Traveling to London from overseas? Im sure you want to keep your fooks back home updated about your trip. To avoid crazy roaming costs I would strongly recommend you to buy a UK sim card at London Gatwick Airport.

But after such a long flight you rather don’t go through all that hassle and just buy the best one available, right? In this blog about buying a UK sim card at London Gatwick Airport I will show you where to go and where to find the best one

This blog is based on my own experiences  buying a sim card at London Gatwick. Also made the stupid mistake to show up at the wrong airport, so make sure you are heading to the right one! :)

I also wrote guides for buying a UK sim card at London Stansted and London Luton Airport as well about buying a sim card at London Heathrow and Manchester Airport.

RELATED: best cheap London Airbnbs, find here 15 charming homes for under $100 per night in London city center!

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UK sim cards and traveling in Europe in 2021

Since June 2017 the EU banned roaming fees within the European Union. That means you can use your UK sim card with data all over the EU including Norway. Traveling to Europe and looking for an international sim card? I compared all the available Europe sim cards with data. Click on the link to read all about it and find the best Europe sim card for your trip!

Free EU roaming and Brexit

As Brexit became reality we all were afraid the free data roaming within the UK would be stopped for UK sim cards, but that did NOT happen! There is certainty this will stay like this. May things chance I will update this blog straight away.

Until further notice there are no extra roaming costs in the EU with UK sim cards!

Order a UK sim card online

You can also order your sim card for London and the UK online through the Simoptions website. They are specialized in international sim cards for travelers. The ordered sim card will be shipped to your home address and is automatically activated from its first use. Click on the link above or banner below for more info.

europe sim card orange 728x90

London Gatwick Airport

There are 4 London Airports so make sure you are looking at the right airport for buying a UK sim card. London Gatwick Airport is located about 40 minutes South of London by public transport. It is mostly European flights that arrive here, but there are also some intercontinental flights arriving at London Gatwick Airport as well. LGW Airport can easily be reched by public transport from London city center.

South and North Terminal

Most intercontinental flights from Middle East and Caribbean are arriving at the North Terminal and flights from Turkey, USA, Africa and Asia are mostly arriving at the South Terminal. For buying a sim card at London Gatwick Airport there is no difference at which terminal you arrive. They sell the same UK sim card packages at both terminals at the same places.

gatwick airport terminals

Where to buy a sim card at London Gatwick Airport

Unlike many international airports there are no mobile internet operator stores at London Gatwick Airport. At London Gatwick Airport you can only buy a UK sim card at a vending machine or at one of the WH Smith shops.

gatwick airport sim card vending machine

The vending machines selling UK sim cards for tourists can be found at baggage claim in both the South and the North terminal at London Gatwick Airport.

gatwick airport sim card

The WH Smiths stores are also in both terminals in the Arrival Hall and can't be missed!

At the WH SMith shops you can expect some kind of costumer service, however staff is busy selling drinks and snacks to travelers, so don't expected to be treated like a king. The sim card vending machines actually give pretty detailed information about the UK sim cards they are selling.

There are 5 different mobile internet providers in the UK: EE, O2, Three, Vodafone and Virgin. At London Gatwick Airport I could not find O2 and Virgin sim cards, but instead they sell Lebara Mobile and Lycamobile sim cards.

Sim card vending machines London Gatwick Airport

The vending machine sell the following prepaid UK sim cards: Vodafone, Lycamobile, EE and Three.

uk prepaid sim card comparison

Vodafone - £20

  • 200 UK minutes
  • Unlimited UK texts
  • 1GB data UK + extra 4GB
  • Valid 30 days

vodafone sim card london gatwick

As of what I make up out of it, the data package is only valid in the UK. Anyway when you see all the other available UK sim cards at London Gatwick Airport Im sure you will understand that buying a Vodafone UK sim card is not the best option for tourists.

Three - £30

  • Unlimited calls in the UK
  • Unlimited texts in the UK
  • 12GB data
  • Valid for 30 days

uk sim card three

Your data that comes with a Three sim card is valid all over Europe and Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and USA. 

EE - £20

  • 150 UK or international minutes to 34 destinations
  • 150 UK texts
  • 10.5GB data
  • Unlimited EE to EE calls and texts
  • Valid for 30 days

ee uk sim card for tourists

EE - £25

  • 250 minutes UK or international
  • 500 UK texts
  • 13GB data
  • Unlimited EE to EE calls and texts
  • Valid for 30 days

ee uk sim card for tourists 1

Additional service is that EE is the only mobile internet provider that has a wifi connection at London Underground stations. There is no phone signal in the London tube, but you can connect to EE wifi at stations when you have a EE sim card.

Lycamobile - £25

  • 3000 minutes in the UK
  • 100 international minutes to selected countries 
  • 3000 texts in the UK
  • 6GB data
  • Valid for 30 days 

Lycamobile -  £35

  • Unlimited calls in the UK
  • 100 international minutes to selected countries 
  • Unlimited texts in the UK
  • 15GB data
  • Valid for 30 days

prepaid sim card lyca mobile uk

Lyca Mobile uses the network of O2 in the UK.

Best sim card London Gatwick Vending Machine

Evaluating all the above available UK sim cards from the vending machines I can easily advice you not to buy a Vodafone UK sim card. To me the best UK sim card at the vending machine is the EE sim card. I don’t really call and text so I would not even use the 150 minutes and 150 texts, but the 10.5GB for just £20 is really good value for money.

Buying a UK sim card at a WH Smith shop

The WH Smith shops at London Gatwick Airport sell EE, Three and Lebara Mobile sim cards. They offer a wide range of prepaid UK sim cards for tourists, 7 in total.

prepaid sim cards london gatwick airport

EE sim card

WH Smith shops offer the exact same EE sim cards as the sim card vending machines.

prepaid sim card uk ee

Three sim card 

They also offer 3 different Three UK sim cards for £20, £30 and £45. The packages are slightly different than the prepaid sim card vending machine All of these packages offer you 3000 UK minutes and 3000 UK texts. The difference is the data bundle: 1GB, 12GB and Unlimited data. So for £45 you have unlimited 4G internet for 1 month.

three uk prepaid sim card

The Three sim card at the vending machine gives you unlimited text and calls within the UK, the Three sim card at the WH Smith shop is limited to 3000 minutes and calls, for what it’s worth! ;)

Lebara Mobile UK sim card

Lebara Mobiel £20

  • 500 international minutes to 41 destinations
  • 500 UK minutes
  • 1GB data
  • For £2 extra 200 international minutes

Not the best UK sim card for tourists at all as you can easily call through Whatsapp, Viber, Skype for free nowadays and 1GB data is gone in 1 hour.

prepaid sim card lebara mobile uk

Lebara Mobile £30

  • Unlimited international minutes to 41 destinations
  • Unlimited UK minutes
  • 1000 UK texts
  • 5GB data
  • £5 additional PAYG credit

No clue what exactly PAYG credit means and no one could explain me either. If you have read my Spain sim card, Netherlands sim card or France sim card articles, you would already know that Im not a fan of Lebara Mobile. Their prices are no way near competitive! Lebara Mobile is a hard no-go when you are looking for a European sim card for tourists.

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Best UK sim card London Gatwick Airport in 2021

The WH Smith shops sell the same UK sim cards as the sim card vending machines and at both places you can buy the same package.

EE is the best UK sim card at London Gatwick Airport in 2021!

They offer 10.5 GB data for just £20 and you even get 150 minutes and sms to use in Europe!

Where to stay in London? Check out these amazing cheap Airbnbs in London. In the link you will find 15 places within the city center all for less than $100 per night.

On a trip to Europe? Check out the best sim card for Europe travel in this link. I compared all the options from all the countries and airports. Check it out!

Buy a UK sim card online

Not looking forward to the hassle of buying a sim card at London Gatwick Airport on arrival? Get your sim card shipped to your home address before your trip! On the Simoptions website you can find a wide array of international sim cards for the UK and Europe and the sim cards are already activated from its first use.

These are the best ones:

1. Orange Holiday ZEN - $29.90

  • 8 GB data
  • Unlimited calls in Europe
  • 30 minutes worldwide
  • Unlimited sms in Europe
  • 200 sms worldwide
  • Valid 14 days

2. Three PAYG AIO15 - $29.90

  • 10 GB data
  • Unlimited calls within Europe
  • Unlimited sms within Europe
  • Valid 30 days

3. Three PAYG AIO20 - $39.90

  • 12 GB data
  • Unlimited calls within Europe
  • Unlimited sms within Europe
  • Valid 30 days

4. Orange Holiday Europe - $49.90

  • 20 GB data
  • Unlimited calls in Europe
  • 120 minutes worldwide
  • Unlimited sms in Europe
  • 1,000 sms worldwide
  • Valid 14 days

Personally I would recommend you the last two available option: Orange and Three. Click on the links above or the banner below for more info on how to order them and get them shipped to your home address.

europe sim card orange 728x90

Portable WiFi device for UK

A TEP portable Wifi device gives you unlimited internet per day and lets you connect up to 5 devices at the same time. Great for traveling to Europe with kids! Check the link or the banner below.

portable wifi device for traveling

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How to get from London Gatwick Airport to London City

There are multiple coaches connecting Gatwick Airport with London city, but the best way to travel to London is by train. You can't miss the signs for train station all over Gatwick Airport. They will lead you to the South Terminal. Buy your ticket at one of the vending machines or you wireless payment on your credit card or debit card. If not sure ask one of the helpful staff guiding you in the right direction!

This is the ticket machine for buying tickets from London Gatwick to London city. There are a ton of options, pretty confusing, so I always ask some of the staff to help me.

how to get from gatwick airport to london 3

There are express trains that take you directly to the city and in off-peak hours it will only cost you £8.30 if you buy an Oyster Card or simply tap on with your credit or debit card.

how to get from gatwick airport to london 1

Most of the times Im able to buy a day pass for the London public transport for £17.10, which allows me to take the Underground and busses in London till 04.00am the next morning. Definitely a good ticket to buy when you want to reach the hotel and explore London directly after.

how to get from gatwick airport to london 4

I hope all the above information about buying a sim card at London Gatwick Airport was helpful for you. Let me know if you have any specific question, please leave me a comment below. For more info and a UK sim card comparison, click on the link. In this article I will compare all the available prepaid sim cards you can buy in the mobile internet provider shops around the country.

Enjoy your trip to London!

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