If it is your first time flying into Gatwick, it can be a bit daunting to try to figure out the best way to get from Gatwick to Central London. It is actually extremely easy to get from Gatwick to Central London!
Gatwick is the second largest airport in London only behind Heathrow. It has two terminals that are linked by a free monorail service that only takes two minutes! Gatwick is a well-organized airport that is extremely easy and convenient to navigate.
There are a number of different ways to get from Gatwick to Central London, and there are some options that are better than others for certain people.
This post will walk you through all the different ways you can get from Gatwick to Central London and give you an idea of what option may be best suited for you.
Taking the Train from Gatwick to Central London
There are two ways you can take the train from Gatwick to Central London. They are both convenient, and the difference is mainly in the price. Both options drop you off at Victoria Station and have a similar travel time.
The Gatwick Express
The Gatwick Express is a newer train that runs directly from Gatwick to Victoria Station. It takes approximately 30 minutes, and it costs as little as £17.80 when you book online in advance.
The tickets are cheaper the further in advance you purchase them, and you get a 10% discount when you book directly through the Gatwick Express website or app. Tickets are available for purchase up to three months in advance.
You purchase a ticket for a specific date, but it does not have a specific time. This allows you to get on the train whenever you want. You don’t have to worry about changing your ticket if your plane is delayed or if you arrive earlier than you anticipated. It is a great feature!
You can purchase a return ticket online, which makes it convenient for people who want to pay for their transportation before they get to London and not have to worry about it when they get there.
You are also able to use your Oyster card to tap in and out of the Gatwick Express. This is extremely convenient for people who already have an Oyster card or purchased the tourist Oyster card.
Travellers Who May Prefer the Gatwick Express:
The Gatwick Express is a great option for people who want to pre-pay for their trip to and from the airport. It offers the flexibility of getting on the train at any time it is convenient for you.
The Gatwick Express is also great for people who want to know they’ll have a great seat and not have to worry about standing. The train is extremely comfortable and has lots of baggage storage space.
The Southern and Thameslink are two separate companies that run trains from Gatwick to Central London.
Both trains take between 30 and 40 minutes to get from Gatwick to Central London and only have two or three stops along the way. The costs is between £16.50 and £17 one-way.
You purchase your tickets at the station in Gatwick when you land either through an automated ticket machine or at the ticket window. You are also able to use your Oyster card or purchase an Oyster card to use.
I always take the Thameslink into London when I fly into Gatwick. The trip doesn’t take much longer than the Gatwick Express, and it is less expensive. The only downside is that you sometimes have to stand on the train because there isn’t enough space to store all the luggage.
Travellers Who May Prefer the Southern Train/Thameslink:
The Southern Train/Thameslink is, in my opinion, the best way to get from Gatwick to Central London. It only takes a few minutes longer than the Gatwick Express and is less expensive.
It is the perfect option for people who want to get into the City quickly without having to purchase tickets in advance or spend the extra money on the Gatwick Express.
What Train Should You Choose?
I always recommend taking the Southern Train or Thameslink. I think it is well worth saving a little extra money to make a few stops along the way. The ride is honestly not very much longer than the Gatwick Express, so I can’t justify spending the extra money on the Gatwick Express.
The Gatwick Express is a better deal than the Heathrow Express in my opinion, but it still isn’t my preferred method of transportation. I simply don’t think it offers any convenience over the public trains. It is more expensive and only takes a few minutes less.
There are two different operators that run buses from Gatwick to Central London. The National Express runs ever hour and easyBus runs from 4:25am to 1:10am everyday. Both buses drop you off at Victoria Station- the same as the trains.
The National Express costs £8 with an 85 minute journey time and the easyBus costs £4 with a 65 minute journey time.
You can purchase bus tickets online in advance, and they are normally less expensive than paying the driver when you get on the bus.
The only downside to buying your ticket in advance is that you have to pick a departure time. You need to pick a time far enough in advance that you are able to get through security, get your bag, and find the bus stop. I would also recommend leaving a buffer of time in case your plane is delayed.
The bus is a great option because there is guaranteed space for your luggage and it is comfortable. The major downside is that it takes at least twice as long as the train does.
Travellers Who May Prefer Taking the Bus from Gatwick to Central London:
Budget travellers who don’t mind spending a longer time in transit will probably enjoy taking the bus. You can’t beat the price of the bus!
The bus is also a great option for people who tend to get motion sick on the train. It tends to cause less motion sickness than the train. Although it is a longer transit time than the train, so you need to take that into consideration as well when considering motion sickness.
So How Should You Get from Gatwick to Central London?
There is really no bad option to get from Gatwick to Central London. Each option has its pros and cons.
They all offer some sort of convenience. Whether it is the convenience of pre-buying tickets and taking a train with no stops with the Heathrow Express, saving some money and still have a quick train journey with the Thameslink/Souther Train, or the affordability of the bus.
However, I would suggest the Thameslink or Southern Train. It is the best combination of affordability, convenience, and time efficiency.
You can’t go wrong with whatever option you choose. I would suggest that you make sure you purchase your tickets in advance for the Gatwick Express or the bus. This will save you some money.
No matter how you choose to get from Gatwick to Central London, you will end up at Victoria Station and have to take the London Underground to your hotel. Be sure to know how to get from the station to your hotel to save you the headache of trying to figure it out when you get to the station!