Welcome to the exploration of Gatwick Airport, London’s bustling second-largest gateway to the skies. Promising and delivering a delightful combination of efficiency and modern facilities, Gatwick’s importance can’t be overstated. Let’s dive in to learn more about this remarkable airport.
Resting in the heart of South East England, Gatwick Airport sits proudly 29.5 miles south of Central London. Strategically positioned in the county of West Sussex, Gatwick serves as an important hub for both London and the South East.
Its postcode, RH6, is a familiar touchpoint for travellers and courier services alike, leading straight to one of the UK’s busiest aviation hubs.
Diving into the architecture of Gatwick, the airport comprises two major terminals: the North Terminal and the South Terminal. Each one pulsates with activity, housing a myriad of airlines and services to accommodate millions of passengers every year.
The North Terminal, boasting innovative design and modern facilities, perfectly blends comfort and functionality for travellers. Meanwhile, the South Terminal, which is the original terminal, continues to serve countless passengers, despite having been in operation since 1958.
But let’s not forget about Gatwick’s unique runway structure. Unlike its big sister, Heathrow, Gatwick operates a single main runway, with a secondary runway available when the main one is not in use. This 3,316-meter long runway is a hive of activity, managing to efficiently handle Gatwick’s impressive air traffic volume.
Shifting our focus from the physical layout to the annual traffic, Gatwick Airport handles an impressive number of passengers each year.
Pre-COVID, Gatwick was welcoming more than 46 million passengers annually, making it the second busiest airport in the UK, after Heathrow.
In the grander global scheme, Gatwick holds its own as the busiest single-runway airport, a testament to its efficient operations.
While it might not match up to the likes of Atlanta or Beijing in terms of overall passenger numbers, Gatwick’s impressive handling of traffic with its single runway operation sets it apart.
Heading to Gatwick Airport from Central London? You’ll be pleased to know that the airport is well-served by multiple transport options, ensuring a smooth journey. Let’s look at how you can reach Gatwick by train, car, and tube.
Train travel is often the quickest and most convenient way to reach Gatwick Airport from Central London. Gatwick Express, the non-stop train service between London Victoria and Gatwick, is the fastest option, taking around 30 minutes. With departures every 15 minutes, you won’t have long to wait.
Another reliable option is Southern Railway, offering services from London Victoria and London Bridge, among other stations. With a journey time of around 35-40 minutes, it’s only slightly slower than the Gatwick Express.
For travellers prioritising cost over speed, Thameslink provides a direct service to Gatwick from various stations in London. Although it takes a bit longer (around 50 minutes from London Bridge), it’s usually cheaper and runs 24 hours on selected days.
For those who prefer the convenience of driving, Gatwick is easily accessible via the M23 motorway at Junction 9. From Central London, the journey typically takes around 1-2 hours, depending on traffic. Be sure to use the postcode RH6 0NP for your SatNav system.
Upon arrival, you’ll find various parking options to suit your needs, from short-stay parking for quick drop-offs to long-stay options for those heading on a longer trip.
While there’s no direct tube line to Gatwick Airport, the London Underground can still be part of your journey. Take the Northern Line to London Bridge, or the Victoria Line to Victoria Station. From either of these stations, you can catch a direct train to Gatwick.