These days you’re likely to face a stark choice if passing through Gatwick and hungry – either eat in the terminal or purchase something on board that probably isn’t too appetising.
Flying on low-cost airlines that dominate Gatwick means fending for yourself when it comes to food, so a bit of research in this regard is wise. Both Gatwick’s terminals cater to its overwhelming leisure customer base, but if you don’t fancy vying for elbow space among fractious children heading off for family breaks, there are, fear not, some decent bolt holes to head for.
The South Terminal is home to British Airways and if you are lucky enough to fly in Club Class, your immediate food needs are met beautifully in BA’s palatial lounge. Mere mortals – i.e., the bulk of Gatwick’s passengers – must use a bit of initiative.
The South Terminal’s top-end restaurant may pose difficulties in convincing whoever signs off your expenses that you really did need to visit. Fear not, however, because while Caviar House & Prunier is not a cheap option, its breakfast scrambled eggs and smoked salmon are a palatable £14.50 – we all need breakfast, don’t we?
If you need something more affordable, why not have a Cheeky Nando’s for breakfast? Their Nando’s Egg Benedict comes with chicken grilled in your chosen spice and is under £10.
For later in the day, the better option, unless you’re very brave with those receipts, is probably Grain Store, which really does have something for everyone, with mains like linguine with prawns, Thai green curry, roast Suffolk chicken and seared salmon around £15-£17 and all-day breakfasts £11. Hipster favourite Joe & The Juice is also in the South Terminal, with avocado toast, smoothies and ‘artisan’ coffee in abundance.
If you’re in a rush, the ubiquitous Pret a Manger will come to your rescue and this large branch often has a more extensive menu than its high street counterparts. The South Terminal Pret is open from 03:00 to 22:00, while another fallback is Wagamama, open from 04:00, which among its bowls of noodles, also serves a full English or full vegan breakfast.
In the North Terminal, the home of easyJet, we also have Pret and Wagamama as options. A notch up is Juniper & Co, which will serve you local cheeses plus bread and pastries from Jamie Oliver’s Flour Station. Juniper’s breakfast menu ranges from Arabic style to traditional via smashed avocado. The North Terminal also has two options boasting Californian influences, Sonoma and Tortilla, but currently lacks a high-end restaurant.
Gatwick Airport Lounges
Gatwick’s two terminals can be a little stressful during peak times, so you may wish to seek refuge in one of the paid-for lounges, which will also cover your food needs. There are four in the North Terminal and two in the South, with costs ranging from £29 to £45 per person. Bear in mind those at the cheaper end of the market often operate at full capacity and can feel nearly as crowded as the public areas.
The cheaper facilities offer hot buffet food selections, while the North Terminal’s Clubroom premium lounge is a la carte and waiter service with quiet business zones. Note that paid-for lounges usually have a policy of allowing entry three hours before your departure time.
Another possibility if you want to get away from the hoi polloi and have a bit of time to spare is the Sofitel, located at the North Terminal, where the hotel’s brasserie serves burgers, pizza, pasta, and British classics and is a good choice for a meeting.
If you regularly travel short-haul economy then Priority Pass* is great for lounge access and comes in handy for family holidays too.
If you have even more time – a flight cancellation for example – and are housed in one of the airport’s hotels, escaping is a simple matter of heading to Gatwick’s rail station. London is an obvious draw, but 20 minutes South is Brighton, where you’re also spoilt for choice when it comes to dining, whatever the time of day.
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