London Layover Guide (LGW)
Gatwick Airport (LGW) is a major international airport near Crawley in West Sussex, southeast England. It is located 47.5 km (29.5 mi) from the south of Central London. It is also known as London Gatwick and it was opened as an aerodrome in the late 1920s. It has had commercial flights since 1933. London is the capital of the United Kingdom and one of the most famous cities in the world. It’s also known for its luxurious shopping centers, iconic museums, and incredible monuments.
Can you leave London Airport (LGW) airport during a layover? Do you need a visa?
It is possible to leave the airport during a layover. You would need to clear immigration and customs control. You might need a visa to enter the UK depending on your nationality. (more info).
Tours, Things to do, Sightseeing
View from the Shard Entrance Ticket with Champagne Option
Admire the sprawling metropolis of London from the 72nd floor of its latest landmark, The Shard. Enjoy 360-degree panoramic views of the city from inside or, if you’re feeling brave, venture outside onto Western Europe’s highest viewing platform! Learn about London’s history through multimedia exhibits. » book this tour
Magical London Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour
You are in the perfect destination if you are a Harry Potter fan. This wizard tour would take you across the muggle world in London to discover some of the most famous places that inspired J.K. Rowling. You would find out which Hogwarts House you truly belong in and you would follow the footsteps of the boy who lived.» book this tour
London: Tower of London and Crown Jewels Exhibition Ticket
Take advantage of your layover and stop off at The Tower of London, one of the most recognizable structures in the world. Step inside British history, contemplate the extraordinary treasures of the British Monarchy, and learn about its ceremonial guardians. » book this tour
Things to do / Sightseeing
As one of the most iconic attractions in London, it’s definitely one to check off your to-do list while in the city. The London Eye is a colossal Ferris wheel with an incredible view of the city surrounded by some of London’s other favorite tourist spots where you can take a boat tour or visit the London Aquarium. If you’re looking to get exquisite photographs of the city this is the best place for your shots by way of boarding one of the wheel’s 32 capsules. It’s adorned with lights that give a beautiful view of the wheel at night.
Time required: Half day.
Airport to here: 40 minutes via taxi and 59 minutes via public transport.
If you’re a cinephile visiting the city this is a must-see place for you to visit. You can see over a thousand movies from the BFI National Archive for free here ranging from classic, contemporary, avant-garde and traditional films from all over the world. There are a library and a bookshop where you can shop for films and books about cinema. It also features a riverfront restaurant and bar where you have a delicious meal.
Time required: Full day.
Airport to here: 26 minutes by taxi and 34 minutes via public transport.
The O2 Arena
You’ve probably heard the name a couple of times, a very popular multipurpose arena where you can catch all the fun London has to offer. Cinema, Live concerts, stage shows, bars, restaurants, the O2 arena has them all. Some of music’s biggest names regularly hold live concerts here. You can take a guided walk to the top of the dome to see the city from that height. Great place to hang out and socialize with vibrant Londoners. Another catch across the arena is the Emirates Air Line which is a cable car link you can cruise on to see the city from above.
Time required: 2-3 hours.
Airport to here: 15 minutes via taxi and 16 minutes via public transport.
Oxford Street has a reputation of being Europe’s busiest shopping street. It has a span of 300 shops that offer the best shopping experience from fashion to beauty to technology and homeware. It is populated by flagship and department stores of high fashion brands such as the original Selfridges, Zara, Swarovski, Marks & Spencer, Topshop, House Of Fraser, and many more. With over 500 restaurants and luxury hotels also located here, Oxford Street attracts more than 500,000 visitors every day, the best place to accommodate all your shopping sprees. Its beauty is highlighted to perfection with Christmas lights during Christmas seasons which makes for an exciting Christmas shopping experience.
Time required: 2-3 hours.
Airport to here: 40 minutes via taxi and 36 minutes via public transport.
Chessington World of Adventures
This fun and interesting place houses a theme park, a zoo, an adventure park and a Sea Life Center, with rides, attractions and live shows. It is a great plan to go with children if you have a long layover.
Time required: Highly recommended for a full day visit.
Airport to here: The best option would be to take a taxi or take the bus from Hatton Cross to Chessington Garden. It takes a little over an hour.
The Big Ben is one of the most iconic monuments of England and it is located at the north end of the Palace of Westminster. It is a four-faced clock, built in 1859 and renamed in honor of Queen Elizabeth II in 2012 as the Elizabeth Tower. The tower stands 96 metres tall.
Time required: Recommended for 2 hours.
Airport to here: You would need about 50-60 minutes by car, taxi or public transportation.
Silent Sound Boat Party
Party the night away in unique fashion while sightseeing some of London’s iconic landmarks on a cruise along the River Thames on the two-story Dutch-Master party boat. You’re given a set of headphones when you board through which you’ll hear the sounds of the Dj’s playing which you can tune to any particular Dj set of your preference to light your party mood up. There are two bars on the boat you can get drinks from. You can go dancing on the deck with other silent-party goers or enjoy the view of some beautiful landmarks like the Big Ben, The London Eye, the O2, Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf.
Time required: 2 hours.
Airport to here: An hour via taxi and 2 hours via public transport.
The Mind Palace
A Sherlock Holmes-themed bar with Sherlock inspired drinks and a series of cryptic cocktail experiences. It is included as part of the Sherlock-themed escape room game created by the series creators which features original content from the show’s stars. It’s an immersive 100-minute escape game where you play a detective to solve mysteries and puzzles with a team of 2-6 people. Definitely an experience to have if you’re looking for some adventurous fun.
Time required: 3-4 hours.
Airport to here: 45 minutes via taxi and 51 minutes via public transport.
Relaxing and Sleeping
Airport Lounges and Relaxing
There are numerous lounges in each terminal. » view all lounges or buy a lounge pass or membership online
Hotel and Sleeping
There are many hotel options less than a mile away including a few in the airport at the northern and southern terminals. » view all or book an airport hotel online
Rest Area and Sleeping in Airport
There are no designated rest areas within the airport.
WIFI/Internet and SIM Card
WIFI/Internet: Free WiFi is available, connect to the “Gatwick Free wi-fi” network.
SIM Card: There are several shops within the airport that sell SIM cards. » buy a global sim card for London, United Kingdom that you can use for other countries as well!
Transportation to/from airport
Taxi: Taxi stands are found outside the central exit of the Arrival Halls International & Domestic Passenger Terminals and can be booked online.
Train: Gatwick Airport has the best rail connections of any airport in Britain, linking passengers to 120 train stations directly and over 700 within just one change. (more info).
Bus: Local bus lines link the airport with several parts of London. (more info).
Shuttle: There shuttle buses available from the airport and are usually provided by hotels.
Car rentals: Car rental counters are available onsite at the arrival halls of each terminal in the airport and can be booked online. » view available cars or rent a car now online
Parking: The parking lots are found close to each terminal and there is information online about the availability of booking and reservation.
Luggage Storage & Lockers
Excess Baggage Company offers short and long-term left luggage storage in both terminals. » book a luggage storage or locker at London Airport (LGW) online (subject to availability).