Guide to London Gatwick Airport

Contributors: dan330, gregthompson, james094, UK321
Updated Monday 1st August, 2011


Latitude: N51° 9' 11"
Longitude W0° 10' 58"

Sunrise Today: 05:42
Sunset Today: 20:15

Gatwick is by far the worst airport to spot at in London and even one of the worst in the whole of the United Kingdom. Gatwick is however the second busiest airport in Britain and it contains a large variety of airlines and aircraft. The trouble is, is that there is nowhere at all really where you can view the aircraft, especially those at the stands where it's litterally impossible to see them. It's worth having a look round Gatwick too see if you can find anything if you are departing or have just arrived there. It's not at all recommended to make a special visit to the airport just to see some planes, as you may be very dissapointed.

Radio Frequencies Radio Frequencies

Approach: 126.825
Tower: 124.225
Ground: 121.800
ATIS: 136.525

Hotels Get Hotel prices New

Travelling to London Gatwick? Compare prices on all the top hotel websites below:

Compare Top Hotel Sites
Expedia Hotelopia Hilton Late Rooms Travelocity

London Gatwick Airport Weather

All times on the weather descriptions are local

Observed at 01:00 - (4 days 7 hrs ago)


Dew Point: °C
Runway in Use: Likely Runways 26L


A sample of the upcoming movements for London Gatwick.

We do not current have any movements for London Gatwick Airport.

Photo Spot Spot A - End of runway, Fernhill Road

This is the best area to view arrivals to runway 26L which is used 75 or 80% of the time. The aircraft will approach over you but this spot is massivly set back from the runway threshold so aircraft are still reasonably high. It's so far back that the approach lights to runway 26L haven't even begun yet. This spot is not at all good from runway 08R so if that runway is in use then please go to spot B. From here you cannot see the airport at all, including the two terminal buildings and the control tower, therfore ground shots cannot possibly be had from here. You can still get some good shots of aircraft approaching however due to buildings and trees, you cannot see aircraft approaching until they are literally above you and then they dissapear behind the trees so you cannot see them land.

There is plenty of space to park your car on the side of the street and there are no car parking charges. The locals do not really like you parking here so it's best to not stay any longer than 30 or 40 minutes. As this spot is well set back from the perimetre fence, the airport staff have no issues with you parking here. This spot is not very good at all but is the best Gatwick has to offer for it's most common active runway.

Sat Nav Co-ordinates
(Some locations may not be next to a road but the sat nav should get you pretty close using these co-ordinates)

Latitude: N51° 9' 18" (N51° 9.307')
Longitude: W0° 8' 47" (W0° 8.775')


Photo 43903
Focal Length: 200mm
Photo 43902
Focal Length: 180mm
Photo 43901
Focal Length: 135mm
Photo 33235
Focal Length: 200mm

View more photos taken at this location

Photo Spot Spot B - End of runway, Lowfield Heath Road

This area can ofer some good views of aircraft. You can get some shots of aircraft on approach and lining up on runway 08R. This area is not at all a good place when runway 26L in in use. Unfortunately runway 08R is only used about 20 or 25% of the time so this spot is rarely any good. From here, you can't see into the airport as there is a large hedge all along the perimetre fence. The only way you can look through is through a small gap in the emergency gate.

There are no car parking charges but there is very little space to park and there are a numer of restrictions. Airport staff do not like you parking your car at the spot as it's a major emergency exit gate so you are very likely to be asked to move your car away, but there are double yellows all down the street. The best option is probably to park at a pub called "The Flight Tavern" and walk to the spot which takes about 15/20 minutes. Although this spot is often not very good at all, it's the best that Gatwick has to offer so it's recommended to avoid spotting at Gatwick if possible.

Sat Nav Co-ordinates
(Some locations may not be next to a road but the sat nav should get you pretty close using these co-ordinates)

Latitude: N51° 8' 41" (N51° 8.684')
Longitude: W0° 12' 56" (W0° 12.926')


Photo 41881
Focal Length: 90mm
Photo 39376
Focal Length: 300mm
Photo 39202
Focal Length: 250mm
Photo 39201
Focal Length: 187mm

View more photos taken at this location

Photo Spot Spot C - Top Level of Blue Short Term Car Park 1 (South Terminal)

If you are parking at the short term car parking for a day of spotting then this location is perfect. To get there by car drive around Ring Road S and then turn into the short term car parking. Go to the top level and if you go to the southwest corner of Blue Car Park 1 you can get some fantastic shots of 26L arrivals. The car park is also easily accessible from the South Terminal. You also get a fantastic view of aircraft touching down, as you are extremely close to the runway.

Sat Nav Co-ordinates
(Some locations may not be next to a road but the sat nav should get you pretty close using these co-ordinates)

Latitude: N51° 9' 20" (N51° 9.326')
Longitude: W0° 9' 32" (W0° 9.527')


Photo 33242
Focal Length: 130mm
Photo 33241
Focal Length: 200mm
Photo 33240
Focal Length: 175mm
Photo 33239
Focal Length: 135mm

View more photos taken at this location

Comments Comments About This Airport / Guide

Posted by: Alex Maddox United Kingdom
Sunday 22nd April, 2018 at 13:36 GMT
There is a nice viewing spot in Gatwick at one end of the runway. It is at the Gatwick aviation museum. There are picnic benches etc there.
Posted by: Mr P United Kingdom
Tuesday 26th September, 2017 at 15:21 GMT
Just A warning Spot C is a no go area theres always police about and there quick to move you on so dont go spotting from the car park
Posted by: Steinar Johnsen Norway
Tuesday 13th June, 2017 at 07:19 GMT
Went for a few days to Gatwick to take pictures and watch planes. Very satisfied! 26L was in use the whole time and we got great landing shots from the Inner Perimeter Rd East. Easy to reach from Terminal South, exit the terminal next to the toilets to the right of British Airways check-in counters. Not disturbed by police or Security although they were on frequent patrol. One thing to keep in mind is that if you want the heavies you best get up in the morning as most of them arrive during the early hours, although there are some coming in later also.
Posted by: Gavin Dulley United Kingdom
Wednesday 28th December, 2016 at 11:31 GMT
There is a public footpath across the fields from Charlwood village . Go and have a nice pub lunch in the Half Moon and take the path at the side of the pub , at the end turn right then left along a footpath that appears to be someones driveway .If aircraft are landing from the West you can actually touch the landing lights and watch the aircraft land . The field is slightly higher than the runway so you get a great view . Good spotting point for departing aircraft provided they are taking off to the east . Don't forget to visit Gatwick Aviation Museum also in Charlwood . I'm sure they won't mind you using their car park provided you visit the museum 5 ( Shackleton , Vampire , Harrier , Bucaneer , Sea Vixen etc , plus history of Gatwick Ai
Posted by: Heathrow Aviation United Kingdom
Monday 3rd October, 2016 at 20:48 GMT
Here is the inaugural Cathay Pacific A350 landing at Gatwick!
Posted by: Peter United Kingdom
Monday 11th July, 2016 at 14:35 GMT
As a volunteer during the summer busy time I sometimes get asked about where to spot and respond on the lines suggested on this site: i.e. at either end of the runway.There is no facility in the airport at all (maybe when the terminal is built for the second runway (!) they can include something).
For families with small children i have suggested riding on the free shuttle rail between the two terminals - not brilliant but, if you are lucky, you might see some ground movements. Enough to keep the kids amused until their attention span is exhausted.
Just avoid busy times when genuine travelers (or me) want to get from one terminal to the other in a hurry.
Posted by: Michael Vickers United Kingdom
Tuesday 22nd March, 2016 at 14:45 GMT
Hi All,
Just Looking at all the comments about spotting at Gatwick,i was going down there in 3 weeks time,by Public Transport,there is no where to spot unless you have a car and spot at the Runway08 end the council and airport need to do something for the Spotter,Photographer and Especially the family who I would of thought would like to see the Aircraft
Posted by: Jonathan Winton United Kingdom
Monday 18th May, 2015 at 18:58 GMT
Also an update on the car park spot. I would refrain at all cost from going up there. I went on April the 29th and was verbally threatened by 2 'cleaners' who threatened to call the police if I did not clear off the top level of the car park. I was not even on the car park I was stood on the inside part of the doors sitting down where the 2 seats are.
I held my temper in and quietly obliged to move. I was then quizzed by a police officer on the lower floor as to what I was doing. I wouldn't attempt to go here at all.
A good spot to be found within the terminal is the NO1 lounge in the airport, which you pay 10 an hour for. Photos can be taken from inside as long as you can get a seat close to the window.
Posted by: Tia Evangeline United Kingdom
Thursday 9th April, 2015 at 19:08 GMT
I recently went to Gatwick to plane watch and it is terrible.
Just wanted to comment on the top level car park spotting place where I went, the same one mentioned here, I was stood at the top and got a few pictures but then the police and airport security travelled up to the top level and forced us to move.
Try to avoid this.
Posted by: Paul United Kingdom
Wednesday 11th March, 2015 at 01:12 GMT
hi. Have recently been to gatwick for spotting and heard about the mound that can be reached by footpath. can this point be added on the map and the loctation of the footpath and steppingstones also added so that i can find this point.

Thank you
Posted by: Tony graves United Kingdom
Monday 25th August, 2014 at 13:00 GMT
Hi this is an update on my latist trip to gatwick on saturday 23rd august 2014. after a 25 minute walk
to the public footpath. I went to the gate where i went to last time. I spoke to some people who told me
that you can get to the mound by crossing the stream where there are some stepping stones but i found
a fallen tree root so i managed to climb across it and through the overgrown grass and weeds untill i
found a flat track which took me to mound and once i got on it. I thought wow what a view of the aircraft
as they came off the runway to taxi back to their gates. I got some fantastic photos from there. i got a
Norwegion 787 EI-LNB and an Iraqi 737 YI-ASG and other stuff as well. I was told a while ago about this
mound by a mate called
Posted by: Tony Graves United Kingdom
Sunday 10th August, 2014 at 18:09 GMT
Hi A short while ago i was told by a police woman at the Gatwick convention which is held at the K2 which is in Crawley every year in April about a public footpath and mound beside the runway and taxiway so you can get some good photos from this spot. I thought that i would check this out so i got the airparks bus to the long stay car park beside the easterly runway and walked towards charlwood villige turned left into charlwood road and walked quite away untill i found the public footpath which takes you round to the turn off from the runway and you can get your shots through the gaps in the gate as the aircraft turn off from the westerly runway. the is a river and streame so that makes it hard to get on to the mound when the water level
Posted by: Edgar Portugal
Sunday 3rd November, 2013 at 09:46 GMT
Hi all,
Planning to go to Gatiwck on next May, maybe arriving on the 28 (wednesday) for a 2 day spotting trip. I'm looking to Travelodge Gatwick airport and I wanna ask some of you, if may know, if the hotel offers some rooms towards the runway. According to the google maps, the hotel is quite close to the airport...
All the best y'all
Posted by: katie United Kingdom
Wednesday 18th September, 2013 at 11:18 GMT
i love planes my life depends on them I also love Thomson airline s as I flew with them in may to rues it was brill so were the views
Posted by: Michael Hooker United Kingdom
Tuesday 4th June, 2013 at 09:56 GMT
(continued)...There is an active Watch scheme, and active local spotters group with printed magazine (Gatwick Aviation Society) as well as a Google Group which will get you lists of dues and a full list of movements - and I mean full, with times and ATC flight numbers, arrivals and departures. It's really time the summary was changed, it gives completely the wrong impression.
Posted by: Michael Hooker United Kingdom
Tuesday 4th June, 2013 at 09:38 GMT
The comments about Gatwick above are only a personal opinion, do not let them put you off visiting. Many come here and are not "dissapointed" (sic). The photos provided prove that you can see the aircraft, maybe not on stand, but so what? The guide also omits the best spot for landings on runway 26, which is simply along the inner road parallel to the A23, 10 minutes walk from South Terminal, which is accessible by train or bus - you don't need to park locally. You are right at the end of the runway and can take photos facing North, which is a vast improvement on the recommended car park from where you are facing into the sun. The former spot also has the blessing of police/security. There is an active Watch scheme, and active local spot
Posted by: Steve United Kingdom
Sunday 2nd June, 2013 at 18:03 GMT
Hi there, can anyone suggest what is the best hotel to stay at and if spotting from the hotel is possible?
Posted by: Luke United Kingdom
Sunday 5th May, 2013 at 16:05 GMT
Does anyone know if the Premier Inn, "London Gatwick (North Terminal)" offers a view across the airfield? I know the Travel lodge is good, but just wondering if anyone knew if the Premier Inn offered a better view of the terminal/runways.
Posted by: David Japan
Sunday 21st April, 2013 at 02:24 GMT
Hi Victoria
Thanks for the great info. I have just managed to book a good deal thru Travelodge. Looking forward to my first visit to LGW in over 20 years before my flight to BCN.
Posted by: Dave Lee Travis United Kingdom
Friday 19th April, 2013 at 10:13 GMT
Rolf so nice to know I'm not the only nonce with a rascal beard..welcome !!

Add Comments Add Your Comments

Your Name:


London's buiest airport is: This is required to prevent automatic spam bots from posting here.


Add Photos Upload Your Photos!

Quick Uploading
Our upload form allows you to fill in the aircraft data while your photo uploads in the background making it what we believe to be the quickest aviation photo upload form on the net.

We even give you a progress bar showing how long until your photo is uploaded!

Quick Screening
We screen most photos within 24 hours.
Any rejections are always given comments detailing the reasons.

Join our growing list of photographers and upload your shots to Plane Mad.

Please Wait Please Wait - Loading




Remember Me:

Remember me on this computer

Forgotten your password? Get a reset password sent to your registered e-mail address


User Private Message