Planning a trip to London and looking for the best way to get connected in the UK? Avoid high roaming charges and slow overseas data plans. It is easy to buy a sim card at London Gatwick Airport on arrival. This is your complete guide with where to buy a sim card at London Gatwick Airport, up to date prices as per May 2022, my recommendation and even information about international and e-sim cards for the UK.

The first thing I do when I get to a new country is buying a prepaid sim card to get connected. As I am trying to visit every country in the world I constantly fly all around the world in search for new adventures and that is why on Traveltomtom you can find more than 150 prepaid sim card guides: New York, Mexico City, Costa Rica, Bogota, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Europe, Barcelona, Milan, Riyadh, Muscat, Tel Aviv, Cairo, Hong Kong and many more.

So next time when you are planning your next adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card advice. Bookmark this website!

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.

UK sim cards and traveling in Europe in 2022

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. If you continue traveling in Europe the UK prepaid sim cards are pretty good however, take a look at my comparison of the best sim cards for Europe in 2022 and find the one that suits your trip.

Free EU roaming and Brexit

As Brexit became reality we were afraid the free EU data roaming would stop for UK sim cards, but that did NOT happen! 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 or the other way around! For more info about EU roaming check out my complete guide for buying a local prepaid sim card in Europe in 2022.

E-sim card for the UK

Getting an e-sim card is the most convenient and easiest way to stay connected when traveling in 2022. You can arrange everything online within just a couple minutes. Check out the following UK e-sim card deals:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $5 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $10 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $15 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $22.5 USD

Click here to directly order one of the above e-sim card deals for the UK and find more info.

europe sim card orange 728x90

You can also still order a physical sim card for the UK that will be shipped to your home address before your trip. For less than $50 USD you get 20 GB and a bunch more offers. Click here to see all the international sim card deals for the UK or find more info.

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

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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. 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 reached by train from London city center.

South and North Terminal

gatwick airport terminals

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.

Where to buy a sim card at London Gatwick Airport

gatwick airport sim card vending machine

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

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. The WH Smith 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 service, however staff is busy selling drinks and snacks to travelers as well, so don't expected to be treated like a king. The sim card vending machines actually gives 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 they do not sell O2 and Virgin sim cards, but instead they sell Lebara Mobile and Lycamobile sim cards.

Sim card vending machines London Gatwick Airport

uk prepaid sim card comparison

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

Vodafone - £20

vodafone sim card london gatwick

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

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

uk sim card three

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

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

ee uk sim card for tourists

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

EE - £25

ee uk sim card for tourists 1

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

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

Lycamobile -  £35

prepaid sim card lyca mobile uk

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

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 or text so I would not even use the 150 minutes and 150 texts, but the 10.5 GB for just £20 is good value for money.

Buying a UK sim card at a WH Smith shop

prepaid sim cards london gatwick airport

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

EE sim card

prepaid sim card uk ee

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

Three sim card

three uk prepaid 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.

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 2022

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. The conclusion of my comparison is that EE is the best sim card for the UK at London Gatwick Airport in 2022! 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 cards for traveling in Europe in 2022 travel in this link.

Order a sim card for the UK online

europe sim card orange 728x90

Not looking forward buying a sim card at London Gatwick Airport on arrival? Then get your sim card shipped to your home address before your trip. The following pre-activated sim cards work in all of Europe as well as the UK. Check out the European sim card deals:

1. Orange Holiday ZEN - $29.90

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

2. Three PAYG AIO15 - $29.90

  • 10 GB data
  • Unlimited calls/sms in Europe
  • Valid 30 days

3. Three PAYG AIO20 - $39.90

  • 12 GB data
  • Unlimited calls/sms in Europe
  • Valid 30 days

4. Orange Holiday Europe - $49.90

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

Click here to order one of the above international sim card deals for the UK directly online or find more info and deals. Personally I would recommend one of the last two options: Orange and Three.

Also another reminder that you can also order e-sim cards for the UK directly online in this link and you are set within a couple minutes.

How to get from London Gatwick Airport to London City Center

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 comparison of the best UK sim cards in 2022, click on the link. In this article I will compare all the available prepaid sim cards you can buy and compare the 4G/5G network coverage per mobile internet provider in the UK.

Enjoy your trip to London!

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