Southern trains between London Victoria & Gatwick

Significantly cheaper alternative to Gatwick Express, 15 minutes slower

Southern Train at Gatwick Airport

Southern train at Gatwick - central London stopping train

Southern trains run frequent train services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria offering a lower cost alternative rail option to the widely marketed Gatwick Express train service.


Southern Trains London Victoria - Gatwick service key points

  • Southern trains run on the same tracks as the dedicated airport train the Gatwick Express between Gatwick and London Victoria and are just as frequent.

  • Southern trains are significantly cheaper than Gatwick Express, typically 30%-40% cheaper.

  • Southern trains take around 15 minutes longer than the Gatwick Express as they make other stops at stations along the way.

  • Southern trains do not start at Gatwick and in peak commute hours may be full with standing room only when they get to Gatwick.

  • Southern train tickets purchased from the railways qualify for a 2 for 1 promotion to the London Eye, Tower of London etc..

  • As an alternative ticketing option Southern trains accept Oyster Cards which may be cheaper than railway issued tickets.

Southern Trains Victoria - Gatwick service - where does it run?

Southern Trains are essentially commuter trains where Gatwick Airport is one stop of many along the route.

Clapham Junction is one station that all Southern trains stop at, this is one of the UK's busiest railway junctions. From here there are frequent trains every couple of minutes to London Waterloo, which is next to the London Eye and may be more convenient than Victoria Station for some.

In addition to Southern trains there is also another line from Gatwick that goes through the City of London, the business area of London run by Thameslink.


This line goes through London and out the other side without terminating. Its route largely avoids the districts of London where the main attractions and hotel districts are. St Pancras is perhaps the exception, a major budget hotel area and also terminus for the Eurostar trains. This service like the Southern trains are also much cheaper than the Gatwick Express.


Airport buses?

Cheapest airport transfer are the Gatwick airport buses that also run to London Victoria. Relatively few people use the buses as they take at least twice as long as any of the trains and because of their lack of popularity are less frequent.

The Trainline - timetables and ticketing for UK railways


What you need to know about using Southern train services from/to Gatwick

At Gatwick Airport the train station is integrated into the South Terminal of the airport. From exiting customs into Gatwick Station is about 100 yards.


Free monolink between North and South terminals

If you are flying into the North Terminal a free monorail link shuttles between the North and South terminals every few minutes and is free of charge. At the South Terminal the monorail terminus is adjacent to the train station.

At Gatwick Airport station there are lifts and escalators down to the platforms, at Victoria the platforms are at street level.


Check the departures board for which platform your trian will arrive on

Southern Train Interior
Southern Train Interior

Southern train interiors 4 or 5 seats across

As no Southern train starts at Gatwick Airport you will have to wait a few minutes for the next train to London and check the departure boards for which of Gatwick's 5 platforms it will arrive on.


At Victoria Station all trains terminate here, but there are 19 platforms so again you will need to search the departures board.


No seat reservations

There are no seat reservations on any train from Gatwick, (even on the Gatwick Express). Your ticket is for the journey between Gatwick and Victoria on a schedule of your choice. At Gatwick when a train arrives you just a grab a seat that is available on a first come first serve basis.



Ticket types are quite complex, (see below) and any discounted tickets will probably have restrictions on the times of day you can use them.



Luggage is limited to what you can carry, don't expect any assistance. There may be no dedicated luggage racks unlike the Gatwick Express on Southern trains and only a small parcel shelf above the seats.


If you have luggage you may well be the last one aboard as many passengers will not have luggage and much of the train will already be occupied on arrival.


First Class

There may be a small first class compartment at one end of a carriage, probably just two rows where you have a little more room. Do not sit in first class if you have a standard ticket even if its standing only in second class - a ticket inspector will come around to check.


Train frequency & timetables

Southern train services between Gatwick and Victoria run 24/7. Even in the early hours of a Sunday morning the service is hourly and by 5am is up to four an hour. At peak travel times there can be up to nine trains an hour.


For fares and timetables use 'The Trainline' website where you can also order tickets for delivery to your home address.

Between London Victoria and Gatwick trains are scheduled to take 35-50 minutes depending on how many stations they stop at.


Southern trains standard fares & timetables

Gatwick - London Transfers

You can buy tickets on the day at the ticket offices at both Gatwick and Victoria railway stations. All major credit cards are taken. However if you buy online not only do you avoid any queues but you have a much, much better chance of getting one of the cheap fares.


If you live inside the UK you can have them sent to your home address, if you are overseas you can collect them from a dedicated machine at both Gatwick Station and Victoria Station or have them sent to your home address (for a fee).

The standard types of tickets bought at Gatwick are detailed below. At weekends there is a good chance that an off-peak or super off-peak fare will be available to buy at Gatwick, during the week in all probability only the anytime fares.

  • Off Peak: Buy any time, travel off-peak. The definition of off peak can vary from ticket to ticket. These tickets may require you to travel at specific times of day, days of the week or on a specific route. Where there is more than one Off-Peak fare for a journey, the cheaper fare with more restrictions will be called Super Off-Peak.

  • Anytime: Buy any time, travel any time. (The standard ticket). Anytime fares are fully flexible tickets, with no time restrictions on when you can travel. You can make the return journey within one month of the outward journey.

Online Advance Tickets ... save up to 61%!

There are sometimes special promotional fares for advanced purchase. Offers are normally not made available until 3 months prior to travel and may be a on a first come, first served basis.


Often it is cheaper to buy two one-way advance purchase tickets than a standard return ticket.


For fares and timetables use 'The Trainline' website where you can also order tickets for delivery to your home address.

Group discounts - GroupSave tickets save up to 34% for groups of 3 to 9

If you are a group of three to nine adults travelling, you can save up to 34% on the price of individual tickets.

Railcards (see below) cannot get you any further discounts on GroupSave tickets.


You can use GroupSave normally only at at off-peak travel times.

For fares and timetables use 'The Trainline' website where you can also order tickets for delivery to your home address.

UK Railcards - 33% Discounts

If you are from the UK or you are a visitor planning on using the trains in the UK regularly then Railcards are worthwhile. There are various railcards targeted at different markets, seniors, families, youth and just frequent travellers. The broad proposition is that you pay an annual fee which gives a typical discount of 33% on all fares including promotional fares.

Railcards - more information

Railways 2 for 1 Sightseeing Promotion

A very worthwhile promotion is the railways 2 for 1 promotion. In summary with a return Southern ticket you qualify for the 2 for 1 sightseeing promotion. As its name suggests, one person pays admission, the other gets in free. Effectively half price.


The scheme is supported by many of the major London attractions as well as many you won't have heard of. Perennial supporters of the scheme have been the Tower of London, Madame Tussauds, London Zoo, Kensington Palace, Churchill War Rooms and the London Dungeon. Others like the London Eye have drifted in and out of the scheme.

Railways 2 for 1 sightseeing promotion - more information

The Trainline - timetables and ticketing for UK railways

Using London Oyster Cards instead of train tickets between London & Gatwick

You can now use London's Oyster Cards and contactless payment options to pay for fares on the Gatwick Express, Southern Trains and Thameslink trains between London and Gatwick Airport. However Travelcards are not valid.

On the Gatwick Express service Oyster is not a particularly attractive option, (apart from convenience if you already have an Oyster or will use one within London). It is cheaper to buy tickets direct on-line from the Gatwick Express website, (banner link above) than use Oyster.


On the Thameslink and Southern services the Oyster proposition is more compelling financially and may or may not be the best solution for you.

If you are visiting London it is highly likely you will acquire an Oyster as the means for paying for transport to get around London. So its a very good investment in time to familiarise yourself with it and how it works. We have a detailed guide to Oyster Cards and Visitor Oyster Cards at the page linked below.

Oyster Cards & Contactless credit cards - full details

Using Oyster & Visitor Oyster Cards to/from Gatwick - the key facts

If you are contemplating using Oyster from/to Gatwick, below are some key factors that are specific to using Oysters at Gatwick that go beyond fare comparisons.

Visitor Oyster Cards In London On-Line Shop
  • You can buy Visitor Oyster Cards in advance at the TFL on-line shop (see banner link) or from the Visitor Centre at Gatwick. You can buy standard Oyster cards from a machine at the railway station situated at the South Terminal.


  • There is no ticket machine at Gatwick enabling you to cancel your Oyster or Visitor Oyster and get refunded any cash left on the Oyster or your deposit on the standard Oyster. All the machines at Underground Stations in London have this capability including Victoria, London Bridge, Blackfriars and St Pancras.


  • Gatwick has no Oyster fare zone and specific fare cap, your Oyster is just debited for the fare between Gatwick and London.


  • If you interchange between the Gatwick Train journey and the London Underground / DLR networks you will have to pass through ticket barriers at the interchange rail station. As long as you make this change within 15-30 minutes the journey is counted as one. If you have a coffee, have a break for some reason and take longer you will charged for two individual journeys.


  • Travelling from Gatwick using Oyster Cards do not qualify for the railways 2 for 1 promotion, enabling 2 for 1 entry to attractions like the Tower of London, whereas purchasing train tickets would.


  • Unlike Oyster, the train companies offer short term promotional fares and group and family fares.


Standard Adult Fare*



Bus/Coach options

National Express Bus to Victoria

From £10


Train options

Southern Train to Victoria (Train Ticket)

From £12.50

From £18.40

Southern Train to Victoria (Oyster)



Southern Train to Zone 1 (Oyster)



Thameslink Train to St Pancras (Train Ticket)

£12.90 (Anytime)

£23.10 (Anytime)

Thameslink Train to St Pancras (Oyster)



Gatwick Express Train (Ticket on day)



Gatwick Express Train (Advance online)



Gatwick Express Train (Oyster)



Shuttles & Private Cars/Coaches

Hotel Van Shuttle

From £47.27 pp

From £94.54 pp

Saloon/Sedan Car (Based on 2 people sharing)

From £68.70 pp

£137.40 pp

Small Bus (12 People)

From £20 pp

From £40 pp

* Standard adult ticket. Return leg within one month.

† Online only return ticket for 2 adults, available for London Victoria > Gatwick Airport > London Victoria.

~ Cheapest Off Peak and Anytime fares
Off Peak at any time except journeys Monday to Friday from 0630 to 0930.

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