With the relaxing of COVID restrictions, the world is once again opening up to tourism, especially to business and holiday hubs like London. If you’re planning a stay at London hotels or simply dashing over to the city to capitalise on afternoon tea London offers, there are plenty of options for your travel arrangements if you don’t want to take a plane, or indeed, if you get seasick.
So if you’re heading to London by car or train, what are your options for booking and navigating the international rail system? This blog will guide guests of luxury London hotel special offers and other tourists through the ins and outs of reaching the city from mainland Europe by train. From seating reservations to better value tickets, here’s everything you need to know.
Mainland Europe – What Are The Options?
Travel from mainland Europe by train is usually undertaken on the Eurostar or the Channel Tunnel. The Eurostar runs from Paris and Amsterdam to St Pancras International as well as from and to Amsterdam in the Netherlands whilst the Channel Tunnel runs from Folkestone in South Kent all the way to Calais on the northern coast of France.
The Eurostar was first introduced to London in 1994 and was originally using Waterloo Station as its terminal. In 2007, it transferred over to London St Pancras International after the station saw an expansion and refurbishment. The Eurostar can reach Paris in just over 3 hours and reaches speeds of around 170 kilometres per hour.
Departure And Arrival
Whether you’re staying at hotels near Paddington Station or north London, the Eurostar will bring you into St Pancras International, essentially an extension of Kings Cross Station. From here you can board trains to many areas of London and the southeast, as well as underground services on the Victoria, Piccadilly, Circle, District and Hammersmith and Northern lines to many parts of the city. Eurostars usually run to and from Paris Gare Du Nord, Amsterdam and Brussels-South. Security usually consists of a passport check and bag searches, but otherwise there is no baggage check in.
The Channel Tunnel dates back to 1994, and was part of the wider plan to open international travel and trade routes via train from mainland Europe to London. The Channel Tunnel runs from Calais to Folkestone and is most suited to people using vehicles. The Channel Tunnel shuttle can reach speeds of up to 160 kilometres an hour and runs about 50.46 kilometres in total. Journeys usually take around 1 hour.
Departure And Arrival
Running from Folkestone in South Kent to Calais, visitors will usually board the shuttle in their car, requiring passport and car checks if security deem it necessary. There are regular shuttles running from Calais and Folkestone either side via two rail lines through the tunnel. On either side, there are very few checks, making travel quick and easy from the mainland to the British isles. If you are travelling to the Chilworth Paddington Hotel in London by car, then once in Folkestone, it will take you just under two hours once you get off the shuttle in England.