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A luxury guide to London Gatwick Airport

Holidays: undoubtedly one of the things a Londoner most looks forward to, no matter what time of year it is. Escaping the Big Smoke every now and again is a necessity, allowing you to take a moment for yourself and focus on some self-care. Why wait until you reach your far-flung, relaxing destination to get into the swing of your vacation? Get into the holiday mood as soon as you arrive at Gatwick Airport with our handy guide.

High end retail

The new Harrods store at London Gatwick. Image credit: Gatwick Airport Limited

Have you got that all-too-familiar gut feeling that you’ve left something at home? Whether you’re looking for those last minute basics or a statement item just in time for your holiday, you will be sure to find what you need whilst shopping at Gatwick. From must-have cosmetics at Bobbi Brown and World Duty Free, to holiday essentials like sunglasses from Ray Ban to Sunglass Hut, both terminals have you covered. Luxury Lifestyle Magazine’s last-minute shops to hit before take off include Reiss, Boss by Hugo Boss, Ted Baker and Watches of Switzerland.

VIP treatment

London and Britain’s second airport, Gatwick actually serves more destinations than Heathrow (200 in all) but is considered the smaller cousin. Image credit: Gatwick Airport Limited

Whether you’re flying First Class, Business or Economy, you can upgrade your experience at Gatwick Airport from as little as £5. Premium Security will allow your trip to get off to a flying start, breezing through security checks with ease for £5.

Once you’re checked in, your bag has been dropped, and you’ve waltzed through security, spend your time at leisure in one of Gatwick’s many comfortable lounges. A lounge pass can cost as little as £21, whichever airline you are flying with. The award-winning No1 Lounges in the North and South Terminals are complete with a fully tended bar, quiet library, and hot and cold food (from £32), and are the perfect way to experience a slice of luxury before your flight. The Clubrooms offer a more ‘jet set’ experience, with a la carte dining, an extensive wine list to choose from, classic cocktails and hosted table service (from £38).

The premium treatment at Gatwick doesn’t simply begin once you are in the airport doors. If close and convenient isn’t quite close enough for you, book the Premium valet parking. This one-to-one service is the closest you can get to stepping out of your car and onto the plane, with valet service from the moment you pull up. If you don’t need the convenience of a valet, there are plenty of Gatwick parking options just outside of the airport too.

Fine dining

At the North Terminal, enjoy a wholesome and hearty lunch or dinner at the Nicholas Culpeper Pub. Image credit: Gatwick Airport Limited

If you’re not booking yourself into one of the private lounges at Gatwick, but still want to dine well, both terminals have a wealth of choice for restaurants, bars and cafes. In both the North and South Terminal, why not make a pitstop at Caviar House and Prunier, a unique dining experience offering some of the finest caviar and seafood in the world. All meals can be taken away to enjoy inflight, however we recommend taking a seat at the seafood bar and relishing in a pre-flight glass of wine from the award-winning wine list.

At the North Terminal, enjoy a wholesome and hearty lunch or dinner at the Nicholas Culpeper Pub. Named after the famous English botanist, herbalist and physician from the 1600s, the bar also serves its very own London Dry Gin distilled on site – making this the world’s first airport gin distillery. All dishes are made with fresh and local ingredients, like the gin-cured smoked salmon and Foxham Farm burgers.

In the South Terminal, try an informal lunch at Grain Store Cafe and Bar, where fresh, seasonal produce is served every day. Famed chef Bruno Loubet developed Grain Store at Gatwick with a focus on sustainability and exceptional ingredients sourced locally where possible. Our favourite dishes are the vibrant Yellowfin Tuna Nicoise, the Milanese, and timeless classics like the crispy calamari and the roast Suffolk chicken.

Hotels with quality

Langshott Manor, a rather charming 16th Century English Manor House, is located about ten miles from the airport

Whilst some people consider an airport hotel as more of a necessity than a chance to indulge, comfort and quality doesn’t have to come with the associated price tag at London Gatwick. With a huge variety of hotels in the area, those travelling on particularly early flights are spoilt for choice. For those who want to stay close to the action, opt for the Sofitel London Gatwick (rooms from £132), which is connected to the North terminal. The interiors are refined and comfortable, though neutral throughout, and the lobby is expansive and light filled. A rather cinematic elevator ride offers guests a unique and far-reaching view over planes taking off and landing.

The Bloc Hotel Gatwick (rooms from £95) prides itself on its British design in all guest rooms. With king-size beds, wet rooms with drench showers, and integrated technology which allows you to control the temperature, TV, and even the door to your room all from the palm of your hand via your mobile phone. If you are looking for something slightly further afield then we suggest booking a room at Langshott Manor, a rather charming 16th Century English Manor House. Located about ten miles from Gatwick Airport, you can enjoy an overnight stay with an intimate dining experience before jetting off on holiday.

Image credit at the very top of the article: Gatwick Airport Limited