Hamburg to London by train

How to travel from northern Germany to London by train

This end-to-end journey is less complicated than you might have supposed, with only two easily timed connections required.
Though travelling overnight is not an option on this route.



From Hamburg Hbf to London St Pancras International

Travel Information

The connecting time between trains at Koln Hbf station will be around 53 min and trains from Hamburg very rarely arrive more than 45 mins late, so making the connection shouldn't be a problem.
Though it is not 100% guaranteed.

The connecting time between trains in Bruxelles will typically be around 1hr 20mins

Depart from Hamburg before 07:00 and you will be taking an EC train between there and Koln/Cologne.

6 x connections per day

Change trains in: Koln/Cologne and Bruxelles/Brussels


Book Early And Save: Yes

Online bookings open: usually open around 6 months ahead of the travel date.

It's also often possible to depart Hamburg 20 mins later and make an additional connection in Hannover, but because these end-to-end journeys are faster they can be the only options offered by the ticket agent.
They will be the options with 3 x transfers between trains.
If you see them SMTJ's is to avoid booking these options, they will be dependent on making a non-guaranteed connections between trains in Hannover.
Though if you make separate bookings for the Hamburg to Koln and Koln to London journeys you will have to re-book the journey on to London if the train from Hamburg arrives too late to make the connection into the train on to Bruxelles.

Eurostar does not sell tickets for this journey.

Both RailEurope and Trainline will charge a booking fee for this journey.

Seat Reservations:

Book a 1st class ticket(s) and your seats will automatically be assigned on all trains

The tickets will be train specific, but seat reservations are OPTIONAL l in 2nd class on both the EC or IC  train between  Hamburg and Koln/Cologne AND the ICE train between Koln/Cologne and Bruxelles/Brussels

The 2nd class ticket prices you will initially see on the agents do NOT initially include the costs of the reservation on these ICE trains.

The reservation fee is 2nd class = €4.50, 1st class = €5.50 – but the reservation charges cover BOTH of the non-Eurostar trains on this journey.

When making a booking on RailEurope you will have to de-select the reservation if you don’t want to reserve seats on the ICEs, but on DB Bahn and the Trainline, you will have to add the reservations.
The trains between Hamburg and Koln tend to be exceptionally busy.

Reservations are compulsory on the Eurostar and this is included when booking point2point journey tickets – your Eurostar seats will be automatically assigned.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
DB Bahn *

DB Bahn Guide

DB is the national railway operator in Germany, so its website can be used for booking journeys by German express trains; the ICE and IC trains and it doesn't charge booking fees.
It also sells tickets for journeys by direct trains on all international routes from Germany regardless of whether DB is operating the train service.

It also sells an extensive range of end-to-end journeys which involve making connections both within Germany and in neighboring countries, but journeys between Germany and Britain cannot be booked on DB.

A key feature of DB website worth keeping mind is that it offers 1st class ticket purchasers complimentary seat reservations on journeys both within and to/from Germany.

Seat reservations for daytime in both 1st and 2nd class can also be booked separately from tickets.

Trainline *

Trainline Guide

Rail Europe *
B-Europe *

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

Not High SpeedScenic - No

Good to Know

Departing from Hamburg:

Most of these trains commence their journeys at Hamburg-Altona station and they all call at Hamburg-Dammtor before they arrive at Hamburg Hbf.

Final Destination: Stuttgart or Nurnberg (or destinations in Switzerland)

The DB trains:

Despite there being no high speed lines between Hamburg and Koln/Cologne, some trains between the two cities are ICE trains - either ICE 1 or ICE T trains.

Some trains in the timetable are also EC trains heading to Switzerland - so you may find yourself on a Swiss and not a German IC train.

The lack of a high speed line means that it doesn't matter which train you take in terms of journey time.

Journey Features

Scenic - NoHigh Speed (partial journey)

Good to Know

Final Destination: BruxellesMidi/Brussel Zuid

All trains also call at:  Aachen

Between Koln and Aachen Between Koln and Aachen
Between Aachen and Liege Between Aachen and Liege
Between Liege and Brussels Between Liege and Brussels

For virtually the entire train journey from Koln to Bruxelles the trains, will either be travelling at up to 290 km/h on purpose built high speed lines, or up to 200km/h on section of railway, that has been re-engineered to allow trains to travel faster.

It is a journey of six distinct phases:

  1. Between Koln and Aachen the trains travel at up to 200 km/h on a re-engineered stretch of railway.
  2. Then for most of the the 25 min journey between Aachen and Liege the train will travel at up to 290 km/h on a high speed line; this is also the most scenic part of the trip.
  3. Then for around five minutes after departure from Liege, the train will travel fairly slowly on a route which ascends from the city.
  4. Next up is the HS2 Belgian high speed route as far as Leuven, in theory the ICE and Thalys trains can accelerate back up to around 290 km/h on this part of the trip.
  5. From Leuven to just north of Brussel-Nord station the maximum speed is 200 km/h.
  6. For most of the journey between Brussel-Nord and Brussel-Zuid the railway crosses the city centre in a tunnel.

Journey Features

High Speed (total journey)

Good to Know

Most of the departures between Bruxelles/Brussels and London will be by the e320 trains, but the e300 trains are still used on some departures.

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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