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Five-hour layover at London-Gatwick. Time to get out to Crawley?

We have a 5 hour and 20-minute layover scheduled at London-Gatwick. We arrive at 14:00 on a Saturday and our connecting flight departs at 19:20. We have not been to England before. Looking at the map, it looks like the town of Crawley is just a few kilometers from the airport. Wondering if anyone has any suggestions for where we might ask a taxi to drop us off, to spend a couple of hours walking around and finding a pub for dinner. Also wondering if there are any potential problems from leaving the airport and getting back to make our connecting flight. We haven't done that before, either. Thanks much.

Posted by
8889 posts

Yes, you have time, but Crawley is a new town. I would rather stay in the terminal.
I would suggest Horsham, much nicer place, and direct trains from Gatwick. Or even Redhill. Lots of trains to there.
A really good place to visit is Hever castle, but that is 28 Km away and may blow your taxi budget.

Posted by
1350 posts


I agree with those who say Crawley isn't worthwhile.

You might like to look at the Black Horse pub which is just north of the airport. I wouldn't want to oversell it - it's nothing really special - but a reasonable standard place to eat and drink.

The website has a map for a small walk starting there. The whole thing may be more than you have time for but the beginning would give you a stroll.


Posted by
28 posts

Thank you all for your responses. I will take a look at Lewes. I might be too nervous about taking a train even that far and getting back to the airport. I really like the idea of the Black Horse Pub, and a stroll. That sounds certainly more appealing than five hours in the terminal. Thank you again. I'm always amazed by the kindness of people on these forums.

Posted by
30293 posts

We arrive at 14:00 on a Saturday and our connecting flight departs at 19:20

I don't see 5 hours and 20 minutes of time to look around there.

Assuming that your incoming flight arrives from California, you will have at least 60 minutes or more likely 90 minutes to get off the plane, perhaps catch the bus from the plane to the terminal, the long march from the gate to Border Control, the queues for Border Control and the interview, baggage reclaim (if needed), and walking through the Customs into the terminal.

On the connection flight you need 60 to 90 minutes for checking in, and security checks, and the walk to the gate area.

So that of the 5:20, you actually have around 2 and a half hours. A one hour train each way to Lewes just doesn't work.

2 and a half hours really isn't much time to go walkabout.....

By the way, are the two flights at the same terminal or do you need to change terminal?

Posted by
28 posts

Hi, Nigel,

The two flights are in the same terminal (Terminal S). We are flying from California and continuing on to Barcelona. I agree that it may not be possible to have enough time to leave the airport to do real sightseeing. I was hoping that we wouldn't have to reclaim baggage, as we are all with one airline. I was thinking we might actually have three hours to kill, enough time to get out just a few kilometers away. The last time I had a four-hour layover (it was actually about three hours of idle time), it felt like eight hours after being on a plane for so long. I like to read, but my wife doesn't. It is harder on her. Just to help the time pass for her, I think it sounds doable to leave the airport to eat at a pub and take a short walk. I have no intention of trying to get on a train and go 30 minutes away. But I am now wondering if a cabbie will take euros, or if I would have to go to the ATM to take out pounds for the cab ride.

Posted by
30293 posts

Euros aren't especially welcome in England, especially not at the moment.

Pounds Sterling is what you need.