Wales will take on former Lions skipper Martin Johnson's men to kick-off the 2011 tournament on Friday, February 4 in Cardiff.
And Wales coach Gatland, who was part of the Lions coaching staff in 2009, insists he is desperate to avenge last season's 30-17 defeat at Twickenham.
"It's definitely a chance for revenge against the old enemy," said Gatland.
"We've a good record against England in the last five matches but it's an important game for two teams who desperately want to start well.
"We lost last year but we showed great character to come back after conceding points when we received a yellow card.
"Afterwards, I spoke with some of the English players and they felt they were going to lose the game but then we threw an intercept try which put the game out of reach.
"But both sides showed in last year's Six Nations that we want to play attractive rugby.
"The evening kick-off will be an opportunity to close the roof and have good ground conditions. It's important to build momentum as we move towards the World Cup in 2011."
Wales face trips to Scotland and Italy and then host Ireland before travelling to Grand Slam champions France in the tournament finale on March 19.
And despite Wales skipper Ryan Jones objecting to fixtures on a Friday night, national boss Gatland has no complaints.
"It's a fantastic draw for us. Friday nights are still new to the tournament but they are exciting," added Gatland.
"The players are used to them from the Magners League so it will make no difference to us.
"It may take time for supporters to settle in but they can make an evening and occasion of it at their local rugby club and then have the rest of the weekend to play games."