Beats Flying: Eurostar Train from London to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam

Europe's EZ Pass: fast Eurostar trains from London to Northern Europe's capitals

Eurostar train in the station
••• The Eurostar train has simplified Europe travel.  ©Eurostar

Eurostar is a high-speed luxury train that travels from London to continental Europe. Eurostar trains from London to capitals like Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam travel at speeds of up to 300 mph, averaging 186 mph. Eurostar crosses the English Channel through the "Chunnel." 

The most popular Eurostar route is London to Paris. There are more than 30 trains per day to various destination in England, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Rail time is as little as two and a quarter hours. Eurostar's home station is St. Pancras International Station in London, and the Paris station is the Gare du Nord.

As of spring 2018, Eurostar services the following destinations from London. In France: Calais, Lille, Paris, Disneyland Paris ("Euro Disney"), Avignon in the South of France; Belgium: Brussels; England: Ebbsfleet and Ashford; Holland: Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

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

Eurostar is not necessarily cheaper than flying. But in the end it takes less time. And Eurostar is more... 

Direct, from center city to center city, with no to-and-from-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 included in Business Premier class and for purchase in Standard and Business Premier class
Green, with fuel-efficient Eurostar allowing passengers to leave a smaller carbon footprint

Passengers can connect from Eurostar to other high-speed rail lines en route to destinations all over continental Europe. (Find out about RailEurope and Eurail Passes.) The Eurostar journey is so quick, many Londoners and Parisians take Eurostar day trips for business or shopping.  

Getting to and onto Your Eurostar Train

Eurostar's terminals, St.

Pancras in London and Gare du Nord in Paris, are a quick Tube or Métro ride from the center of town.

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. There are special lounges for Business Premier passengers in London, Paris , and Brussels.

Eurostar's main stations offer tabacs (smoking lounges) and excellent coffee bars inside the ticketed-passenger areas. If you came hungry, Gare Du Nord features 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. Your feet aren't cramped by underseat bags, since luggage racks are plentiful and roomy. There are no restrictions or fees for luggage size, weight, or number of pieces, but passengers need to stow their luggage.

It is 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.

What About Wifi?

Many trains, particularly newer or updated trains, offer complimentary wifi throughout. Eurostar is wiring its entire fleet, with all trains to offer free wifi by 2019. 

Classes of Service on Eurostar

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. 

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

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

Seats recline slightly. Some seats are standalone, offering more privacy for solo passengers.

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

Find Out About Schedules and Fares

Eurostar offers various money-savings bonuses to passengers. For info on destinations, fares, timetables, current vacation packages, and more, visit Eurostar's website.