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Oyster Card 3 days into LHR out of LGW

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A quick stopover in London-- just 3 nights on our way to Italy (hubbie and me.) Our hotel is right next to the Russell Square stop. We leave from that hotel for LGW.

Arriving-- should we take the Express (more expensive and involves a transfer-- but fast) or the regular tube (less money and slower.) Will the regular tube be over an hour to Russell Square??

3 days-- just buy oyster cards? If so-- 2 questions-- how much to load and can we get the unused portion refunded at LGW as we go out??

Departing-- is the Gatwick Express the best option for 2 people? If so, is it part of the oyster card, or do we need to purchase it separately? (for instance-- how much would i expect a shuttle service to cost from Russell Sq to LGW?)

I really appreciate any tips you can give.
Thanks so much,
kawh sebastopol, ca

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