Both Amsterdam and London are two significant destinations in Europe. And very close to each other. For as long as I could remember, the only convenient way to get to London was by air. Flights to London left from every Dutch airport to every London airport.
The train would be fun but would take all day. There was a ferry service, which would take at least 12 hours. And there was the possibility of traveling by coach in 10-12 hours. Cheap for sure, but comfortable?
That all changed with the Eurostar trains. London to Amsterdam by train is a viable and fast alternative. First, this was possible only between Paris/Brussels and London. But now also between Amsterdam/Rotterdam and London. With the opening of immigration control at Amsterdam and Rotterdam stations, it’s possible to travel non-stop in under four hours from Amsterdam and just over 3 hours from Rotterdam.
Source video: NS
This is real competition to the airplane. You can’t be much faster by air, taking airport transfers and waiting times into consideration.
Traveling by Eurostar is a comfortable experience that I can only highly recommend. It’s also fun to be on a train that goes that fast (which, other than the screen telling you the current speed, you don’t notice much.)
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How far is London from Amsterdam?
Did you know London is only 200 miles/300 kilometers west of Amsterdam? The only problem is a sea between the two capitals, so it’s not straightforward to cross. The only “land” crossing is between Calais in France and Folkstone in the UK.
The London-Amsterdam route is the most popular travel route between the Netherlands and the UK, with over 4 million passengers yearly. Because of the geographical challenges, the primary mode of transport so far has been flying. But that is now rapidly changing due to the Eurostar trains.
Is there a direct train from London to Amsterdam?
Yes, since 2020, there have been direct trains between London and Amsterdam in both directions. You clear security and passport control before you travel to either London or Amsterdam. Once you arrive, you can exit the train as a local arrival without extra checks.
Because immigration control is now also available in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, you don’t need to clear customs and immigration in Brussels, saving you quite some time. Since this is possible, the train became a real competitor to the airplane.
Note: because you clear all checks before your departure, do arrive on time. It takes time, just like an airport. You don’t want to miss your train. Be there at least one hour in advance.
London to Amsterdam Train Travel Time
When you board the direct Eurostar train to or from Amsterdam, travel time is only 3 hours and 52 minutes. From Rotterdam, your journey to London St. Pancras International is just 3 hours and 16 minutes!
That is city center to city center. Making the train a real competitor to flying, both in price and travel time. The Amsterdam to London flight time might be just 1 hour, but with taxiing, wait times, walking times to the gate, and airport-to-city transfers, you’re looking at similar travel times or even slightly longer.
Non-Direct Trains from Amsterdam to London (Or With A Transfer)
There are usually 3-4 non-stop services on most days, focussing mainly on the morning and early evening departures. During the day, you have more options available if you don’t mind transferring once in Brussels.
Transferring trains in Brussels will add about two hours to your travel time and some extra hassle if you travel with luggage.
Non-stop services are the most convenient and often also the cheapest option.
Pros and Cons London To Amsterdam By Train Or Plane
Train London to Amsterdam Pros
- Direct city center to city center
- No airport transfers, no wasted time
- Reduce your carbon footprint
- Power outlets at your seat
- Mobile phone signal
- More space to move around
- A suitcase is free to take onboard
- No liquid restrictions on hand luggage
- Passport control before departure
Eurostar Train Cons
- Not many seats for the lowest price
- Only four departures per day, not equally spread
Pros Traveling By Airplane
- Many more daily departures
- Choice of different airports in London
- Choice of airlines (and services)
- It can be part of your multi-city ticket
- Usually cheaper than the train
Cons Plane London To Amsterdam
- Travel time to and from the airport
- Taxing on the environment
- Long check-in time at the airport
- Less space in your seat
- Liquid restrictions in hand luggage
- The charge for hold luggage
- No WIFI
- Customs and Immigration after arrival
Find Your Seat On The Eurostar Train
The Eurostar trains are incredibly long. If you are waiting in the wrong spot, finding your seat on the train can be time-consuming and uncomfortable. Especially if you have to haul luggage in the narrow aisles.
The solution is simple, however. On your ticket, you’ll find two numbers. One is your coach number, and the other is your seat.
At the platform, there are letters above the platform. Signs show which coach number stops at which letter. Let’s say you travel in coach 59, and the corresponding letter is H (check this on the platform; this is just a hypothetical example). Then wait below letter H, and your coach/seat will be there.
This is another reason to arrive early, so you can locate this information without being rushed or stressed.
What Comfort Class To Book? Standard, Comfort, Or Business Premier:
Eurostar trains have three booking classes: Standard, Standard Premier (Comfort), and Business Premier (Premium).
- Standard – 2nd Class
- Standard Premier (Comfort)- 1st Class
- Business Premier (Premium) – 1st Class Flexible
Standard – 2nd Class
Standard Class is comparable to 2nd Class. Most train seats will be in this class and offered at the lowest price. Power outlets are available under your seat. Food and beverages are available for purchase at the “Cafe Metropole” dining car. Note these seats are pretty tight. If you’re tall like me or when you prefer extra space, this is not your best option.
Standard Premier (Comfort) – 1st class
This is the class I book myself. You enjoy first-class comforts with a larger seat: more legroom, and extra amenities.
You can compare Standard Premier with first class on regular trains.
You’ll be served a free light meal and complimentary drinks at your seat. Plus, you have a choice of free magazines.
Premier coaches have dedicated staff available and are separated from Standard Class.
Of course, every seat has a power outlet as well. You’ll have free access to the NS International lounge in Amsterdam before departure.
If you book early, tickets are not much more than the standard class. The journey will be much more comfortable, however.
Business Premier (Premium) – 1st Class Flexible
In Premier Business, you’ll sit at a similar seat as Standard Premier in terms of comfort (a 1st class seat).
But you’re traveling in a separate carriage, even from Standard Premier. The main difference between Standard Premier and Business Premier is the flexibility of your ticket. You can change it at any time without extra charges.
Premier Business also allows you access to the Eurostar lounges, for example, in London, which the comfort ticket above does not (that class only allows for lounge access in Amsterdam or Rotterdam). The Eurostar lounge in London is just as luxurious as an airline lounge. They serve food and even have their own cocktail bar.
When you travel Premier Business, you’ll be served a full hot three-course meal designed by Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc at your seat during the train journey. Before the end of your trip, a snack and a drink will be served.
The final benefit of this travel class is that you can arrive at the security terminal at the last minute. You can arrive up to 10 minutes before departure instead of 40 minutes, but I would advise against this. Being on time means your journey will start much more relaxed.
Of course, this extra comfort comes at an extra charge. Depending on your travel plans, this can be worth the higher price. I get the most value from the extra space and the more comfortable seat. Thus, Standard Premier (Comfort) is my perfect middle ground.
How Much Does a Ticket from London to Amsterdam By Train Cost?
Tickets start at £44/€49/$59 one-way from London to Amsterdam or Rotterdam Central Station. You can also book a ticket to any station in the Netherlands instead for a small surcharge. Handy if your final destination is beyond Amsterdam or Rotterdam.
Premier class tickets cost about twice the price of standard tickets. And Business Premier tickets are usually five times the price of a standard ticket.
Check current prices for your travel dates (and book your tickets) here.
If you travel onwards to another Dutch railway station, you can plan your domestic journey here.
Customs And Immigration Control
Whether you depart from London St. Pancras or Amsterdam or Rotterdam, you will clear all checks before departure. There is space for many passengers on these trains we advise you to arrive early—one hour at the minimum.
The UK is not part of the European Union. There are full passport-, security-, and customs checks before your trip.
If you are an EU traveler, be aware you need a passport to travel. You’re European ID card is no longer valid. Also, British citizens need a passport.
If you are from outside the EU, ensure you hold valid travel documents for the United Kingdom and the Schengen Area. If you are from other Western country, a passport is usually sufficient.
The benefit of these checks before departure is that you don’t have an extra hold-up after arrival.
How To Travel On The Eurostar Train Between London And Amsterdam
- Book your ticket
- Check-in for Your Train at Amsterdam or Rotterdam (be there at least one hour in advance).
- Note your coach number on your ticket and follow directions at the platform to wait in the correct spot.
- Board the train and take your seat.
- Enjoy the view and the futuristic mode of transport. You’ll be on the other side of the channel in no time.
Frequently Asked Questions for London to Amsterdam By Train
What is the travel time between London and Amsterdam on the Eurostar train?
Travel time from London to Amsterdam is just under four hours, and just over three hours from London to Rotterdam.
How often do Eurostar trains run between London and Amsterdam?
There are usually 3 to 4 daily Eurostar services between London and Amsterdam. These services usually run in the morning and early evening. More departures are available with a transfer at Brussels. The frequency may change depending on the day of the week and time of year. You can check current schedules and prices here.
Where do the Eurostar trains depart from and arrive in London and Amsterdam?
In London, Eurostar trains depart from St Pancras International Station. In Amsterdam, they arrive at Amsterdam Central Station. From both stations, there are easy onward connections to local transportation.
Are there food and drink options available on board the Eurostar train?
Yes, there is a bar-buffet car on Eurostar trains for those traveling in Standard Class. They offer a range of snacks, meals, and beverages for purchase. Premier passengers will be served a light meal at their seats. And Business Premier travelers will be served a hot three-course meal at their seat. Premier passengers will also have lounge access, where a drink is included.
Can I bring luggage on the Eurostar train between London and Amsterdam?
Yes, you can bring luggage on board at no extra cost. This is a significant benefit over traveling by plane. Each passenger is allowed two pieces of luggage and one small hand luggage item. If you travel in Business Premier (Premium), you can take a third piece of luggage.
Are Eurostar trains wheelchair accessible?
Eurostar trains are wheelchair accessible and provide designated wheelchair spaces and accessible toilets. It is recommended to inform the Eurostar staff in advance if you require assistance during your journey. But your journey should be smooth and without much trouble.
Still, prefer to fly?
You might be interested in my posts with tips for cheap flight tickets and the different international airports in the Netherlands.