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Arriving in Heathrow , Departing from Gatwick - with baby

Arriving in Heathrow , Departing from Gatwick - with baby

Old Apr 14th, 2006, 09:26 PM
  #1  
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Arriving in Heathrow , Departing from Gatwick - with baby

We'll be traveling back to the U.S. with an overnight layover in London with an 11-month old. We're arriving into Heathrow after a 10-hour flight at 11:30am and departing from Gatwick at 10:00am the following morning. How long will it take to go through Immigration coming into Heathrow? What time should we be at Gatwick to make our departing flight? Looking for comfortable accomodations, but also considering convenience, esp. with a baby in tow; I guess an airport hotel is the only option, but which one? Thanks in advance.
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Old Apr 14th, 2006, 09:48 PM
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Normally, deplaning and going through Immigration at Heathrow takes me the better part of an hour.
What's your budget?
I would suggest taking a car service from Heathrow to a hotel near Victoria station and then catching an early Gatwick express from there the next morning. Hopefully, other Fodorites have recs for good hotels near Victoria.
If you could splash out a bit, the Marriott County Hall is comfortable and relaxing--you could get a Thames view room and you're close to the London Eye, etc. You'd have to catch a cab to Victoria early the next morning (but it's a short ride) or get another car service.
You have plenty of hotel options, I don't see why you'd have to stay by the airport. But again, your budget may dictate where you stay.
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Old Apr 14th, 2006, 10:36 PM
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I agree - I would not stay near either airport. You have too much time to kill at LGW. And going in to London w/ all of your luggage and then heading down to LGW that evening also doesn't make much sense.

I would book a car service and stay at the Thistle Victoria. This hotel is right at Victoria ststion and you would be 30 minutes from LGW on the express.

You could be to your hotel by about 1:30-2:00. Have a late linch, see a bit of London, have a nice dinner and relax at the hotel. Then you will be only yards from the train to LGW and can leave around 7:00-7:30.
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 07:14 AM
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If my experience last August departing from LGW was any example, and I was traveling in FC so had dedicated check-in, etc., I would arrive at LGW at least two hours if not three prior to departure.

The place was an absolute mob scene.

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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 07:54 AM
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It will probably take at least an hour to clear through immigration/customs in Heathrow. You will have to get your luggage as well. Because you will have luggage and a baby I would suggest that you take the connecting coach from Heathrow to Gatwick and check into a hotel at or near Gatwick. They can be found in abundance by entering Gatwick Hotels in the browser. You have a ten am flight from Gatwick and that means you should be there by 8 am. If you stay in London you would either have to arrange private transport from your hotel or take a cab to Victoria for the train to Gatwick. And you would have to do this at a very early hour. We returned from London less than 3 weeks ago from Gatwick. We stayed in London the night before and took van transport from our hotel to the airport. The traffic was considerable and it was a long ride. So, why stress yourself? With both the baby and luggage you will have enough to transport without adding the stress of trying to get from London to Gatwick early in the morning.
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 09:01 AM
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As a follow-on..if you do decide to stay near Gatwick you might consider the Arora hotel..it is connected to the local railway platform and also has free shuttle service to the airport.
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 09:29 AM
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In your case I would suggest that you take the bus from Heathrow to Gatwick and check in to either one of the Gatwick airport hotels, the Gatwick Hilton or the Gatwick LeMeridian. Both are connected to the terminals by a short tunnel. In the morning you could just walk to the check-in desk about 3 hours before(before the crowds show up), drop off the main luggage, check-in, go back to the room, relax, take care of last minute baby needs and then walk back and just do the security thing and get to your gate without breaking any sweat.

The day before, if you still have any energy left, it's easy to catch a train to central London from the hotels as the train station is right there. If not, both hotels have swimming pools, workout facilities, casual and upper scale restaurants.

The convenience can't be beat.

Going to central London and then dragging the luggage and the baby early next morning through the train stations again seems like a waste. After all you are coming off a 10 hour flight. I just don't see you and/or the baby ready to explore the city after all of that.

BTW, I got the LeMeridien few times through Priceline for ~$100.
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 09:50 AM
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Thanks for the input! Although the idea of staying in London is intriguing as we've never been to the UK before, we have to be practical considering we will have the baby with us, plus all the luggage. I do like the idea that if we do feel up to it we can take the train into London that afternoon from the airport area and take in a few sights. I tried to find the Gatwick LeMeridien online but couldn't. Has it changed ownership? Thanks again for the tips!
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 10:14 AM
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You are correct. It's a Sofitel now. It's been some time since I flew through Gatwick. This hotel is located in the North Terminal, and your flight to US will probably go out of South Terminal, so you may want to look at the Gatwick Hilton. It's not a big deal really, but there is a short monorail ride required between the 2 terminals.

http://www.sofitel.com/sofitel/fiche...he_hotel.shtml

http://www.hilton.com/en/hi/hotels/i...tyhocn=GATHITW
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 10:23 AM
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You don't have to take the Gatwick Express, and you don't have to go to Victoria, as several train operators offer services to numerous other London stations, and Southern Trains will take you to Victoria for £4 less than GX:

London Bridge
Charing Cross
Blackfriars
King's Cross

You don't have to stay at Gatwick, either. From a logistical point of view, I don't see much difference between finding a hotel at Gatwick or one at King's Cross (easily reachable by Tube) and taking the Thameslink train from KC to Gatwick in the morning.

This option doesn't seem any more rigorous to me (regardless of your state), and it has the added advantage of not costing an additional round trip train ride from Gatwick to town, as KC is a ten-minute bus ride from the thick of things.
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 10:24 AM
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Sofitel London Gatwick is the new name of the Meridian.
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 10:30 AM
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You do realize the duration of the bus ride between Heathrow and Gatwick? It's quite a haul and I don't think I'd want to do a crowded bus trip with a 11 month old *after* a 10 hour flight and slog through immigration.
And if one stays at a hotel close to Victoria station (like the Thistle), you do NOT need to take a cab or other private arrangement to get to Gatwick...it's a very short, easy walk to the Gatwick Express platform.
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 10:48 AM
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after a long flight and w/ a baby, I would MUCH rather take a car service to the Thistle Victoria and then the Gatwick Express train to LGW the next morning. That would be a lot easier than taking the coach between LHR and LGW and then possibly taking the train to/from London.

The car service driver will meet you right in the arrivals hall at LHR, carry your luggage and drop you at the door of the hotel at Victoria. Then it is literally just a few yards from the hotel to the Gatwick Express platform.

If you take the coach to LGW you have to walk to the bus (not far I grant you but you will have to schlepp the bags and baby) - then at LGW you have to walk through the crowded terminal to the Sofitel.
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 05:50 PM
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Wow - there's more options to consider. We will be flying British Airways back to the States, but I'm not sure from which terminal they leave for that route. Thanks!
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 05:57 PM
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We always fly BA LHR-PHX, and it's always T4.
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 06:05 PM
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Oh, wait! You're flying BA from LGW to the US? I have no clue. I've flown them LGW-JER from the North terminal, but that's all I know.
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 06:21 PM
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Good grief! I just realized that our luggage may already be checked thru to our final destination, as we are arriving on BA into LHR, then out of LGW to the States the following morning. If that's the case, then the only bags we would have to worry about are our carryons, one of which will probably be an umbrella stroller. So perhaps staying in London would be feasible, after all?
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 07:11 PM
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I posted too soon. Just found out our luggage will not be transferred for us, so we're back to square one with luggage and baby. It was a nice idea, though, if even for a fleeting moment!
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Old Apr 15th, 2006, 07:45 PM
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To add to your decision:

Consider the possibility that your flight in could be late. Would this change how you felt about things?

Jet lag going west to east is such that it is particularly tough to get up the next morning. Would this change how you felt?

Although we have not attempted it with a baby, we have in the past gone into London, checked our bags at Victoria station, spent a few hours in London, then grabbed the bags and headed down to Gatwick for the remainder of the day. This breaks up the commute to Gatwick from LHR somewhat, but leaves one without the amenities of a hotel for that much longer.

In your shoes I'm in the 'stay at a Gatwick hotel' camp. But good luck with whatever you decide.
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