As you plan your first trip to London, there are a million decisions to make and things to learn. You need to decide how long you’re going to visit, where you’ll stay, and what you’ll do. You might be budget-conscious and be looking for ways to save. Heck, you even need to decide which airport you’re flying in to – there are six in the London area!
One thing you might forget to figure out is an important one: how to get from the airport to London, at whichever airport you will arrive. Most people fly into London Gatwick Airport, which is an increasingly popular option for getting easily into Central London – but as it’s your first trip, you still might have questions.
If you’re putting the final touches on your London itinerary, know you’re flying into Gatwick Airport, and are curious about how to get from the airport to London, you’ve come to the right place. Below is a guide to London’s various airports and a breakdown of your options for getting from Gatwick to London.
London Area Airports Explained
When it comes to cities, London is tied for the most airports in the world (along with New York City). It has a total of six airports. London airports sit in strategic parts of the city, and each serves different purposes, which I’ll cover in this section.
- London Heathrow is London’s largest aviation hub and sits only 14 miles west of central London. Depending on which method you choose, it takes 15-55 minutes to reach Central London. I have a guide for how to get from Heathrow to London, if you’re flying into that airport instead.
- London Gatwick Airport sits 30 miles south of central London. The airport comprises two terminals, North and South, and is the second-busiest airport in the UK. It is mostly popular for commercial flights, and you’ll find around fifty-five different airlines offering their services here. It takes about 30 minutes to reach Central London from Gatwick
- London Stansted is 42 miles northeast of central London and takes 50 minutes by train; if you’re comparing flights to Stansted, I have a guide to your travel options there too.
- London Luton is 28 miles north of London, and you can get there in as little as 25 minutes by train. If you are considering a flight to Luton, my guide will help.
- London City Airport is only 10 miles east of London; you can reach it in 23 minutes by Tube and DLR. If you found a flight into City, check out my guide for getting to London.
- London Southend is the furthest at 42 miles from central London and can be reached in 51 minutes by train. Last but not least, I also have a guide for getting to London from Southend.
Now let’s dive into the specifics of getting from Gatwick to Central London – which is what you really want to know!
How to Get from Gatwick to London
Gatwick is a little further from central London, sitting around 30 miles south of the city. Being such a busy airport, Gatwick has the best rail connections of any airport in Britain.
To get from Gatwick to London, you can take the Gatwick Express, which runs directly between Gatwick and London Victoria Station every fifteen minutes. The journey takes around 30-35 minutes and tickets start at £19.50. It is a good option if you are staying near Westminster and St. James’s Park.
You can also travel from Gatwick Airport to London via the national rail service on the Thameslink line. These direct trains have a journey time of 35-45 minutes and tickets start at just £10; I always use The Trainline to find train tickets when I’m traveling outside of London.
Local buses also serve the busy airport. Metrobus and the National Express run services from the North and South Terminal. They have services departing every 15-30 minutes depending on the line, and the journey takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Gatwick also offers its own taxi service for travelers, and rideshare services like Uber are also an option. Depending on the day and time you arrive at the airport, they have different vehicles and rates. The ride takes approximately 90 minutes and costs £60-£90.
The Best Way to Travel Between London & Gatwick
The best way to get from London to Gatwick is by taking the Thameslink line. It is the most affordable option and, compared to the other alternatives, it doesn’t differ that much when it comes to traveling time.
Have any other questions about how to travel from Gatwick to London or reverse, to finish planning your trip? Let me know in the comments below!