London Gatwick No1 Lounge review (North terminal)

A big sister to the more family-friendly My Lounge, Gatwick's No1 Lounge is designed for relaxing in style. But how does it fare during peak times? Finder paid a visit to find out.

Gatwick No.1 Lounge bar area

Finder score: ★★★★★

Nestled among a cluster of lounges in the North terminal, the No1 Lounge can be accessed through the Priority Pass, Dragon Pass, and Lounge Key programmes (among others), or you can pay a one-off entry fee of £40. I was visiting on a Friday evening under membership of Priority Pass (formerly Lounge Club), which came as a perk with a new Amex.

To get into the lounge, you’ll need to get past its gatekeeper by showing your programme membership card, which can involve a little queueing. You can book in advance at the No1 Lounge site for a cheaper entry fee and to guarantee entry. There’s also a dress code, but it doesn’t appear overly strict.

First impressions

On my visit, the lounge appeared to be almost at capacity. You’re not allocated a table on entry and at first glance, none were available. However, I soon discovered the spacious “library” area (don’t worry, you won’t get told off if you use your phone) with its Chesterfields, low lighting and golden-age-of-flying memorabilia.

The lounge enjoys views of the runway but, surprisingly, you don’t really hear the planes. TVs showing BBC Parliament and the latest from the Ashes were on mute with subtitles, and overall, despite a fairly lively bar, it’s a pleasantly tranquil space.

With just the one departures screen, by the entrance, and the option to stay for up to three hours, you’ll want to take care not to relax to the point of missing your flight.

View from Gatwick's No1 Lounge

What does the No1 Lounge do well?

Friendly staff help to create a welcoming atmosphere around the island bar. The food is also very respectable, with a choice of three hot dishes that included two vegetarian options on the day I visited and a selection of interesting sweet and savoury snacks (I can’t recommend those French rosemary nuts highly enough).

The furniture, decor and lighting all contribute to the overall smart-yet-unfussy style.

What could the No1 Lounge do better?

A few more plug sockets for travellers looking to charge their phones or catch up on a little work wouldn’t go amiss. Similarly, the lounge had all but run out of newspapers on my visit, despite the presence of a large number of those strange, wooden newspaper poles suggesting to the contrary.

Many tables were left uncleared and the buffet tables were looking rather neglected, yet at the same time there seemed to be a whole lot of hoovering going on (unavoidable, presumably, in a lounge that’s open 18 hours a day).

The bottom line

While the No1 Lounge may not be getting everything right, it’s an elegant and calming space with decent refreshments.

Want to give it a go?

If the No1 Lounge sounds like the right place to wait for your next flight out of Gatwick, you can pay full-whack on the door, book in advance for a little less or you can access it by signing up to a pay-yearly programme like Priority Pass or by choosing a travel/rewards credit card that comes with complimentary lounge access.

Finder airport lounge ratings

★★★★★ – Excellent
★★★★★ – Good
★★★★★ – Average
★★★★★ – Subpar
★★★★★ – Poor

Our lounge reviews are based on a visit to the actual lounge during normal operation. We won’t write reviews based on access during a media preview or other event, since that doesn’t reflect the experience for regular visitors.

We offer an honest and open critique from one of our frequent flyer experts. Being in a lounge should always be more pleasant than being stuck waiting at the gate, but we won’t shy away from highlighting issues.

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