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Will I need to go through immigration?

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Spring Hill, FL
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Will I need to go through immigration?

We are flying B.A. from US to Gatwick, arriving at 6:45 a.m. We have roughly 12 hours before our onward flight to Venice on B.A., so luggage should be checked through. We want to come in to London for 5-6 hours and have a walk around, but needing to start back to Gatwick around 16:00 for our 18:45 flight to Venice. Will we have to clear immigration, and if so, how long might it take?

Lewes, England.
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1. Re: Will I need to go through immigration?

Yes you will. At quiet times you can be off the plane and through immigration in 30 mins. Other times it can take longer.

Be aware that the good value trains don't start until just after 9am (and there is a lot of difference in the cost!! )

I would plan to get through immigration as best you can, and then go up to the middle floor of the North terminal where there is a coffee shop for coffee and pastries / granola / juice / smoothies or another restaurant in the corner offering full english breakfast and other hot options.

Then hop on the free transit to the railway station around 9am.

Ignore the costly express and just buy a one day travel card or if you are in a group of 3 or more enquire about group save tickets.

Aim to be back at Gatwick by 17.30, leaving either London bridge or Victoria by 16:45

Enjoy your trip

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Will I need to go through immigration?

Cabin crew will offer landing cards on board the flight to LGW; you'll need one for immigration at Gatwick. Write 'in transit' on the card as you won't have an address in London; tell the border agent of your plans and all should be well.

If your flight arrives at 0645 on a weekday then trains to London will be packed with commuters until about 0945 - 1000. GEX trains start at the south coast rather than from the airport until about 0815; those trains from Brighton will be very crowded when departing Gatwick as well.

Victoria need not be either your destination in London nor the station of departure. Trains from London Bridge, St Pancras and stations between (Farringdon, City Thameslink and Blackfriars) are all alternatives to using London Victoria.

Lewes, England.
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3. Re: Will I need to go through immigration?

~Alternatively, if you fancy 'London by the sea" then catch a train to Brighton....

The trains will be fairly quiet, the seaside is great and there are plenty of sights.

The trains again are direct and run to Brighton in around 30 mins.

Spring Hill, FL
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4. Re: Will I need to go through immigration?

Thanks for the replies. Brighton is not an option, as we live in Florida and see the gulf all the time, and DD wants just a quick walk along the Thames during our short time in London. A lot depends on the weather and how long it takes us at Gatwick, as to whether we wait until 9:30-10:00 or crowd into last cars of earlier train. We will not have luggage as it is checked through. There's only 2 of us, so if we can squeeze in we will try, just to not waste any precious time at Gatwick when we could we strolling along, taking in the sights. I'm a bit curious though as to the exact diference in cost between a FCC train at 8:00 compared to one at 9:45.

Lewes, England.
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5. Re: Will I need to go through immigration?

FCC off peak to London bridge (where you can then walk along the river Thames stopping in Borough market perhaps, walk down to Tower bridge with St. Pauls in the back ground? )

Well an off-peak return is £10.40 on FCC trains

A single anytime fare is about £10 each each way.....

Portland, Oregon
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for Air Travel
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6. Re: Will I need to go through immigration?

Be aware that there is also a travelcard option from Gatwick mentioned in #1, which would be cheaper if you wanted to use public transport within central London. That travelcard gets you a one day travelcard covering all bus, tube, train and DLR journeys within the London travel zones (z1-6), plus the return rail travel from/to Gatwick.

The off peak travelcards cost £15.20 if using the Southern train to Victoria, and £13 if you use the FCC train to London Bridge (you would have to use the FCC train back to Gatwick for the FCC card as well**).

The peak time travelcards are more expensive, at £27.60 (Southern) and £24.40 (FCC). However, if you were to want to use the tubes, buses, DLR, etc within central London that day they would still probably work out cheaper than separately purchased peak/anytime train tickets and transport within London, as well as being more convenient.

[** - For the FCC card the part of the journeys outside the London zones must be on FCC only. Once inside the zones you can use any train. So you could change at East Croydon - the intermediate stop on all the fast trains between Gatwick and central London - which is in zone 5. You just can't use the Southern trains between East Croydon and Gatwick].

There is a travelcard option for the Gatwick Express but it's ludicrously expensive at £30.10 off peak and £40.40 peak.

Personally, given your time constraints, I'd go with the peak FCC travelcard and get an hour or two extra in London

Edited: 5:44 pm, February 14, 2013
7. Re: Will I need to go through immigration?

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