Getting from Gatwick to Heathrow airports

National express heathrow bus at the airport

Getting from Gatwick to Heathrow is a problem which is regularly on the lips of those who travel to the UK and use London as a transit point on to other countries, particularly in North America and Europe. Here are a few tips on how to do it.

Heathrow to Gatwick by Bus

The bus is the most direct way of connecting between the two airports. There’s the National Express Bus which is the only direct connection, it leaves up to 6 times an hour and takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to make the journey – it can take longer at busy times. It will cost you £19.50 per person each way. Tickets can be bought online, from the ticket desk at the airport or from the bus driver and the bus can be boarded at the bus stations at terminal 5, terminal 4 or the central bus station serving terminals 1 – 3.

Heathrow to Gatwick by Train

You can use the train to get between the two airports if you prefer, there’s no direct link, so if you don’t feel like the bus, there are two main options open to you:

1 change> Catch the Picadilly line tube from Heathrow to Kings Cross – St Panchras Station, from there walk to St Panchras International Station and catch the First Connect Thameslink train to Gatwick airport. You’ll need to buy two separate tickets, one for the tube (about £5) and another for the Thameslink (about £10). The journey will take you in the region of about 2 hours, add extra time for waiting and buying of tickets.

2 changes> Catch the Picadilly line tube from Heathrow to South Kensington Station, change to the district  or circle lines towards Victoria Station. From here change to the Gatwick Express Train from the main train station. The journey will take you about 1 hour 30 minutes and you’ll need to buy two separate tickets, one for the tube (about £5) and one for the Gatwick Express (about £16).

Important visa requirements for South Africans

South Africans need a visa to transit the UK, except in the event they are travelling to the USA or Canada and do not leave the airport transit area. This means that if you purchase a ticket via London to either of those countries but you have to change airports, you will need a visa for the United Kingdom.


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Our Readers Comments

  1. Thank you for this article, It is very useful to me. I’m flying to London tomorrow, and unfortunately I got into a misunderstanding. Firstly from the airline company told me I’m flying to Gatwick, but now they tell me I am going to land at Heathrow. I already booked at Gatwick airport hotels and I was very confused about how to get there from Heathrow. You helped me a lot!

  2. A tip for National Express if time is not an issue. Rather split the journey into two segments, viz. Gatwick – Victoria Coach Station and Victoria Coach Station – Heathrow. Buy the tickets separately for a total price that is sometimes less than half the price of the direct ticket. Same principle applies for many other routes.

  3. Is there any direct train link between Gatwick and Heathrow?……. wat about the Heathwick proposal? any ideas?

  4. Is this National express bus is the only direct link between these two major airports?

  5. During my travel i prefer traveling in bus, which is more comfortable than other resources. Thanks for share this article, keep sharing such a informative blog post.

  6. I am going to be flying to India from the USA. The tickets says airport change form Gatwick to Heathrow. Will I need a Visa and if so how much does one cost and when should I apply for it? I am going in Dec.

  7. We will be travelling from JNB to Halifax Canada and will be in transit on the forward leg for 4 hours and on the return leg for 12 hours. We will be booking a day room in Terminal 5 – the Sofitel Hotel. Do we :
    1) Need a transit visa
    2) How do we make an appointment with VFS in Brooklyn.
    3) Where do we get the application forms for a visa.

    Thanks

  8. if people want to travel airport to airport then bus is the good method for travelling and if they want to move anywhere in London then taxi is the best resource.
    Thanks for sharing such a great information.

  9. Look to tfl.gov.uk for any travel within London.
    This may be a cheaper way of getting from Heathrow to Gatwick 🙂

    Heathrow : take the Piccadilly Line to Hammersmith, from there take the District Line to Victoria and then take the Southern Train to Gatwick Airport.
    It should take less than an hour and a half, and I think it will be cheaper than taking the National Express.

  10. The last paragraph of this article is contradictory. Do you need a UK visa to transit between airports?? If travelling to US via London will a US visa suffice? What are the boundaries of the transit area? Does it cover between airports?

    • Hi Gavin,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I see this article was written in 2011 and the rules could have changed since then.

      To get the most up to date information I suggest you contact the official visa handling agency Teleperformance or the UK Embassy direct.

      They will be able to answer any visa queries you might have.

  11. when I called BA they told me that I could stay in the same terminal

  12. i am traveling to barcelona and i have connecting flight from london and stay in london airport 10 hours i have a schengen c category visa multiple entry . in this satiation is i need uk transit visa..plz help me about this

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      If you are flying to Barcelona and in transit in the UK you will need to apply for a UK transit visa.

  13. Good morning. My son is traveling to the usa. He will be landing at Heathrow and then has to travel to Gatwick by bus for his connecting flight. He has a valid usa visa. Does he need a uk transit visa to be able to do this?

    • Hi Hendrik,

      South African passport holders transiting the UK as part of their flight enroute to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, CANADA, NEW ZEALAND or AUSTRALIA may travel to the UK under the “Transit without a Visa” (TWOV) concession. This will allow passengers to connect to the next leg of their route without a visa provided that the passenger:
       Has a confirmed flight to the next destination (USA, Canada, New Zealand or Australia)
       Has the correct documents to enter their next destination (i.e. a valid visa to the US, Canada, New Zealand or Australia)
       Will be leaving the UK within 24 hours of arrival.
      The TWOV concession allows passengers to connect to onward flights both airside or at an alternative airport as long as the connecting flight to the onward destination is taken within 24 hours

      The above information is not guaranteed so we suggest you contact the Embassy direct to get the most up to date information.

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