Eurostar Trains from London to Paris and Brussels: Better Than Flying?

Eurostar: from city center to city center, with wifi, in two hours

Eurostar trains in the station
••• Eurostar trains look, fast and they are. ©dmytrok/Flickr Creative Commons

Reasons to Consider Taking the Eurostar Train from London to the Continent

Eurostar is a high-speed luxury train that travels from London to Continental Europe. The most popular Eurostar route is London to Paris, with up to 18 trains per day. Rail time is as little as two and a quarter hours. Eurostar's home station is St. Pancras International Station in London, and its Paris station is the Gare du Nord.

Eurostar trains from London to Paris (and Brissels, and back) travel at speeds of up to 300 mph, averaging 186 mph. Eurostar crosses the English Channel through the "Chunnel." Eurostar is not cheaper than flying, but in the end it takes less time. And Eurostar is more... 

Direct, from center city to center city, with no airport travel
Simple ticket-wise; you just buy your tickets online, with no price-shopping
Flexible, with many trains per day, and one-way fares an option
Forgiving, with no restrictions on baggage size or weight
Comfortable, with more space to move around in, and no seat belts required
Sociable, with bar cars
Scenic, with tracks through the countryside, not along a highway
Savory, with interesting meals for purchase in two of three classes of service

As of 2017, Eurostar services the following destinations from London:
Calais, Lille, and Paris;  Disneyland Paris ("Euro Disney"); Avignon in the South of France; Brussels; Ebbsfleet and Ashford in southern England, on the way

Passengers can connect from Eurostar to other high-speed rail lines toward destinations all over continental Europe. Find out about RailEurope and Eurail Passes. 

The entire journey is so quick, many Londoners and Parisians take Eurostar day trips for business or shopping. Fuel-efficient Eurostar is much greener than its airline counterparts, allowing eco-conscious passengers to leave a smaller carbon footprint.

Unlike London-to-Paris flights, Eurostar whisks passengers from center city to center city, saving passengers the time and expense of airport rides. Eurostar's terminals, St. Pancras in London and Gare du Nord in Paris, are a 15-to-20 minute Tube or Métro ride, even less in a taxi.

Eurostar's check-in process is similar to a flight's (security line, passport control, baggage screening). Passengers must check in at least a half hour before departure time. Eurostar's main stations have tabacs (smoking lounges) and excellent coffee bars inside the ticketed-passenger areas. Gare Du Nord offers Paul, a first-rate chain selling baguette sandos, quiche, and pastries. St. Pancras International has a variety of snack options. 

Duty-free station shops sell top-brand gourmet foods such as ripe cheeses, chocolate, hunks of foie gras, and other treats. Passengers also have their choice of wine, cognac, perfumes, fashion accessories, and other duty-free items for purchase.

What the Eurostar Ride Is Like

Eurostar's ride is smooth and comfortable. Luggage racks are plentiful and capacious, so your feet aren't cramped by underseat bags.

It's pleasant to watch the changing scenery go by. The only time passengers are truly aware of Eurostar's high speed is when another train whooshes by.

Seatbelts are not required, so passengers are free to walk about the train.

Eurostar trains offer three classes of service: Economy, Standard Premier and Business Premier. Trains are up to 16 coaches (cars) in length, and every train features a Club Car for coffee and snacks. Wifi service is in the planning stages, but not yet a reality.

On Eurostar, there are no restrictions on luggage size, weight, or number of pieces. That's right. passengers can transport huge, heavy suitcases or equipment without paying extra. 

Business Premier Class is plush, comfortable, with widely spaced seats. Passengers have access to an exclusive First Class lounge in both London and Paris, and you can purchase hot meals.

Standard Premier Class offers gray velour seats with a moveable leather headrest. Seats recline slightly.

Some are solo, offering more privacy/

Economy Class's seating is adequate, without much "wiggle room". Standard class passengers are not fed.

Eurostar offers various money-savings bonuses to passengers.  

For info on destinations, fares, timetables, current vacation packages, and more:  Eurostar's website; on Facebook; on Twitter

Disclosure: As is common in the travel industry, Eurostar provided a complimentary ride on Eurostar for the purposes of this article.