Travelling between Gatwick Airport and London

Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport (source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3654363/bank-holiday-may-travel-latest-london-gatwick-airport-delays-traffic/)

Gatwick is a very well connected airport, with a variety of options including a couple of coach operators and a few options by train.

Two notes before describing these options in detail.

  1. FAQ: Can I travel to/from Gatwick overnight? Yes! There are trains available all night long.
  2. The Gatwick Express is not always the fastest option and is the most expensive train.

By Train

The train is the fastest and most convenient way to travel to/from Gatwick Airport. Duration and price can vary widely, and there are also different stations where you can get the train, so better to check to which area in London you need to go or it is better to depart from.

Gatwick Express

This is the non-stop service running to/from Victoria station. It takes 30 minutes and there are services every 15 minutes. You can buy tickets online on the official website, where there is a 10% discount at the moment. Prices start at £17.80 for a single trip.

Southern Trains

This is not direct, as it runs via East Croydon and Clapham Junction, but takes between 35 and 45 minutes to Victoria station, so not a huge difference in terms of duration. In terms of price, it is cheaper than Gatwick Express with prices starting at £16.20 for a single trip. Tickets can be purchased here.

Thameslink

This is normally the cheapest train, and it is the service covering the “night shift”. It takes between 30 and 45 minutes and calls at very central and convenient locations such as London Bridge, London Blackfriars, Farringdon and St Pancras International (next to Kings Cross).

Prices start at £10.70 for a single ticket, which can be purchased here. Note that this service runs from Bedford to Brighton, so you should check for those names on the screen, making sure that Gatwick Airport is one of the stops.

So where shall I but my ticket?

Regardless of the operator/company/train-name, the official website to buy tickets is NationalRail, where you can search and find trains for all the 3 services listed above. The image below shows how the results are presented on the website. Highlighted in red are 3 services run by 3 different operators (Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Southern in order).

At the time to buy the tickets, you will be redirected to the appropriate vendor’s website. Also clicking on Details will give you more information about the journey, including the actual operator, as you can see in the second image below(highlighted in red).

National Rail's sample search
National Rail’s sample search
National Rail's sample search
National Rail’s sample search

Another well-known website/app to purchase tickets is Trainline, an independent rail platform.

Last but not least, you can now use your contactless or Oyster card to simply tap and pay your trip. General information about the Oyster card can be found in our “Questions and answers about London. Tips for visitors and freshers” post. And all the official information and up-to-date details are available on TFL website.

By Bus

Buses are cheaper than trains, but the journey can take between 1 and 2 hours. The uncertainty is mostly because of traffic, which is not always reliable. Some days such as Fridays and Sundays are usually quite busy, especially during rush hours. But if you are not in rush or need to travel at an uncommon time, this may be a good option still. There are two operators:

National Express

This is the official coach operator in the UK, offering one direct service per hour to/from London Victoria coach station. You can buy online here or at the Airport or coach station. Prices start at £8 for a single trip, and there are services overnight (some of them can cost only £5).

Easy Bus

This is a low-cost airport transfer, as it is the same company as EasyJet. They offer direct services between London Victoria coach station and Gatwick with prices starting at only £1.99. At the moment they have a service every 30 minutes, from 8:00 am to 11 pm. This route is operated by National Express.

An alternative route is from/to London via Earls Court/West Brompton, which is handy for all the visitors staying around that area. Tickets can be purchased here.

By Taxi

Taxis take around an hour, depending on the destination and time of the day. The official (or preferred) taxi operator at the airport is Airport Cars Gatwick, but it is not the cheapest.

Other companies that you can use and book in advance are Uber, Addison Lee (they have an app a well), BATrasfer and TwelveTransfers. HolidayExtras also offers transfers, hotels, lounges and parking at Gatwick.

By Car

The journey time by car is around an hour as well, depending on the destination and time of the day. Cars can be rented from the main companies such as Europcar and Easycar.

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