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March 18, 2024

Destination: London


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Things to do near London Gatwick Airport

All the London airports are in pretty good proximity to Central London and Gatwick airport is no exception. Situated in the South of London in Crawley, it takes just 30 minutes via the Gatwick Express train to reach London Victoria station.

Central London and the famous landmarks are therefore in easy reach during a layover but as always it depends whether you have hours to pass or a day or more as to how far you go. 

If you’re looking to get away from the airport for a short amount of time and would rather not make camp with your bags in the airport terminal then we’ve got a handy guide on some things to see and do close to London Gatwick.

Can I leave London Gatwick during a layover?

Yes you can but it all depends how much time you have as to how far you want to venture. There are lots of places close by to stretch your legs and get a change of scenery. Try keeping your journey time under 20 minutes to ensure you’re not impacted by local traffic back to the airport.

London Gatwick Airport Terminal. Image: Shutterstock, Yau Ming Low

What to do near London Gatwick Airport 

1. Gatwick Aviation Museum

Most of us enjoy the buzz of an airport if we’re not particularly frequent travellers. The excitement of your holiday and the destination that awaits all begins in the airport. Located just 7 minutes by car is the Gatwick Aviation Museum. As well as historic planes and interesting artifacts, there is the opportunity to watch all the activity at the airport from the museum viewing area. Highly recommended for a combination of fresh air and a look back in time at aviation across the decades.

Address: Gatwick Aviation Museum, Vallance By-Ways, Lowfield Heath Rd, Charlwood, Gatwick, RH6 0BT. 01293 862 294;

2. Stroll in Worth Park

Address: Worth Park, Worth Park Gardens, Worth Park Ave, Crawley, RH10 3DJ

Much more than a park, Worth Park boasts a lake, formal gardens, an Arboretum and Victorian fountain. Unwind with a walk through wild flower meadows and stop for a refreshments at Ridleys café before heading back to the airport. There is a direct bus link from Gatwick South Terminal that takes just 10 minutes and the park is a short 4 minute walk from the Heathfield stop.

Address: Worth Park, Worth Park Gardens, Worth Park Ave, Crawley, RH10 3DJ

3. Visit Wakehurst Gardens

If time is on your side then we’d recommend making the slightly longer 18 minute taxi journey to Wakehurst. Here in the heart of Sussex, you’ll find a wild botanic garden, woodland, meadows and Wakehurst mansion house. Hours of walks amongst diverse foliage, you’ll have to keep an eye on time as you could get lost amongst the beauty of nature.

Address: Wakehurst, Ardingly, Haywards Heath, Sussex, RH17 6TN 01444 894066;

4. Take the kids to Treasure Chest

If you’re travelling with little ones then it is always a good idea to have a change of scenery. Treasure Chest indoor play centre offers something for all the family. Parents can grab a coffee and cake whilst the kids tire themselves out on the large playframe. There are designated areas for babies, toddlers and bigger kids aged up to 11. Easily accessible via a 10 minute bus or car journey from Gatwick Airport.

Address: Treasure Chest, Unit 1 The Faraday Centre, Faraday Road, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 9PX, 01293 549009;

5. Get active at Footgolf

If your children are a bit old for pirates and play centres then why not try FootGolf! Open for all ages and abilities, this is another great way to burn off some energy after a long flight. A combination of Football and Golf, what isn’t to like! Located 5 miles to the east of the airport, it is best accessed via taxi as this is the quickest route at just 9 minutes journey time.

Address: Gatwick Footgolf, Antlands Lane, Burstow Horley, Surrey, RH6 9TF, 01293 820303;

6. Relax at the Alexander House and Utopia Spa

If you’re just looking to go no further than somewhere to unwind with a massage or spa treatment, the luxury awaits you at the five-star Alexander House and Utopia Spa. A short 15-minute drive from London Gatwick Airport and you’ll be transported to a magnificent British countryside retreat. The ultimate rejuvenation before beginning your onward travels. Be sure to book ahead to make the most of your layover time.

Address: Alexander House & Utopia Spa, East St, Turners Hill, East Grinstead, RH10 4QD, 01342 714914

Alexander House Utopia Spa. Image: Alexander House

If you have longer trips planned or more time to spend during a layover, check out our handy guides to London and the English countryside.

Britain is well connected by a network of trains and buses. Journey time to the outer London areas are under 1 hour via train and you can be further afield in beautiful countryside in just a couple of hours. 

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