Anything decent (and kid-friendly) around Gatwick Airport [London]?

We are flying to the Canary Islands via Gatwick this coming early November. We are staying in the vicinity of the airport 1 night on both ends of trip and will most likely not venture up to London-proper (fingers crossed that spring onion will swiftly acclimate).

I’ve never spent anytime around Gatwick. Is there anything decent to eat? As always, an adult beverage is always appreciated and we don’t mind lively atmospheres.

I can’t be of much help as we live not that far from Gatwick but rarely eat other than in the airport before a flight. You could Google the town of Horley. I think there are quite a few restaurants there, and one might suit your fancy.

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Thread moved to UK board.

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@naf Thanks!

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Get a train to East Croydon (15 minutes, £6.50 off-peak return) and then you have loads of choices. I’ve put suggestions below that are the easiest to get to from the station, but there’s lots more if you’re willing to explore a bit. I would happily take kids to all of these but of course it does depend on your own specific children. Let me know if you want more detailed info on getting to/from any of these.

Boxpark is right next to the station and has craft beer, a lively atmosphere, and a large choice of cuisines, but will likely be quite cold this time of year and personally I find the food overpriced and somewhat disappointing — other people disagree with me though, and the whole concept is clearly not aimed at me, so you might like it.

Mahala is a Romanian restaurant just under a kilometre from the station (and you can’t get lost — just follow the tram tracks in a straight line) or two stops on the tram. The atmosphere is a bit of a gamble though; it’ll either be lively or completely dead.

The Dutchie is a Caribbean bar and restaurant in a basement, closer to the station than Mahala but you have to turn off and then go down a side alley. Definitely lively, and really good food (the flakespenn pork belly and the hellshire shrimp are amazing).

The Spread Eagle is a real ale pub near the Dutchie that also does decent food. You can get a bus back to the station afterwards if you don’t want to walk (I wouldn’t recommend getting a bus there because they only stop on one side of that street).

Matthews Yard is a bit more confusing to find, not open every day, and the kitchen closes early, but it’s a bit of an arts/culture hub — if you like that sort of thing then you’ll like this.

If you’re willing to get a tram or bus to West Croydon and then walk a little, there are several options there including very good kebabs, a Ghanaian restaurant in an ex-car-showroom, and a great little Keralan restaurant.

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@Kake We made it to Spread Eagle! We landed at Gatwick 2 days ago at 8 am local time. The 3 of us promptly passed out in our airport hotel room for about 4.5 hours. We woke up exhausted and hungry and I immediately consulted this thread and decided on East Croydon over Horley. We walked ~10 minutes from the station over to Spread Eagle (the name made us giggle) and by 4 pm, we were seated at a cozy table, surrounded by tables of mostly older folks enjoying a few drinks and conversation. Ahhh…just what we needed. We ordered the “Vietnamese” wings for B, harissa shrimp skewers, mini cauliflower pie, and the full-size chicken madras pie. So, the former 2 items were ho-hum, but the pies. Guess when one eats at a place with “pie” in the name, one should really stick to the pies. Both were excellent, with the chicken madras really taking the cake. B encouraged me to try it as I usually refrain from eating meat. But man, the filling was excellently spiced and the accompanying curry gravy was everything we love in good gravy. And excellent for dipping the chunky chips that came on the side. The only lackluster component was the cucumber raita (needed salt, which was on the table but I guess we were too tired to lift the salt shaker).

As we were leaving, the place filled up with a very diverse crowd - young (guy with dreads), older, office types, etc. A friendly bunch of local women asked if they could grab our table, the leader of whom was carrying a bucket of champagne. They wondered how we found the place and were surprised to hear that we had come all the way from Gatwick. We credited our wonderful online food friends. £60 with 2 pints and 2 glasses of wine - and to us, a great bargain to boot

We popped our heads into Boxpark and found indeed a very lively spot, with a DJ spinning and a happy Friday crowd. Spring onion wanted ice cream so we got him a strachiatella/Oreo mix from Sweet Bean. It was fun to check out but I have a tough time focusing on my food at food halls.

The morning of departure, I had a tasty vegan breakfast bowl at Wagamama. We’re used to the awful offerings of Boston’s Logan so we were pleasantly surprised by Gatwick. We were also pleasantly surprised by the separate family security line, which given the long lines in the regular security checkpoint, was a coup. Spring onion does come in handy sometimes. :wink:

We’re on Fuerteventura now (enjoying my PG Tips) followed by Gran Canaria, and then in London for 1 full day. Looking forward to more good meals. Thanks again!

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Very glad you liked the Spread Eagle! And yes, the pies are the things to go for. Thanks for the report and photo, and hope the rest of your trip goes well!

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