Passengers have been delayed and flights diverted after two of the unmanned devices were spotted near a runway.
There were multiple reports of drone sightings since the initial report of 2 drones at 2103 GMT on Wednesday, Gatwick said. All flights in and out were halted.
A police helicopter circulated the airport looking for the drones.
All inbound and outbound flights at London's Gatwick airport have been suspended after drones were seen in its airspace, airport authorities have confirmed.
It reopened at 3:01am this morning, after being shut down at 9.03pm last night.
Gatwick advised travellers via Twitter to check flights scheduled for Thursday before heading to the airport.
"We apologise to any affected passengers for this inconvenience but the safety is our foremost priority".
Lyndsey Clarke, from Southend on Sea, said she was stuck on a plane for more than four hours after it was re-routed to Stansted.
Other fed up fliers had to be diverted hundreds of miles away, with one flight even ending up in Bordeaux, France.
The airline responded: "Sorry about that, Elly".
"I have 2 tiny children on board and a hotel room at Gatwick to get to", one passenger whose flight was redirected, complained to British Airways on Twitter. Something that's not within our control.
"We will update when we have suitable reassurance that it is appropriate to reopen the runway".
Airlive.net, a website run by aviation enthusiasts that collects and displays real-time flight data, said all incoming flights to Gatwick were being diverted to other United Kingdom airports, like Manchester and Birmingham, and as far away as Paris and Amsterdam.
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