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Parking at Gatwick
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Drop-offs can be made on the lower level of either terminal at Gatwick, while the short-stay car parks are specifically designed for people who want to take a bit more time dropping off or picking up their passengers.
Moreover, there’s zero charge for using the long-stay car parks for less than two hours, so you’ve got more than enough time to have a drink and a snack whilst you wait for or wave off your family or friends.
The short-stay car parks at Gatwick Airport are available at both the South Terminal and the North Terminal and they’re only a 2-5-minute walk from each.
Since it’s a relatively large airport, the two car parks have separate post codes for sat nav: you can reach South Terminal short-stay parking (car park 3 (orange)) via RH6 0LL and North Terminal short-stay parking (car park 5) via RH6 0PJ.
They’re covered, multi-storey buildings with 24-hour CCTV and security with no minimum stay, so they are perfect for short trips.
Gatwick’s long-stay parking options are located just a 5-10-minute shuttle bus ride away from each terminal – the buses run every 10 or 15 minutes, no matter the time of day, so you’ll never be waiting for long.
Similarly to the short-stay car parks, there are separate post codes for the long-stay car parks that correspond to each terminal at LGW: for the South Terminal, use RH6 0LL and for the North Terminal, use RH6 0RN.
It is possible, thanks to the shuttle service, to park at the South Terminal even if you are flying from the North Terminal, so your parking options aren’t restricted by your airline.
LGW also offers convenient valet parking at either terminal, which means you can drive up to within a four-minute walk of the entrance, hand over your keys to a professional valet and let them park for you.
As an equivalent of Meet and Greet parking, they will also make sure that your car is ready and waiting for you at your terminal when you return, so you don’t need to walk anywhere or wait around for shuttle buses (but they can’t transfer vehicles between terminals).
For direct access to a car park that’s as close as you can get to the terminal buildings, LGW also offers a Premium option for those on short breaks or business trips. Both terminals are safe and secure with regular patrols and round-the-clock CCTV.
Gatwick Airport (LGW), also known as London Gatwick, is the second-busiest airport in the UK behind its fellow London-serving airport, Heathrow (LHR). Serving a staggering 44 million passengers in the year to March 2017, it is officially the busiest single-runway airport in the world and operates chiefly with low-cost deals from easyJet and Ryanair and charter flights from British Airways and Thomson Airways.
Gatwick is right on the modern border between Surrey and West Sussex. Geographically, it sits in West Sussex today, but is part of the small town of Horley, Surrey, and was formerly part of that same county until the borders changed in 1974.
It is located 29.5 miles (47.5 kilometres) south of Central London and just 3.1 miles (five kilometres) north of Crawley town centre.
There’s a multitude of accessible parking options close to both the South Terminal and the North Terminal and it’s reachable by rail from London Victoria – the Gatwick Express runs every 15 minutes from there and takes around 30 minutes. Heathrow is 43 miles (69 kilometres) north west of LGW by road and can be reached via dedicated National Express coach services in around an hour, so connections between the two major airports for transferring passengers are frequent and straightforward.
Since Gatwick has its own train station, it’s reachable from Crawley Station in eight minutes and from Brighton in 22 minutes. Delays are common by both road and railway due to passenger numbers, but the drive from Brighton usually takes 40-60 minutes depending on traffic, so Gatwick is a hugely popular airport for passengers who live in the areas south of London.
Gatwick’s name comes from the Old English for ‘goat farm’ and is taken from that of the former-owner of an old manor house that stood in the neighbouring village of Charlwood in the 13th century. De Gatwick family may never have envisaged the international connections that the land they sold in the 14th century would develop, but 700 years later, people from all over the world set foot on it at a rate of 44 million times a year.
The current airport began life as an aerodrome in 1930 and brought commercial flights to passengers in 1934 after the Air Ministry, a former RAF-focussed branch of the Government, gave the go-ahead. During World War II, RAF night-fighters used the site by order of the Air Ministry, but it was decommissioned once the war was over.
It was officially labelled London’s second airport in 1950 and its now-South Terminal underwent significant development in the recuperative years after the war. It was, in fact, the first airport to be served directly by train when it officially opened again in 1958 – Gatwick Airport Station was fully operational to the east of the runway.
The East Coast of the USA was the destination of the first long-haul flight to take off from Gatwick as the 1970s ushered in a new age of international travel for the region. It’s since been used by a pope, facilitated the first commercial Concorde flight and had a second terminal, the North Terminal, opened by the Queen.
March 2017 marked 49 consecutive months of growth for Gatwick, maintaining its position as the world’s busiest single-runway airport.
The facilities at LGW are as you would expect from a world-record-setting single-runway airport that served 44 million passengers in the year to March 2017. It offers free WiFi, fully-secured on-site parking and food choices from around the world, so it caters to all types of passengers.
If you need to contact Gatwick Airport before your arrival, you can reach the Information Desk on +44 (0)844 892 0322.
Many of the options to stay the night at Gatwick Airport offer the opportunity to save money by combining the room with parking for your vehicle.
BLOC Gatwick, for instance, is located mere yards away from departures at the South Terminal and combines its services with the valet parking at LGW at special rates. Some rooms come with views of the runway, whilst all of them come with free WiFi and the option to control everything from the lights to the temperature to the TV from your smartphone (traditional key cards are also available).
Hampton by Hilton near the North Terminal provides off-site valet (Meet and Greet) parking for as long as you need for your stay and, with free WiFi, working stations and meeting rooms, is perfect for business-related trips.
Other hotels, such as the Hilton London Gatwick Airport, Crowne Plaza Felbridge and Sofitel Hotel North Terminal, can include long-stay, short-stay or valet parking facilities for added upgrade fees.
One thing you’re not short of in LGW is places to have a drink, so, if you’ve got the time before your gate closes, there’s no excuse not to raise a glass to the trip you’re about to take. There are classic pubs and modern bars galore as well as foodie choices inspired by top chef, Jamie Oliver, spread throughout the airport, so you can start as you mean to go on before you’ve even boarded that plane.
An airport that serves 44 million passengers in a year needs to have good places to feed 44 million mouths – and that Gatwick does. There’s everything from a hot dog and milkshake joint (Shake-a-Hula) to a Middle Eastern restaurant where kids can eat for free (Comptoir Libanais), which is just the international selection you need when you’re jetting off to a faraway land.
Gatwick’s airport lounges are of the quality you would expect from the second airport in England’s capital city. Available in both terminals and offering a selection of food and drinks, fast WiFi, newspapers and kids’ packs, the various lounges are the preferred way to while away a few hours in the airport for those who want to escape the crowds.
You can pre-book your place in one of the lounges here.
Both terminals contain a Kids’ Zone to work them up so you can settle them down when they get on the plane. The brightly-coloured areas have mini games, spongy seats and large TVs, so they’re a good way to break away from the masses and wait for your boarding call on the screens.
Artwork is becoming a common feature of many modern airports and Gatwick is part of the club. Artist Helen Marshall created mosaic portraits of Her Majesty the Queen out of images sent in by BBC Radio listeners from across the region and they’re on display in both terminals. They may not be admired on the scale of the Mona Lisa, but they are seen by millions of people every day.
The duty free shop in Gatwick offers a complimentary makeover for anyone – and you don’t even need to pre-book. You can simply ask a member of staff when you’re there to get a pampering that will leave you hankering for the first social selfie of your trip.
The beautiful seaside resort of Brighton is a mere 22 minutes away from Gatwick Airport by train. There are unique shopping experiences on The Lanes and at the flea market, terrific performances at the Theatre Royal and Brighton Little Theatre and the best of British beaches and the famous Brighton Pier on the coast, so you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend a sunny afternoon either before or after your flight.
Sat nav instructions: Madeira Dr, Brighton BN2 1TW
If you only have a short while to spend in the area before you fly, there’s no better way to get in the mood than spending a couple of hours at Gatwick Aviation Museum. It is, of course, dedicated to its huge neighbouring airport and post-World War II accounts of plane production, with exhilarating runway views and even the opportunity to sit in a cockpit of a light aircraft, so the kids will love it.
Sat nav instructions: Vallance By-Ways, Lowfield Heath Rd, Charlwood, Nr. Gatwick RH6 0BT
Tulleys Farm is home to the adrenaline-filled Southern Pursuits just east of Crawley, which gives visitors the chance to get muddy on quad bikes, get wild with axe throwing and archery and get speedy on go karts. It’s best for big groups, so if you’re landing in England and looking for something to raise your heartrates straight away, you can make the 15-minute trip by taxi as soon as you leave the airport.
Sat nav instructions: High Weald AONB, Tulleys Farm, Turners Hill Rd, Crawley RH10 4PD
A 15-minute drive south from Gatwick Airport will take you to the tree tops of Tilgate Park at Go Ape!, an adventure ground for all ages that lets you explore the forest canopy from up high. Officially part of ‘The Best Day Out in West Sussex’ with everything from a Tarzan swing to a tricky twister, this place is sure to blow away the cobwebs of a long flight.
Sat nav instructions: Tilgate Dr, Crawley RH10 5PQ
Tilgate Park doesn’t have to be all about exhilaration – it is the perfect place for relaxation, too, with a stunning lake and lush green grass on which to spread out for a bite to eat and a tipple. You’ll be able to watch the planes fly into Gatwick in the background as the ducks fly into the lake in the foreground at Tilgate and, better still, it’s only seven miles (11.3 kilometres) south of the airport.
Sat nav instructions: Tilgate Dr, Crawley RH10 5PQ
The Gatwick Express or Southern Rail can get you to Central London in only half an hour from LGW, which opens you up to a whole host of cultural activities. One of the best of them is the British Museum in Bloomsbury. It’s a world-renowned account of art and human history with ever-changing exhibitions from establishments around the world. What’s more, admission is completely free.
Sat nav instructions: Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG
One of city’s most enlightening experiences, Borough Market must be on your London to-do list. With herbs and spices from around the world and enough meats, cheeses and fruit and veg to feed the entire district for a year, it’ll transport you to faraway cultures and cuisines in a way that Gatwick can’t.
Sat nav instructions: Borough Market, Borough High St, London SE1 9AH
If you didn’t catch enough of London from above when you came in to land at Gatwick, head to the Shard to see it from a completely new perspective. The 1003-ft (306-metre) skyscraper gets its name from its shard-of-glass-like appearance and offers an unrivalled 360-degree view of the city, day and night, from The View from the Shard viewing gallery – it’s the highest and most spectacular in the UK.
Sat nav instructions: 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG
Wilton’s in Wapping, near the Tower of London, is one of those experiences that’ll consume you for one night and change you for a lifetime. If you’ve got an evening to spare before an early flight, it’d be a waste to not spend it at Wilton’s – it’s a shabby old music hall that was created by smashing five Victorian houses together in the 1850s. Today, it’s been restored to its original nakedness and puts on conversation-stopping shows like nowhere else in the area.
The nearest Underground station is Aldgate East.
Sat nav instructions: 1 Graces Alley, Whitechapel, London E1 8JB
Gatwick Airport’s two terminals, the South Terminal and the North Terminal, are used by 53 airlines to serve 44 million passengers a year. The biggest of the airlines by percentage of flights at LGW are easyJet, British Airways and Norwegian, with easyJet using the site as a major base and BA using it as a hub for their operations.
Virgin Atlantic joined British Airways and easyJet in a terminal relocation in 2017; they moved to the North Terminal with easyJet, whilst BA went from North to South.
|Aegean Airlines||South Terminal|
|Aer Lingus||South Terminal|
|Air Arabia Maroc||South Terminal|
|Air Canada Rouge||North Terminal|
|Air Europa||South Terminal|
|Air Malta||South Terminal|
|Air Transat||South Terminal|
|Austrian Airlines||South Terminal|
|BH Air (Balkan Holidays)||South Terminal|
|British Airways||South Terminal|
|Cathay Pacific||South Terminal|
|Croatia Airlines||South Terminal|
|Enter Air||South Terminal|
|Georgian Airways||North Terminal|
|Iberia Express||South Terminal|
|Iraqi Airways||South Terminal|
|Med-View Airline||South Terminal|
|Monarch Airlines||South Terminal|
|Montenegro Airlines||South Terminal|
|Norwegian Air Shuttle||South Terminal|
|Pegasus Airlines||South Terminal|
|Royal Air Maroc||North Terminal|
|SATA International||South Terminal|
|Small Planet Airlines||South Terminal|
|Swiss International Air Lines||South Terminal|
|TAP Portugal||South Terminal|
|Thomas Cook Airlines||South Terminal|
|Thomson Airways||North Terminal|
|Tianjin Airlines||North Terminal|
|Titan Airways||South Terminal|
|Travel Services||South Terminal|
|Turkish Airlines||South Terminal|
|Ukraine International Airlines||South Terminal|
|Virgin Atlantic||North Terminal|
|Wizz Air||South Terminal|
|WOW air||South Terminal|
Gatwick’s two terminals use separate post codes for sat nav: RH6 0NP for the South Terminal and RH6 0PJ for the North Terminal. There are signs on approach for all car parks, but, if you’re just dropping off or picking up, the long-stay car park at either terminal is free for up to two hours; you can reach them via RH6 0LL for the South Terminal and RH6 0RN for the North Terminal.
If you’re driving from London, take the A23 down to the M23 and leave it at Junction 9 for a direct link to the airport via Airport Way. If you’re driving from the north and want to avoid London, leave the M25 at Junction 7 to join the M23 south towards Gatwick.
If you’re coming from the south, the A23 stretches from Brighton and joins the M23 before Crawley to take you round and north to the airport.
Gatwick Airport Station is situated at the South Terminal – passengers who need the North Terminal are transported via a free shuttle. LGW can be reached via the Gatwick Express or Southern Rail services that run between London Victoria Station and Brighton every 15 minutes.
The journey from London to Gatwick takes about 30 minutes, whilst Brighton to Gatwick is a little quicker at 22 minutes.
Bus services connect Gatwick with major cities in the south, including London, Brighton, Oxford and Cambridge. The main stop is located at the South Terminal, with easy and free shuttle connections to the North Terminal if you require.
If you’re connecting from Heathrow, the National Express runs regular services between the airports and they take about an hour. easyBus, an arm of Gatwick’s biggest airline, easyJet, also runs bus services between Gatwick and London, whilst local services from the Crawley and A23 areas are operated by Metrobus.
The long-stay car parks at Gatwick are free to use for the first two hours, so they’re ideal for anyone who’s only swinging by to make a drop-off or a pick-up. Put RH6 0LL into your sat nav for the South Terminal long-stay and RH6 0RN for the North Terminal equivalent.
And vice versa – the free shuttle connects the on-site car parks at both terminals and runs every few minutes, so your parking options are doubled no matter which terminal you’re flying from at LGW. The North Terminal car parks typically experience higher demand, too, so it can often be better to park at the South Terminal anyway.
In January 2017, terminal relocations for three of Gatwick’s major airlines were completed. easyJet and Virgin now operate out of the North Terminal at different peak times, whilst British Airways is now based in the South Terminal.
Any airport that serves over 40 million passengers a year is bound to be busy most of the time, but peak time every day of the week is typically 6am-12pm. Moreover, heavy traffic can clog the roads around the airport, so plan your journey carefully to make sure you can get parked up and through security in time for your flight. Two or more hours is a good guide for the amount of time you’ll need to catch a typical flight at LGW.
There’s a nice restaurant in Gatwick that lets children eat for free (May 2017), so it takes a little strain off the purse-strings before you go away. Comptoir Libanais is a Middle Eastern takeaway-concept eatery that’s as casual as it gets in an airport.
It is possible to drive up and park for short stays, but Gatwick can only guarantee a space for customers who pre-book at least 24 hours before arrival.
Yes, there are designated Blue Badge bays in every on-site car park at LGW. There are, however, no discounts available on stays of any length. You don’t need to leave your Blue Badge in your car whilst you’re away, but you do need to notify the attendant before you leave your car.
There’s a free shuttle service that runs every few minutes between the South and North Terminals and it takes just three minutes.
If you’ve lost baggage at the airport, you can contact the relevant department here. If you’ve lost baggage on the plane, you need to contact your airline immediately.
Yes, the North Terminal’s No 1 lounge and the South Terminal’s Regus Express business lounge have meeting rooms that are available to book by the hour.