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Why take the train from the UK to Europe

That’s right, you can travel from the UK to Europe by train – no need to book a flight. It’s quick. It’s comfortable. There’s plenty of room for luggage (and your legs!) It’s more eco-friendly, AND it’s sometimes even the fastest travel option from city centre to city centre for certain European destinations.  

Try it for yourself and hop on a Eurostar train in London to connect to Europe’s extensive, modern high-speed rail network. Did you know, on the fastest services, it only takes 12 minutes more to travel from London to Paris (2h 16m) than it does London to Manchester (2h 4m)? It’s also quicker to travel by train from London to Amsterdam (3h 55m) than it is London to Edinburgh (4h 14m). 

London to Europe by train

All trains into mainland Europe from the UK start from London St Pancras International station. It’s a quicker check-in process than at the airport – taking just 20 minutes from start to finish – so you can start relaxing and enjoying your trip that little bit sooner. To find out more about the whole process, read our guide to the Eurostar check-in 

Eurostar trains offer wide comfortable seats, whichever class you travel on (there are three – Standard, Standard Premier and Business Premier). Enjoy a snack at the onboard Café Metropole while you travel at speeds of up to 200 mph under the Channel Tunnel from London to Europe.   

Popular train routes from the UK to mainland Europe

Take a look at which European cities are close to, and easily reached from the UK train.

Trains from the UK to France

Route Fastest journey time Number of changes Train operator
London to Paris 2h 19m Direct Eurostar
London to Disneyland Paris 2h 49m Direct Eurostar
London to Marseille 6h 45m 1 Eurostar and SNCF
London to Lille 1h 24m 0 Eurostar

 

Trains from the UK to Germany

Route Fastest journey time Number of changes Train operator
London to Cologne 4h 11m 1 Eurostar and DB

Trains from the UK to The Netherlands

Route Fastest journey time Number of changes Train operator
London to Amsterdam 3h 55m Direct Eurostar
London to Rotterdam 3h 35m Direct Eurostar

 

Trains from the UK to Belgium

Route Fastest journey time Number of changes Train operator
London to Brussels 2h 1m Direct Eurostar
London to Bruges 3h 26m 1 Eurostar and SNCB

How to book train tickets from the UK to Europe  

With different train companies in each country plus the language barrier, finding the right train ticket might seem like a tough task – but we're here to make sure your ticket-buying process is totally stress-free.

Over 200 train and bus companies across Europe trust us to sell their tickets – all in one convenient place! So, wherever you want to go, you’ll be able to plan your ideal route, check train times and book tickets easily using one single platform.  Follow these simple steps to book your train tickets with us from the UK to Europe:  

  1. Research the destinations you’d like to visit on our travel inspiration hub 
  2. Enter your departure and arrival stations of choice into either our App or Journey Planner at the top of the page (or just the city if you’re unsure of the station name) 
  3. Enter the date you’d like to depart and return, along with any relevant Railcards you have and number of passengers 
  4. Hit Get times and tickets’ to start your search   
  5. Choose a train time and Class option from our search results. Once you’re happy with your choice, continue to choose your seat preference  
  6. Enter an email to send your tick confirmation to, along with the Full name of each passenger you’re booking tickets for (the name must match their IDs.  
  7. Continue to the checkout and book your tickets! 

Why not check out our European train deals and discounts page to see the latest offers you can book with us.

Train travel once you're in Europe

Since most train networks in European countries are managed by one large corporation per country, often owned by the state, rail travel is relatively easy if you know the basics about the respective train company.  The rail networks are interconnected, so travelling from one country to another is easy, we’ve highlighted the main countries to travel in and around by rail in Europe, check them out below.

French train travel

Most trains in France are run by SNCF – the state-owned rail company. Although you’ll enter the country from the UK via the Eurostar, once you change trains, you’ll likely find yourself on either an Intercité, TER (regional) or a high-speed TGV train. Find out more about taking the train to France, or check our guide to train travel in France.

Check out some of the most popular destinations to visit by train in France below:

German train travel

Deutsche Bahn is Germany's state-owned rail company that runs most of the country's extensive rail network. Their services are divided into long-distance high-speed ICE trains, medium-distance and regional transport. Find out more in our guide to trains in Germany.

Take a look at some of our favourite destinations to visit in Germany by train below:

Spanish train travel

If you're travelling in Spain by rail, it'll most likely be on a Renfe train service. Renfe is the primary, state-owned train operator in the country and their high-speed AVE trains offer speedy journeys between many of the major cities. To find out more, visit our dedicated Renfe page or check out our guide to travelling by train in Spain.

Take a look at some of the most popular destinations to visit in Spain by train below:

Italian train travel

Trenitalia is Italy's state-owned rail corporation. Their modern fleet of high-speed trains – known as Le Frecce – consists of three train types that can whisk you between some of the must-visit destinations like Rome, Milan and Venice. Learn more about trains in Italy.

We've highlighted some of the most visited destinations in Italy by train below:

Belgian train travel

SNCB are the main train operator in Belgium. They run services to and from all the major destinations in the country, including Brussels, Bruges and Antwerp. To find out more, read our guide on trains to Belgium, and once you're there, trains in Belgium.

We've highlighted some of the most visited destinations in Belgium by train below:

Swiss train travel

SBB are the main train operator in Switzerland, running Intercity, Regio, RegioExpress, InterRegio, S-Bahn and EuroCity trains throughout the country. You can read more about them in our guide to trains in Switzerland.

We've highlighted some of the most visited destinations in Switzerland by train below:

Austrian train travel

ÖBB are the main train operator in Austria, running highspeed Railjet services, regional and cross-border services, and night trains. Find out more in our guide to trains in Austria.

We've highlighted some of the most visited destinations in Austria by train below:

Rail passes – Interrail and Eurail

If you’re planning to travel to more than one country in Europe by train, it’s worth checking out an Interrail or Eurail passes. Prices are calculated based on how many days you want to travel, and by the type of train you’d like to take.

Interrail passes

If you live in Europe, you'll be eligible to purchase an Interrail pass

Eurail passes

If you're a non-European resident or a non-European passport holder, check out the Eurail pass instead.

In need of some inspiration? 

Whether you’re researching destinations or looking for things to do in a specific place, we’ve got you covered. Check out some of our guides to travelling by train in Europe.  

Want to find out more about train travel in Europe?

So, know you know how to get the train from the UK into Europe, why not learn more about train travel once you're there? Read our guides to trains in Europe, including high-speed and sleeper services, and tips on how to buy cheap train tickets.

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