Get­ting be­tween Lon­don Heathrow and Gatwick air­port

...by coach, car or train

Business Traveller (India) - - CONTENTS -

Get­ting be­tween

To­gether, Lon­don’s Heathrow and Gatwick air­ports served 123.6 mil­lion pas­sen­gers in 2017, mak­ing them eas­ily the two busiest air­ports in the UK. But with ap­prox­i­mately 68km dis­tance be­tween them, it can be dif­fi­cult to find the best way to trans­fer from one to the other. Gone are the days of Air­link’s he­li­copter trans­fer ser­vice be­tween the two air­ports, which ran from 1978 to 1986, though pri­vate he­li­copter ser­vices can still be rented for large sums of money.

Here we out­line the best op­tions by coach (bus), car or train.

COACH

Na­tional Ex­press coaches run di­rectly be­tween Heathrow and Gatwick up to six times an hour, with more than 80 ser­vices a day in each di­rec­tion. The jour­ney takes ap­prox­i­mately 65 min­utes, and prices for ad­vance tick­ets start from £12 one-way and £24 re­turn. Tick­ets can also be bought on board­ing. Coaches go­ing to and from Ter­mi­nals 2 and 3 ar­rive and de­part from Heathrow Cen­tral bus sta­tion, while coaches go­ing to and from Ter­mi­nals 4 and 5 ar­rive and de­part out­side their re­spec­tive ter­mi­nals. For more in­for­ma­tion or to book tick­ets, call Na­tional Ex­press at 0871 781 8181 or visit na­tional­ex­press.com. Me­gabus coaches run di­rect be­tween Heathrow and Gatwick (and back) hourly, with sim­i­lar jour­ney times. Book tick­ets in ad­vance on­line for as lit­tle as £1 oneway, plus a 50p book­ing fee, at me­gabus.com.

CAR

A wide range of chauf­feur ser­vices are avail­able for trans­fer­ring be­tween these air­ports. Prices for these ser­vices are usu­ally per car, not per per­son. BA Trans­fer of­fers air­port trans­fers usu­ally for less than £60 (ba­trans­fer.com). Air­port Cars does the same and its most re­cent fares start from £71 for a car with space for four pas­sen­gers (air­portscars.co.uk). For a slightly more ex­pen­sive op­tion (start­ing from £97), Heathrow has an ar­range­ment with Tris­tar for travel be­tween the air­ports or into Lon­don and other des­ti­na­tions (tris­tar­world­wide.com). Al­ter­na­tively, Uber driv­ers reg­u­larly make the trip, and are typ­i­cally cheaper than the above com­pa­nies – though fares can change rad­i­cally de­pend­ing on time and cir­cum­stance.

TRAIN

You can also travel from Heathrow into Lon­don and then back out again to Gatwick by train, though the con­nec­tions are not straight­for­ward. The main ter­mi­nals for Heathrow (Padding­ton) and Gatwick (Vic­to­ria) are al­most 5km apart, and re­quire a fur­ther con­nec­tion. The most pop­u­lar way is to take the Bak­er­loo and Vic­to­ria lines on the Un­der­ground with a jour­ney time of 15-30 min­utes. Taxi is another vi­able op­tion, although traf­fic means the 15-minute drive will of­ten take much longer.

Gatwick Ex­press trains run non-stop be­tween Lon­don Vic­to­ria and Gatwick air­port up to four times an hour. The jour­ney takes 30 min­utes, and stan­dard-class adult sin­gle tick­ets cost £17.80 on­line or £19.90 at the Gatwick or Vic­to­ria ticket of­fices. All rail ser­vices op­er­ate from Gatwick’s South Ter­mi­nal, though there is an in­ter-ter­mi­nal shut­tle ser­vice be­tween the North and South Ter­mi­nals that takes only two min­utes. Timeta­bles for Gatwick Ex­press trains can be found at gatwick­ex­press.com.

The op­tions for trav­el­ling be­tween Heathrow and Padding­ton are chang­ing. The fastest is the Heathrow Ex­press train to Padding­ton (ev­ery 15 min­utes), which takes 15 min­utes. It costs from £22 on­line for a sin­gle jour­ney. Other op­tions are the District and Pic­cadilly lines on the Un­der­ground (50min­utes, £4.80). From May 20 the Heathrow Con­nect is re­placed by Cross­rail, a jour­ney of 25 min­utes; peak fares will cost £10.20.

Fi­nally, an al­ter­na­tive route is via Lon­don bus route 285 from Heathrow to Feltham, and then train from Feltham to Gatwick. You will need an Oys­ter card or a con­tact­less bank card for the bus leg, as cash fares are not ac­cepted (90min­utes -2hours, from £9.80 with Oys­ter card). For de­tails, visit tfl.gov.uk.

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