SIM card at Gatwick Airport

It appears I can pick up a SIM card at either a vending machine or a WH Smith store when I arrive at Gatwick airport now. Can anyone confirm this?

In the past I’ve used Three and was very happy with it but I’ve heard that EE has better coverage. Can anyone recommend a SIM that has the best coverage in Sussex and the Cotswolds?

What I want:

  • I’m looking for a 30 day PAYG card with lots of data and some text/phone minutes. Not super concerned about the price - good coverage and lots of data is worth a few extra pounds.

  • It has to be allow tethering so I can connect my laptop or other devices if needed.

  • It has to be easy to purchase and activate myself as soon as I arrive.

  • It has to have good coverage in the Cotswolds.

  • it would be nice if I could easily top it up with more data if needed.

Thanks for your help!

(In the past, we usually drove to a mall near the airport to purchase a SIM card, and had the tech person around to make sure it worked etc. If we get it from the airport, we will be doing that ourselves. I’m pretty techie so I’m not too worried about it, but would prefer a company that makes it easy.)

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Hi @Kelownagurl you may find the following helpful …

Thanks Angela, that has answered some of my questions for sure. It looks like I will be able to get one at Gatwick for sure. I did do some google searches and found similar info as well.

I am mostly hoping to find some real people on their forum who have actuality purchased a sim card at Gatwick and have advice to share as well as anyone who can confirm that EE works well in the Cotswolds.


For example, can I buy this £20 or £30 EE Pack at a vending machine at Gatwick North Terminal Arrivals?

You can also buy a Three prepaid card from Amazon and activate it in the US. They partner with AT&T in the US and it is really convenient to have the card already active as soon as you land. I’ve used their prepaid cards twice and I was happy with their service since it worked all over Europe.

Another option to consider is getting a eSim card

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Not sure about coverage as we used ours in the midlands and further North but you can get a giff gaff SIM mailed to you in Canada for free and then set up your account before travel. I prefer to not put money on it till there as you get welcome texts that come off your balance if you have added money but you could activate your plan just before travel and just keep that phone switched off till you arrive.


Thanks for the suggestions but I really do want to buy one at Gatwick airport (I’ve bought them in advance before and it was fine, but I prefer to pick one up when I arrive at the airport.)

My main question is to find someone who can confirm which company has the best coverage in the Cotswolds. From everything I can find, EE has the best coverage overall - O2 also has good coverage for where I want to travel.

Also, I have to be able to tether and it has to be available at Gatwick airport.

Thanks again!

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I’m not on EE (I use Vodafone and husband and kids use O2). I think most mobile networks will have decent coverage in the Cotswolds. There may be small localized pockets of poor reception, especially in deeper steep sided valleys.

Old buildings with thick stone walls may also be an issue for phone reception, but if there is wifi you can get around that. We did one sit where I had to leave the house and stand in the middle of the village green outside to get a phone signal!

Thanks Debbie. I won’t be making any phone calls anyway but I do want the data to work when we are out and about. All 3 sits claim to have good wifi for the house so I’m not likely to need it indoors anyway.

We have picked up a card in Gatwick and have had good coverage with Three in the Cotswolds. However, cannot compare it to other companies’ coverage.
The Three website is annoying in that it won’t allow online top-up unless you have a UK address and credit card. It also gives no warning of your data running out.

Thanks, we’ve used Three in the past and didn’t have trouble but I think I did have to find a shop to top up. However, it’s looking like O2 or EE have the best coverage as well as allowing tethering and large data deals. I’m glad to hear you were about to buy one at Gatwick!

EE have a coverage map (as most of the operators do) enter a postcode, phone model (or pick something similar) and the coverage e.g. 5G, 4G etc. EE Coverage & Network Status Checker | Check your signal

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Thanks! EE coverage looks good in the Cotswolds.

Oooh yes, Currently I’m leaning toward EE but O2 is also a contender.