Can you sleep at London Gatwick airport?

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I recently had a very early morning flight from London Gatwick and wouldn’t be able to catch an early enough train the next day to make the flight. The only option was to stay at the airport overnight. I didn’t want to pay for a hotel for such a short time so I decided to see if it was possible to sleep on the seats. Here I answer whether you can sleep in London Gatwick airport for free.


Is Gatwick airport open all night?

The airport is open all night so if you are planing on sleeping at Gatwick you’ll want to arrive late enough so you can just arrive and put your head down straight away. Gatwick is open all hours but as its not connected to main underground network but overland trains that will stop around midnight so get here before then. I got there just past 11pm. It was pretty empty but enough people to make not feel weird.

Are you allowed to sleep at Gatwick airport?

There are no rules currently in place forbidding sleeping at Gatwick airport pre flight. You should have no trouble finding somewhere to rest for a few hours. Gatwick however are strict about those sleeping for longer than this, so if you are staying more than 24 hours it would be better to get a hotel, either near the airport or in London which can be reached 40 minutes by train. It’s no secret accommodation in London is expensive, looking for a budget option try Hostelworld.

Where can I get a sim card?

Need a sim card on landing or about to fly off? Rather than the hassle of finding/getting a physical sim card, an easier method these days is to get an e-sim. Simply select the country or region you are in and get data and calls on your phone. More info can be found here.

Prices are reasonable, usually only $25 for 20GB of data. We now always use this method when travelling as it just saves so much time and bother!

I’ve arrived at Gatwick where should I rest, north or south terminal to sleep?

I was flying out of North Terminal the next day so headed there initially but actually the North Terminal had almost no life at midnight and no other sleepers so I headed back to the South Terminal which was busier. The distance between the two terminals in the shuttle is only 10 minutes.

Here in the south terminal located before the security gates there are many seats and places to lie down. I did this in November so while it wasn’t freezing but it wasn’t exactly warm.

Is it safe to sleep at Gatwick airport

To be honest it felt very safe. I didn’t have any issues. Everyone there is in the same boat and trying to sleep before there flight. I was disturbed at 4am by a kind cleaner that said he needed to clean the area. But just moved around the corner and that was fine and wasn’t bothered any further.

Is there Wi-Fi and plug sockets at Gatwick airport

Sure is! Free and fast as well. Plug sockets are not just located on the walls but also in dedicated areas so you will always be able to charge your phone.

If I stay at Gatwick airport overnight can I get something to eat and drink?

On arrival at South Terminal by train they’ll be M&S and a WHSmiths. These stayed open to around midnight. But opened up again in the early hours. I want to say 4am maybe. Other options include the vending machines dotted about or the free water fountains.

What to bring if I plan to sleep at Gatwick airport?

Assuming you don’t have large luggage with you and your options are limited due to weight restrictions. Your best best is to bring a woolly hat and a light sleeping bag. This will be ample to get you through a few hours. The main issue I had was that floor was quite cold. So if you have something to insulate you from that ideal.

When can I check in my luggage at Gatwick aiport?

For long haul flights (non European), you’ll be able to check in luggage up to four hours from departure and for European flights you can check in luggage 3 hours before departure. Flights to the U.K and Ireland you can check in luggage 2 hours before departure.

Can you store luggage at Gatwick airport?

If you want to leave you luggage at Gatwick airport the most common option is Excess Baggage, that can be found just before leaving the airport.

You will be charged per 32kg bag that you leave. Charges are:

  • £7.50 up to 3 hours.
  • £15 up to 24 hours
  • £22.50 from 24 to 48 hours
  • £30 from 48 to 72 hours

Are there showers at Gatwick aiport?

Yes, but only two, one in each terminal. Showers and a co working space can also be found at the Regus business lounge which offers a quiet space for those looking to relax.

When can I go through security?

Your boarding pass will let you through security three hours before your flight. Once through in my case to the north terminal you have access to a while range of shops and restaurants for breakfast and coffee.

Can you vape or smoke at Gatwick airport?

Yes you can vape or smoke but only outside the terminal at Gatwick airport in the designated area. Be warned there are no areas to vape or smoke once you get past security, this includes passengers for international flights.

Having read this I think I would prefer to get a hotel

If that’s the case no problem as there are numerous cheap hotels. Best option we found are two Premier Inn hotels located right next to the airport. They can be booked for around £70 a night.

In conclusion it is certainly possible to sleep at London Gatwick airport, but make sure you are prepared to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Hope this helped!


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