The Eurostar is the fastest, most direct way to travel from the UK to France. The train takes you from city-centre to city-centre, and unlike air travel, there’s no delay waiting for baggage or airport transfers.
What’s on board the train?
Eurostar operate a mixture of e300 and e320 trains on the London-Paris route. E300s are Eurostar’s original trainsets, refurbished to a high standard, while the e320s are their newer, swankier cousins. Both trains are virtually indistinguishable on the inside; they’re equipped with free WiFi throughout, café-bar areas, power sockets and luxurious leather seats in Business Premier class. Both trains operate at a top speed of 300km/h (186 mph), although the e320s are capable of 320km/h, hence the name!
Standard seating is located in coaches 4-13 on the e320 trains and coaches 1-5 and 14-18 on the e300s. Every pair of seats has access to a UK 3-pin plug and EU 2-pin plug. There is one plug underneath each seat, so you may need to reach a compromise with your neighbour if you both need the same type! There are a handful of tables in each Standard carriage – ideal for families travelling together.
If you’re looking to travel in style, consider upgrading to Business Premier. This is Eurostar’s answer to First Class – think reclining leather seats, a complimentary 3-course meal and access to lounges at St Pancras and Paris Gare du Nord. Business Premier seats come with a USB port in addition to the UK/EU plugs, allowing you to charge multiple devices at once. Find out more about travelling Business Premier to Paris.
Food on the Eurostar
The on-board catering service, Café Metropole, is back in service, as is the at-seat catering for Business Premier travellers. There are no restrictions on bringing your own food on the train, except for alcohol, where you’re allowed a maximum of four cans or a bottle of wine.
There are four wheelchair spaces on e300 and e320 trains, and companion seats are available at a discounted rate. If you’re in a wheelchair space, there will be a ramp ready for you on the platform, plus lots of friendly Eurostar staff to give you a helping hand. Priority seats for travellers with reduced mobility are located mostly in coaches 5 and 14 on e300s, and throughout the train on e320s.
Book flexible tickets
All Eurostar tickets are now exchangeable for free up to 14 days before the departure date. If your travel plans change, you can swap your tickets for a later train and pay the difference if the new fare is more expensive. Unfortunately, Eurostar cannot refund the difference for cheaper tickets. Use our Journey Planner to search for cheap tickets, and keep an eye out on our Deals & Discounts page for Eurostar promo sales!
Eurostar is the exclusive high-speed train service that links London to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and the rest of Europe at speeds of up to 186 mph (300 km/h). All Eurostar trains have modern, comfortable facilities, plenty of room for luggage, and onboard food and beverage car. There are three comfort classes on offer – Standard, Standard Premier (equivalent to Premium Economy, with light refreshments served), and Business Premier (equivalent to First or Business Class, with flexible travel options, priority boarding, lounge access and delicious food and drink included).
Most of the train companies across Europe release their tickets around three to six months in advance, many of which can be cheaper the earlier you book. If you know the dates you want to travel, you may be able to find some cheaper train tickets from London to Paris by booking early.§
Many of the train services in Europe are also popular commuter services, lots of train companies increase ticket prices during “peak hours” (generally between 06:00 – 10:00 and 15:00 – 19:00 on weekdays). If you can, consider travelling outside of peak hours to find lower priced tickets.
On some of the busier routes, you might also have the option to take a slower or connecting train. It may take a little longer than some high-speed or direct services, but if you have a little extra time on your hands, you might find a cheaper fare. Plus, you'll have more time to enjoy the view of the countryside!
For specific information about how to get your hands on cheap tickets, check out our European train tickets hub.
The average journey time by train between London and Paris is 3 hours and 4 minutes, with around 2 trains per day. The journey time may be longer on weekends and holidays, so use our Journey Planner on this page to search for a specific travel date.
Eurostar high-speed trains from London to Paris can travel at speeds of up to around 186 mph (300 km/h) when on land. When travelling through the Channel Tunnel (also known as the Chunnel), train speed is reduced to around 100 mph (160 km/h). The fastest journey time by train from London to Paris is 2 hours and 39 minutes.
The average train ticket price from London to Paris usually costs around €115.35 two weeks before travel, but can start from as little as €59 when you book in advance. Prices also vary depending on the time of day, route and class you book.
Yes. There are 1 direct Eurostar trains that travel from London to Paris each day with an average journey time of 3 hours and 4 minutes.
The first train from London to Paris leaves at 11:04 from London St. Pancras International. Times and services may vary during weekends and holidays.
The last train from London to Paris leaves at 12:01 from London St. Pancras International. Trains that depart in the early morning hours or very late evening may be sleeper services, time and services may also vary during weekends and holidays.
Trains travelling from London to Paris cover a distance of around 213 miles (342 km) during the journey.
All trains travelling from London to Paris are operated by Eurostar – high-speed services linking London to France, Belgium and the Netherlands via the Channel Tunnel.
Yes. Trains from London to Paris do go underwater. In fact, the Channel Tunnel (or “Chunnel” if you prefer its nickname) is just over 31 miles (50 km) in length and is the longest continuous underwater tunnel in the world. At a maximum speed of 100 mph (160 km/h) in the Chunnel, it takes a Eurostar train around 35 minutes to travel this underwater stretch between London and Paris.
The Chunnel tunnel is 31.3 miles (50.56 km) in length and it takes a Eurostar train approximately 35 minutes to travel its full length. In total, the fastest journey time from London St. Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord is 2 hours and 39 minutes.
I arrived at London St. Pancras station 45 minutes before my Eurostar train was due to departure, as check-in closes 30 minutes before. The Eurostar terminal is located about a five-minute walk from King’s Cross - St. Pancras tube station and is easy to find as it’s in the centre of the station and well signposted.
There are three border controls to go through at the Eurostar check-in which took around 15 minutes - first I had to scan the bar code on my ticket (which I printed at home), then pass through a metal detector and finally go through passport control (if you’re an EU citizen ID cards are accepted if you don’t have a passport). Note that there are two different document check areas – ID cards on the left and passports on the right. Before leaving home, I checked online if I could bring liquids with me through security but couldn’t find an answer. So, I decided to roll the dice and bought a 1L OJ from the Marks & Spencer next to departures – I can now confirm that you can bring liquids with you. I also discovered that you can bring a maximum of two pieces of large luggage (max dimensions 85 cm x 85 cm) and there are no weight limitations. Unfortunately, you can’t bring any type of animal on Eurostar trains.
Once you’re through security, you’ll find yourself in a wide hall with airport-style seats, three bars, a WHSmith and free toilets. Just like at an airport, there’s a sort of boarding gate that opens about 20 minutes before departure. When the gate is open, intercom will announce the departure platform in English and French (usually platform 9 or 10) and you’ll need to take the escalators to go upstairs. All the seats on Eurostar trains are assigned so you’ll have to find your carriage before boarding. There are up to 22 coaches on a Eurostar train, so it can be quite a walk to reach your carriage.
The train itself
In Standard class the seats are wide and comfortable, I was surprised by how much leg room I had. Every seat has a reclining table and magazine holder – between the seats, there’s a power socket with the UK and European pins. Every carriage has dedicated luggage space and overhead storage, with bathrooms in the middle of every other carriage – all with infant changing facilities. Coaches 6 and 13 (or 9 and 16 on some trains) are restaurant carriages where you can find the “Café Metropole” for sandwiches, snacks and beverages. The Café is quite expensive – €3 for an espresso, around €5.50 for a sandwich and a sandwich + soft drink + snack meal deal for €9.80 (November 2017 prices). Because of the train’s speed and numerous curves, I found it a bit challenging to walk up and down the train – it requires some balancing skills!
I’d suggest checking out the site onboard.eurostar.com – you can see a map of where you are, how fast you’re travelling, how long you have left and (a nice touch) what’s around you. For example, through this website, I discovered that the train passes through where the famous Battle of the Somme took place. This onboard website works even if the WiFi signal is weak (more on this later).
At first sight, entering the Eurotunnel is like entering any other mountain tunnel but you’ll soon notice a drop in temperature in the carriage. In its deepest part, the tunnel is 75 meters deep (the length of 107 baguettes in a line 🥖) and 50 km long! You won’t pass another train in the tunnel as there are actually two separate tunnels, one for each direction.
Arriving in Paris
The Eurostar trains always arrive at the Paris North station (Paris Gare du Nord), located in the north-east part of the city near Montmartre and the Louvre. It’s the busiest railway station in Europe with 214 million passengers a year! When you arrive in Paris you don’t need to show your travel documents again as a check by the French police already took place in London. The station is served by several tube lines and it’s easy to reach all of Paris’ major attractions from here. If you need to take another train to other destinations in France or towards Italy and Switzerland, you’ll have to transfer to another station. Thello trains to Milan and Venice depart from Gare de Lyon, in the south-east of the city – hop on tube line D in the direction of Melun or Melesherbes and you’ll be there in around 30 minutes. If you need to take the tube, you can buy the tickets onboard the Eurostar at the Café Metropole. Remember that, before boarding on a French train, you need to validate your ticket at one of the yellow machines located on the platforms. If you’re at risk of losing a connection train because your Eurostar train was delayed, remember to have your ticket stamped by one of the Eurostar controllers – you can then jump on the next available train to your desired destination without the need to change your original ticket.
Federica is one of our trusted, hand-picked travel writers. The information for this article was recorded first-hand, based on her own genuine experience of the journey.