It’s no secret that I’m a massive fan of all kinds of planes, trains and automobiles. I love the speed, the excitement of going somewhere new and the chance to sit back, relax and stare idly out the window and watch the world pass me by.
I was more than a little excited to catch the Eurostar to Brussels a couple of weeks ago and I have to say that it was surprisingly smooth and easy. It was so easy that it actually made me feel guilty; It took two hours to get to Brussels, that’s less time than it takes to get to my parent’s house in North Wales, so why have I never been before?
It’s crazy how close we are yet the thought of going to a whole new country seems like such a faff that I never bothered but it was actually easy as pie.
- It costs from £69 return and the ticket will take you to any station in Belgium
- The train takes 2 hours
- You need to arrive at least 15 minutes before the train leaves
- If you’re late, they do have a special queue for people taking the next train to leave
- It will cost more if you travel at the weekend
- The coffee and food on board is fine but expensive so you’re better off stocking up at the nicer cafes once you get through security. This applies for both London and Belgium stations
Here’s how it went…
I left my house at 7am on a miserable Saturday morning to catch the 8am Eurostar. Just as I was locking the door I had a last minute panic attack: “What if you’re meant to check in an hour before like you do on a flight?”
I spent the next 40 minutes sweating and willing the tube to go faster while I paced around in a circle like a dog trying to find a comfy spot. In situations like this I’m sure the tube driver can sense your intense urgency from the front of the train and purposely slows down and cautions his passengers at every single stop about the dangers of getting your coat stuck in the door.
After sprinting up a marathon of escalators at King’s Cross St Pancreas (with my suitcase in tow!), I arrived with 20 minutes to spare. Phew. This was more than enough time to get through security which was a quick ticket barrier, brief luggage scan and passport check and even I had enough time for a coffee and croissant which made me feel very European.
The train was spacious and comfortable and we arrived in Brussels at 11.04 feeling relaxed and unflustered.
Getting to Ghent
If you plan to travel to somewhere else in Belgium, Brussels train station is really easy to navigate. We found the train to Ghent in no time and the trains seem to leave about every 12 minutes.
A return journey from London to Belgium costs from £69 on the Eurostar website. If you plan to travel over the weekend it is a little more expensive but it’s still cheaper than flying when you factor in the price of transport on either side of the airport.
TIP: The train to Ghent was included in the Eurostar ticket but this wasn’t obvious on the ticket. I was later told that this Eurostar ticket would take you to any Belgium station.
If you want to see more from Ghent, you can check out A weekend in Ghent: An Instagram Photo Essay and my stay in the Hotel Gent Clock Tower where I stayed in a magical room surrounding the train station clock!
Disclaimer: The trip to Ghent was sponsored by Visit Flanders but my new found love for the Eurostar is all my own.
Have you ever travelled by the Eurostar? If so, how did you find it?
You may have noticed that there’s a sexy new button at the bottom of this page. This will send my post to the new site WorldTravelList where you can share your favourite blog posts and organise them by destination. So when you’re researching your next trip, it’s really easy to find location specific blog posts. Pretty good idea, right.