Train from London to Amsterdam
Thanks to the new high speed line from Brussels to Amsterdam you can reach the Dutch city faster than it takes to go from London to Edinburgh.
There are a myriad reasons to visit Amsterdam: this compact capital packs a big punch when it comes to history, art, architecture, and contemporary chic. A relaxed, liberal vibe pervades and there is no shortage of cosy cafés, stylish boutiques, and appetising restaurants in which to enjoy all the city has to offer. Whether you’ve come to discover the latest in design, to visit some of the world’s great art collections, to indulge in some of the city’s less salubrious pleasures, or just to stroll and admire the traditional houses reflected in Amsterdam’s many canals – there’s something for just about everyone.
Option 1: via Brussels
Sample itinerary: 0855 from London St Pancras arrives at Brussels Midi at 1205 to catch the 1252 high speed Thalys train which arrives at Amsterdam Centraal at 1442 (or have lunch in Brussels and take the 1552, arriving 1742).
Price: From £116 return
London St Pancras to Brussels Midi
Frequency of service: 11 trains a day (8 trains on Sunday).
Journey time: from 1 hr 55 minutes
|Transfer||A quick same-station change of platform at Brussels Midi station to catch the onward connection.||
Change of platform
Transfer time: Allow 20 mins
Book a hotel near Brussels Midi
|Leg 2:||Brussels Midi to Amsterdam
Thalys trains (fast) depart 0750, 0950, 1150, 1350, 1650, 1850, 1950 - reservations required, no bikes allowed.
InterCity trains (slower) leave every hour, no reservation required.
Frequency of service: Hourly
Thalys or InterCity
Journey time: From 1 hr 53 mins (Thalys) or 2 hrs 28 mins (InterCity)
Welkom in Amsterdam!
Where to go: As well as the stylish restaurants, hip hang outs and clubs, Amsterdam is an outdoorsy city with plenty of green spaces, tree-lined canals, cycle lanes and farmers’ markets. It’s a relatively small city and many of the sights are within walking distance, from the cobbled streets of Jordaan and the popular Vondelpark to the art galleries, museums and fringe theatre in the centre of town.
Almost all international services and most intercity services from the rest of the Netherlands will drop you at Amsterdam Centraal station, right in the heart of the city, between the river Amstel and the city centre. It is also the terminus of three of Amsterdam’s metro lines, as well as being a major tram and bus hub: onward travel across the city is a breeze, and if you aren’t carrying heavy luggage, you could choose to make the short walk into town.
Getting around Amsterdam: At Amsterdam Central station, there’s an excellent network of trams, metro and buses, though Amsterdam is one of the world’s most cycle-friendly cities, so cycling is usually the quickest, cheapest and easiest ways to get around. Nearly all the cycling lanes are separate from the road (with traffic lights especially for bikes), so for a city, it’s a safe place to cycle, though you’re advised to always lock your bike wherever you leave it. At central station you can hire a bike with Mac Bike, one of Amsterdam’s largest bike rental agencies that also provides details for bike tours around the city (open 7 days a week 9am-5.45pm; www.macbike.nl; +31 (0)206 200 985).
Amsterdam is not a huge city, and it is a pleasure to wander along its canals and cobbled streets – exploring by foot is certainly a viable option. However, it also boasts a fine integrated transport system if you want to make a longer journey or take some of the strain off your calf muscles. Whilst you can buy single tickets, if you will be making several journeys, get hold of an OV-chipkaartí – an integrated transport smartcard, which you can top up and use on public transport across the city: the city’s tourist website, iAmsterdam, has more public transport ticket information for visitors. If you plan to combine visits to some of the city’s attractions and museums with use of the public transport network, consider getting hold of an iAmsterdam City Card, which can offer huge savings – including unlimited public transport use, and free museum entry, for its duration.
The metro system is likely to be the least useful part of the transport network for visitors, serving mainly outlying districts. More useful are the comprehensive tram network and bus services, all of which are run (along with ferries) by GVB (Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf), their site boasts a handy journey planner and a map of the entire Amsterdam transport network.
Amsterdam, of course, wouldn’t be Amsterdam without bikes: this is one of the world’s most cycle-friendly cities, with 60% of trips across the inner city made by bike. iAmsterdam offers cycle information and tips for visitors, as well as a list of recommended bike hire providers in Amsterdam: the choice is vast!
>> For more tips on where to stay, eat, shop & visit:
Book a hotel near Amsterdam Centraal