Got time to kill at Gatwick?
If you’ve been super organised and arrived at the airport with hours to spare, or your plane is a little late leaving the runway, don’t despair!
Hanging around before a flight can be half the holiday fun; you’ll find loads of things to do at Gatwick with APH’s guide to making the most of your airport experience.
Shop your socks off
Gatwick is packed full of stores so you’ve got the perfect excuse to hit the shops and buy some holiday treats or, if you’re feeling generous, pressies for those you are leaving behind.
Splash the cash at designer outlets like Harrods, Boss or Ted Baker found at both Gatwick terminals, or grab some sunnies and replace your flip flops at Accessorize. If you want to smell like heaven while you holiday head to Jo Malone and for last minute technology issues, like buying emergency headphones, or a memory card for your camera to replace the one that you handily left in a drawer at home; Dixons Travel takes care of it all. Old faithful Boots can be found both before and after security for all those health and beauty products that you have forgotten to pack.
At the South Terminal you’ll also find Victoria’s Secret and high street favourites Zara and Mango. For a full list of shopping available at Gatwick click here.
Eating is living we say, and at Gatwick there are loads of restaurants, cafes and bars to tempt you while you wait, and if time is on your side, you can indulge and really make the most of the airport dining experience. Here are a few of our favourites…
-Head to Jamie’s Italian for Mediterranean heaven; dine on freshly made pasta, steaks grilled to perfection and ‘planks’ loaded with meat, bread and tasty veg.
-Family favourites can be found at Garfunkel’s, where burgers, grills and fish and chips are king.
-For brekkie on a budget make your way to Red Lion, part of the Wetherspoons chain; here you can dine out without breaking the bank.
-You can’t go wrong with Nando’s; treat the family to a slap up feast of Portuguese chicken before a flight and there will be no complaints!
-Frankie and Benny’s is the perfect spot to while away a few spare hours; the lively atmosphere will make you feel like you’re already on holiday and the varied menu will satisfy even the fussiest of eaters.
-Once again, the cheap and cheerful award goes to Wetherspoons; The Flying Horse offers something for everyone, at prices that won’t blow the budget.
Life is for lounging
Time spent at No 1 Traveller lounge never feels like time wasted! If the idea of hanging around in the crowded departure lounge fills you with dread then pre-book yourself into one of their spectacular VIP lounges, available at both terminals.
Make the most of the complimentary food and drink; graze from the well-stocked pantry table, enjoy a freshly cooked dish or just prop up the bar and get your holiday on!
As well as a feed, you’ll also get papers to read, Wi-Fi access so that you can a thousand jealous-making holiday snaps to your friends and TV screens or if all that sounds a little too lively; just sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet with a side order of runway views.
At the North Terminal No 1 Traveller you will also find a cinema, a games room and a travel spa, where you can pamper the hours away with a revitalising treatment or massage.
Stay and play
Kids running riot? Waiting around for a holiday to start is no kid’s idea of fun; keep them entertained by heading to the Kids Zones.
Specifically designed to keep children happy; these play areas are free of charge and feature TVs and plenty of seating for parents so you can keep an eye on your little ones while they let off steam.
Find them upstairs in the South Terminal, opposite Café Rouge and behind Boots in the North Terminal departures.
There is art to be found at Gatwick, with everything from sand sculptures of the Chrysler building to mosaics of the Monarch displayed across both terminals; they are worth checking out if your tastes are refined!
Our favourite are Helen Marshall’s stunning mosaics of the Queen, which depict her at the time of her coronation, and at her diamond jubilee. Created from pictures of BBC radio listeners across Kent, Sussex and Surrey; you can find them in the South Terminal.
Connect and charge
Just because you are hanging around at an airport, doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected. Gatwick offers 45 minutes of free Wi-Fi use, and once you’ve used that up you can connect to Boingo hotspots and access high-speed Wi-Fi.
If you’re phone or tablet is running out of juice, you can connect for free to one of the many charging points throughout the terminals. If you want to charge as you shop, make use of one of the ChargeBox kiosks located in the departure lounge. These feature a secure locker equipped with charging leads so you can plug your phone in for up to 90 minutes without having to wait around.
Cool airport distractions
Check out these global airports that take entertainment while you wait for a flight to a whole new level…
- Wander a nature trail at Singapore's Changi Airport that includes an enchanted garden, a koi pond and a butterfly garden.
- Dine under the light of a million stars at the planetarium, Haneda Airport, Tokyo
- On loan from the Field Museum of Natural History, a four story high Brachiosaurus dominates Chicago O' Hare's Terminal 1.
- Check out the latest releases in IMAX vision at Hong Kong's huge airport.
- Get your skates on all year round with the Ice Forest skating rink at Seoul's international airport.
- Giant installations of Lord of the Rings and Hobbit favourites Gollum, Gandalf and Smaug are waiting to greet you at Wellington Airport, New Zealand.