Exactly one week ago I arrived back home from a city trip to London. I got that city trip from my boyfriends as a gift fir my 24th birthday past September. I love to travel, but it is a must for me to do so sustainably. In this climate crisis we can’t afford to fly anymore. And so, we traveled from Amsterdam to London by train, using the Eurostar. Today I want to tell you more about that journey. How long does it take? Is it expensive? And is it comfortable? I’ll tell you about my experiences.
The start of my journey
My journey started at Uilenstede in Amstelveen, my home. From there I traveled by tram and metro to Amsterdam Central station, where the Eurostar leaves to London (the Eurostar is the only train traveling from Amsterdam to Londen). From my home Uilenstede to Amsterdam Central station is about 20 minutes. An extremely easy and small trip. Perfect for me, because in the Netherlands you can get onto the Eurostar to London in only two cities: Rotterdam and Amsterdam. So, where ever you live in the Netherlands, you must first travel to Amsterdam Central station or Rotterdam Central station. For me this took 20 minutes, but this may take you longer.
Once at Amsterdam Central station you have to go through border patrol. That’s because the United Kingdom has left the European Union in 2021 (Brexit). I have always thought that Brexit was a bad idea, but that’s a political discussion I won’t get into now. For traveling from Amsterdam to London by train, Brexit has negative consequences. And this is important. You have to go through border patrol on Amsterdam Central station 90 to 60 minutes before the train departs. So, if your train leaves at 14.00, you have to be at the border patrol at 13.00 at the latest. That sucks, because it makes the trip longer.
My partner and I missed this notice. And so, we were at the station about 50 minutes in advance. And so, we missed our train. We were extremely lucky though, because Eurostar let us rebook our ticket to the next train three hours later. In the meantime we went to the library to kill time. But I cannot recommend this haha. Just make sure you’re at the border patrol on time, because it saves you time and worries.
Okay, so after you’ve gone through border patrol you can board the Eurostar about 20 minutes in advance to the departure. The journey from Amsterdam to London by train takes 4 hours and 13 minutes in total. During that time you just chill in the Eurostar. No transits are necessary. You just hop on the Eurostar in Amsterdam and leave the train in London, at London st. Pancras, the main station in London. Very simple. The Eurostar is a very comfortable train. There’s more than enough room for suitcases, there’s free wi-fi, there are two sockets under every two seats, there’s a clean bathroom and two carriages are transformed into a restaurant. It’s amazing! Also, there’s no weight limit for your bagage! Your bagage can not be wider than 85 cm, that’s the only rule they have. But I try to travel als lightly a possible, because it saves emissions and headspace.
I don’t think 4 hours is a long time. Especially because you can do a lot of things in the train. You can work, or watch a movie, or just chill, read a book, etc. I really see this as part of the holiday and so I took the time to chill and read a book. Another thing: there’s a difference in timezones. It’s one hour earlier in London than in Amsterdam. So, if you leave at 14.00, you arrive around 17.00 in London, even though the travel takes 4 hours. But, consequently, the other way around this is not too chill. From London to Amsterdam you travel 4 hours and 13 minutes too, but because of the time difference you arrive in Amsterdam 5 hours later instead of 4.
Traveling by train takes longer than by plane. Flying to London takes 1 hour and 5 minutes. That’s just what it is. I wish it was different, but well. Before Brexit the train had some advantage because you did not have to go through security etc, like you would on an airport. But because of Brexit that has changed, so that advantage is gone now.
Prices and bookings
Traveling from Amsterdam to London by train cost us 47 euros per person. You can easily book the ticket via NS International. But beware: you have to book a long time in advance if you want to get such a good price. About 5/6 months, immediately when the bookings open. That’s when it’s cheapest. A good planning is therefore a must. The closer you book to the travel date, the more expensive it gets. I think that’s ridiculous, but apparently that’s how capitalism works. Anyway, the return also costs us 47 euros. So for a return to Londen you pay 94 euros per person.
Whether the plane is cheaper or not is hard to say. When I search the internet right now, I see some flights available to London for 31 euros, in March 2023. I think that prices work the other way around with planes. If you book last-minute, it’s cheapest. So it really depends. Overall, I think the train is a good competitor to planes when it comes to the prices of traveling from Amsterdam to London.
If you have been following me for longer, you know that is an easy trip. On this blog, I’ve also written about traveling from Amsterdam to Albufeira by train and traveling from Amsterdam to Budapest by train. Those were much bigger trips, and more complicated. However, I still think it’s valuable to write about this simple trip to London. The fact that it’s easier is an advantage. London is great! I really enjoyed it there. And now you know you can enjoy London too, in a sustainable way!