’s ninth-busiest airport, and the continent’s leading airport for point-to-point flights. This impressive traffic is sure only to increase with the 2012 Olympic Games in London next summer.
Flights to London Gatwick Airport are offered by a variety of operators, including charter airlines such as Monarch and Thomson Airways, low-cost carriers such as easyJet and Flybe, and more established airlines, like British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. The huge range of international destinations you can access from Gatwick is illustrated by the diversity of its seven most-popular flights: Malaga, Dublin, Orlando, Alicante, Faro, Dubai, and Geneva.
A free shuttle-train connects the North and South Terminals, operating 24 hours a day. The airport’s train stations are very well signposted, and the trip between terminals takes just two minutes to complete.
Train: The most convenient way to access central London from Gatwick Airport is the Gatwick Express rail service. Trains leave every 15 minutes from the South Terminal’s train station, taking half an hour to reach Victoria Station in central London. If you arrive at the North Terminal, you can take the free shuttle-train to the South Terminal (you’ll get there in two minutes). Tickets are £16.90 one-way, or £15.95 if you book online.
Buses: Your best bet here is definitely the airport’s easyBus service. Buses run throughout the day and night, departing every 15 minutes from either terminal building and offer a non-stop service to Earl’s Court in central London. Tickets start from just £2. Book online for the lowest fares.
Taxi: They charge appalling fees, but official airport taxis are available to get you to central London. You can find the booking desks in the arrivals area of the North Terminal, or near the northern entrance to the South Terminal. Expect to pay £60-£95 to get to central London (plus £8 congestion charge), and for the journey to take 50-80 minutes, depending on traffic.
London Gatwick Airport offers short- and long-stay parking options. The short-stay car parks are located near the terminal buildings, and charge £1 for the first 15 minutes, £2.50 for 30 minutes, £5.20 for an hour, £11.30 for three hours, and a daily maximum of £30. The long-stay car parks are slightly more removed from the terminal buildings, but are still easily accessible by foot (up to ten minutes), or bus (less than five minutes). Long-stay parking is charged at £11.50 per day (or part thereof).
Information desks are located near the check-in area (South Terminal), and in the international departures area (North Terminal).
Money and communications: ATMs, currency exchange offices, workstations with Internet access, public telephones, a post box, and VAT refund desks are available.
Luggage: Services include baggage wrapping, UK baggage delivery, and luggage storage (£8 per item per day, or part thereof). There is a lost-property office at the airport, although lost-baggage queries are handled by the airlines.
Conference and business: The airport has business lounges (one in either terminal building), with free Internet, fax, scanning and photocopying services. Meeting rooms are equipped with audiovisual equipment and conferencing facilities.
Other facilities: Other amenities at London Gatwick Airport include childcare facilities, family rooms, showers, photo booths (South Terminal), multi-faith chapels, a pharmacy, medical services, and access and facilities for disabled passengers.
Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is available throughout the passenger areas of London Gatwick Airport. The service provider is Boingo, and it’ll cost you £3.95 per hour, or £9.95 per day.