London Gatwick Airport Guide

Gatwick Airport GuideImage courtesy of nanka /

As the UK’s second largest airport (after Heathrow) London Gatwick Airport is a convenient alternative with its quick travel times to London, excellent transport links and a range of modern facilities and services to make your trip easier.

Gatwick serves both domestic and international routes, visiting over 200 destinations in 90 countries. 

Located 28 miles south of London in West Sussex, Gatwick’s efficient train network includes the non-stop Gatwick Express which deposits passengers at Victoria Station in half an hour (quicker than any other London airport) and regional trains to many other parts of the UK.

Like any big city airport, travel times to and from Gatwick Airport depend on traffic conditions, so if you’re relying on bus or car to make connections it’s best to avoid peak times.

Those on a short visit to experience the capital’s major sights, such as Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, should travel by express train to central London and then catch the London Underground tube to the attraction.

London Gatwick Airport Information

Gatwick Hotels

For travellers with early morning flights, long transits or flight delays (a common occurrence at Gatwick), both North and South Terminals at Gatwick Airport have hotels inside or connected to their terminals.

There are also a good selection of hotels within a short radius from the terminals ranging from budget to luxury. Many cater particularly to business travellers and offer facilities such as meeting rooms and conference centres.

It pays to Googlemap the hotel’s location before you book. Although many of the hotels, even the large US brands, call their hotel 'Gatwick hotels' many are actually up to 45 minutes away by road.

In the links below we present only the best choice hotels for location, convenience and price.

Choose a Hotel at Gatwick Airport

For greater peace of mind and convenience when departing or arriving at Gatwick Airport choose one of the airport hotels.

Bloc Hotel is situated in the South Terminal and has 245 rooms and super-fast Wi-Fi, the more upmarket Hilton has a range of facilities, while the Yotel is a fantastic option for budget travellers. Passengers can also easily reach the four-star Sofitel, or choose the new Hampton By Hilton, both are conveniently connected to the North Terminal.

Find out more about the hotels at Gatwick Airport

Choose Hotel Accommodation Near Gatwick

If you’re a business traveller needing facilities or prefer to sleep away from the airport then there are many hotels a short walk or drive from Gatwick Airport.

The Premier Inn is directly opposite the North Terminal and offers a free 2 minute shuttle service, while the Holiday Inn is just a 5 minute drive and has executive rooms and a conference centre. Find out more about the hotels near Gatwick Airport.

Gatwick hotels For near by accommodation

Gatwick Immigration & Customs

Going through immigration and customs at Gatwick Airport is mandatory for everyone travelling to the UK. But queues and exits vary depending on what passport you’re travelling on and whether you’re journeying from inside or outside the EU. 

Clearance times also vary depending on the time of day or how many passengers were on the flight. Gatwick Airport is a very busy airport so patience is required. If in any doubt about which queue you’re meant to be in ask airport staff.  

Passport Control

There are two different queues for passport control:

British nationals and Swiss nationals, European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA)

Every other nationality.

Those with e-passports (with a magnetic chip) can use the e-passport gates in both North and South Terminals. Those travelling from a non-EU country should ensure they have their visas or documents on hand for UK officials to speed up the process. 


This is where you declare any goods you’re bringing into the country. You can usually bring in a certain amount of goods for your own use but it depends again on whether you’re coming from the EU or non-EU country. To make clearance through customs quick and painless, there are three channels: red, blue or green.

  • Red: Goods to declare
  • Blue: No goods to declare, travelling from an EU country
  • Green: No goods to declare, travelling from a non-EU country.

Banned and restricted goods

These are taken straight off the UK government services website and include:

  • illegal drugs
  • offensive weapons like flick knives
  • self defence sprays like pepper spray and CS gas
  • endangered animal and plant species
  • rough diamonds
  • indecent and obscene materials
  • personal imports of meat and dairy products from most non-EU countries

Some goods are restricted - like firearms, explosives and ammunition. You need a special licence.

Some food and plant products are also restricted if they:

  • aren’t free from pests and diseases
  • aren’t for your own use
  • weren’t grown in the EU

Gatwick Car Rental

If you’re planning a road trip of the UK or simply want the flexibility and convenience of independent transport, a car rental from Gatwick Airport is an excellent idea.

There is a wide selection, as well as fair prices, when considering the rental car companies at both North and South Terminals. Find out what Gatwick Airport car rental companies can offer you.

London Gatwick Airport Car Rental

London Gatwick Airport Parking 

There are both short stay and long stay parking areas available for North and South Terminals at Gatwick Airport, whether you’re looking to pay budget or premium prices. The the long stay car parks are situated further from the terminals than the short stay ones, but they do have a shuttle bus running backwards and forwards. Find out more about the different parking options and which is best for you.

Find out more about parking at Gatwick

Gatwick Airport Lounges

For your comfort and convenience there are several passenger lounges in both the North and South Terminals, whether you’re flying business class or economy. For an entry fee you can enjoy a hot shower, a cooked meal and a quiet place to relax. They’re a great place to wait if your flight is delayed, especially if you have kids as some have a dedicated family space, or need to meet up with clients before or after flying. See our Gatwick Airport Terminal Lounges page for more information and details on how to access these facilities.

North & South Terminal Lounges

Gatwick Airport Terminals

The main departure and arrival facilities are divided into two terminals, North and South. Both terminals provide flights to domestic, european and international countries but the bulk of the flight traffic is handled by the older South Terminal. 

Opened in the late 1950s it has recently had a major upgrade so now there’s more space, better duty free shopping and improved transport zones. The North Terminal is the newer of the two and handles British Airways, Emirates, certain international airlines, and charter flights. 

Both terminals have a range of services to assist with your journey as well as lots of cafes, restaurants, lounges, retail stores and duty free shopping. Find out more information on the facilities and services at each terminal.

North Terminal & South Terminal

Transit Between Terminals

It’s simple to get from one terminal to the other at Gatwick Airport by using the inter-terminal monorail. This runs 24/7 every few minutes, and is located near the train station in the South Terminal and on Level 1 in the North Terminal. For both terminals there is clear signage or just ask airport staff for directions.

Airport Information

Airport Code: LGW

Time Zone: UTC/GMT +00:00

Flight Enquiry: +44 844 892 0322

Luggage Storage Gatwick Airport

Travellers needing to store heavy luggage on arrival can do so 24 hours a day at the South Terminal arrivals area. The cost for 4 - 24 hours is £9.00 per item, and group discounts are available for 25 items or more.

Gatwick Airport Shopping & Duty Free

Whether its gifts for family and friends or a treat for yourself, London Gatwick Airport offers excellent duty free shopping with many special offers exclusive to travellers. Whether its skincare, sunglasses, chocolate or perfume you’re after, don’t leave it to the last minute to get to the airport, save yourself some time for browsing and you’ll pick up a bargain.

Gatwick Airport Information Centers

The airport has information centers in both terminals. When you’re checking into the North Terminal there is a help point on Level 1, located near the shuttle train service, some information desks after the security check and on Level 2. Coming into the main Arrivals area on the left hand side there’s a help point by one of the exits.

The South Terminal has a designated Information Zone located in the check in area, next to Boots Pharmacy. In the main Arrivals area, there is an information desk located next to the Airport Concierge.

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