Things To Do Near Gatwick (Other Than Visit The Airport!)

Team Hoo
4th May 2021

With many flying to and from Gatwick Airport each day, you may find yourself in desperate need of killing some time with it being one of the busiest in the UK. In the South East of England, you’re close to local attractions, towns and even England’s capital.

London is only 30 miles away from Gatwick Airport and even offers fast travel into the heart of the city. The Gatwick Express non-stop train service to Victoria runs every 15 minutes with a journey time of 30 minutes.

Depending on your available time, there is much on offer nearby Gatwick Airport. So, whether you’re awaiting a flight the next day, have a layover, or have an extra day or two, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find there is much a lot to do. From fun things to do to family favourites, keep reading below to find your next excursion.

Fun Things To Do

The holiday doesn’t need to start or stop. When you’re on the plane, consider checking out any of these places below for fun and unique experiences.

Gatwick Aviation Museum

If you’re short on time, the Gatwick Aviation Museum offers the chance to see aviation from Post-war to Cold-war. It shows the timeline of aviation with classic planes like Hawker, De Havilland, Blackburn and Percival. Outside, there is also a nature trail where you may even get the chance to see a deer or alpaca.

Kew Gardens

With over 50,000 living plants at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, all supporting the conservation work around the world, Kew Gardens is a beautiful day out for botanical lovers. Consider a walk around the lake, taking in the wildlife and trees, with all the showcasing colours. For example, the beautiful Chinese tupelo trees in Autumn turn deep red, and while black tupelo trees glow red, orange and yellow. 

Visit the London Eye

Nothing beats the unforgettable experience you get when you see the 360-degree views you can witness of London from the London Eye. Each journey around it lasts around 30 minutes as you go up 135 metres above London. Not only that, but you can see many of London’s top landmarks.

See Haver Castle and Gardens

With stunning gardens to explore, Haver Castle and Gardens welcomes visitors to take in all they have on offer. Spend time enjoying a walk seeing the statues and ornamental gardens, and for younger ones, there’s Tudor Towers Adventure Playground, complete with its own moat, drawbridge and three turrets.

Gatwick Escape Rooms

Gatwick Escape Rooms brings high-pressured fun with one hour on the clock, where solving puzzles and cracking riddles will help you beat the game. Perfect for families, couples and friends, the Gatwick Escape rooms are guaranteed fun close to the airport, perfect for those with limited time on their hands.

Family Things To Do

If you need to entertain an array of ages, these activities are perfect for the young and the young at heart.

Tower of London

One of London’s most iconic castle’s, and well worth the visit if you have the time. From seeing the ravens who guard the tower to admiring the Crown Jewels and even the Bloody Tower. The Tower of London has so much history within its walls, from being a fortress to a palace and even prison.

Chessington World of Adventure

Roughly 23 miles away from Gatwick Airport, Chessington World of Adventures has so much to keep the family busy. From rides for little ones to adults to a zoo and even a Sealife Centre. For animal lovers, Chessington World of Adventure even offers VIP Animal Experiences such as the white rhino experience all the way to skunk walks.

Visit the Science Museum

Giving a chance for the whole family to learn all about medicine to space and robots. With exhibitions often, interactive displays help and showcase some of the best and latest scientific discoveries.

County Mall at Crawley

If you want to do some shopping, then County Mall is perfect. In the centre of Crawley town, it has high street names you’ll recognise, plenty of places to eat and even a children’s soft play area. It’s perfect for those with a few hours to all day, one of the closest towns to Gatwick airport. 

Tulley’s Farm

Just outside Crawley is Tulley’s Farm, an all-year-round perfect family activity offering everything from sunflower walks to a drive-thru cinema. Always ensuring that those who visit have the best time, they’ve become famous for their larger than life events such as their Pumpkin Festival, The Giant Maize Maze and, more recently, the Halloween Festival.

Best Value Things To Do

If you’re fancying doing something that doesn’t break the bank, check out these places below, where spending is an option and not a necessity.

Walk The Nature Trails

Just around Gatwick Airport is a national bike path that follows around the airport, leading towards a wooded suburban area. Perfect for those with limited time and a desperation for fresh air, you can get a break from the busy crowds without costing a penny.

Visit Buckingham Palace

Sightseeing in London is recommended for those with quite a few hours to space. Visiting Buckingham Palace, one of the most famous palaces in the world, should be at the top of that list. It serves as the official London residence of the UK’s sovereigns since 1837 and today is the administrative headquarters of the Monarch. While visiting, don’t miss the regular ‘Changing of the Guard’ outside the palace, be sure to check out the ceremony schedule before visiting.

Take In Big Ben

Another landmark you cannot miss while in London is seeing Big Ben. One of the most recognisable clocks, the Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower, commonly called Big Ben for the bell inside the tower. From Westminster Bridge and along the River Thames, you can take in the four faces. The views of it are even more exceptional at night if you can spare the time to see it.


Perfect for all ages, visiting Brighton is a must if you have the time. With it being a similar distance as Gatwick to London is Brighton, this seaside town is perfect for those wanting to eat fish and chips on the beach, dip their toes in the water or explore Brighton Palace Pier. With arcade games and fairground rides, there is something for the young to the old.

Saatchi Gallery

Since 1985, the Saatchi Gallery has showcased unique contemporary art of emerging artists. Found near Sloane Square, their commitment to showcasing innovative art is what keeps it a free gallery. Saatchi Gallery displays everything from photography, virtual reality, drawing and a wealth of other stimulating art forms.

If you’re fancying heading down earlier before a flight or extending your holiday when you land, there are plenty of hotels around Gatwick Airport to allow you to drop your things off and explore. With greenery to walk through, food to eat and rooms to escape, there is something for everyone around Gatwick Airport, but, more importantly, which one are you going to tick off first?

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