Changing airports between flights is not something you really want to do, but it happens. Those who need to transfer between London Heathrow and London Gatwick have numerous options, but the National Express bus is probably the simplest.
This runs frequently between the two airports, taking around an hour to get from one to the other. I had to use the service for the first time recently, so here’s my experience.
National Express used to have a ticket office in the arrivals area of Terminal 5. There are no longer any staff there, but there are machines where you can buy your ticket. You can also do this online if you wish but I used the machine and it was simple enough.
My ticket cost £28 in total on the day for a one way trip when using a credit card, which is fine as there is no real other option. Booking in advance can see the ticket priced as low as £14, so if you know in advance, get your ticket immediately to save a few quid.
National Express Bus Experience
Signage in the bus area at Terminal 5 is not particularly great and there are no live bus time displays. I originally went up to stand 20 or something before a roving staff member told me the bus to Gatwick left from number 14.
Other National Express buses also pass by, sometimes with the same number as the bus you need to get on. You won’t make a mistake, as the drivers check all tickets before you board, but it is not exactly simple. I just don’t understand why the bus would have the same number when going somewhere completely different. Bizarre!
Happily the buses are comfortable, air conditioned and have plenty of luggage space underneath. There are USB charging ports available on he bus as well, which is always handy.
It takes just 50 minutes or so from Terminal 5 at Heathrow to London Gatwick, and add another 10 to 15 minutes if you’re departing from the Central Bus Station for Terminals 2 and 3. All of is rather quick and as efficient as can be, notwithstanding the weird numbering and difficulty working out the stand.
The bus I was on was quite full and everyone was calmly sitting aboard, some on their phones, some sleeping. It was quite quiet, which was nice, as a rowdy bus is never fun.
Have you used the National Express bus to get from Heathrow to Gatwick or vice versa? What are your experiences like? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
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I rode from Heathrow Terminals 2/3 to Gatwick once. It seemed very slow but I was not in too much of a rush. It may have been cheaper to go to London then Victoria Station to Gatwick, but it would have been too slow for me. I did book ahead of time, so I got a cheaper fare as is noted in this article.
Yes, I far prefer travelling by rail, so I would have rather gone that way, but it does take longer and involves changes and the cost is virtually the same, if not more. The bus is pretty foolproof and is door to door, so it’s really the best way!
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