Transport from Gatwick Airport to Central London

gatwick airport arrivals

London Gatwick Airport is located about 47 kilometers (29 miles) southwest of central London. Despite the fact that the airport is not located in London itself, it’s a simple enough matter reaching the city center and you can do it in just 30 minutes.

Gatwick Airport is a good place to fly into when you’re travelling to London and in the following guide you will find out what the options are — as well as a number of money saving tips — for travel from Gatwick Airport to central London.

Gatwick Airport to London – Transport options

First of all, let’s take a look at the available options for getting from the airport to London:

Trains to London in 30 minutes

train from gatwick to london

It is possible to hop on a dedicated service whose only purpose is to transport its passengers from Gatwick Airport to Victoria Station in London as quickly as possible. The Gatwick Express takes only 30 minutes to complete the journey and it is the fastest way to get into London.

Alternatively, take one of the slower trains departing Gatwick for London. They are cheaper and run to numerous stations in the city.

Read the guide for trains from Gatwick Airport to Central London.

Bus to London

bus from gatwick to london
Yes, of course, it is also possible to catch a bus from Gatwick to Central London. But compared to Stansted or Luton, for example, where it may make sense to take the bus, it is just not something I would recommend you do on the route from Gatwick.

Traffic can be bad, and the multiple rail connections together with cheap ticket prices make the train that much more attractive. Naturally, that doesn’t mean I haven’t written a detailed guide on taking the bus from Gatwick Airport to London.

Jump to the section about bus options from Gatwick Airport to London.

Minicab (private taxi) to London

As always when it comes to airport transfers in London I recommend that you do not hail a plain black taxi outside the airport. Instead, if you prefer to forgo public transport, I recommend you book a private driver before leaving home – it is cheaper and earns you peace of mind.

I recommend using

Read about prices and how to book here.

Guide: Trains from Gatwick Airport to Central London

gatwick airport transport

When deciding which train to take from Gatwick Airport to London, your primary consideration should be where you have booked accommodation in the city.

If you have accommodation in West London (areas such as Earl’s Court, Victoria, Westminster, Pimlico, Chelsea & Kensington), you may want to consider taking the express airport train: The Gatwick Express, which only takes 30 minutes.

If instead, you’ve booked your hotel in the East End or around London Bridge, Blackfriars or the King’s Cross area, then you may opt for a slightly slower, but cheaper, train from the airport to your destination.

In fact, the so-called ‘slow train’ only takes 32 minutes to complete the journey to London Bridge station. So where you have accommodation booked should be, in fact, your sole consideration

Tickets for the train from Gatwick – buy Visitor Oyster Card from home

visitor oyster card
Since 2016 it has been possible to use Visitor Oyster Cards on the journey from Gatwick to London. This is absolutely fantastic news for anyone travelling to and from London and Gatwick Airport.

It means that you do not have to buy your ticket at home and are no longer chained to the specific departure or train company through which you have purchased said ticket.

For you, this simply means you can purchase a Visitor Oyster Card before you leave home and then you have a ticket for the train journey from Gatwick to London.

  • So, what is this Visitor Oyster card, you ask?

The Oyster card is a travel card issued by Transport for London. All Londoners maintain a close relationship with their Oyster; it gives them a 50% discount on all travel on the Underground and can also be used on city buses, the Overground, Trams and a variety of local train routes — such as Gatwick to London. The card can even be used to pay for boat trips on the Thames!

visitor oyster card
Screenshot from the VisitBritain shop.

The Visitor Oyster card is a special card which was created as a service for tourists. The card is £2 cheaper than the ‘regular’ Oyster and it can only be purchased online. Whether travelling to Gatwick Airport or not, I recommend you buy a Visitor Oyster card at home before you go to London.

There is simply so much money to be saved with this card that you can’t afford not to buy it.

Visitor Oyster cards cost £3, and you then top them up with the amount you expect to need on your trip to London.

  •  My recommendation:  If you need your Visitor Oyster card on the trip to and from Gatwick Airport, buy the card with £50 on it.
    Alternatively, you can choose a lesser amount and load more money on the card in the machines at any Underground station in London.

The card must be purchased online at VisitBritain and is delivered worldwide.

Read more about the Visitor Oyster card and purchase from VisitBritain here.

With your Visitor Oyster card in your pocket you can board any train heading to London. All you have to do is ‘Beep’ yourself through the barriers at the Gatwick Airport railway station and make your pick between Gatwick Express, Southern and Thameslink.

The prices for a Visitor Oyster Card holder are as follows:

  • Gatwick Express (to Victoria Station) – £19.80
  • Southern (to Victoria Station or London Bridge) – £8.10 (off-peak) / £14.20 (peak)
  • Thameslink (to London Bridge, London Blackfriars and City Thameslink) – £8.10 (off-peak) / £14.20 (peak)
  • Thameslink to King’s Cross – £10.30 (off-peak) / £16.50 (peak)

Below I review the different train companies and their routes into London. During daytime, trains from Gatwick to London run practically every 5 minutes, so you can be sure you won’t have to wait long on the platform.

If you’re only going to be in London for a day or you simply don’t want to buy a Visitor Oyster Card you can also buy normal tickets for the trains.

If you want to plan your trip from home, I recommend the website Train Genius where you can get an overview of the train schedules.

Gatwick Express – quickly to Victoria Station

gatwick expressThe Gatwick Express is, as previously mentioned, the fastest way to get from Gatwick to Central London.

Express trains run non-stop to Victoria Station in London and there’s one leaving every 30 minutes. The Gatwick Express is fast and reliable, but if you have 3 minutes to spare, I recommend going with the Southern train service running on the same route.

It only makes two additional stops along the way – and you can save up to £11.70.

The price for a ride on the Gatwick Express is fixed at £19.80 using the Visitor Oyster card.

See the journey on the map:

Read more on the Gatwick Express website.

Southern – cheaply to Victoria

southern rail

The Southern train is cheaper than the Gatwick Express and there are only a few extra stops along the way (at East Croydon and Clapham Junction), which means that the trip from Gatwick Airport to Victoria Station only takes 33 minutes.

The price for the trip is £8.10 (off-peak) and £14.20 (peak), so it is a significantly cheaper alternative to the Gatwick Express – and it only takes 3 extra minutes.

The journey is the same – (nearly) direct from Gatwick Airport to Victoria Station.

It is also possible to take the Southern service to London Bridge, but it often requires you switch trains at East Croydon station.

Check the overhead screens at the station to see the next departure or plan your trip with Train Genius.

Read more on Southern’s website here.

Thameslink – quickly and cheaply to London Bridge or Central London

thameslinkThis is an excellent option for getting to central London by train quickly and cheaply. Thameslink, who also operate a service from Luton Airport to London, runs many departures daily from Gatwick Airport to London Bridge station or on a different route with stops at London Blackfriars, City Thameslink and King’s Cross.

  • The journey from Gatwick Airport to London Bridge can take as little as 32 minutes.
  • The journey from Gatwick Airport to London Blackfriars can take as little as 42 minutes (this train continues towards Bedford and stops at City Thameslink, Farringdon & King’s Cross in London).

There are many trains per hour on both routes, so you can either simply arrive at the airport and check the displays or plan your trip ahead of time using Train Genius.

Gatwick to London Bridge:

As mentioned earlier, I recommend buying a Visitor Oyster card from home when you’re travelling to London — and especially when flying to Gatwick Airport.

That way you have the card ready when you land and can effortlessly head to your train of choice.

Buy the card at Visit Britain here.

Bus from Gatwick Airport to Central London

With the many different routes that exist on the train, it rarely pays off to go by bus from Gatwick Airport to London – unless you are really looking to save money on the trip.

The bus may be preferable if you arrive at night when there are limited trains.

From Gatwick Airport with National Express and EasyBus

National Express to Vauxhall and Victoria

national express

National Express run on a route that stops at Vauxhall Station and runs to the final station at Victoria Coach Station. The trip takes 90 minutes on average. At night and at times with little traffic the trip can be done in just over an hour.

It is a good alternative to the train if you land in Gatwick at night — or must catch a plane at night.

Tickets for the bus can be purchased for as little as £5 if you buy them online ahead of time, but the standard price is £10.

  •  My recommendation: buy a special e-voucher for the bus online at VisitBritain – direct link here.
    This way you are guaranteed a place in ‘the next bus’ that departs from Gatwick Airport once you have landed.

If you buy a ticket directly from National Express, you may encounter the vexing situation where your flight is delayed and your ticket thus becomes invalid, since it only applies to the specific departure time you purchased.
When you need to return to Gatwick Airport (and if you choose to do so by bus), I recommend you buy the ticket directly from National Express, as you are then guaranteed a seat on the bus at the departure time of choice.

It is worth noting that the buses at night are often sold out, so it is important that you buy your bus ticket in advance.

See bus schedules and purchase tickets directly from National Express.

EasyBus to West Brompton at Earl’s Court

Low cost bus company EasyBus also departs from Gatwick Airport to a stop near West Brompton station and Earl’s Court tube station in west London.

See the stop location here:

EasyBus has departures around the clock and the tickets typically cost £7.95 if you don’t buy in advance — if you do, it is possible to buy tickets for as low as £2.

Read more about the EasyBus Gatwick Airport service on their website.

Minicab from Gatwick to Central London

If you want the easiest solution to getting from Gatwick Airport to London and you want to arrive directly at your destination in the city, you may want to take a taxi. However, I would recommend you book your taxi from home.

You can often save up to 50% on your trip from Gatwick Airport to London in a minicab compared to a ride in a classic black cab.

When you book your minicab online, you write down your flight number. That way the driver can check and see if your flight is delayed.

The driver will meet you in the arrivals hall and escort you to the car. This simply is the easiest way to go directly from plane to your hotel in Central London.

Prices on routes into Central London

Below I have collected a few typical prices from, a website I recommend you use when you need to book your minicab from Gatwick to London.

It provides a good overview of prices for the trip from a variety of minicab companies.

Price examples of the trip from Gatwick Airport to London in a minicab

  • Gatwick Airport to King’s Cross St Pancras – £56.50
  • Gatwick Airport to Paddington Station – £56.00
  • Gatwick Airport to Marble Arch – £55
  • Gatwick Airport to Victoria Station – £42
  • Gatwick Airport to Shoreditch High Street – £51.50
  • Gatwick Airport to London Bridge – £55

If you have any questions regarding transportation from Gatwick Airport to Central London, please write a comment below and I’ll try to help you.

Photo of author

Kristoffer Fons

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22 thoughts on “Transport from Gatwick Airport to Central London”

  1. Hello Kristoffer. Thanks a lot for this guide, we are flying to gatwick airport next month and we are staying close to kings cross station. So we shall just buy the visitor oyster card and take the thameslink train, is that correct?

    Also how much money do you think we should put on the visitor oyster card? We are in London for 3 days and are also flying home from gatwick airport.

    CHEERS 😀

    • Hi there Germans 🙂

      Yes exactly – buy your Visitor Oyster Card online at the VisitBritain Shop (click here) and you’ll get it in the mail so you have it ready when you arrive in London.

      For transport from Gatwick Airport to Central London (and back) and 3 days in the city I’d recommend that you buy the card with £50 loaded on it.

      If you have any more questions about your transport from Gatwick to London or anything London related then feel free to ask.

  2. Hi Kristoffer, Thanks for the helpful website! I’m arriving at Gatwick Monday Sept 11 at 2pm, and need to go to the Bridge Hotel on Borough. It’s my first time in London and I’ll be there for 20 days. Arriving with 2 suitcases and a backpack. I was thinking of buying a travel card or Oyster card at Gatwick – but don’t know where. My hotel suggested I take the Thameslink train (a direct one) to Blackfriars Station and take a cab from there. Is that a good idea? Um How do I hail a cab? What is best?? THANKS!! Jane

    • Hi Jane

      I’d normally suggest to buy the Visitor Oyster Card online but seeing as you you’re flying out tomorrow it’s a little too late for that 😀

      No worries though – you can still buy an Oyster Card in Gatwick Airport (it’s just a few £’s more expensive). So what you should do is:

      – buy the Oyster Card in Gatwick Airport
      – take a Thameslink and get off at either Blackfriars or London Bridge (you can take every Thameslink trains towards London and then just see which station it’ll stop at when you’re there – doesn’t really matter if it’s Blackfriars or London Bridge as the distance is basically the same to the hotel)
      – get a black cab or an Uber to your hotel. Wont cost you over £10, Uber will be cheaper though

      Hope this helps – have e great trip to London, I’ll be going there too tomorrow and the weather looks nice 😀

  3. Hello Kristoffer. We are flying to Gatwick Airport from Italy and would like to go very qiuckly to our hotel that is located very close to Earls Court Station… Do you know the fastest transport from Gatwick to London Earls Court Station?

    we have a musical to catch so it is okay to pay a little bit extra – we just need to get to our hotel fast..


    • Hi Emm

      It’s actually very easy to get from Gatwick Airport to Earl’s Court in London. I’d advise you to buy a Visitor Oyster Card online in the VisitBritain Shop as they send the card to you in Italy (they ship around the world) so that you’ve got them on you when you land in Gatwick Airport. Buy the card here:

      With your Visitor Oyster Card all you have to do is:

      – go to the train station in Gatwick Airport (you can’t miss it, just follow the signs)
      – take either the Stansted Express (expensive) or the Southern (cheap) train to Victoria Station
      – change to the tube (Underground) and take the District line (the green one) in the eastbound direction to Earls Court (only a few stops)

      This will probably take you around 45-50 minutes; train from Gatwick to London Victoria takes only 30 mins.

      I wish you a pleasent trip to London via Gatwick Airport 😀

  4. Hi Kistoffer,
    We are Indian Settled in Dubai, en routing Via Gatiwck, hence we thought to stop in London for 2 days.
    I am first time to Lodon and want to know which will be best place for us to stay and travel.

    • Hi Smita

      A couple of days in London is ALWAYS a good idea 🙂

      When you’re flying to/from Gatwick it’s very easy to get into London. I usually stay around the Kings Cross area as it’s very convenient both when it comes to airport transport from Gatwick (there’s a direct train from Gatwick to Kings Cross St Pancras Station) and transport around London in general. Also there are a lot of great restaurants, cafes and pubs in the area – and the hotels are generally OK priced.

      There are also direct trains to Victoria Station and the Victoria area is too a great place to stay in London. It might be a bit pricier but it’s also closer to the main tourist attractions (London Eye, Big Ben etc).

      I’ve actually written a big guide to the areas in London; where to stay and where to avoid. See the guide here:

      I hope this helps and that you have a wonderful trip to London via Gatwick Airport 😉

  5. Hi Kristoffer,
    My family and I will be flying into Gatwick in September, it is an evening arrival approx 8pm. I haven’t booked where to stay yet but it will most likely be the Premier inn Victoria. We were originally thinking the Gatwick Express but we will have a 9 & 10 yr old and luggage. do you think a cab might be a better idea? Also, do you know anything about kids travelling free with the Oyster card? does that include the Gatwick Express or just the tube? thanks for your help!

    • Hi Eva

      I would definitely recommend that you use the train from Gatwick as The Premier Inn Victoria is located only a few minutes walk from Victoria Station. It obviously depends on your budget, but it’s very easy to get to the train in Gatwick and when your hotel is so close to Victoria Station I’d personally feel that the money spent on a taxi was wasted.

      Kids are only travelling free on the tube I’m afraid.

      Have a nice trip til London 🙂

  6. Hello
    I am flying to London in the next 2 weeks through gatwick. I’d like to know the cheapest means to dagenham from the airport. And I’ll be carrying a 30kg luggage with me. Thanks in anticipation!

    • Hi Habeeb

      (Depending on where in Dagenham you’re going…) I’d suggest that you take the Thameslink-train to Blackfriars and change to the District line (Underground) that will take you to East Dagenham Station.

      Have a nice trip to London!

      • I’m going to becontree avenue, I just checked now it seems quite far from dagenham east station. Any better alternative route kristofer?

        • Oh I see. Then I’d probably use the Southern-train to Victoria, change to the District line and then after 45 mins get off at Becontree Station – from there you could either walk or take the Bus 62 towards Marks Gate and get off at Becontree Avenue. The journey (train, tube and bus) will take around 1 hour and 40 minutes.

          You can use the Visitor Oyster Card on all trains/buses.

  7. Hello! Flying into Gatwick at 10:30am on a Friday morning, staying near London Bridge, and then departing on Sunday evening. Based upon your very helpful advice, I’ll plan on taking the Thameslink from Gatwick to London Bridge Station. Since we’ll only be in the city for 2 full days (plus an afternoon), do you still recommend that we start with 50 on each of our Oyster Visitor Cards?

  8. Hello Kristoffer!
    We are a family of 3(child 3 years old) and we re thinking of using southern train from gatwick to earl’s court. 1st question, is the train ticket cheaper online? 2nd question, is it faster and cheaper to stop at clapham junction and then to west brompton and walk to earls court?

  9. Hi Kristoffer! We’re flying to London in a month and will be coming in from Gatwick Airport and leaving from there as well. We will be stay around Shoreditch area and we’ll be staying for 7 days. Do you have any recommendations of routes we should take and if there are top-ups that are unlimited use for a week considering that we are still going back to Gatwick?

    Thanks in advance!

  10. Hello, thank you for all your insights! I’ve read just about every article. How reliable is the Gatwick Express? I’ve read some horror stories about missed flights because of delays/cancelations. Also considering car transport but understand traffic in the mornings is pretty bad. Need to be at Gatwick by 7 on a Tuesday morning. Cost isn’t necessarily an issue, just don’t want to miss our flight, and paying more for the most reliable service is better than more airfare. Thanks in advance.

  11. Hi,

    I am traveling with a child for a two day sightseeing trip to London. We will arrive in Gatwick at 9:30am and leave the next day at 9:30pm. We will stay around Victoria. What is the best option to get to/from Gatwick and have two days off peak Tube travel within the usual tourist sights?



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