Starting at St Pancras International Station in Central London, you'll arrive at the heart of Belgium in as little as two hours. With a quick and simple experience from the moment you get to the station to when you step out at your destination, rail travel has many advantages. For one, it's a climate-friendly way of travelling. What's more, you'll have the opportunity to admire the gorgeous countryside of Northern France and Belgium on the journey. Check the London to Belgium train times and book yourself a trip to this enchanting part of Europe.
London to Brussels
The Belgian capital remains one of the most popular destinations on a visit to the country. You can travel by train from London to Brussels in just 2h. Trains to Brussels from London will arrive into Brussels Midi Station. It's commonly referred to as the "Capital of Europe", with many of the EU's institutions based in the city. Sitting at the boundary of the French- and Flemish-speaking parts of Belgium also adds to Brussels' multicultural flair. A large, global city with a distinct personality and plenty of sights to explore, this is well worth a visit when you take trains from London to Belgium.
Brussels has a number of distinct landmarks to visit. You'll almost certainly end up at the Grand Place, the city's central square that houses some of its most attractive and traditional architecture. The history of these buildings dates all the way back to the 14th-century and includes various guildhalls and Brussels City Hall. Manneken Pis, a tongue-in-cheek statue of a boy urinating into a fountain, is perhaps one of Brussels' best-known icons, featuring on many a postcard from here. Swing by if you are near Brussels Central train station.
If you’re stopping for lunch, moules-frites, or mussels and fries, is one of Belgium's most iconic (and delicious) dishes. Usually cooked in a rich white wine sauce, you'll find it particularly moreish. Carbonade flamande is a Flemish dish, a sweet and sour beef creation, also often served with fries, naturally.
By night, Brussels' city centre pubs come to life. You'll find the local ales are often served in gigantic glasses, so don't be afraid to take things slow at first! This is one of Europe's most iconic countries for beer production, and Brussels features a magnificent range of places to try different local and national brews. For something a little different, Jenever is a liqueur that's said to be the origin of modern gin.
London to Antwerp
Travel from London to Antwerp by train in 2h 45m. This is one of the great cities of the Flanders region, known for its thriving diamond trade. Traditional and fun at the same time, this is a great family destination, with the Zoo Antwerpen and Museum of Modern Art being just two of the main attractions in town.
Antwerp has something of a reputation as a centre for art and fashion, too. The ModeMuseum showcases striking historic and modern clothing, sure to delight any lovers of couture. Architecture enthusiasts will love the ultramodern Museum aan de Stroom, with exhibitions on Antwerp's industries, personality, and culture.
Chinatown is a fantastic place to visit on your trip to Antwerp, too. Hosting a variety of Chinese, Japanese and Korean shops and restaurants, there are plenty of great things to eat and buy here. It's all close to Antwerp Central Station.
London to Ghent
Trains from London to Ghent take 2h 40m to arrive and will bring you into Gent-Sint-Pieters Station. Also located in Flanders, Ghent has a somewhat more laid-back atmosphere than Antwerp. Less focused on fashion and diamond trading, this is a superb place to experience a mixture of city and traditional provincial Belgian life.
The sights around Ghent reflect its traditional personality, with a number of charming churches and trade halls. These include St Bavo's Cathedral, with a range of styles including Gothic and Romanesque culminating in an exquisite piece of architecture. The Belfry and Cloth Hall is a symbol of the city, dating from the 14th-century with tours up the tower for great views of Central Ghent. The Ghent City Museum is another fantastic place to learn about this beautiful Belgian town.
Ghent isn't all peace and quiet though, and like many of Belgium's major cities, it has a thriving nightlife. St Veerleplein Square in the city centre is a marvellous place to go for a drink. Pubs and bars abound, as well as great restaurants and a sprinkling of cocktail bars and clubs. The Minard Theatre is an intimate setting to catch local concerts.
London to Liège
Taking only around 3h, trains from London to Liège will bring you to one of Belgium's major French-speaking cities. Trains arrive into Liège Station. With green surroundings and a thriving student population, this city offers a mix of historic attractions, great nightlife, and beautiful surroundings.
Liège is a city that merits a few afternoons of leisurely strolling, perhaps at the manicured grounds of La Boverie, a fine art museum. This handsome building is as stunning inside as it is outside and is one of Liège's crowning glories. For something a little more left-field, Blegny is a former coal mine that offers tours. Move along tunnels deep below the earth and learn about the workings of the mine – a particularly fascinating experience in Liège, which is sure to be an unforgettable addition to your holiday.
Liège has many culinary treats in store, too. Meat lovers will adore boulettes à la liégeoise, Liège meatballs, made with beef and pork and covered in a sharp-tasting, delicious sauce. At the bakeries, you may spot the distinctive rice tarts. For any travellers that have been to Portugal, you'll notice they resemble the custard tarts sold there, but this variety uses rice pudding as a filling. Peket liqueur is made with juniper berries and comes in dozens of flavours, a delicious speciality of the Liège region.
London to Bruges
Famous for its attractive canals, Bruges is another popular destination in Belgium. You can take trains from London to Bruges in 3h 15m. Bruges Station sits at the heart of it, so you'll soon be strolling by the river and admiring this delightful city of Flanders. Bruges has managed to maintain an unspoiled look and feel to it, with idyllic views from almost anywhere in its historic centre.
Markt, simply meaning market, is the city's central commercial square. This is a great place to people watch with a coffee. A little more off the beaten track are winding streets with more authentic Flemish restaurants, ideal for lunch and dinner stops. Before you explore too far though, be sure to check out the towering Belfry in Markt. If you're feeling active, climb its 366 steps for amazing vistas out across the city.
Chocolate lovers will be in for a treat at Choco-Story, with exhibits on how chocolate has been made through the ages. Of course, you'll probably be more eager for the samples and can stock up on fantastic Belgian chocolates at its gift shop. If you're still feeling peckish, head to the Frietmuseum to learn about Belgium's other tempting treat – fries. You'll be glad to hear this museum also offers samples!
The breadth of Belgium available from London by train
Many travellers to Belgium are surprised at just how fast, affordable, and easy it is to reach by train from London. Starting at St Pancras, you'll be strolling through Brussels' Grand Place in just a couple of hours. The capital is a fascinating destination, but the rest of Belgium is well worth checking out too. With Belgium's relatively small size, you can easily zip to its various cities for day trips, using one of them as a base. The country will be your oyster (or diamond) when you head to Belgium by train.