Eurostar Express Train from Brussels to London: Travel Review and What to Expect

What should you expect when riding Eurostar express train for the first time? These trains run between Brussels & Paris and London, under the English Channel, and are especially convenient for a peaceful alternative to airplanes! This is how I ended up on my first Eurostar train ride – my BA flight was delayed – , and it turned out to be extremely easy and efficient! The ride took around two hours and I did not have to change the train.

Where to buy tickets: for example, at SNCB International and other train ticket sales points

How long does the ride take: the train takes about two hours and it makes short stops in Lille and Ebbsfleet.

How much does Eurostar ticket cost: Standard ticket (2nd class) one way start around 50 euros, return 66 euros. Standard Premier (1st class) start at 128 euros one way and 193 euros return. My ticket was an extremely last minute purchase and cost 280 euros for Standard Premier.

What was the luggage allowance: I could take two large suitcases without weight restriction and small hand luggage

How much in advance can you purchase the tickets: tickets come into sales 180 days before

How fast does the train go: in the English Channel it goes 160 km/h, outside of the channel the speed can reach 300 km/h

eurostar experience - travel in comfort by train

 

Getting to Eurostar Train Station in Brussels: What to Expect

The train in Brussels departs from (and arrives to, if you are travelling there from London) to Bruxelles Midi and goes til London St.Pancras station. I was going to the station from the airport area by taxi, as my flight was cancelled, and due to traffic it took me nearly 40 minutes.

wheelchair accessibility London and Brussels train

How Much in Advance do You Have to Show Up at the Station

The recommended arrival time is at least 30 minutes before departure. Due to traffic I arrived around 25 min before, but I was definitely not the last one. The terminal was easy to find, from the bus stop where the taxi driver let me out, it was around 20 m in the station, and on the right a large sign indicated “Channel Terminal”. You need to scan your ticket there before the security control. I had printed my ticket in advance.

what to expect from train ride on Eurostar at the station

What Type of Security Check is Required for Eurostar and What is Allowed on Board

There was no line at the check in desk for scanning the ticket and I went to security right away. A few people were in front of me. I had to take out my computer and my Kindle, and there were no restrictions for liquid. Passport control was next. An officer looked at my passport exiting Schengen and bio-metric pass holders afterwards proceeded to machine to be allowed into the UK. Security and passport control took around 7 minutes total. While I was waiting in the line for security control, an announcement in the station was made for final passengers to proceed to the check in. A few more entered then. Some people say they arrive as late as 10 minutes before the departure, but I definitely wouldn’t risk it, especially since a passport check is required.

european train travel belgium uk and france

Waiting for the Train: Lounge Area and Going to the Train

If you arrive very much in advance, there is a lounge, plenty of seating area, a few stores, cafe and restrooms. As everyone was already going to the trains, I went to board the train right away. The boarding area is from two sides, and you must check with carriage you are in, to proceed. I was in car 14, so I had to go to the right. I rode up an escalator to the next floor and my train was there.

how to find your carriage on european train

There were only a few other people and I immediately located my car and the hostess. She checked my name in the system, informed me where my seat was (near a family of 3), and recommended I go to another seat as no other passengers would be sitting there and I could work more easily there. Then she proceeded to check in a few more people who had boarded from the other side of the train and asked them to board in their respective carriage in the future.

In the Train: First Class (Premier) Eurostar Experience

There was so much space in the train! Plenty for my bags and for me (and I am a tall person!). You are allowed 2 units of large luggage and 1 hand luggage, and all of that stays with you in the train!

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There was a storage area with three shelves each at each end of the car and numerous shelves above for smaller bags. The seating in 1st class (Premier) was four seats around a table on one side and two seats+ table on the opposite side.

tables and outlets in eurostar train from paris or brussels to london

If I was not the only one at my table, there would probably be some kicking, but as I was on my own, it was very comfortable. From what I saw on the other side, 2nd class also looked very comfortable.

The table had a no-slip surface to put you laptop on, special tray for hands/computer, electric outlets (UK plug + USB) and there was free internet that worked most of the time! Each side of the car had a spacious bathroom. All facilities where wheelchair accessible.

About forty minutes in they brought in food – I had cold salmon with sides (you could also select veg), a bun, and cold drinks (juice, soft drinks, beer, wine). Later they brought tea and offered to replenish the drinks throughout the ride.

vegeterian and special meals options and accessibility on trains in europe

In Conclusion: Yes, I Definitely Will Ride Eurostar Again!

Although my train was delayed due to a trespasser (and I received a refund from Eurostar because of that!) the ride was very enjoyable and I would definitely recommend using Eurostar for your trips between London, Paris or Brussels! Much less hassle than with the airplane, you get in the city and you can work (or enjoy yourself) all the way!

Where to buy tickets: for example, at SNCB International and other train ticket sales points

Similar articles:

What to do on  along layover in Frankfurt airport

How to get a refund for Eurostar train delay

How to claim compensation from an airline


6 comments

  1. Uhm….. Eurostar don’t have 1st class. Or 2nd class. They have Standard Class (like 2nd class), Standard Premier (which is seating like 1st class with a meal like what used to be served in Economy on airlines) and Business Premier (cars are interchangable with Standard Premier depending on loadings, meal is of a higher quality, ticket gets you into lounges at stations). Standard Premier tickets do not get Lounge access unless you have the right card as well. The meal in the photo is Standard Premier. My advice, book early and go for Standard Premier.

    And by the way, there are around 6 trains per hour from the airport to Midi station taking around 21 minutes. Brussels is bi-lingual, Midi (french) can also appear as Zuid (Flemish).

    1. Thanks for your comment! My ticket (purchased from a travel agent) says 1st class, maybe it is a default setting in their documents. I didn’t have time to explore the lounge, thanks for the tip, I am sure it will be handy for fellow travelers!

  2. Seems to be a great train ride! I’ve done a trainride from Rotterdam to London, but never from Brussel!

  3. Thanks so much for a very insightful blog post, I’m thinking of taking the Eurostar in the near future, I have bookmarked it.

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