Gatwick to London

Old May 10th, 2013, 09:01 AM
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Gatwick to London

First trip to England. First, we are going to Isle of Man, then flying back to Gatwick and on to London. So, no jet leg. We arrive on Tuesday 5 pm at Gatwick. Our apartment is near Hyde Park Gate in Kensington. Are we better off taking Gatwick Express or hiring car? The cost difference is not that great, so I am concerned about easiest travel. Will it be a lot quicker on the train? Thanks for your advise.
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Old May 10th, 2013, 09:11 AM
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The quickest way may be to take the Gatwick Express or other train company into London - Victoria station then take a cab - if you are pricing Gatwick Express tickets they are a lot more than Southern Trains (not sure that's the correct name) but another train doing the same route much cheaper (it is not a dedicated airport train as the Gatwick Express is - that is one with lots of room for luggage, etc and can be IME much more crowded though at that time of day going into London should not be that bad.

One reason to buy a round-trip Gatwick to London train ticket is that in between the time you buy it and last time you use it to return to the airport you get 2 for 1 admissions as a panoply of London sites.

http://www.southernrailway.com/offers/2-for-1/ - Southern Railways which I believe serves Gatwick explains how you get the 2 for 1 with a paper ticket from them.
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Old May 10th, 2013, 09:30 AM
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"Will it be a lot quicker on the train?"

In a car? Of course not.

Universally true in civilised countries: spectacularly so getting into central London from Gatwick. At 1700, the petrol-age dinosaur will take at least three times as long.

Southern is significantly cheaper than the GEX: at that time there's no material diff in comfort.

"Hiring a car" in English means getting a self-drive car. Almost twice the time an old-fashioned taxi will take. And what are you going to do with one in Hyde Park?
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Old May 10th, 2013, 10:19 AM
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By hiring a car I think you mean getting a pick up carservice. I much prefer not to handle luggaage off and on the Gatwick Express then wait for a taxi at Victoria. Just airports may take a bit lomger but there is not much difference in prices and it's door to door and they haul around the luggage
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Old May 10th, 2013, 11:42 AM
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We used the train from Gatwick to Victoria twice this past year. Didn't have much luggage and made great use of the 2-for-1 offers with our round trip train tickets.
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Old May 10th, 2013, 03:02 PM
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>

How so? A car hire from Heathrow to your flat would not be much more than the train, but from Gatwick a car service will cost a ton. And get stuck in traffic. And you're not comparing Southern line to Victoria, you're comparing the Express, but the Southern line should have only one or two stops and be all of two minutes slower (the train lines are highly congested going through East Croydon and Clapham Junction so the Express doesn't max out at its 125 mph running speed).
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Old May 11th, 2013, 06:15 PM
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A car service from LGW makes no sense for most people. Costs a fortune and takes MUCH longer than the train. Depending on how much luggage you have (hopefully you pack sensibly) either take the Southern Train from LGW to Victoria and the tube from there to Gloucester Rd and hike from there - or take a cab from Victoria.

The GEX really has no advantage except for a miniscule time savings.
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Old May 12th, 2013, 09:39 AM
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The GEX really has no advantage except for a miniscule time savings>

Does not the Gatwick Express have more room for luggage, being a dedicated airport train - or is it exactly the same dumpy train as most London overground trains are - and with no special place for large luggage as air travelers may have?

I was under the impression that was some difference (even though as flanneruk says at that time of day few folks are heading into LOndon so the Southern train may be just as fine and much cheaper.
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Old May 12th, 2013, 09:55 AM
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I hired a private car last summer when travelling with my niece. We stayed in the SoHo neighborhood and it took about an hour and a half total to get to our hotel. It wasn't any more expensive than the train and it was more convenient for us because we had luggage and would have need to change trains, etc. I was happy I scheduled this as it was easy and again, not any more expensive than the train for two people.
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Old May 12th, 2013, 02:24 PM
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How much was your car service? The train fare would be less than £15 pp plus either the tube or a short cab ride.

Unless your car service was less than £40 - unlikely from Gatwick . . .
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Old May 12th, 2013, 03:10 PM
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The car service was abut 75 pounds and the one way tickets on Gatwick Express were 35 pounds per person.
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Old May 12th, 2013, 04:14 PM
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There is no reason to take the GEX - the fare on the regular Southern train that take less than 5 minutes longer is only £14-ish per person. So you are comparing the most expensive train w/ a average-expensive car service.

The Southern train and a cab from Victoria and you'd have £30-£35 left over for a nice lunch with wine . . . or any other small splurge.
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Old May 12th, 2013, 09:49 PM
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one way tickets on Gatwick Express were 35 pounds per person.

One way tickets are £17.75 per person.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 09:43 AM
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Thanks so much for all the advise. Yes, I was talking about a car delivery service, not renting a car. And, thanks for the info on Southern - I had no inkling of this train. But, alanRow is correct - the tickets on Gatwick Express are 17.75 per person. Southern tickets are 10. And, I checked again, the cost difference between private car and train is much greater. I had initially thought Gatwick Express was 35 each, but that was for two people. I figured traffic in a car would be bad. Now I just need to figure out the taxi. Train and taxi are doable as we each only have one suitcase and each have a small backpack. Easy. One more question, where does luggage go on the trains? Is Gatwick better for having luggage within your view? Is that important? Let me know if you have any other information I may need - any taxi advise?
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Old May 13th, 2013, 10:07 AM
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We were able to get discounts on round trip GEX tickets; I think I had a code for being a repeat registered user, but it might be worth going to the website. That is where I found the discount.

We had our luggage with us; it fit in the overhead and between the seats.

Exited the train, out the exit and in to a taxi.

I would use the Southern train next time; it seems that there is no real reason not to take the less expensive train.

I used a taxi calculator and found that I could save a pound or two by making arrangements with a specific taxi company, but would have had to reserve with them, and call them before leaving the station. It didn't seem worth the trouble for just a pound or two.

There are always taxis at train station exits, in my somewhat limited experience.

The real bargain for us came in using the two-for-one offers with our round trip train tickets. Several exhibits that we wanted to see were on offer.

Read the offers carefully. I was rather embarrassed when I tried to use one at the Royal Academy, and it turned out to be a three-for-one instead of a twofer.

I hope this helps.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 10:51 AM
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One has to wonder why anyone would take the Gatwick Express - how that franchise even stays in business in competition with the exactly the same but a few minutes slower and much cheaper Southern Trains - guess there are a lot of idiots?
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Old May 13th, 2013, 11:05 AM
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I think idiot is harsh, but it relies on a) People's ignorance/lack of research b) The assumption that the GE is the only train available and c) Technically true but misleading advertising "The fastest way into central London".
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Old May 13th, 2013, 11:35 AM
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The GEX used to have the slight advantage of being able to just stagger on board jet lagged - no queueing, no ticket, easy peasy. Buy the ticket on board.

But that is no longer an option so w/o that perk no reason to use the GEX . . . except if you are traveling during heavy commute time. The GEX will likely be less crowded and have more luggage space.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 08:33 AM
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Southern and a taxi, it is! Thanks for the help.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 06:39 PM
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how many people in your group?? we had five in our group and Gatwick Express was close or even cheaper than Southern.
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