Marseille to London by train

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

There are up to three options for making the journey by train from Marseille to London:

  1. Year round, the most frequent option is to travel via Paris and make the cross-city transfer between terminals in French capital.
  2. Also available year round there is the option to travel via Lille and thereby avoid the cross Paris transfer.
  3. On certain dates in the summer there is a direct train, which by default becomes the optimum option.
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Routes

Option 1: taking the direct train (currently not available):

Travel Information

Typically only available on certain days of the week from early May until mid-September, this direct train from Marseille to London was suspended due to the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
Hopefully it will return in 2022.

Final Destination: London

This train also calls at: Lille-Europe and Ashford International, It does not call at Ebbsfleet International

(Remember that Marseille is an hour ahead of London)

up to 1 x train per day

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 6 months ahead of the travel date

Some of the alternative journeys, which involve changing trains at Lille, can be quicker than taking this direct train and also involve leaving a train on arrival at Lille to pass through passport control

However, if you make those alternative connections in Lille; you then have to wait for an entirely different train to arrive in Lille, which will be heading on to London.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Eurostar *

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.

On this journey

Journey Features

High SpeedScenic - No

Good to Know

If you take this direct train you have disembark on arrival at Lille Europe with your luggage and take the escalator up to the customs hall, pass through passport control; and then travel back down to the platform where the train will be waiting.

Eurostar allows 1hr 15 mins for all passengers to pass through customs, and the advantage of taking the 'direct train' is that you can guarantee the connection, the train you have left will still be waiting for you.

When travelling from London, you pass through border control in London, so remain on the train until it arrives in Marseille, hence a much shorter journey time in the opposite direction.

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

1: There is little of note to see from the high speed lines in France, the wow factor comes from the speed.

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: 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: travelling via Lille

Travel Information

Take this journey via Lille and you could avoid having to make the transfer in Paris between the Gare De Lyon and Gare Du Nord.
So it's an easier journey than travelling via Paris and usually no more expensive.

Mon-Friday: 2 x connections per day
Saturday 1 x connection
Sunday: 2 x connections per day

Change trains in: Lille

Tickets

Book Early And Save: Yes

Online bookings open: 90 days ahead

The very cheapest tickets tend to sell out particularly quickly on this route.

On the ticket agents, the search results for Marseille to London journeys, combine these journeys via Lille with the alternative connections via Paris

The ticketing terms:

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

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Trainline *

Trainline Guide

SNCF Connect *

SNCF Connect Guide

SNCF is the national rail operator in France and not so long ago it recently simplified both the range of tickets and the term and conditions of using them.
Therefore the cheapest tickets also become more flexible too.

Other improvements included a simple integration of travelling with bicycles and rail pass users being able to book reservations for national journeys, without paying booking fees.

And it also recently launched SNCF Connect as replacement for its Oui.SNCF booking service.
You can set up a low price alert to let you know when the cheapest price is available for a future journey.

Something else to look out for is that simplest way of travelling with tickets is to use the SNCF Connect App, as booked tickets can therefore be stored on your mobile device, which can then be shown to the train conductors as proof of purchase.

SNCF Connect on Google Play

SNCF Connect in the App (Apple) store

SNCF also operates RailEurope, which is in effect a dedicated online booking service for making bookings from outside of Europe.
If you reside outside of Europe you may discover that SNCF Connect rejects phone numbers or card numbers, but RailEurope won't do so.
Though RailEurope will add booking fees when making a purchase

Journey Features

High Speed

Good to Know

Final Destination: Bruxelles or Lille

All trains also call at: Marne La Vallée and Aeroport-CDG

You can avoid having to cross Paris from the Gare De Lyon to the Gare Du Nord by taking these direct trains from Marseille to Lille.

Alternative trains:

You can also now opt to travel from Marseille to Lille by Ouigo trains - they take the same high speed lines as these InOui services.

They're (much) cheaper than taking these standard InOui trains, but the on-board experience is more basic.

You also need to be at the station 30 mins prior to departure of Ouigo trains, so that you'll have time to pass through Ouigo reception.

Journey Features

High Speed

Good to Know

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

Final Destination: London St. Pancras 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.

Some trains* also call at : Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International
These station calls have been suspended until at least December 2022.

Most of the departures between Lille and London will be by the e300 trains; but the newer e320 trains are now also being used on this route.

Our guide to arriving by Eurostar in London is here.

Taking a Eurostar from Europe station:

These four things are good to know:

(1) Eurostar check-in is located in Hall 4 on the concourse.

(2) Check-in will open around 30 - 40 mins before the next Eurostar to Britain is due to depart - you can only check-in for the next departure, you cannot check-in ahead and then wait for your train in the Eurostar departure hall.

(3) Announcements will be made in English and French as to when the check-in has opened, there is little point in joining the queue for the check-in desk prior to this announcement.

(4) Around 5 -10 mins prior to departure another announcement will be made that travellers can now descend to the voie (platform/track) which the Eurostar will be departing from.

The departure screens shown above will show you in which zone/répére you can wait for easy boarding into the specific coach in which your reserved seat will be located.

ShowMeTheJourney has produced a detailed guide to connecting into a Eurostar from a TGV train.

Between Lille and Calais Between Lille and Calais
Crossing the Medway Viaduct between Ashford and Ebbsfleet Crossing the Medway Viaduct between Ashford and Ebbsfleet
The view of the Queen Elizabeth road bridge over The Thames The view of the Queen Elizabeth road bridge over The Thames

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

1: There is little to see from the high speed lines in 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).

Option 3: travelling via Paris

Travel Information

Travel via Paris and you will need to make the transfer between the Gare De Lyon, where the TGV will arrive, and the Gare Du Nord, from where the Eurostar will depart.

All of the journeys via Paris sold by the ticket agents will allow more than 1hr 15mins to make the transfer and to check-in for the Eurostar.
So making the connection on time shouldn't be a problem.
The longer end-to-end journey times allow additional time to cross Paris.

However, in the rare event of the TGV from Marseille being heavily delayed, you will be able to transfer tickets free of charge to a later departure* on from Paris.
You can do this at the Eurostar ticket office at Gare Du Nord.
*Unless you take the final connection of the day from Marseille.

TGV InOui + Eurostar
Mon - Fri= 9 x connections per day
Saturday = 7 x connections
Sunday =8 x connections

Ouigo + Eurostar
Up to two additional daily connections are typically available, but on these end-to-end journey you will be taking a more basic Ouigo service from Marseille to Paris

Change trains in: Paris

Tickets

Book Early And Save: Yes

Online bookings open: 90 days ahead

The very cheapest tickets tend to sell out particularly quickly on this route.

On the ticket agents, the search results for Marseille to London journeys, combine these journeys via Paris with the alternative connections via Lille.

The ticketing terms:

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

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Eurostar from £72 (approx)

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.

SNCF Connect from £72 (approx)

SNCF Connect Guide

SNCF is the national rail operator in France and not so long ago it recently simplified both the range of tickets and the term and conditions of using them.
Therefore the cheapest tickets also become more flexible too.

Other improvements included a simple integration of travelling with bicycles and rail pass users being able to book reservations for national journeys, without paying booking fees.

And it also recently launched SNCF Connect as replacement for its Oui.SNCF booking service.
You can set up a low price alert to let you know when the cheapest price is available for a future journey.

Something else to look out for is that simplest way of travelling with tickets is to use the SNCF Connect App, as booked tickets can therefore be stored on your mobile device, which can then be shown to the train conductors as proof of purchase.

SNCF Connect on Google Play

SNCF Connect in the App (Apple) store

SNCF also operates RailEurope, which is in effect a dedicated online booking service for making bookings from outside of Europe.
If you reside outside of Europe you may discover that SNCF Connect rejects phone numbers or card numbers, but RailEurope won't do so.
Though RailEurope will add booking fees when making a purchase

Trainline from £72 (approx)

Trainline Guide

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

High Speed

Journey description:

These TGV InOui trains travel on to the high speed line around 10 mins into the journey and then don't leave it until it reaches the outskirts of Paris.

Most of the wow factor comes from travelling at more than 285 km/h for most of the journey, but the first 45 mins of the journey is the most scenic.

Look out for the Sommet Aqueduct, which is on the left after Aix-en-Provence TGV Look out for the Sommet Aqueduct, which is on the left after Aix-en-Provence TGV
Crossing the Rhone River at more than 280 km/h Crossing the Rhone River at more than 280 km/h
Typical Provencal scenery that can be experienced on the first phase of the journey Typical Provencal scenery that can be experienced on the first phase of the journey

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

Note that these trains depart from the Gare Du Nord.

Final Destination: London St Pancras

Some trains also call at: Ashford International or Ebbfleet Intermational (these station calls have been suspended until 2023)

The majority of trains have a journey time of 2hr 16mins and these trains are non-stop between Paris and London

Our guide to arriving by Eurostar in London is here.

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.

Checking-in:

Eurostar requests that holders of Standard Class And Standard Premier tickets check-in a minimum of 30mins before departure, and 45mins before departure on weekends and holidays.
It is up to you to allow time to pass through check-in and board the train.

If you have a Business Premier ticket, Eurostar recommends that you only have to check-in 10 mins before departure.

At Gare Du Nord the check in and waiting area for the Eurostar (the 'Hall Du Londres') is at an upper level, above the main concourse.
The access to this upper level is some distance from the voie/platforms/tracks that the Eurostars depart from.

The escalators leading up to Eurostar departures are located at the rear wall of the station building - on opposite side of the concourse to voies/platforms/tracks 14 - 15.

Between Lille and The Channel Between Lille and The Channel
Crossing the Medway Viaduct on a grey day Crossing the Medway Viaduct on a grey day
The view of the Queen Elizabeth II road bridge The view of the Queen Elizabeth II road bridge

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 France, particularly after Lille (the trains to Paris will rush through Lille Europe station).

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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