A complete guide to flying from Gatwick Airport: Advice on affordable airport transport, travel essentials and key things to remember

Travelling from Gatwick doesn’t have to be a stressful experience - make sure you’re prepared by following our guide for an easy start to your journey.

gatwick airport terminal

Flying from London Gatwick Airport can seem daunting at first, since it is London’s second-largest airport, and serves over 40 million passengers a year. Gatwick is so popular due to its wide variety of destinations available, that it flies to over 220 locations on offer via direct flights alone. 

Here is all the information you need to ensure a hassle-free experience flying from Gatwick.

Information about Gatwick airport

Get yourself to the right terminal

Gatwick Airport has both a North terminal and South terminal, so it is important that you check beforehand which your flight is departing from. Most airlines will be dedicated to one terminal, with the North terminal hosting most of the long-haul flights, and the South terminal taking the majority of the shorter, and cheaper flights. The exceptions are Easyjet and TUI, which operate from both terminals, so it is vital you know where you’re flying from.

However, if you do arrive in the wrong terminal, or have a connecting flight from the other terminal, it’s no hassle travelling between the two, as Gatwick offers a free shuttle service, taking only two minutes and running 24 hours a day.

Destinations and airlines

Gatwick hosts a multitude of airlines travelling to over 100 European destinations and 50 long-haul flights across the world, drawing thousands of passengers a day through its doors. Over recent years, the most popular airline has been Easyjet, offering low-cost flights to France, Spain, Morocco, and many more destinations, though many other airlines such as British Airways, RyanAir, and WizzAir operate from Gatwick too.

Opening times, facilities, and accessibility

Though the airport is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it is important to plan your arrival time carefully, with Gatwick recommending allowing at least two hours before your flight to allow time for security and checking in bags if necessary. There are also a variety of shops that can be found in both terminals, meeting all of your pre-flight needs.

Where to eat:

  • Choose from a range of popular takeaway spots for a quick pre-flight meal including Pret A Manger, Shake Shack, Nando’s, Tortilla, Greggs, and wagamama
  • Sit down at Giraffe World Kitchen, Wondertree, or Caviar House for a longer sit-down meal to kill some time
  • Grab breakfast for earlier-morning flights at Gatwick’s own branch of the popular Breakfast Club branch or Joe & the Juice 

Where to shop:

  • Various Duty Free shopping points throughout each terminal
  • WHSmith and Boots for essentials, snacks, in-flight reading or last-minute forgotten toiletries
  • If travelling with kids, make sure to stop at the in-airport Lego shop, Hamley’s or Kids’ Stop
  • Fill the rest of your spare time window shopping for shoes, bags or accessories from Ted Baker, Superdry, Dune, Harrods, Ray-Ban and FatFace

Where to have a pre-flight pint:

  • Brewdog opens at 4 AM and serves 20 different varieties of beer on tap, has a gaming zone and Zoom pods for work calls
  • The Beehive — note this is before security so you’ll want to plan your time accordingly
  • South Downs Wine Bar and Vagabond if you’re looking for a more low-key glass of wine while you wait

If your flight is early morning, or you’d prefer to be in close proximity to the airport, there are a wide range of hotels, to suit all budgets including Hilton, Premier Inn, Marriott, and more. Most hotels have a covered walk to the check in area, making it a quick commute to the Airport.

Gatwick aims to support all its passengers, and offers ramps, wider pathways, wheelchairs, reserved seating for disabled passengers, and many more accessibility requirements. There are also discrete lanyards on offer so staff know to look out for people with hidden disabilities. If necessary, Gatwick offers special assistance, ensuring everyone has a smooth journey.

Getting to Gatwick airport

Whether you need an affordable public transport option, or prefer having the comfort and privacy of your own vehicle, here are the best options to consider when getting to Gatwick Airport:

Drive and find park affordably

Popular with those carrying lots of luggage, who are travelling with children, or who simply prefer the familiarity of their own vehicle, driving is one of the most common options for passengers getting to Gatwick. 

The airport is easily accessible from the A23, which links London to Brighton, and is useful for passenger travelling from the South of England. There is also direct motorway access from Junction 9 of the M23, which connects Surrey to Crawley, and makes this a convenient and simple journey for passengers in these areas. 

For access from London and the wider UK, Junction 7 of the M25 is a short drive away, and links directly to the M23 going Southbound straight to Gatwick. 

While an easy option for many, the threat of airport parking fees or even unexpected fines can be stressful, and isn’t something you want to be worrying about while on your trip. The best way to combat these fears without breaking the bank is to pre-book your parking with JustPark, which gives you upfront information and pricing and guarantees you a parking space upon arrival. There are a variety of options available, from cost-effective driveways in nearby areas that connect to the airport via bus, to convenient Meet and Greet airport parking for both terminals. 

There are also various long and short stay parking options, suited to the needs of your trip, and there is the option to filter for EV charging spots, to ensure you don’t arrive home on a flat battery. All of these different parking possibilities are available on JustPark, for affordable prices, reducing stress and cost alike.

Take local bus routes for cost-effective transport

As mentioned above, the areas surrounding Gatwick supply a multitude of local bus routes that connect quickly to the airport. These buses can be extremely useful for those who live in these nearby areas, or who are parking nearby with JustPark and need to complete the final step in their journey. 

There are over ten Metrobus routes that all serve Gatwick Airport from areas such as Crawley, Redhill, Horley, and Three Bridges Station. Timetables and prices can be found on the Metrobus website, with some routes operating 24 hours a day, making it useful even for those late night flights.

Coaches and trains to the airport

Due to Gatwick’s close proximity to London, Gatwick is an extremely well connected airport, with over 120 train stations available directly from the airport. Multiple train operators travel to Gatwick, for affordable prices, including Great Western Railway, Thameslink, Southern, and its own Gatwick Express train to London Victoria. All tickets can be booked in advance via Trainline for the cheapest price possible. The train station in Gatwick is in the South Terminal, but passengers can use the shuttle to the North terminal for quick access.

Coaches are another affordable and environmentally friendly option, with National Express offering transport from Birmingham, Oxford, London, Bristol, and Heathrow. Gatwick is also serviced by FlixBus, Megabus, all of which can be pre-booked for the best possible prices and service destinations across the UK. 

Use rideshare apps or taxi services

For door-to-door convenience, taxis and ride-shares are extremely popular when getting to Gatwick, however they can be an expensive option. Companies such as Uber or Bolt allow you to book in advance, which is especially useful for peak-times, as costs can rise quickly. Be aware though: many airports charge additional fees when entering certain drop-off areas or passenger pick-ups; make sure to factor this into your budget. 

Possibility to cycle

For passengers who live nearby, or are eco- conscious and travelling light, Gatwick encourages cycling to the airport. The National Cycle Route 21 passes through the South Terminal, and has links to the North Terminal. Bicycle parking can be found under the shuttle entrance in the North Terminal, and next to the NCR21 in the South Terminal, as well as next to the train line. 


Is there cheap parking at Gatwick Airport?

  • Yes! If you book in advance with JustPark, you’ll find the best parking deals for both onsite or nearby airport parking. JustPark offers plenty of affordable parking near Gatwick Airport, ranging from driveways within walking distance, to meet and greet parking services available at both terminals. Booking in advance guarantees peace of mind for your trip and provides the best price possible.

How early do I need to arrive at Gatwick Airport?

  • Gatwick recommends arriving two hours before your flight time, to allow for passing through security, and checking in bags. Always check with your airline before travelling, as instructions may vary depending on your residency status, country of destination and any special requirements.

Does Gatwick Airport offer disabled parking?

  • Absolutely. With JustPark, you can filter for accessible spaces at Gatwick when you book in advance, ensuring you have as smooth an arrival as possible. Blue Badge Holders may also apply for free access in advance of their visit and submitting a copy of the Blue Badge.

How do I get between terminals at Gatwick?

  • Gatwick offers a free of charge shuttle service that takes under two minutes, between North and South Terminals. It runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you never have to worry about travelling from one terminal to another.

How much is Gatwick Airport drop off charge?

  • Gatwick charges a minimum of £6 to use their drop-off zones at each terminal for up to 10 minutes, and then £1 per minute for up to 20 minutes. If you don’t pay this charge by midnight the following day, you can get a Parking Charge Notice (PCN), which can be costly.
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