Yes, there is a direct train several times an hour, BUT only weekdays, and only up until about 10pm. Outside those times you'll need to change at London Bridge or Victoria to get across London by tube to St Pancras.
You don't need a reservation. During the rush hour trains will be very busy into or out of London (depending on which rush hour).
Walk-up fare is £18 single. It might be possible to reduce that by booking in advance.
Good site for looking at options is www.nationalrail.co.uk
Oh, and it takes about an hour and a quarter.
The service is run by First Capital Connect and the trains that stop at St Albans have a final destination of Bedford. If your flight arrives in the morning it may be best to hang around the airport until 9.30 or 10.00 as the trains, which start at Brighton, will be packed. If you arrive in the late afternoon you will be able to get on the train OK but the train will fill up as it passes through central London, so don't take up spare seats with luggage.
FCC do a 'Daysave' ticket at £14.50 which allows unlimited off peak travel on their (ex Thameslink) network.
Unfortunately there's no way of buying it at Gatwick, but it might be OK for your return journey if you are travelling off-peak. You can buy it at St Albans Tourist Information office - NOT the station nor online.
Thank you very much for your help.
Thank you for your help.
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