Gatwick Airport - Dover by public & private transport

For travellers transferring between Gatwick & Dover cruise & ferry terminals

Dover Cruise Terminal 2

Dover Cruise Terminal 2

Dover is around 80 miles (129km) from Gatwick Airport. Gatwick is the closest major airport to Dover and is connected all the way by motorway/freeway grade roads. However, there are no direct public transport links between the two destinations.


All public transport with one notable exception between Gatwick and Dover require travelling into central London then getting another train or bus to Dover. If you do not want to take the expensive transport offered by the cruise line, these are your options:

  • The cheapest option are the National Express scheduled buses. Full size 50 seat coaches with washrooms. There is no direct service between Gatwick Airport and Dover, you have to make a connection at London's Victoria Coach Station.

    At Gatwick the National Express buses service both passenger terminals North and South. At Dover they do not go to the cruise terminals, you will need a taxi between Dover Town or Dover Ferry Terminal and Dover cruise terminals.


  • Much faster but more expensive are the Dover train services. Several trains an hour run along three separate routes between Dover's Priory Station and around 5 major train stations in Central London. Three of these stations (St Pancras, London Bridge and Victoria) also have direct train services to Gatwick Airport.

    The fastest trains by far run between London St Pancras and Dover. However, train fares in the UK are very complex and often the cheapest train fares available between Gatwick and Dover require a route avoiding London all together and 3 or 4 changes of train.


  • And of course the money no object option is a private car service door to door at a time specified by you. If you have a group there are vans, even coaches available.

National Express coaches

The cheapest option by scheduled public transport are coach services by National Express.


The National Express Coaches are much slower and much cheaper than the train services. They are modern air-conditioned buses with washrooms.


E-tickets are available online. Significant for people on cruises is the luggage allowance, 2 cases neither of which should weigh more than 20kg (44lb) before steep surcharges kick in.


In order to get to Dover you take one bus from Gatwick to Victoria Coach Station, you board the buses directly outside the arrivals hall of either terminal. In London, at Victoria Coach Station you change onto another bus going to Dover.


In Dover the bus terminates in Dover town centre after visiting Dover Ferry Terminal. The only option to get between either of these and the cruise ship is a 10-minute taxi ride.

National Express to/from Dover - more details

National Express Airport Coach Services

Train services between Dover & Gatwick Airport

The fastest way to travel between Dover and Gatwick Airport by public transport is by train, but is more expensive than the coach services. Like the coach service there is no direct train between Gatwick and Dover you have to change in London for all but one money saving route.


There are various permutations of routes, basically you get a train from Gatwick to Victoria, London Bridge or St Pancras then change onto another train to Dover. The fastest will normally be the option via St Pancras.


Just like the bus the only option between Dover train station and the cruise ship is a 10-minute taxi ride.


You can normally get a cheaper ticket by taking a route avoiding London, connecting together several country lines. This will involve changes of trains two or three times.

Details of rail services between Dover and London

Rail Map Between Dover & London
The Trainline - timetables and ticketing for UK railways

Transfers between Cruise Terminals & London buses & trains


No shuttle buses are provided between the cruise and the train station or London bus stops at Dover. You therefore need to get a taxi between the cruise terminal and the train station/bus stop. The fare should be around £9.

Taxi cabs at Dover come in a wide range of sizes and shapes, the image tight is fairly typical. If you have two cases per person and more than 2 people you may end up with multiple taxi cabs.

Southampton Station Taxi Rank

Agree price: Dover taxis

It's just a 5-minute drive between the cruise terminals at Dover to/from the railway and bus stations and ferry terminal.


The cruise terminals are far too far to walk with luggage from the train stations.

All fares within Dover should be on a meter.


For longer journeys outside Dover never leap into a taxi without agreeing the price beforehand.


Although drivers may offer to accept your Euro or Dollar currency it will almost certainly be at a very poor exchange rate. Only do so as a last resort.

The taxi rank at the cruise terminal is well marshalled. Porters from the ship will normally take your luggage as far as the taxi rank immediately outside the front doors of the cruise terminal.


It is customary to leave a small tip with cab drivers, assuming they provide a good service.


Private transfer options between Dover and Gatwick Airport

Of course private cars and larger vehicles are available. You select what time you want to depart. Vehicles all the way from saloon/sedan cars to large coaches are available. Note, with cruise transfers, more often than not it is the amount of luggage that determines the size of vehicle required, not the number of passengers.

With a clear road, Gatwick to Dover is about 90 minutes or less but the journey involves going around London's orbital motorway/free way prone to heavy traffic congestion delays for a section near Gatwick. It is quite important you budget adequate contingency time.


If the motorway is congested or there is an accident, alternative routes are much, much slower. Nearly all cruise ships have assisted disembarkation between about 7am and 8.30am. During weekdays, transfers to Gatwick have a high probability of road congestion delays as you travel around the southern section of London's orbital motorway / freeway.

Private cars and vans to/from Dover - details


Small family group or large group - private transfer/tour or tour may be the solution

Private 16 Seat Touring Bus From London

If you have a group from family size to large groups, chartering your own vehicle with driver with or without professional guide can make a lot of sense.


It is a true door-to-door service picking you up from your hotel at a time you want and a customised itinerary going exactly where you want to go at a pace that suits your group.


Vehicles can be anything from an MPV with driver guide to a full size 50 seat air conditioned luxury touring coach with professional guide. If you just want a driver with no guiding that's fine and will work out much cheaper too.


The guides and vehicles from the 8 seat vehicles up are professional full time tour specialists, not transport services that offer tours as a part time activity.


As a crude guide a full day tour (normally about 8 to 11 hours).

Private tours and tour transfers to/from Dover - details

Special Offer Day Tours From London
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