Amsterdam to London by train

How to take a thrilling high speed rail journey from Amsterdam to London

There are now direct Eurostar trains from Amsterdam to London, but if the timings of those departures don't suit, the other option is to take a train to Bruxelles and connect there into one of the more frequent Eurostars from the Belgian capital to the UK.

Look up the journey on the ticket agents and this indirect journey will involve taking a high speed Thalys trains to Bruxelles and connecting into a Eurostar.

Though if you will be making this journey with a Eurail or InterRail pass and can't book a rail pass reservations on a direct train, you will save money if you take an Intercity train to Bruxelles instead of a Thalys.

The significant advantage of the direct trains are that they avoid what can be an awkward connection at Midi station in Bruxelles, where the timing of the arrival of the train from Amsterdam needs to be factored into the need to check in for the Eurostar departure.

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Routes

Option 1: taking the direct train

Travel Information

The first ever direct train service from Amsterdam to London has now commenced.
The current timetable offers these departures:

  • 13:47 Monday to Saturday
  • 16:47 Daily
  • 18:47 Monday to Friday and Sunday

Final Destination: London St. Pancras International
These trains do not call at Schiphol, Ashford International or Ebbsfleet International

Note that London is in a different time zone to mainland Europe, it is one hour behind; so when looking at a timetable the journey will look as though it's an hour shorter.

Boarding the Eurostar in Amsterdam:

Here is Eurostar's guide to departing by these trains from Amsterdam Centraal.

The key things to know are:

  • The train will depart from spoor (platform/track) 15b, which is at the far end of the station from the main entrance.
  • On the other side of check-in you will wait for boarding to commence in the departure lounge, it houses seating areas, plugs, re-charge points and vending machines for drinks and snacks.
  • Particularly worth knowing is that if you will be travelling with Standard or Standard Premier tickets, is that Eurostar is currently stating that check-in will close 45 mins before departure; and for Business Premier ticket holders it will close 30 mins before
    No other train service from Amsterdam has these departure restrictions, so remember that you will need to be at Amsterdam Centraal ahead of the departure time; Eurostar's recommendation is to be at the departure area 60-90mins ahead of departure if you have Standard or Standard Premier tickets; and 45mins prior to departure if you have Business Premier tickets.

This will allow time for an easy transfer to platform/track 15b .
Though if you're at the station particularly early, an option is to while away the time in the bars/cafés in the main station building; and then to make your way over to platform/track 15b at the suggested times.

Mon-Friday = 2 x trains per day
Saturday = 1 x train
Sunday = 2 x trains

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings usually open: between 138 and 190 days ahead of the travel date.
Seats are assigned when booking tickets.

The prices shown below are the most heavily discounted, one way Standard Class prices

The booking path on the Eurostar website is comparatively straightforward and an advantage of booking direct with Eurostar, is that it offers its ticket purchasers the ability to choose specific seats from a seating plan (after the booking has been made).

The ticketing terms

Also worth knowing is that when travelling by Eurostar you can choose between three classes of service, but it isn't possible to select different types of ticket.

If you book Standard or Standard Premier tickets, you can exchange them if need be, to an alternative departure on your booked route; but if you want to transfer your ticket to a new departure less than 7 days before your travel date, you will need to pay an admin fee of £30 for Standard Class tickets, £40 for Standard Premier tickets PLUS the price difference with the new ticket you will be booking.
What's new, in response to the pandemic, is that these £30/40 charges aren't applied if you want to transfer to an alternative departure more than seven days before your travel date.

Business Premier tickets are less restrictive, they can't be refunded, but they can be exchanged to alternative departures without paying the admin fee, or the price difference.
Business Premier tickets can also be exchanged to the alternative journey options with a connection in Bruxelles, but if you booked Standard or Standard Premier tickets, they can only be exchanged to alternative direct trains.

Eurostar's full ticket terms and conditions are here

Using Eurail and InterRail Passes:

If you will be travelling with a Eurail or InterRail 'Global Pass' you will need to book a rail pass reservation to travel by these trains.

You can purchase these online with no booking fees via B-Europe - or they ARE now available on the Eurostar website.
Booking in advance is recommended as it's not unknown for rail pass reservations on Eurostar services to sell out days or weeks in advance, here is evidently limited availability per departure.

It is worth targeting these direct Eurostar services from Amsterdam to London, the reservation fees of, from €35 if you will be using a 2nd class pass and from €43 if you will be using a First Class pass, are similarly priced as the Bruxelles to London journey.

So by taking these direct trains with a Eurail or InterRail pass, you will;

  • save money compared to the alternative journey option of taking a Thalys train to Bruxelles from Amsterdam and then a Eurostar from Bruxelles to London.
  • save time compared to taking an IC train from Amsterdam to Bruxelles and then a Eurostar to London

If you are a UK resident, worth knowing is your rail pass + reservation will only be valid if you take a train to the UK on the final day that you will be using your pass.
You cannot use an InterRail Pass to return to the UK by another route and then travel between the UK and Amsterdam.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Eurostar from £35

Eurostar Guide

In addition to direct journeys by Eurostar trains, the Eurostar website also sells

  • 'Any station in Belgium' tickets; the key feature of these tickets is that they live up to their name, so how distant your Belgian destination is and the journey time doesn't impact on the ticket price.
  • Journeys to SOME major cities in France not served directly by Eurostar– including Avignon, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Nice, Nantes and Rennes.
  • Journeys to destinations in Germany that are served by direct ICE and Thalys trains from Bruxelles, including these cities; Aachen, Cologne/Koeln, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt (Main).

Eurostar also sells seat reservations to users of Eurail and InterRail passes without booking fees.

NS Intl from €40

NS Intl Guide

NS is the Dutch national rail operator and it operates a bespoke website for the booking of international rail journeys from and to The Netherlands.
Therefore it offers tickets for journeys by:

  • Thalys trains to Bruxelles and Paris
  • IC trains to Berlin via Hannover and Bruxelles via Antwerpen
  • Eurostar to London
  • ICE trains to Basel and Frankfurt (Main) via Koln
  • the Nightjet trains to Austria and Germany

NS International also sells tickets to a range of destinations in Austria, Czechia, Denmark, Italy and Switzerland, which involve a change of train in Germany, along with the destinations in France, which can be accessed by making a connection in Bruxelles.

B-Europe from €40

B-Europe Guide

B-Europe is the website provided by Belgium's national railway operator for the sale of international rail journeys from and to Belgium.
Therefore tickets can be booked for the following international train services to/from Belgium

  • Eurostar
  • IC trains to France, Luxembourg and The Netherlands
  • ICE trains to Germany
  • Thalys trains to Germany, The Netherlands and Paris
  • TGV trains to destination in France other than Paris
    B-Europe offers a 'Best Fares' policy for journey by these trains.

It also sells international end-to-end journeys solely by train, with connections outside of Belgium, if you will be heading to popular destinations in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

Users of Eurail and InterRail passes can also book seat reservations on the Eurostar and Thalys services without paying booking fees.

Trainline from £35

Trainline Guide

Happyrail from €40

Happyrail Guide

Happy Rail is a Netherlands rail ticket agency which sells tickets for both national and international journeys within a range of countries including Belgium France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland.

HappyRail doesn't charge booking fees in the conventional sense, but if you're not Dutch you can expect to pay additional transaction fees, which will be added to the total cost.
That's because the most common form of online payment used in The Netherlands is 'iDEAL' and HappyRail doesn't charge a transaction fee for 'iDEAL' payments, but only Dutch residents can sign up to 'iDEAL'.
Other forms of payment include Visa debit cards will incur a fee.

SaveATrain from €40

SaveATrain Guide

On this journey

Journey Features

High Speed
Look out for the windmills between Schiphol and Rotterdam Look out for the windmills between Schiphol and Rotterdam
A typical view of the landscape west of Lille A typical view of the landscape west of Lille
Crossing the Medway Viaduct between Ashford and Ebbsfleet Crossing the Medway Viaduct between Ashford and Ebbsfleet
The QE II Bridge can be seen on the left after the train has travelled under the River Thames The QE II Bridge can be seen on the left after the train has travelled under the River Thames

It's not a particularly scenic ride, but it is a fascinating journey through three countries with eight distinct phases and highlights:

1: Between Schiphol and Antwerpen the train will travel on high speed lines; look out for the windmills north of Rotterdam and the crossing of the Rhine estuary north of Antwerpen.

2: The train will travel on ordinary lines between Antwerpen and Bruxelles (this fairly short 25 min section of the route is the only part of the route, which isn't on a high speed line)

3: On departure from Bruxelles the best views over the city are on the left of the train.

4: There is little to see from the high speed lines in between Bruxelles and the tunnel.

5: The train will slow down as it approaches The Channel Tunnel.
Announcements are no longer made that the train is about to enter the tunnel.
The journey through the tunnel will take around 22 mins.

6: As the train nears Ebbsfleet International station, comes the scenic highlight of the journey; the crossing of the River Medway on a high bridge.

7: After Ebbsfleet International (which can only be seen from the right) the train will enter a tunnel under the River Thames.
As the train exits this tunnel, from the left, the Queen Elizabeth II road bridge can be seen.

8: For most of the final 8 -10 mins of the journey the trains use tunnels to enter London (Stratford International station is located between the tunnels).

Option 2: Connect in Bruxelles and for a wider choice of departures

Travel Information

The discrepancy in journey times is mainly due to the variations in the connecting time between trains at Bruxelles-Midi/Zuid station.
Also keep in mind that the travel time this combination of Thalys and Eurostar trains will be slower than the direct trains; but if you take this combination of trains, you won't need to be at Amsterdam Centraal station at least 30 mins before departure.

The options which have a total journey time of less than 5hrs, allow between 45 and 50mins to make the connection between the Thalys and Eurostar trains in Bruxelles
So if the departure/arrival times and price suit, target those journeys.
45-50 minutes in Bruxelles should ensure a stress-free transfer at Midi/Zuid station, even if the Thalys arrives up to 15 mins late; which happens very rarely.
Though if the Thalys does arrive in Bruxelles so late that you only have around 15mins to transfer between trains, you SHOULD still make the Eurostar.

On the current reduced timetable the only option available for departing Amsterdam before noon is to take the 06:15 Thalys departure to Bruxelles, but this train is only available on Mon-Fri.
The afternoon options with a connection in Bruxelles involve departing Amsterdam less than 90 mins after a direct Eurostar will have departed; and the direct train will be cheaper.

The alternative (third) option:

You don't have to take a Thalys train between Amsterdam and Bruxelles in order to make the connection into the Eurostar.
If you'll be making a booking after the discounted tickets for the Thalys train has sold out, it's likely that you will be able to save money by taking an IC train from Amsterdam to Bruxelles instead.
Though you will typically have to depart Amsterdam around 50 mins sooner than if you had taken the direct Eurostar.

Change trains in: Bruxelles/Brussels
Current timetable:
Mon - Fri = 2 x connections per day
Saturday = 1 x connection
Sunday = 2 x connections

Usual timetable (pre-pandemic):
Mon - Fri = 5  x connections per day
Saturday = 4 x connections
Sunday = 5 x connections

Tickets

Book Early And Save: Yes

Bookings Usually Open: Between 138 and 190 days ahead of the travel date

Seats are assigned on both the Thalys and Eurostar trains when booking tickets.
The prices shown below are the most heavily discounted, one way Standard Class prices.

Eurostar only sells tickets for the direct trains.
So if you want to compare the timings and prices of taking these trains against the direct trains you will need to use an alternative to the Eurostar website.

Using Eurail and InterRail Passes:

If you will be travelling with a Eurail or InterRail 'Global Pass' you will need to book a rail pass reservation to travel by these trains.

You can purchase these online with no booking fees via B-Europe - or they ARE now available on the Eurostar website.

However, you will save money if you target those direct trains.
Booking in advance is recommended as it's not unknown for rail pass reservations on Eurostar services to sell out days or weeks in advance; there is evidently limited availability per departure.

If you are a UK resident, worth knowing is your rail pass + reservation will only be valid if you take a train back to UK on the final day that you will be using your pass.
You cannot use an InterRail Pass to return to the UK by another route and then travel between the UK and Amsterdam.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
NS Intl from €56

NS Intl Guide

NS is the Dutch national rail operator and it operates a bespoke website for the booking of international rail journeys from and to The Netherlands.
Therefore it offers tickets for journeys by:

  • Thalys trains to Bruxelles and Paris
  • IC trains to Berlin via Hannover and Bruxelles via Antwerpen
  • Eurostar to London
  • ICE trains to Basel and Frankfurt (Main) via Koln
  • the Nightjet trains to Austria and Germany

NS International also sells tickets to a range of destinations in Austria, Czechia, Denmark, Italy and Switzerland, which involve a change of train in Germany, along with the destinations in France, which can be accessed by making a connection in Bruxelles.

B-Europe from €56

B-Europe Guide

B-Europe is the website provided by Belgium's national railway operator for the sale of international rail journeys from and to Belgium.
Therefore tickets can be booked for the following international train services to/from Belgium

  • Eurostar
  • IC trains to France, Luxembourg and The Netherlands
  • ICE trains to Germany
  • Thalys trains to Germany, The Netherlands and Paris
  • TGV trains to destination in France other than Paris
    B-Europe offers a 'Best Fares' policy for journey by these trains.

It also sells international end-to-end journeys solely by train, with connections outside of Belgium, if you will be heading to popular destinations in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

Users of Eurail and InterRail passes can also book seat reservations on the Eurostar and Thalys services without paying booking fees.

Journey Features

Scenic - NoHigh Speed (partial)

Good to Know

Final Destination: Paris Nord

All trains also call at: Schiphol and **Rotterdam

Two big ticks in the box from taking these trains:
(1) Despite being faster, the most heavily discounted tickets, tend to be no more expensive than for the InterCity trains
(2) Tickets include a seat reservation.

Though when travelling by train from Amsterdam to Bruxelles, you can take these trains, or the alternative slower, InterCity trains.

On the high speed line between Amsterdam and Rotterdam On the high speed line between Amsterdam and Rotterdam

These trains use the high speed line between Amsterdam and Antwerpen, but are not high speed between Antwerpen and Bruxelles/Brussels, because between those cities they have to use conventional tracks, though engineering works are ongoing to speed up this part of the route.

It's not a scenically interesting journey, but look out around 15 mins before the train is due to arrive in Antwerpen, for the dramatic crossing of the location of where the River Rhine meets the North Sea.
The best of these views are on the left.

And, as can be seen, you can see windmills between Schiphol and Rotterdam.

Journey Features

High Speed

Good to Know

As a consequence of the Covid-19 crisis Eurostar is operating a particularly limited timetable for the time being - further information is available on Eurostar.com

Final Destination: London St. Pancras International

Some trains also call at : Ebbsfleet International; Ashford International (these station calls are suspended for the time being)

Note that London is in a different time zone to mainland Europe, it is one hour behind - so when looking at a timetable the journey will look as though it's an hour shorter.

Most of the departures between Bruxelles/Brussels and London will be by the e320 trains; but the e300 trains are also used on this route.

Our guide to taking the Eurostar from Bruxelles/Brussels has more information including details of check-in and how to connect into the Eurostar from other train services.

Our guide to arriving by Eurostar in London is here.

A typical view from the high speed line between Lille and The Channel Tunnel A typical view from the high speed line between Lille and The Channel Tunnel
Crossing The River Medway Crossing The River Medway
The Queen Elizabeth II road bridge seem from the left of the train The Queen Elizabeth II road bridge seem from the left of the train

It's not a scenic journey, but it is a journey with distinct phases and highlights:

1: There is little to see from the high speed lines in Belgium and France.

2: The train will slow down as it approaches The Channel Tunnel.

Announcements are no longer made that the train is about to enter the tunnel.

The journey through the tunnel will take around 22 mins.

3: As the train nears Ebbsfleet International station, comes the scenic highlight of the journey - the crossing of the River Medway on a high bridge.

4: After Ebbsfleet International (which can only be seen from the right) the train will enter a tunnel under the River Thames.

As the train exits this tunnel, from the left, the Queen Elizabeth II road bridge can be seen.

5: For most of the final 8 -10 mins of the journey the trains use tunnels to enter London (Stratford International station is located between the tunnels).

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