Car Hire in Gatwick Airport
This information is correct as of May 2015
Gatwick is 30 miles away from the centre of London, but it is still one of the most popular airports to fly to for getting to the capital and around the South of England.
Where to hire a car in Gatwick airport
There are 8 car hire providers to choose from at Gatwick: Sixt, Avis, Alamo, National, Europcar, Enterprise, Hertz and Budget. Hertz and Europcar have an office inside the north terminal, whereas other providers are based in a reception a 5 minute walk down the road. However, Gatwick understands that you might have luggage, and you are able to meet and greet your car rental provider at the exit.
At the south terminal, you can find Budget, Thrifty, Sixt, Hertz and Europcar in the terminal building, and you can walk to the car hire reception from here too. Enterprise also have a smaller branch in the very south end of the airport, along the A23, where you can hire a van for luggage if you so need one.
Gatwick also have an extensive range of car parks at both the north and south terminal, so be sure to check out the parking facilities on their website if you know you’ll be leaving a vehicle at the airport.
Petrol stations close to Gatwick airport
Depending on your car rental agreement, you may need to hand your car back with a full tank.
The great news is that both the north and south terminal have 24 hour petrol stations, so you can top up whenever you arrive.
Driving around Gatwick airport
Gatwick airport is a 10 minute drive from the M23, which means it’s well connected to the rest of the UK – especially London and the south east. Car hire locations are well sign posted around the airport, and although there are a few busy roads around the airport, they are well sign posted. The A23 is the main road running aroun the airport, which links you to Crawley and the M23 too.
Gatwick is also one of the busiest airports in the UK, and occasionally this means there can be some hectic traffic jams around the airport. The website gives you full details of traffic alerts, which are worth checking before you exit the airport.
As you may or may not know, Gatwick has two main terminals – the north terminal and the south terminal. These are so far from each other that you’ll need a slightly different postcode to reach each of them:
South Terminal: RH6 0NP
North Terminal: RH6 0PJ
Popular destinations to drive to from Gatwick airport
It takes about an hour and 15 minutes to reach central London from Gatwick airport. From here, you can take a train to almost anywhere in the UK, from Edinburgh to Eastbourne, or soak up the sights and sounds of the city by car. However, it’s generally discouraged that you bring your car into the city – driving in central London is not easy and it’s recommended that you leave your car in one of the park and ride car parks on the outskirts.
To reach London, exit the airport on the Ring Road South or the A23 to get onto the roundabout leading on to the M25 (follow the signs for London/Brighton/Crawley). At the next roundabout, take the first exit onto the M23 and continue for 22 miles. Follow the signs for the A23 through Purley. Continue for 7 miles along the A23. When you come into Streatham, you need to look out for signs for the B221. Turn right onto the B221 just before Streatham Hill rail station. When you reach Clapham, turn right on the A3 to move into central south London. This is a toll road, and you’ll need to pay to use it.
St Albans, Brentwood, Maidenhead
If you want to reach west or east London, use the M25 to get to Maidenhead, Brentwood, or St Albans. It’s much easier and cheaper to park in these towns too. Driving through central London can be extremely busy and congested, so it’s generally discouraged if you can avoid it.
Kent is the biggest county in southeast England, made famous by the rolling cliffs of Dover and Canterbury Cathedral. It’s less than an hour away from Gatwick airport.
To reach Kent, exit the airport on the Ring Road South or the A23 to get onto the roundabout leading on to the M23 (follow the signs for London/Brighton/Crawley). Take the M25 exit towards Dartmouth. Continue on this motorway, then merge onto the M26, and the M26 will eventually become the M20. Look out for the A229 exit, and take it , keeping left to Exit 6 toward Maidstone. At the roundabout, take the third exit onto the A229. This road will take you into Maidstone, Kent’s county town.