Day trips from London to Europe
Here's a taste of the day trips you can do in Europe:
- Brussels and beyond
- Disneyland Paris
- French Alps
- South of France
But before we go on, here's a bit of history on the train you'll be taking - the ever-reliable Eurostar.
What is Eurostar?
It’s safe to say Eurostar has revolutionised travel since its inaugural journey back in 1994. Linking London with northern Europe’s most iconic capitals via the Channel Tunnel, these ultra-modern trains from London St Pancras International to Europe whisk passengers off to the continent at speeds of 300km/h (186 mph). In essence, it’s a more civilised, stress-free way to go with spacious carriages and ample luggage allowance, plus of course, a seamless city-to city journey that puts you right in the heart of where you want to be, from lively Amsterdam to Brussels or Paris. Eurostar to Europe shouldn’t be confused with Eurotunnel, which operates car-carrying trains which shuttle vehicles through the tunnel.
If you're looking to bag a bargain Eurostar to Europe fare or splurge on a luxury Paris weekend, we'll show you how to score the best value Eurostar fare. Consider off-peak days and times, and book well in advance to secure a great price.
Aside from the reduced city-to-city journey times, the Eurostar passenger experience also beats flying in many other ways too. There are more relaxed luggage restrictions and streamlined check-in and security screening procedure, and no long waits on arrival at passport control – immigration checks are done before you arrive. Perhaps best of all, there is free Wi-Fi for all throughout the journey, even through the tunnel. You are free to get up and move around at your leisure, as well as perhaps grab a coffee and snack at one of the two bar cars.
Eurostar Europe fares are very competitive with the airlines in all classes of service. Eurostar has three ticket options - Standard Class which offers promotional fares as low as €35, Standard Premier which also includes a light meal and Business Premier which comes with a gourmet three-course meal, dedicated fast track check-in, full ticket flexibility and access to business lounges.
Eurostar to Europe
Eurostar operates an airline-style check-in process but without the seemingly endless lines. Luggage stays with you for the entire journey, doing away with the time-consuming wait by the bag carousel on arrival, and security screening is much more streamlined. There's no need to remove your belt or shoes or fret over what liquids you may be carrying. Bags are scanned and you pass through the metal detector – it’s as simple as that. Minimum check-in time is just 30 minutes or as little as 10 minutes for Business Premier ticket holders.
Eurostar day trips
Paris – The classic London to Europe route. The perennially popular London to Paris service unlocks an elegant metropolis of iconic landmarks, art and quintessential French style. Arrival point Paris Gare du Nord station is just a short Metro ride away from Paris’ countless bucket list worthy attractions and also serves as a seamless transit point if Paris is not your final destination. As France’s busiest rail hub, there are numerous intercity services all across Northern France.
Brussels and beyond – Brussels is an even quicker trip from London at less than two hours. Much of its downtown is pedestrian friendly and generally laid back for a European capital, so a rewarding, hassle-free option for a day trip. A melange of French-Flemish cultural influences, Brussels delivers a multi-layered Northern European experience. Feeling more adventurous? Book a London to Brussels service with us with an ‘Any Belgium Station’ add-on, allowing you to venture further afield via a connecting Belgium Railways (SNCB) train.
Disneyland Paris – Although Eurostar does not currently run direct services to Disneyland Paris, it's still easy to get there by train. You can hop on a train from London to Lille; from here, switch trains and get on a train to Marne-la-Vallée, home of Disneyland Paris.
The Ski Train – Feel like carving up some fresh powder in the French Alps? Eurostar can take you there. Departing each Saturday during winter months, you can catch a train to Lille and then change for a high-speed TGV train for onward travel to the French Alps, where you can enjoy top mountain resorts including Tignes, Les Arcs and Courchevel.
South of France – Got time to spare? Rural South of France and the French Riviera beckons. In less than five hours you can be enjoying a culinary getaway in Lyon - just hop on a train to Paris and then transfer to another train when you're in the capital. A little further south unlocks the cultured history of Avignon or continue on to vibrant Marseille, the gateway to the sun-kissed French Riviera.
Amsterdam – Eurostar’s newest London to Europe destination needs no introduction. The Dutch capital’s buzzing lifestyle and serene canals have always been a big draw and now are under four hours away by high-speed train from London. Those wild party weekends in Amsterdam just got so much easier. The service also stops at Rotterdam.
How long is the Chunnel ride?
The Channel Tunnel section of the ride connecting the coastlines of Southern England and Northern France lasts just 20 minutes as you speed along beneath the English Channel. The Chunnel spans 31 miles in length and top speed within the tunnel is reduced to 100mph. Complete Eurostar journey times from London range from 2h 16m direct to Paris, less than two hours to Brussels, and about 3h 50m to Amsterdam. The shortest trip is to the Northern French city of Lille, at just 1h 20m, making it an ideal fuss-free day trip option.
Choosing Eurostar is a no-brainer when comparing it with air travel to Paris or Brussels. Say au revoir to a long journey out of the city to London Heathrow Airport plus a time-consuming check-in procedure and security screening. By the time you actually get in the air, you could have already arrived, sipping your first coffee in a Parisian pavement café.