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Pros and Cons of flying into Gatwick vs. Heathrow

Is there a better reason to fly into one airport vs. the other? Is the transportation easier to get to one over the other? I believe Gatwick is further from London but does it matter? Do the trains run early in the mornings?
What area of London is better to stay in that is convenient to the tube to get to the sights in central London - assuming that is where the sights are. I haven't done my research yet! Where have you stayed? Thanks. Bonnie

Posted by
12154 posts

Heathrow is somewhat notorious for bad customs and luggage experiences.

I've flown into Gatwick and the process was smooth and quick.

Travel to Victoria station was easy and the tube from there will get you anywhere. I'm not sure what the price difference is for the train from the two locations.

Many times flights to Gatwick are cheaper so you would have to factor the two costs. I would probably decide based on the best available airfare.

Posted by
8700 posts

If you stay at the Cherry Court Hotel, taking a Southern train to Victoria Station will be cheaper than the Gatwick Express--and only ten minutes slower. Trains run about every 15 minutes. See the Journey Planner at for timetables and fares.

Posted by
805 posts

Here's your answer:

  1. Trains start running very early in the morning to and from the airports.
  2. If the fare difference is $50 or less I'd definately go to Heathrow as it is easier to get into London from there.
  3. I've liked staying in/near Chelsea/Sloane Square but as long as you are reasonably central AND near a tube stop you'll be fine.
Posted by
9070 posts

I prefer Gatwick because it is smaller and more manageable. The airport express train takes 30 minute to reach Victoria station for Gatwick. The Heathrow Express Train takes 20 minutes to reach Padington Station from Heathrow.

Posted by
525 posts

Thanks Tim, I'll check the website you suggested. Just found out we will be leaving at 6:30 pm out of London so won't have a problem catching a train to Heathrow. NW goes non-stop out of Seattle to Heathrow. Airway is running $850 per ticket. I used Rick's travel agency in Edmonds. Thanks for your help.

Posted by
525 posts

Thanks to all of you who gave me information. My flight is booked into Heathrow. I know to take the train to Paddington Station then catch a train to Bath from there. I'll get on the transportation site for rail questions. Thanks again.

Posted by
359 posts

Hi Miss B:My ultimate destination from Canada to UK for years was always Bath and have never gone into London to get there. It was bus from LHR to Reading, train to Bath Spa, all in under 2 hours. It's been a while but those connections gotta still exist. G.

Posted by
964 posts

Hi Miss B,
If you're going directly to Bath from Heathrow, there's a bus goes from the airport to Bristol and then another bus from there to Bath. Buses are easy and usually much cheaper than the train, and very popular. National Express bus lines. Good luck, have a great trip!

Posted by
215 posts

Geoff is right about the bus to Reading then train.
Don't go into London and then backtrack out. His
connections still working two years ago.

Posted by
525 posts

Can someone list the website for me to check on bus/train schedule from Heathrow to Reading to Bath. It certainly is helpful to know that I don't have to go into Paddington Station just to "backtrack" to Bath.
Also thought about spending 3 days in Bath then train to York for 2 or 3 days THEN pick up a rental car for the remainder of our 3 weeks to drive south through the Cotswolds and Wales sightseeing. What would you suggest?
Any suggestions of a B&B in York that would be in walking distance to the train station if the station is close to town. Thanks.

Posted by
152 posts

Miss B,

Check out the Abbey Guesthouse in York, right on the river, 10 minute walk from train station, 10 minute walk to old city/minster. We stayed there a few years ago, and it was perfect. Try for a room at the front, looking over the river.

BTW, we rented a car from an agency that was right in the train station. Check out the train station web site to see if it is still there. We changed trains in York last October, but didn't look for the car rental. Wish we had stayed in York again; it's great. Be sure to take a walking tour, and go to the afternoon service/choir at the minster. Also, the boat rides up the River Ouse to the archbishop's residence is a nice way to relax for a couple hours.

Have fun.

Posted by
3428 posts

We fly into Gatwick all the time--- much prefer it to Heathrow. We use the Gatwick express. We stay at the Thistle Hotel right in Victoria Station. Love the ease of getting to the Tube and the trains. Lots of good resturants in the area. Good window shopping. Quick tube trips to Leciester Square area, Kew Gardens, Tower of London, theatres etc.