Space at last: London Gatwick, North Terminal

I’ve been to London’s Gatwick airport (IATA: LGW) a few times now but so far all my flights departed from the South Terminal from where there isn’t much to report from. It’s actually probably one of the most boring terminals on this planet. Yes, there are a few shops and eateries, but there’s nothing really exciting there. Mind you, there are still things you can do at the airport in such a situation, check out some of my more creative suggestions here, here and here.

But now, let’s rather focus on the North Terminal. First of all, getting there was a bit of a hassle on this April’s fool’s day as the connecting shuttle that normally runs between the two terminals wasn’t working because they are currently upgrading it. A new shuttle should be ready by this summer. I therefore had to cue up and board a bus. Once in the North Terminal, however, it’s actually quite a pleasant experience. This building seems to be the quieter and more airy terminal. This is simply about the ratio of space to people one would accept for an airport.

Then, once through security, you’ll get to a large open space with shops all around you. There are 2 levels, the ground floor containing mostly shops such as Harrods, Dixons Travel, Accessorize, WH Smith or Boots among the more general ones. Upstairs you’ll find mainly restaurants and bars, however luckily there wasn’t as single McDonalds or Burger King in sight, sadly no Starbucks either.
So here are a few suggestions of what to do:

  • Get your last minute flip flops from the well stocked “The Shoe Studio” on the ground floor
  • Stock up your miniature travel essentials from Boots
  • Check out the English old school, but fairly well stocked toy store “Hamley’s”
  • Treat yourself to a few innovative cosmetic solutions from “Rituals…”
  • If you’re hungry, go upstairs and check out Café Rouge which offers a nice seating area both facing inside and outside the terminal. Or grab a bite to eat at my favourite “sandwich franchise”, Eat. If you’re a bit more adventurous, go to the Lloyds bar and try one of their Bitters with a great view towards the runways. And finally, if you’re the milk shake & hot dog kind of person, then checking out “Shake-a-Hula” is a must. They serve, you guessed it, milk shakes and hot dogs. But don’t worry; you don’t have to have them in one go necessarily.

Airport Facts and Ratings

Airport Name London Gatwick Airport, North Terminal
Design Plane Award Plane Award Plane Award Point
Shopping Plane Award Plane Award Plane Award Point
Toilets Plane Award Plane Award Point
Overall Plane Award Plane Award Plane Award Point
Chanel No 5 Eau de Parfum, 100ml at the Duty Free Shop £62.20
Bottle of Veuve Cliquot at the Duty Free Shop £32.99 (incl. Ice Jacket)

[Picture from Flickr – some rights reserved]

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  • I love walking around the airport to check out what they have in store. This can be a good past time activity especially if you have a long time to wait for your flight.

  • I agree. there is not much to do anyway. Every time I have to wait in an airport for a long time I remember about the “The Terminal” 🙂