I love Crawley, I lived there for 4 years with my parents, worked and played there, still visit there now, so I know that it is a town that largely relies on Gatwick Airport for work and bringing people to town but it is also a brilliant location for going to London and Brighton as well.
There are great transport links to Gatwick by bus from all over the town that runs 24 hours as it is used by people who work at the airport as well as people going on holiday.
If you have an early flight and want to stay at a hotel to save a long drive, there are a lot of hotels at Gatwick or you could stay in one of the nearby hotels. The best that I would suggest if you don’t want to stay too close to the airport is the Travel Lodge that is in Crawley town centre. You are surrounded by lots of different places to eat like Subway, Pizza Express, Turtle Bay, Harvester, Bella Italia, TGI Fridays, KFC, The Punch Bowl, Jubilee Oak which is a Wetherspoons and so much more.
You are also right next to a Morrison’s if you don’t want to go out and just want to get some snacks.
The bus stop is just a few minutes walk away from the hotel and you will be at the airport before you know it. The bus is only £1.20 each so if you don’t mind getting the bus, it’s a lot easier as you get dropped off outside the terminal and it’s cheaper.
A taxi from the town to Gatwick won’t be more than £10 unless there is lots of traffic. I have mainly got taxis very early in the morning and they have been between £6 and £9.
There is a fast train that goes from Crawley to Gatwick as well so how ever you wish to get to the airport, there is a way.
Brighton is only a 40 minute train ride or 20 minutes in a car. Although I would suggest booking tickets online for the train, it can be a very busy station and easier to just book online and pick your tickets up when you get to the station. You will have to change once at Three Bridges but the whole journey is still about 40 minutes.
London is about 50 minutes away as well unless you get on the fast train to Gatwick, although this will be quicker, it is more expensive. The last train to Crawley from London Victoria is 23:36 but if you do somehow miss that train, there are trains hourly to Gatwick throughout the night so you could get the train to Gatwick and then a taxi to Crawley. So you could see a show or go out for dinner and still not have to worry about getting back.
If you wonder into the town centre you will find Jubilee Square, a beautifully recently rebuilt area which just used to be a band stand and some fake grass has now been turned into a huge fountain that child run around in on hot days.
There are loads of shops if you want to do a bit of shopping, Crawley has a huge shopping mall as well as all of the shops around the square and streets leading off of it.
If you want some chill out time, there is a beautiful big memorial gardens. I used to have a job near the gardens one summer and loved having my lunches there in the sun.
If you don’t mind going a bit further away from the town centre, there is Tilgate Park. It’s a little zoo with loads of different animals like cows, goats, meerkats, chickens, guinea pigs, owls, horses, reindeer, pigs, otters, kangaroos, emus, lemurs and so much more. It’s a great day out for the whole family. If you don’t want to go in the zoo, you can walk around the park which has a beautiful big lake and plenty of woodland.
So there you have it, Crawley is an amazing place for anyone.