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What's the most straightforward way to get from Gatwick airport to Paddington station in London using public transport?

I'm mostly interested in travel time & general smoothness of the trip (e.g. buying just one ticket for the whole trip would be nice). Price is a secondary concern.

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On a slight tangent, most long-distance trains out of Paddington call at Reading, which is connected to Gatwick by a direct train service - that said, services on this line are infrequent, and the trains that run it are built for neither comfort nor speed. The scenery is pleasantly rural considering how close you are to London, mind. –  AakashM Jun 3 '13 at 16:01
how much luggage will you have? Navigating a central london tube with lots of luggage is a fools errand. Gawd knows how many times ive seen people do it at rush hour.WHY?. Get the 1st part for certain, the Gatwick express but get in big black cab for the second part, no stress. Are you catching at a train from Paddington (why else would you go there?) If you are then where as the advice would be different as you could catch airport buses/trains further west. –  James Woolfenden Jun 13 '13 at 16:33
I didn't find it too difficult at all to navigate the tube with a backpack and a carry-on size suitcase. Both company office and hotel being located next to Paddington station is one reason to go there. :) –  Jonik Oct 19 '13 at 2:22

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The most straightforward way would be taking the Gatwick Express to Victoria Station (the journey is about 30 mins). The Gatwick Station is a 5 mins walk from the South Terminal. From the North Terminal it's a bit further and you need to take a bus. Trains leave every 15 minutes.

From Victoria Station you have no less than three options:

  • take the underground/tube/metro/whatever-you-call-it Circle Line (High Street Kensington direction) and get out at Paddington stop. It's gonna take about 20 minutes.
  • Accordingly to Gagravarr's comment you could also go from Victoria Line to Oxford Circus, then a cross-platform change to the Bakerloo Line up to Paddington.
  • If the metro is closed, take the bus 436 to Paddington.

You could also take a taxi, if the price isn't a concern for you.

There are other possibilities I left out because they won't be faster or more straightforward than this.

Note: be aware of the fact that, from time to time, especially during weekends/holidays, Gatwick Express has to make alterations to train services, usually for planned Improvement works.

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Thanks! Do you know if I can buy one ticket from the airport that's valid for the tube trip too? –  Jonik Jun 2 '13 at 15:54
Price is not a concern right now (my employer pays), but if there's a good public transport option available, I prefer that for other reasons. :) –  Jonik Jun 2 '13 at 16:06
@Jonik gotcha :-) Anyway, there isn't a single ticket valid for both the train and the metro but you can purchase the metro ticket at the Gatwick Station: gatwickexpress.com/en/london/london-underground –  Geeo Jun 2 '13 at 16:09
Much quicker for the tube would be Victoria Line to Oxford Circus, then a cross-platform change to the Bakerloo Line up to Paddington. The circle line all that way round is ssllllooowwww.... –  Gagravarr Jun 2 '13 at 17:56
@Gagravarr not sure about that but I'm gonna integrated your suggestion in the answer, thank you! –  Geeo Jun 2 '13 at 18:47

I would suggest the cheapest route would be to get a First Capital Connect train to London Bridge (not Gatwick Express, this is an unnecessary expense in my opinion) this takes 28 mins. Then get the Westbound Jubilee Line (Grey Line) to Baker Street. Cross the platform to the Bakerloo line (quick interchange) Northbound 3 stops to Paddington.

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If you add a link to the ticket page of the the train it would be a great answer. –  Vince Jun 13 '13 at 14:12
Sure Vince, no problem - nationalrail.co.uk –  CMartin Jun 13 '13 at 16:20
I would like to go to PAddington from Gatwick on Monday. Due to the cancellation of Gatwick Express i am looking for other choices. But the First Capital as you mention does not take only 28 minutes but 1h30h on average accordnig to the site –  curious Dec 28 '13 at 19:07
Also why southernrailway.com links to gatwick express? –  curious Dec 28 '13 at 19:14
@curious Southern (a company) operates Gatwick Express (a trade name). –  pnuts Aug 1 at 12:08

I realise that this an older question, but I've done this journey many times, and the easiest way in my opinion is to take the First Capital Connect service, as stated in the other answers, but to remain on until Farringdon. Farringdon is a much easier change when you have luggage as the railway lines run in parallel with the underground. It also has a shorter journey to Paddington (about 14 minutes on either Circle Line or Hammersmith & City Line).

You can purchase a combined rail and tube ticket at Gatwick, but trying to find it in the automated ticket machine can be tricky, so I would suggest going to the manned ticket office, ask for a ticket to London including a single tube journey to Paddington, traveling with first capital connect / thameslink (old name). The ticket will read something like Gatwick Airport to London U1 (U1 being the underground zone that Paddington is in). The train you want will probably have a have a destination of Bedford, or Luton. But the signboards at Gatwick will tell you the destination, calling points, and operating company.

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