Posted by: travelrat | January 25, 2010

Getting to Gatwick

Gatwick: 5th/6th November 2009

I’ve always thought that Gatwick was a damn’ silly place to put an airport. So does, I think, anyone who doesn’t live in London or the Home Counties. To people living anywhere else, it’s a bit awkward to get to. The options are drive … and, if you don’t really do your homework, you’ll find it costs more to park your car than the flight did. To go by train, I think you’d need to pass through London, and it’s well expensive, anyway.

That leaves the good old National Express; a goodly proportion of coaches from all over the country call at the Heathrow coach station, and there’s a regular shuttle service between Heathrow and Gatwick.

Now, the bad news!

Unfortunately, the last coach from our neck of the woods gets in around midnight; my flight to Toulouse left at 7.30 in the morning. There is a later coach which leaves Southampton about two-ish, and gets in at 5.30 … but, to use that means sitting around the cold, draughty Southampton coach station for three hours. At least the concourse at Gatwick is warm.

At least, I had some reading, and some podcasts to catch up on; the various lounges would seem to offer a quiet place to do this, and I wouldn’t mind paying a small premium to use them. But, they close at midnight. I did check out the ‘Yotel’, which I posted about a couple of years ago … but that’s way too expensive, especially if you just want somewhere quiet to get your head down for an hour or three. I can’t remember how much it was … but EasyJet charge less to get to Toulouse.

Hot tip for travellers: Don’t be first through Security. They have a quota of baggage they must search thoroughly, and prefer to do it while it’s quiet. Still, at least he was pleasant about it.

‘I didn’t know they made camcorders that small!’

‘Are those little Netbooks any good?’

‘Nice sweater! Where did you get it?’

Finally, I made it through to airside, and actually managed to inspect the back of my eyelids for a couple of hours. But, once aboard the aircraft, I was still asleep before the wheels left the runway …


  1. I am tired just thinking about how frequently you travel. I really don’t know how you do it!

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