London Gatwick Airport essential travel guide
Postcode for GPS: RH6 0NP

London Gatwick is the second biggest international airport in the UK after Heathrow and has the world's busiest single-use runway, handling hundreds of aircraft movements every day and more than 32 million passengers per year.

How to get to London Gatwick

It is conveniently situated for travellers based in south-east England and London, 5km north of Crawley in West Sussex and 45km south of the centre of the capital city.
 
Car
Drivers will find London Gatwick off junction nine of the M23 and can also reach the airport via the A23 road from London to Brighton. Junction seven of the M25 is only ten minutes' drive away.
 
Both long and short-stay car parking options are available at sites that are operated by the airport and manned 24 hours a day.
 
Train
Passengers who would prefer to travel to Gatwick by rail can reach the base from central London via the Gatwick Express service, which runs to and from London Victoria every 15 minutes and takes 30 minutes. Direct rail connections to locations such as Bedford, Southampton and Reading are available with First Capital Connect, Southern and First Great Western.
 
Coach
Regular coach services link Gatwick to more than 400 towns and cities across the UK, providing transport from as far afield as Bristol and Birmingham.

The airport

London Gatwick comprises two terminals, north and south, which are linked by shuttle trains running every few minutes, 24 hours a day. The terminals are used by British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet, Delta and other major carriers offering cheap flights to Amsterdam, Prague, Rome and other popular destinations.
 
Several airlines based at Gatwick provide online and self-service check-in options, meaning passengers can check in and print out their boarding passes at home or use a computer terminal at the airport to carry out the same tasks before depositing any hold luggage at a bag-drop facility.
 
Once these necessities are out of the way, travellers can enjoy some of the amenities on offer at London Gatwick. The airport is home to a diverse range of stores and retailers including Harrods, Boots, Monsoon and WHSmith.
 
All sorts of dining options are available, from cafes selling quick snacks to sit-down restaurants. Passengers can enjoy a hot drink at Caffe Nero or Costa Coffee, relax before their flight at the Bridge bar or sample some of the dishes on offer at the Caviar House and Prunier seafood bar.

Other facilities

Both the north and south terminals at London Gatwick feature lounges offering complimentary drinks, snacks, newspapers and other provisions for passengers willing to pay a little extra.
 
People who need to use the internet before their flight will find desks with broadband-connected PCs at a number of locations in both terminals, as well as kiosks where users can check their email or surf the web.
 
The airport also features commission-free currency desks providing the option for travellers to order in advance and collect on arrival, as well as family facilities including children's play areas, baby changing points and special assistance lanes for both arriving and departing fliers.

Direct Flights travel tip

Enjoy a memorable culinary experience by paying a visit to Jamie Oliver's new restaurant complex, which is due to open in Gatwick airport's north terminal in summer 2012.
 
The area will comprise the Union Jacks bar and an Italian-style restaurant where diners can tuck in to pasta, pizza and other dishes while enjoying impressive views of the airfield.

Hotels nearby

There are several hotels located on-site or within easy reach of London Gatwick, including properties carrying prestigious brands such as Hilton, Crowne Plaza and Sofitel. A Travelodge and a Holiday Inn are among the establishments situated nearby that may be more suitable for people travelling on a budget.
 
Other options for people searching for accommodation near the airport include the Ibis, Ramada Plaza and Cambridge hotels, all of which are located within four miles of the base.