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Gatwick Airport is located 28 miles south of London, off the M23 motorway. Flights from the US to London arrive at either Gatwick or Heathrow airports. Most Delta flights arrive and depart from Gatwick. Other London area airports (Stansted, Luton) are used by the smaller European airlines (RyanAir, etc.).
Gatwick Express (Gatwick to London)
When flying into Gatwick, the easiest way to get into London is to take the Gatwick Express train. We did this on a recent trip.
From the airport follow the signs to "Trains". The train station is in the airport. When you get to the train station you will see a big board showing trains, times and tracks. Take the "Gatwick Express" - it is the fastest.
You can take your luggage cart right into the train station, but not right to the train. You have to leave the cart at the top of the escalator for the trains, but there are porters there who could help you with luggage. You do not have to carry your luggage far. Go down the escalator and you are on the train platform.
A train employee is usually at the bottom of the escalator to direct you to the train. There are a couple of first class cars at the front of the train. The second class cars are fine; clean and comfortable.
Cost: £12 per person one way, second class
You can purchase your tickets online, in the train station or onboard. We bought ours onboard because this was the easiest. There are no extra fees for doing this, but I think you may have to pay cash.
The image to the right is the ticket we purchased onboard the train. You can see that the one ticket is for two people, a standard open ticket, one way (sgl - single) from Gatwick Aiport to London Victoria. £24.00 for the two passengers. The date is stamped on the ticket by the conductor.
You arrive at Victoria Station. From there you can get on the underground or exit and take a cab. There is a big cab stand with a place to lineup in front of the station. The downside to taking the Underground is having to carry your luggage and deal with the (possibly) crowded trains. The downside to taking a taxi is that it has to deal with the crowded roads and can be slow going.
A ticket for the Underground is £2 (in 2004). Our taxi from Victoria Station to Earl's Court was £15.
Transferring from Gatwick to Heathrow
National Express offers a non-stop coach service between Gatwick and Heathrow airports. The trip is approximately 80 minutes and buses leave frequently. See their website for more information (listed in Resources below).
From Gatwick you can take a local bus to nearby towns: Crawley, Horley, Redhill.
Direct coach service by National Express is available to many cities (Heathrow
Airport, London, Bristol, Brighton, Birmingham, Oxford, Cambridge, and Norwich).
See their website for more information.
Direct coach service by The Airline is available between Gatwick and Oxford
When we were leaving London on our last trip, we took a car service from our hotel in Earl's Court to the airport. The cost was £65 and it only took an hour for the drive. We left the hotel around 10am, avoiding early rush hour traffic. The driver said that with heavy traffic it can sometimes take 1hr 30min. When you have luggage, the car service is convenient.
If we had taken the train, we would have taken a taxi to Victoria Station then the Gatwick Express. The cost would have been about £39 (£24 for the train, £15 for the taxi).
When we arrived at Gatwick on the same trip, we had a car service take us to Bath. This was quite expensive (£140) but very convenient. The driver met us at the airport, where you come out of customs. There were dozens of drivers waiting there all with signs with names on them. It took us a few minutes to find the sign with our name, but once we did, he whisked us and our luggage into a car and drove us to Bath (just under 2 hours). See the Trip Planning - Car Services page for information on finding a car service.
Arriving at Gatwick Airport - Fast Track (Customs)
Fast Track is a special line for UK customs. On our last flight into the UK, we were in Delta Business Elite and were given "Fast Track" cards. These let us go into a special line for customs. This line had very few people in it and we got through quickly. When you enter customs, look for the "Fast Track" signs.
Recently I saw on the Gatwick Express website that if you purchase a first class train ticket from London to Gatwick, they give you a Fast Track pass.
Slow Travel Classifieds
www.gatwickairport.com: Gatwick Airport Official Site
www.gatwickexpress.co.uk: Gatwick Express, fares, schedules, online ticket purchase.
www.baa.com: Official site for these airports: London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Stansted, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Southhampton
www.nationalexpress.com: National Express, coach service from the airports to many UK cities
www.theairline.info: The Airline, coach service between Oxford and the airports
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