On my home from London last week, I took the Gatwick Express from London Victoria Station. It was quick and easy.
I always struggle whether to use Uber or public transport in London. London is a well-connected city and the public transport system generally works well. Generally. And in fact, it is often quicker. I spent 45 minutes making a five mile Uber journey at 8:30 P.M. last Thursday. I should have taken the Tube.
I had planned to walk from my hotel to Victoria Station but ending up taking a Black Cab from the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill for a cost of about 7GBP…I was running late.
Trains departs every 15 minutes from Victoria Station (schedule here) and the journey takes about 30 minutes.
The ticket costs £19.90 if purchased at the station or £17.80 if purchased online. Children 15 and under are £9.95 at the station or £8.85 if purchased online. First class is £30.70 at the station or £27.40 online. Children 15 and under are £15.35 at the station for first class and £13.65 if purchased online.
I purchased my ticket at the station (because my T-Mobile didn’t work…) and ended up waiting about 12 minutes: the train was late. I had budgeted enough time, but do note that the trains often depart a bit late.
Onboard, I took a seat with a table, plugged in my laptop, and immediately tried to connect to wi-fi. It worked like a charm and I had a productive 30-minute journey. I cannot underscore how important that was to me to having a comfortable seat, power outlet, and functioning wi-fi. In that sense, the train was far more practical than Uber.
Upon arrival at Gatwick Airport station (nonstop), I simply followed the signs to the airport concourse, a walk of about five minutes.
Like the Heathrow Express, the Gatwick Express is a great tool to quickly travel between central London and the airport. Based on my trip last Friday, I would not hesitate to use it again next time I fly into LGW.
Just keep in mind that if you book online, there’s no refund if you are directed to use the Southern Railway when the Express service is interrupted. The local train barely adds a few minutes to the ride and it’s much cheaper.
I came to say what Joe said – no Londoner uses the Gatwick express. Stopping in Croydon adds 5 mins but saves £££
As Joe says, you have to be careful as the GX staff will direct you to the non-expeess train, especially if there are problems with the line. At that point it would have been cheaper to pay for the local train.
Not a big fan nor do I recommend GX for that reason, it’s potentially too confusing for first timers.
But does the local service have wi-fi onboard? That was incredibly helpful to me and worth a premium.
Always use Southern rather than Gatwick Express. I get internet off my SIM – much easier.
I always use public transport, including the tube from/to Heathrow and everywhere around the city.
Took the Southern Line instead. Just a minutes longer and saved $$. Only reason I would say to take Gatwick Express is if you have a lot of luggage.
Presumably Gatwick Express exists only for out of town visitors unaware of Southern. I think the local trains are £8.90 with Oyster or tap/Apple/android pay, and you literally only spend a few extra minutes on the train.
OTOH, Heathrow express is absolutely the fastest way in to town, and if you book far out, it isn’t expensive at all. I’m kind of surprised to see Gatwick Express still running. Was it full, Matthew? I can’t imagine it’s making any money.
@Jerry: Was almost empty.
The “local” trains, which take about the same amount of time as Gatwick Express, are half the price. And you can catch one from either King’s Cross or Victoria. The journey time is almost exactly the same. Gatwick Express exists to exploit tourists and business travelers. I don’t believe the other services have WiFi, though, so I understand your choice if WiFi was the primary consideration.