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I arrive at Gatwick Airport at 10:30 am on a Tuesday. My final destination is Cambridge. Is there a simple train connection to get there? I prefer the train as the bus takes about 4 hours!

Please be as specific as possible, I am not familiar with the location.

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    The train is not that much faster and it is much more of a hassle, especially if you have luggage. I usually take a train but given how you've described the problem, I would strongly consider coach travel instead. – Michael Hoffman Sep 11 '17 at 18:34
  • I second @MichaelHoffman comment - the trains would probably take just as long (if they are running - you might end up with a rail replacement bus as you are travelling off-peak). National Express is a great service. – Moo Sep 12 '17 at 0:28
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    I will also note that you are not guaranteed a seat on the train - I've done the London-Cambridge route many a time when there was barely standing room, let alone available seating. You are guaranteed a seat on the coach. – Moo Sep 12 '17 at 0:40
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    According to the National Rail website it takes 2:20 using the routing via STP so quicker than the bus. It is even quicker if you go via Victoria of course but more hassle. – mdewey Sep 12 '17 at 8:24
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Take the Thameslink, towards Bedford, to St Pancras International. Get out of the station(which is on the lower level) and walk to the upper level. Once you are on the upper floor you can see signs to follow towards King's Cross Station. If in doubt ask any of the personnel present, they will be happy to guide you. From King's Cross station you can get a direct train to Cambridge.

In the main hall at King's cross there are display boards to guide you which train to take to Cambridge.

Map of St Pancras

UPDATE: As of now you can get a direct train to Cambridge from Gatwick.

  • so, is it ok to book this ticket with "Greater Anglia" on line> – deirdresmith Sep 11 '17 at 13:18
  • Yes you can book with any of the ToC. – DumbCoder Sep 11 '17 at 13:22
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    It's not a different route for ticketing purposes - the same ticket(s) are valid for both routes (modulo some oddities with discount tickets and Gatwick Express trains) - but they are different routes in that the train you get from Gatwick Airport (GTW) to London is different. Don't get the the Gatwick Express, which goes to London Victoria, leaving you to cross London via tube. Get instead the Brighton to Bedford Thameslink service, which will go underneath London and let you off, as DumbCoder has said, at St. Pancras International. From there's it's a very easy walk to Kings Cross... – MadHatter supports Monica Sep 11 '17 at 14:33
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    Be aware that the next train to leave from Kings cross to Cambridge is not nessacerally the one that will get you there soonest. This fact is not obvious from the departure boards. – Peter Green Sep 11 '17 at 16:35
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    And what's more, the trains from Kings Cross that terminate at Cambridge will be the slow ones. The fast ones generally continue towards Ely or Kings Lynn. (Intermediate calling points will be announced on the monitors and PA calls, but not as prominently as the destination). – Henning Makholm Sep 11 '17 at 19:30
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As from now, there is a direct rail service from Gatwick Airport to Cambridge station. At the moment (March 2018) that is one train per day at 12:03 pm, but it will be extended to eventually four trains an hour soon.

These are Thameslink trains, and will be both the fastest and most convenient way to make this journey.

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Just to add to @dumbcoder's answer sicen you asked for specific advice

St Pancras International is on three levels. When you arrive on the Thameslink you are on the lowest, below ground level. Take the escalator or lift to the exit. Keep your ticket handy to operate the gates. There is a wide gate if you have a wheelie bag with you, I think it is to the left. When you exit the gates turn left and you will see the exit you need on the far side of the concourse.

When you exit STP you cross the road and you are in King's Cross station. The departure boards are in front of you. Beyond them are the low-numbered platforms from which the long-distance trains depart. To your left is a smaller block of platforms from which, I my experience, the trains to Cambridge usually leave. I say usually.

If you want to buy a sandwich or get a coffee you are better off to do it at STP, you will already have noticed the shops to your left as you walked through there. You can do this at King's Cross but most of the outlets are on an upper level with escalator. There are free toilets at STP (which is unusual in a British mainline station) but they are up two irritating small steps which impede wheelie bags.

It takes about 2:20 according to the National Rail website.

Edit 27 February 2018

With the opening of a connection between Thameslink and the East Coast Main Line there is now one direct train per day between Gatwick and Cambridge. It currently leaves at 1203 arriving 1414

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The other way you could go is via Liverpool Street station.

  1. Take the Thameslink to Farringdon.
  2. Cross over to the tube side of the station. There should be lifts. (Lifts for return journey are out of action at the moment but it's only about 5 steps.)
  3. Take any eastbound tube to Liverpool Street Station
  4. At Liverpool Street Station take a train to Cambridge. It's quite a regular service.

This route would have less walking than via St Pancras/Kings Cross which is quite a more than a quarter of a mile distance.

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    In step 3, I hope you mean "eastbound". – Henning Makholm Sep 11 '17 at 18:57
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    Also, how do you get "more than a quarter of a mile"? With the "measure distance" tool at Google Maps, I cannot get the distance from the Thameslink lifts at St Pancras to the main gateline at Kings Cross to be more than 300 m, even if you need the low-numbered platform a KX to catch a fast train. – Henning Makholm Sep 11 '17 at 19:23
  • Fixed now. It always feels like a long distance walking through the St P shopping mall. – Salix alba Sep 12 '17 at 0:28
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    x @Salix: If you're walking through the St.P shopping mall, you're going the wrong way! Leave the St. Pancras building out the side right by the Thameslink stairs, cross Pancras Road, and you will be immediately in front of the new Kings Cross concourse. – Henning Makholm Sep 12 '17 at 11:30
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    @HenningMakholm The side entrance to Kings Cross isn’t by the Thameslink stairs, it’s by the stairs to the Southeastern high speed services to Kent. – Mike Scott Feb 25 '18 at 20:12

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