Travel Distance: London Heathrow to London Gatwick

When planning your journey by air, the proximity of major international airports to one another can be a crucial factor, especially in a bustling metropolis like London. **London Heathrow (LHR)** and **London Gatwick (LGW)** are …

When planning your journey by air, the proximity of major international airports to one another can be a crucial factor, especially in a bustling metropolis like London. **London Heathrow (LHR)** and **London Gatwick (LGW)** are two of the busiest airports in the United Kingdom, serving millions of passengers annually. Often, travelers need to transfer between these airports for various reasons, be it connecting flights, or transportation logistics. Understanding the travel distance and the various travel options available between these two significant transport hubs is essential. This article will provide comprehensive insights into the distance between London Heathrow and London Gatwick, discussing various transport options, travel durations, and practical tips for ensuring a seamless transfer.

Introduction to London Heathrow and London Gatwick Airports

**London Heathrow (LHR)** is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and one of the busiest in the world. Located west of Central London, it serves as a major hub for international travel, with a vast array of amenities and services available for passengers. Heathrow boasts four active passenger terminals, each offering numerous retail, dining, and relaxation facilities.

On the other hand, **London Gatwick (LGW)** is situated south of Central London and is the second busiest airport in the UK. Gatwick operates through two terminals – North and South, and caters to a wide range of international and domestic flights. Although not as large as Heathrow, Gatwick is a significant player in the aviation industry and provides various services for passengers, from shopping to dining and beyond.

Travel Distance and Time Between London Heathrow and London Gatwick

The distance from London Heathrow (LHR) to London Gatwick (LGW) is approximately **45 miles (72 kilometers)**. This travel distance makes it necessary for travelers to plan their journey meticulously, as various factors such as traffic conditions, the time of day, and the mode of transportation chosen can influence travel time. On average, the journey between Heathrow and Gatwick takes around **1 to 1.5 hours by car**, assuming normal traffic conditions. However, it’s essential to factor in potential delays during peak hours or adverse weather conditions, which can extend travel time significantly.

Transportation Options Between the Airports

There are several transportation options available for travelers looking to transfer between London Heathrow and London Gatwick. Here is an overview of the most common methods:

  • By Car: Renting a car or hiring a taxi is a popular choice due to the convenience and privacy it offers. The journey takes about 1 to 1.5 hours under normal traffic conditions. However, the cost can vary, with taxi fares ranging from £50 to £100 or more, depending on the service provider and traffic.
  • By Train: The train journey requires a transfer at London Victoria station. First, take the Heathrow Express or the London Underground’s Piccadilly line to London Paddington, then transfer to the Circle or District line to Victoria. From there, board the Gatwick Express, Southern, or Thameslink train to Gatwick. The entire journey takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, and ticket prices vary depending on the service chosen.
  • By Bus: National Express and Megabus offer direct coach services between the airports. The travel time by bus is typically around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic conditions. The fare ranges from £20 to £30, making it a cost-effective option, especially for budget-conscious travelers.
  • By Private Transfer: For those seeking convenience and a personalized experience, private transfer services are available. These services can be pre-booked and offer door-to-door pick-up and drop-off. The cost is higher, similar to taking a taxi, but it provides an added level of comfort and reliability.
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Tips for Traveling Between Heathrow and Gatwick

Compiling a few practical tips can make your journey between London Heathrow and London Gatwick smoother:

  • Plan for Extra Time: Always account for potential delays when planning your travel itinerary, especially if you have connecting flights. Aim to give yourself at least 3 to 4 hours between scheduled flight times to accommodate possible transportation delays.
  • Check Traffic Updates: If traveling by car or bus, check real-time traffic updates before starting your journey to avoid congestion and find the quickest route.
  • Purchase Tickets in Advance: Pre-book train or bus tickets where possible to ensure availability and potentially benefit from cheaper fares.
  • Travel Light if Possible: Moving through stations or transferring vehicles can be more manageable with less luggage.
  • Stay Informed: Keep an eye on flight updates to stay informed about any delays or changes to your scheduled departure and arrival times.

FAQs About Traveling Between the Airports

To address some of the most common questions, here are a few frequently asked queries concerning travel between London Heathrow and London Gatwick:

  • How much time should I allow for the transfer?
    – It is advisable to allow around 3 to 4 hours to transfer between the airports, considering potential traffic delays and additional buffer time for check-ins and security checks.
  • What is the cheapest way to travel between the airports?
    – The most budget-friendly methods are taking the bus or using public transportation with a combination of train and subway services.
  • Are there direct train services between Heathrow and Gatwick?
    – No direct trains exist between Heathrow and Gatwick. A transfer at London Victoria Station is required when taking the train.
  • Can I pre-book transportation services?
    – Yes, many transportation services, including private transfers, taxis, and buses, allow for pre-booking to ensure availability and streamline the travel process.
  • Is there a shuttle service between the two airports?
    – Specific shuttle services do operate between Heathrow and Gatwick, often facilitated by private transfer companies, offering scheduled pick-up and drop-off points at both airports.
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Introduction to London Heathrow and London Gatwick Airports

London is served by two major international airports: **Heathrow (LHR)** and **Gatwick (LGW)**. London Heathrow, situated in the west of London, is one of the busiest airports globally and acts as a primary gateway into the United Kingdom. It comprises five terminals with **Terminal 5** being the largest. Known for its vast array of international flights, Heathrow hosts numerous airlines connecting every continent. The airport offers a plethora of amenities, including dining options, shopping outlets, and luxury lounges aimed at providing comfort and convenience to travelers.

On the other hand, **London Gatwick** is located to the south of London. It’s the second busiest airport in the United Kingdom following Heathrow. Gatwick operates two terminals – the **North Terminal** and the **South Terminal**. While it may not match Heathrow in terms of the number of passengers or flights, Gatwick remains a significant hub for low-cost airlines and charter flights, serving various European destinations as well as select long-haul flights. Diverse dining venues, retail shops, and efficient customer services ensure that Gatwick caters to various passenger needs and preferences.

Understanding the differences between these two airports, their capacities, and their services is crucial for travelers who need to navigate between them. Both serve different types of flights and different geographical areas which can impact travel plans.

Travel Distance and Time Between London Heathrow and London Gatwick

London Heathrow and London Gatwick are approximately **45 miles (72 kilometers)** apart, with the distance likely to change slightly depending on the chosen route and traffic conditions. Traveling between these two major airports can be a challenge, especially if one has tight connecting flight schedules. There are several factors and transportation means to consider when planning the journey.

Road Travel

Road travel is one of the primary means of commuting between Heathrow and Gatwick. A direct car journey can take anywhere from **50 minutes to 1.5 hours**, depending on the traffic conditions on the M25 motorway, which is notorious for congestion during peak hours. Travelers often opt for private hire taxis, shuttle services, or car rentals to ensure a direct and potentially quicker journey.

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Coach Services

Alternatively, **coach services** provided by National Express offer a more economical and straightforward method. These coaches run approximately every half hour, with a travel time ranging from **1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes**. They provide an advantage in terms of cost and operate 24/7, making them a reliable option for different flight schedules.


Another transportation option is the train, although there is no direct railway service between the two airports. Passengers must first take the **Heathrow Express** to London Paddington, then transit via the London Underground to Victoria Station, and finally board the **Gatwick Express** to Gatwick Airport. This journey typically takes about **2-3 hours** depending on transfer times and waiting periods between trains.

Shuttle Services

For those preferring convenience and speed, pre-arranged shuttle services such as the London Airport Shuttle or Airport Express taxis offer direct, private transfers that can adapt to specific travel requirements and timelines. These services ensure that travelers can avoid the hassle of public transport, especially with luggage.

Understanding both the travel distance and the available transportation options is vital for seamless planning, ensuring that one can transition smoothly between these significant hubs of international travel.


1. Q: What is the approximate distance between London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports?
A: The approximate distance between London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports is around 45 miles (72 kilometers).

2. Q: How long does it typically take to travel from London Heathrow to London Gatwick by car?
A: It typically takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours to travel by car, depending on traffic conditions.

3. Q: Are there direct public transportation options available between London Heathrow and London Gatwick?
A: Yes, National Express offers direct coach services, and you can also take a combination of train services via central London.

4. Q: What is the fastest public transport option to travel between the two airports?
A: The fastest public transport option is often the train, using a combination of the Heathrow Express to Paddington, followed by the Gatwick Express from Victoria Station.

5. Q: Is it recommended to fly directly between London Heathrow and London Gatwick?
A: No, there are no direct flights between London Heathrow and London Gatwick, and it is not practical to fly between these two airports due to the short distance.

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