Eurostar services on the London <> Bruxelles route call in Lille, but this route has been particularly impacted by the pandemic, with the usual volume of departures reduced by more than 50%.
Lille Europe station typically offers an opportunity to make onward connections to a swathe of French destinations served by TGV trains including Bordeaux, Nantes, Rennes and Strasbourg; a useful alternative to having to cross Paris between its stations.
However, the reduction in the volume of both the Eurostar and TGV services, has cut the number of viable onward travel opportunities.
Currently only Avignon, Lyon and Marseille have a viable connections with Eurostar services from London.
Final Destination: Bruxelles-Mid or Amtserdam or Marne La Vallée
Some trains also call at: Ebbsfleet International (07:04 on Mon-Fri; 09:12 and 13:15 daily) or Ashford International (07:28 on Mon-Sat and 18:28 on Sunday) these station calls have been suspended until further notice
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 longer.
Virtually all of the departures between London and Lille will be by the e320trains.
At St Pancras
Eurostar is currently suggesting that Standard Class And Standard Premier ticket holders should be at the Eurostar departure area in St Pancras International 90 mins before departure; and that Business Premier ticket holders should be there 45-60mins prior to departure.
The departure gates will close 30 mins prior to departure for Standard Class And Standard Premier ticket holders; and 15 mins prior to departure for Business Premier ticket holders.
Our guide to taking a Eurostar from London is here.
The trains only call at Ebbsfleet or Ashford International stations to pick up passengers, so these station calls are not included on the departure boards at St Pancras International or announced on the train.
Until January 7th:
5 x trains per day
Trains depart at different times according to the day of the week
January 8th - February 4th:
Mon-Thurs = 4 x trains per day
Fri-Sun = 5 x trains per day
Book early and save: Yes
Online bookings open: up to 330 days ahead of the travel date.
The price shown above is the standard, most heavily discounted, one way Standard Class price.
Eurostar frequently offers special fare/deals promotions, so the price you see on the home page of the Eurostar website MAY be cheaper.
But check the terms and conditions of these deals BEFORE making a booking. The special price MAY depend on additional factors, such as the need to book a return trip and/or MAY not be available when making day trips.
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).
Click on the 'train guide' for more information on how to do this
As the fabulous Seat 61 explains here in detail (scroll down to 'Choosing A Seat') some seats on Eurostar services are better than others.
The ticketing terms
Also worth knowing is that when travelling by Eurostar you can choose between three classes of service, and this also impacts on the exchanges and refunds of what Eurostar refers to as 'Flexible tickets'
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, in response to the pandemic they can now be refunded and they can be exchanged to alternative departures without paying the admin fee, or the price difference.
Eurostar's full ticket terms and conditions are here
Using Rail Passes on Eurostar:
Rail pass users can now pay reservation fees to travel on Eurostar trains, in a similar manner to other international European high speed trains.
The new rail pass reservation fees are similar to the cheapest single journey ticket prices, but as those cheapest tickets can sell out quickly, it's likely that the rail pass reservation fees will save money.
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 - there is evidently limited availability per departure.
You can obtain a rail pass reservations without paying a booking fee at Eurostar stations.
However, if you want to do this on the day of travel be prepared to be flexible re: the train you will take.
If you are a UK resident, your rail pass + reservation is only valid if you take a train from the UK on the first day that your pass is valid for and return to the UK on the final day that you will be using a pass.
|Ticket Provider||Approximate Cost|
|B-Europe||from €50 (approx)|
It's not a scenic journey, but it is a journey with six distinct phases and highlights:
1: For most of the first 8 mins of the journey the trains use tunnels to exit London (Stratford International station is located between the tunnels).
2: Then from the right of the train, there are views of the River Thames marshes and of the Queen Elizabeth II road bridge.
3: The third tunnel that the train will pass through is the tunnel under the River Thames.
4: Shortly after Ebbsfleet International station (can only be seen from the right of the train) is the scenic highlight of the journey - the crossing of the River Medway.
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: There is little of note to be seen from the high speed line in France.
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