Greentraveller's Guide to how to travel by train from London St Pancras International Railway Station to Amsterdam Centraal in The Netherlands.
Thanks to the new high speed line from Brussels to Amsterdam you can reach the Dutch city in about the same time 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. For more information on Amsterdam, including hotels, restaurants and markets selling fresh local produce, museums and other attractions, see our Green Traveller's Guide to Amsterdam.
Journey Time: from 3 hours 41 mins
Sample timetable: Depart London 11.04am, arrive Brussels 4.11pm
Changes: None, it is a direct train
Frequency of Departures: 5/day
Carbon emissions: 2.13kg (flight would be 56kg)*
Car hire at Amsterdam Centraal station: Yes
What's the journey like?
It's a direct train from London St Pancras International Railway Station to Amsterdam Centraal station, which is in the heart of Amsterdam. On board Eurostar, there’s a bar-buffet carriage that sells a range of hot and cold, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, including champagne, as well as snacks and wholesome, hearty dishes. For those with standard premier tickets, light refreshments are served at your table, including a fresh, light, healthy meal, tea, coffee and soft drinks, and a glass of wine or beer. It’s about 30 mins from London to the Channel Tunnel, then, after about 20 minutes in the tunnel, you emerge for the quick onward journey through the beautiful countryside of northern France and Belgium, on to Amsterdam. This direct service is a fast and efficient way to travel from London to Amsterdam, arriving in the centre of Brussels in just over 4 hours.
Welkom in Amsterdam! There are lots of hotels near Amsterdam Centraal station, these get good reviews: Hotels near Amsterdam Centraal station. 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!
(tickets provided by RailEurope)
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