It’s no surprise that some of the best routes to Europe from the United States are via London. Yet, depending on your trip and budget, you may need a ride between airports! Here’s our experience with the National Express bus on a Gatwick to Heathrow transfer. We found the London Airport transfer with the National Express to be as smooth and easy as can be! Hopefully, you do too after reading this article.
Our London Airport Transfer Story
Coming from the snowy east coast of the United States in early March, we were eager to get to the warm and sunny beaches of Croatia. However, there was just one problem… The flights were not ideal!
At the time, there were no direct flights from New York City to Croatia. On top of that, every route we found seemed to consist of 2 or 3 planes with long layovers. The one decent flight path we did find was through the United Kingdom. The issue was it required a London Airport transfer between Gatwick and Heathrow.
Since we had a night flight getting into London Gatwick Airport around 6am we calculated we would have about 5 hours to London Heathrow Airport. While this was more than plenty of travel time, we had to do some research to figure out exactly how to get from Gatwick to Heathrow.
Why Use the National Express Bus?
It wasn’t long before we found the cheapest and most efficient way to make our Heathrow Airport transfer! National Express offers a Heathrow express bus direct from Gatwick to Heathrow terminals. It’s actually the only direct public transport between the two airports.
Most importantly, the buses start early in the morning. The journey time can be anywhere from one hour and twenty minutes to an hour and forty minutes depending on traffic and which National Express bus you pick.
The other option would be to take a taxi which will likely cost double the price of the Gatwick express bus. In many situations private transfers are the way to go! However, with the ease of the National Express coach and a direct service between airports there’s really no reason to pay more.
Getting Your National Express Bus Tickets
The National Express tickets can be purchased online at any time after you know your flight dates. We ended up buying the 7:45am tickets to be safe. Yet, when we arrived and quickly cleared customs we ended up being over an hour early.
Luckily, there were not many passengers for the 6:40am National Express Coach and the driver kindly allowed us on. We’re not sure if this would be the case at peak times though. Also, make sure if you buy the tickets online that you put in the correct terminal. For example, at Gatwick there is both a North and South terminal that you could be arriving into.
Another option is to buy your tickets directly at the airport. We didn’t know this before we booked online, but there were automated ticket machines in front of the bus stop at our terminal. The National Express bus runs all day so you shouldn’t have a problem getting tickets either way.
The only reason we would urge you to buy them in advance is if you are traveling on a very tight schedule. You wouldn’t want to chance your bus being full! We used National Express to get from Gatwick to Heathrow. Nevertheless, keep in mind it also runs other routes to airports and locations throughout London.
Bus Ride From Gatwick to Heathrow
The actual trip from Gatwick to Heathrow was fairly uneventful, which is always a good thing when you’re traveling! Our 6:40am bus from the South Terminal arrived at Heathrow’s Terminal 2 just after 8am.
This gave us more then enough time to make our 12:15pm flight. There was actually a 10am flight that we could have booked. However, we didn’t want to chance not making it incase any part of our trip was delayed.
The drive takes you from the south of London to the west on mostly highway roads. We were honestly still tired from overnight flight and fell asleep for the majority of it.
This meant we didn’t get to take advantage of the free wi-fi they advertised, but it was nice to get an extra bit of sleep! The seats were comfortable enough and the driver stored our luggage underneath the National Express bus.
Even though this went as smooth as can be we do have one word of warning. The driver will call out your stop over the loudspeaker. Just make sure you get off at the right terminal! We both set alarms on our phones to be safe.
Should You Use the National Express Bus?
Yes! Honestly, we were worried about our London Airport transfer between Gatwick South Terminal and the Heathrow, especially flying different airlines. The fact that we weren’t on a tight schedule and the time of the day we arrived definitely helped ease our minds in the process. Still, we have to say it couldn’t of been easier!
Gatwick is the second busiest airport in London so you may find yourself in need of the bus. Of course, there is always the taxi transfer or private car service available, but there’s no reason to shell out the extra cost.
If you’re lucky enough to have a few days in the city you can also take the National Express Coach from Central London. These non-stop services are awesome and also go to the smaller London airports like Stansted and Luton.
Hopefully, this blog gives you some peace of mind if you’re making the same journey we did. Everything wen’t perfect with your Gatwick to Heathrow bus but be sure to leave yourself enough time to transfer airports. Always plan for delays because the last thing you want to do is miss your flight!
Have any questions about this article or want to share your own experience with the Gatwick to Heathrow transfer? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
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