This post covers the Gatwick Express, whether you should take it to Victoria Station or not, as well as information on train tickets, fares, transfers, and other tips.
- Our Recommendation
- Ticket Types and Fares
- Transfers at Victoria Station
- Gatwick Express Pros and Cons
- Tips on Using the London Underground
Before getting into the pros and cons, here is our general recommendation. It’s not a one size fits all solution, but rather a guideline for making a wise choice.
We explain our suggestion in more detail in the following section. For a quick overview of all the train options read here.
If you are near Victoria Station, the Gatwick Express during peak hours is the best option for you.
Peak hours are:
- Morning - from the time when the first train of the day departs the station until the last train of the morning arrives (10:00 am.)
- Evening - generally between 16:30 (4:30 pm) and 19:01 (7:00 pm).
During peak hours, Gatwick Express standard tickets purchased in advance are only a bit more expensive than the Southern commuter trains, but faster and a more comfortable journey.
If you take advantage of the "Group Save" discount (read below) then the Gatwick Express is cheaper than the Southern trains.
How long does the Gatwick Express take?
Approximately a 30-minutes from Victoria Station.
WHAT ARE THE GATWICK EXPRESS PRICES?
The Gatwick Express has several ticket types with varying price points.
You can receive discounts on fares depending on when you buy your ticket, how you pay (at the station, online, or through the app) and how many travelers there are in your group.
Note that you can pay when you board the train with either a contactless credit card or an Oyster Card (£20.60 one way).
But you won't get any online discount. (Learn about Oyster Cards and Travelcards).
These tickets allow you to travel on any train at any time they are in operation.
If you buy the tickets online, they cost:
- £18.50 single and £36.80 return for adults
- £9.25 single and £18.40 return for children (5-15)
- Under 5 travel for free.
- Explore tickets.
If you buy a return, it is open-ended and is valid for up to 30 calendar days.
Anytime Day Ticket
This is similar to the Anytime Ticket above but you must use the ticket on the day you purchased it (up to 04:29 am the following morning).
However, this type of ticket is limited and may not be available for your trip.
Here are the prices for all fare types. A description of each type of ticket is below.
|Ticket Type||One-Way (Online)||One-Way (At Station)||Return (Online)||Return (At Station)|
|1st Class Adult||£27.70||£29.90||£55.40||£59.80|
|1st Class Child||£13.85||£14.95||£27.70||£29.90|
|2nd Class Same Day Off-Peak Round Trip||N/A||N/A||£28.30||£41.20|
|1st Class Same Day Off-Peak Round Trip||N/A||N/A||£36.90||£49.80|
|Web Duo||N/A||N/A||£49.00 for 2 tickets||N/A|
|Group Save (3-9 passengers)||34% off all classes||N/A||34% off all classes||N/A|
Is it cheaper to buy Gatwick Express tickets in advance?
Yes. As you can see from the fare chart above, you can save a few pounds when you purchase your tickets in advance online. There are no booking fees.
Group Save Tickets
If you are traveling with 3-9 adults, you will save 34% on all tickets and classes. All tickets must be booked together.
TIP: The Group Save ticket for 3 adults is a tad cheaper than buying 2 adult tickets so if your party is just 2 adults, you can ask someone to join in on a group purchase.
Off-Peak Same-Day Tickets
There is also an off-peak round-trip ticket, which probably won’t work for most travelers, but might be enticing for business travelers and locals.
- Valid for trains that arrive at London Victoria Station after 10:00 am.
- Valid anytime on weekends and bank holidays.
- Must return to Gatwick Airport by 04:00 am the following morning.
Web Duo Tickets
This option can save you 30% on purchasing anytime return tickets when you buy two at the same time.
This discount is for two people traveling together purchasing either one-way or return tickets.
They are only good when your trip originates at Victoria Station. This ticket is not available for those arriving at Gatwick Airport.
Also, these tickets can't be purchased online. Rather, they must be purchased on-site at Victoria and are not available as e-tickets.
When you travel by the Gatwick Express you are eligible for National Rail's 2 For 1 deal where you get 2 for the price of 1 on top attractions in and around London.
Read more about this great 2 For 1 deal.
Gatwick Express Timetable
The Gatwick Express departs every 15 min between roughly 05:00 and midnight. See the Gatwick Express Timetable for the full schedule.
Brighton and Gatwick Airport to London Victoria
|Brighton||Preston Park||Hassocks||Burgess Hill||Haywards Heath||Gatwick Airport||Gatwick Airport||London Victoria|
|Station within Airport terminal||Station within Airport terminal||Interchange with London Underground|
|Departure time||Departure time||Departure time||Departure time||Departure time||Arrival time||Departure time||Arrival time|
THE PROS AND CONS OF TAKING THE GATWICK EXPRESS
The Gatwick Express is just one of several transportation options between Gatwick Airport and London.
In addition to the Express, there are also two slightly slower suburban trains, two bus companies, as well as taxis, and shared shuttles.
There are several reasons to choose the Gatwick Express train.
First, it’s likely to be the fastest and most frequent option available to you, departing every 15 minutes between roughly 05:00 and midnight. (See the Gatwick Express timetable at the bottom of this post).
It is a 30-minute direct trip from Gatwick Airport to London’s Victoria Station.
Second, it’s the most comfortable option.
It’s a dedicated service that starts from Gatwick, so nobody is already on the train when you board the airport, (though this is the case as well with the Southern trains and Thameslink trains).
Free Wi-Fi service is available as well.
Third, the Gatwick Express also has dedicated luggage racks and more room in general to store your bags.
It is easier to carry luggage on and off the Gatwick Express trains. Some of the other train options require climbing stairs. This is not ideal if you have a lot of luggage.
Lastly, if your hotel or final destination is located near Victoria Station or points north and west, Gatwick Express will be the quickest option.
The Gatwick Express is the most expensive option, particularly during off-peak times, even with any discounts available to you.
At £11.50/adult (paying with an Oyster Card), the Southern commuter train is £2.20 cheaper than the group save price of Gatwick Express.
We detail the price differences in our ticket section above.
The Gatwick Express is only slightly faster than the Southern trains, which share the same tracks. You usually will just save no more than 10-15 minutes.
If your accommodation is south of the River Thames, then the Gatwick Express might take longer than other options.
The Southern commuter trains make a few stops south of the river where you can transfer to the Underground and other local trains which could be a shorter trip for you.
Likewise, if your final destination is London Bridge Station or points north or east of here, then the Thameslink trains will likely be a faster (and cheaper) option for you, depending on the train frequency.
Thameslink Train stops are circled in red.
In the image above, the stops in central London with red circles are stops made by Thameslink trains.
From Victoria Station, you would have to transfer to the London Underground.
This would add 15-20 minutes to your journey time and you will likely be traveling with luggage.
One other thing that may or may not be a con for you.
The Gatwick Express departs and arrives at Gatwick South Terminal. This is great if you need to get to the South Terminal.
But, if you arrive/depart from Gatwick North Terminal, you will have to take the free shuttle which operates between both terminals 24/7. However, the shuttle takes just 2 minutes.
As we mentioned above, all Gatwick Express trains travel directly between Gatwick Airport and Victoria Rail Station.
At Victoria Rail Station, you can transfer to the Victoria, District, and Circle Underground lines.
Plus, the Victoria Coach Station and the intercity bus terminal are both within a short walk from the train platforms.
Aside from the Gatwick Express, several other suburban commuter and intercity rail lines terminate at Victoria Station.
TIP: If you arrive earlier than your hotel check-in time and want to do some sightseeing, you will want to store your luggage instead of carrying it around with you.
There is luggage storage on-site in Victoria, but it’s a bit pricey.
Instead, consider these less expensive places to store your luggage nearby starting at £6/bag for the day.
Summary of pros/cons of train services and bus services to/from Gatwick Airport
Fast, comfortable, and a good choice for those who need to depart or arrive in central London as there are many transfers available there. It is the more expensive of the options. The Gatwick Express to Victoria Station takes 30 minutes.
Takes about 15 minutes more to Victoria but is much cheaper than the Gatwick Express. Convenient for those who want to connect with trains south of the river at Clapham Junction or Waterloo Train Station south of the river.
Almost as fast as the Gatwick Express and cheaper. Stops at London St Pancras train station which is the terminal for the Eurostar, perfect for heading straight from the UK to Paris.
National Express coaches
Fares are extremely cheap, but the ride is three times longer than trains and departures are only twice an hour.
Convenient for those staying in the Kensington area of London as the minibus shuttle departs from London West Brompton Underground. Fares are variable, but the earlier you book online, the cheaper the fare.
Read more about all the options here.
Gatwick Express Timetable
Nearby Tourist Sights Include:
- Westminster Abbey
- Big Ben
- Buckingham Palace
- 10 Downing Street
- The Palace of Westminster
- The Churchill War Rooms