It’s a common question – to fly or catch the Eurostar from the United Kingdom to Europe? Well for me, the answer is simple.
Eurostar… hands down.
Air v Rail has been an ongoing question of concern for Europe travellers, particularly those situated outside the EU. On the whole, train travel has come a long way in recent years and it’s little wonder train travel between London and Paris has dramatically reduced the number of flights between the two, even cancelling it out for some operators. While it’s difficult to land a bargain fare for such a popular route as London to Paris (and vice versa), there’s another option for train travel from London to Europe that you may not have considered – catching the Eurostar from London to Brussels.
The benefits of train travel are fourfold –
- Time – it takes less time to travel by train when you factor in transfers to and from airports, waiting time at the airport, and travel time.
- Money – it is significantly cheaper to travel between the UK and Europe via train, coming in at just $110 for a second class fare or $120 in first class. Compare that to hundreds of dollars on an airfare and transfers – it’s a no-brainer.
- No Hidden Fees – Whilst low-cost airlines may advertise to get you there for cheaper, there’s no hidden baggage fees for train travel – it’s all included in the price. By the time you’ve added these plus transfers into the equation, it is most certainly cheaper to travel via train.
- Comfort – The seats are larger on the Eurostar, there is no weight limit on your luggage (two bags), and you can keep a watchful eye on your belongings.
Now if that’s not reason enough, I don’t know what is.
My Journey from London to Brussels on the Eurostar
I was eager to experience first hand the journey from London to Brussels, so I booked the Eurostar before leaving home in Australia and arrived at St Pancras International Station on my day of departure eager to see how much easier it would be to travel by Eurostar as opposed to flying (as I had done previously).
After passing through security, passport control, and ticketing – I made my way to the lounge area, purchased some snacks for the journey, and waited the 45 minutes to board my train to Brussels. Once on board, I was delighted to know my luggage was safely secured away just a few metres from where I sat, and there were no dramas with the weight of my bags (45 kilograms combined), which was quite a luxury after checking-in oversized bags to London from Australia.
Once onboard you are able to find a buffet bar serving drinks and snacks, however as with in the air – all Eurostar trains are non-smoking.
The journey was an incredibly prompt 2 hours from London to Brussels, passing through Lille (France) on the way. Once you arrive into Brussels on the Eurostar, you will find yourself at Brussels Midi station – which is also Bruxelles Midi (in French), Brussel Zuid (in Flemish) and Brussels South in English — and that’s just the start of confusion for travel in Belgium! The station (whichever name you refer to it as) is about a 25 minute walk from the centre of town, the Grand Place, or you can catch a tram immediately as you exit your train and pass through to the underground metro.
All in all, an effortless journey from London to Europe on the Eurostar and certainly my preferred my way of travel between the UK and Europe – only next time I will be more inclined to pass through to Paris instead!