In general, airline affiliated lounges usually offer a more premium lounge experience than independent lounges. And while we would normally recommend striving to achieve status with an airline in order to access these premium lounges, we recognise the fact that sometimes, you’ll require access to an independent lounge. Maybe your preferred airline doesn’t have a lounge at the airport you’re flying from, or perhaps you’re taking a cheap flight on a budget carrier. In these cases, it can be very handy to have access to an independent lounge.

With that in mind, today we review the No 1 Traveller Lounge in London Gatwick’s North Terminal.
We’d read several positive reviews of the No 1 Lounge recently so thought it was time to put the lounge to the test on a recent Thursday evening flight from London Gatwick to Spain.
To start, we must stress this lounge can get very busy at peak times and they recommend booking access on their website at a cost of £5. If you don’t book and the lounge is full when you arrive – don’t despair – there are other independent lounges at Gatwick such as the Aspire Lounge and My Lounge, which we will be reviewing in the near future.
We didn’t book on this occasion, but had no problems accessing the lounge with our Priority Pass on a Thursday evening at 5.30pm.
Layout and Ambiance
The lounge was probably about half full when we arrived and had a relaxed feel to it.
The first thing we noticed was its subdivision into several rooms. There’s an eating area next to the bar, a comfortable seating area overlooking the runways, and then a more segregated area resembling an old-school library – obviously the ‘quiet’ area – convenient if you need to get some pre-flight work done. There’s also a mini movie theatre hidden away with a large screen display and some comfortable seats. The furniture throughout the lounge was exactly what you want – modern and comfortable.
In terms of decor, size and layout, we were impressed.
Food and Drink
Food and drink selection will make or break a lounge. At the No 1 Lounge we found a decent selection of self-serve buffet-type snack food – salads, pastas, fruit, cakes, biscuits, etc. You could also order small complimentary hot food items such as chicken naans, fish finger sandwiches and gnocchi. We ordered several of these but were not blown away by the quality.
Drinks wise – they had a good selection of liquor available. There was one beer on tap but no bottled beers. You had to pay extra for prosecco or champagne – annoying sure, but certainly a ‘first world problem.’ You also had to order the drinks at the bar as opposed to serving yourself – which a lot of airline-affiliated lounges let you do.
Overall, for food and drink there were certainly enough choices to get by.
Other Factors
The bathrooms were nicely done – spacious and clean, and there were showers available.
One other thing to note is that the lounge does have a dress code – smart casual or business attire. Hence we were slightly surprised to see a large group of women on a birthday weekend wearing matching t-shirts enter the lounge.
Lounge Rating
Overall, and acknowledging the fact that the No 1 Lounge is an independent lounge and not linked to one of the major airlines, we’d give the lounge an 8 out of 10.  It’s comfortable and spacious but could be improved with a better selection of food and drink.
There are several ways you can access this lounge.
You can buy your way into this lounge at a cost of £25 online or £30 on the door.
However we would recommend buying a Priority Pass card (which start at around £70 for the year.) Priority Pass is a great option for frequent travellers who don’t have status with an airline. Another option is to sign up to the Amex gold and get access to Lounge Club which will also grant you entry.

Lastly, a little known secret – if you’re catching the Gatwick Express from Victoria train station – book a first class return at a cost of £56 (vs regular return fare of £31) – and your ticket will include complimentary access to the No 1. Lounge.


All photos courtesy of


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