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Travel from Gatwick to Chelmsford
Gatwick Airport to Chelmsford
My cousin visited me in Chelmsford a few months ago, and I put together these travel instructions, hopefully someone else finds them useful.
If you want to travel from Gatwick Aiport (south of London) to Chelmsford, Essex (northeast of London), there are multiple options: trains/tube, bus, or car. It can be an easier journey than Heathrow to Chelmsford as from Gatwick you have fewer connection points. On a good day, you may be able to do the trip in 1 hour and 50 minutes, but if you arrive during off-peak times or if there are rail works or traffic, it can easily take you more than three hours.
Instructions to Print: Gatwick to Chelmsford
1. Train/tube/train from Gatwick to Chelmsford
There are multiple configurations possible to do this journey, and the faster ones are priced higher.
Option A: Gatwick to Victoria to Liverpool Street to Chelmsford
- 1st Take the Gatwick Express train to Victoria
This is the most expensive option, but also the fastest. If you book online you can save 10%, in which case a single will cost £ 15.95 or a return is £ 27.40 or £ 23.80, depending on when you travel. There are trains leaving every 15 minutes, and the total journey time take 30 minutes.
Once in Victoria, you need to buy your onward ticket either from a machine or from a ticket window, to Chelmsford, and it will cost £ 15.90 and take around one hour and 20 minutes.
- If planned rail works are happening, you probably need to do the following to get from Victoria to Liverpool Street Station:
Take the Victoria Line towards Seven Sisters Underground Station
or Victoria Line towards Walthamstow Central Underground Station
Oxford Circus Underground Station
Take the Central Line towards Epping Underground Station
or Central Line towards Hainault Underground Station
or Central Line towards Loughton Underground Station
or Central Line towards Debden Underground Station
Once at Liverpool Steet, exit the Tube turnstiles, and you will enter a great hall. Check the info board for the next train to Chelmsford, it will be listed as a stop. Or check National Express Rail in advance, to know when you next train will come.
- Then, use your ticket to enter the turnstiles for the appropriate platform for the next Chelmsford train.
Relax for the 35-42 minute trip to Chelmsford.
Option B: Gatwick to London Bridge to Stratford to Chelmsford
- 1st Take a regional train from Gatwick to London Bridge. If you take the normal train (rather than the Gatwick Express), the journey should cost around £ 26.80 and take around 2 hours.
Schedules are located here.
- 2nd Take the Tube (London Underground) from London Bridge to Stratford (home of the Olympic stadiums!)
- 3rd Take the train from Stratford
Once at Stratford, pick up the regional rail out to Chelmsford, checking your schedule first on National Rail.
2. Bus/bus from Gatwick to Chelmsford
It is possible to travel only by bus, if you want to. The fares will be around the same prices as the trains more or less, but you only need to change once, and you don’t need to worry about getting around the Tube network and carrying your luggage up and down stairs. As well, the trains and Tube do not run during the night, so if you arrive after midnight to Gatwick, the bus is your only option.
First, look for schedules from National Express Bus, the company who provides the transport. You can buy one ticket at Gatwick and it will carry you all the way until Stansted, then from Stansted you need to purchase a second ticket.
- 1st bus – Gatwick Airport to Stansted Airport
The 1st bus will follow the route of ‘Gatwick’ to ‘Heathrow’ to ‘Stansted’. When the bus stops at Heathrow, you can stay on it, or it usually waits for some minutes, so you can get out to walk about a bit, if you’d like. They will announce when it arrives how long it will wait there. It’s not the quickest route even though it is not making stops, as it drives on the congested ring road around London with everyone else. During peak commute hours, this may take 3 hours, although in the middle of the night it will take only 2 hours and 30 minutes.
- 2nd bus – Stansted Airport to Chelmsford – X30 express bus
Once in Stansted the bus will drop you off in the bus depot, which is in the area where all the buses come and go. Check the information monitors to find the X30 bus to Chelmsford (direction Southend). It’s a nice bus with cushy seats and wifi, but no toilet. The schedule is here, with the first pickup of the day at 04.00 and the last at 01.30, so it aligns well with those crazy early and late budget airline schedules.
It's £ 8.50 for a one way ticket or £ 12.50 for a return (as long as you plan to return within 30 days) and your travel time will be around 35 minutes. First Group is the bus company providing this service.
2nd bus - Stansted Airport to Chelmsford – 42A local bus
This is run by the same company as the X30, but it’s a local bus so it will take around an hour, and there is no wifi or cushy seats. It runs mainly Monday to Friday from 06.27-19.30 with a smaller schedule on the weekend. This one will only cost a few pounds since it’s a local bus.
3. pre-book a taxi If you are travelling in a group of 3 or 4, it may make sense to pre-book a taxi or a shuttle as 3 or 4 persons will be your break-even point for a taxi instead of public transport for your 60 mile trip.
Need further Chelmsford info? Try here:
Chelmsford hotels near the city centre