Is the Gatwick Express the cheapest or best transportation option to get to and from Gatwick Airport? While it may not be the cheapest, under certain circumstances it can be the best option.
Just be aware that the Gatwick Express is not the only train service that calls at Gatwick Airport, you can learn more on our Trains To/From London Gatwick Airport page.
Here are a few things to consider about whether or not the Gatwick Express is right for you.
If you know your travel dates and times ahead of time and are willing to book advance tickets then the Gatwick Express is never the cheapest option.
A standard Gatwick Express anytime single ticket to/from London Victoria costs £19.90 compared to advanced tickets on Southern trains that can cost as little as £11 or anytime day singles from £15.30. And returns for the Gatwick Express cost £34.90 vs £22 for advance tickets or £30.60 for anytime returns.
However, if you book Gatwick Express tickets online you can save 10% on your order. Which means singles drop to £17.70 one way and £31.05 return. Better yet, the Web Duo Anytime Return (for two adults travelling together) deal can be purchased for £44.70 or just £0.70 more than two advance return tickets.
Also be aware National Rail card discounts can also be applied to Gatwick Express tickets.
Verdict: Depending on your travel requirements the Gatwick Express is either a lot or slightly more expensive than alternative train options. Using the journey planner above you can see how much your journey might cost using either method.
The Gatwick Express is the fastest train between London Victoria and Gatwick, taking just 30 minutes (35 minutes on Sundays) direct. Other train services from Victoria generally take 32 minutes (just 2 minutes longer) to 45 minutes, depending on how many stations they call at.
Verdict: If speed is a concern, you can’t beat the Gatwick Express, although depending on the time of day, it may just be marginally faster than a significantly cheaper train.
The Gatwick Express runs from London Victoria every 15 minutes and their ticketing systems means you can just hop on any available train. This makes it by far the most flexible and the most reliable way to reach Gatwick Airport.
Just be advised that their service uses shared tracks, which means disruptions affecting other train companies going to Gatwick will also apply to the Gatwick Express.
Verdict: If you don’t want to worry about timetables and train service to Gatwick then the Gatwick Express is a better choice.
The Gatwick Express runs primarily between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport. At Peak times trains also run as far south as Brighton, stopping at some stations in between.
Southern services from Victoria that call at Gatwick generally also stop at Clapham Juntion and East Croydon, which means if you’re living and/or staying near those areas, the Gatwick Express is likely not the best option for you.
Thameslink services run periodically from St. Pancras, Farringdon, and London Bridge, but you should check train times before departing.
Verdict: The Gatwick Express is most useful for people who can easily access Victoria station. Those living/staying on the Thamelsink route and/or those in South London may find it easier to use alternative services.
Trains & Crowds
Another area where the Gatwick Express really shines are their trains. Because the service is direct from Victoria to Gatwick, trains generally tend to be relatively empty. This means finding a seat is usually quite straightforward, which is not something that can always be said of London’s rail network.
Additionally, the Gatwick Express also has proper luggage racks, which other services calling at Gatwick generally lack.
Verdict: Great for those who want to ensure they get a seat, want to avoid over crowding and want to make their suitcases can be put out of the way.
The Gatwick Express is never going to be the cheapest rail option to Gatwick. However, it makes up for this fact by the fact it is the fastest (although sometimes only marginally) and is also less busy than alternative services with increased space for luggage. Moreover, online deals mean you often only pay slightly than you would with other services.
Therefore, if you’re living/staying near London Victoria or can get their easily, the Gatwick Express is often worth the extra cost simply for the relatively stress free, regular service offered.