Five reasons to travel to Brussels by Eurostar | Amanda's Wanderlust

Five reasons to travel to Brussels by Eurostar

Last week the news broke that Eurostar could cut train services and staff due to the ‘challenging environment’ following the UK’s EU referendum vote. I’m a huge fan of the Eurostar as an alternative to air travel, and couldn’t help thinking this could be a retrograde step for sustainable travel. So I decided to highlight my top five reasons to travel to Brussels by Eurostar…

When the news broke that Eurostar is likely to cut one in 12 services from London St Pancras to Paris and Brussels, with up to 80 jobs at risk, it struck me as a shame. The international train operator carries 80 per cent of passenger traffic between London and these two European capitals.

Five reasons to travel to Brussels by Eurostar | Amanda's Wanderlust

It has clearly been a tough year for both routes following the terror attacks in Paris in November 2015 and Brussels in March 2016, which undoubtedly dampened demand. In July, the high speed rail service reported a challenging second quarter. Business demand had softened in the run-up to the EU referendum and leisure traffic was impacted by the terrorist attacks. The outcome of the EU referendum in the UK, will hit the Brussels route hard in future.

I have travelled on the service a number of times, to Brussels, Calais, and Paris. Next week I’ll use it for my journey to Strasbourg. This has allowed me to travel outside the UK, despite a current self-imposed temporary flight ban to minimise my carbon footprint.

So here are my top five reasons to travel to Brussels by Eurostar:

1. Sustainability

Five reasons to travel to Brussels by Eurostar | Amanda's Wanderlust

Travelling by train is more sustainable than flying. Trains are more energy-efficient per passenger mile than planes, which means they use less fuel and release fewer emissions. It also makes fares less vulnerable to changes in fuel costs. According to independent research commissioned by Eurostar, passengers who fly between London, Paris and Brussels generate ten times more CO2 emissions than travellers who go by train.

Emissions from trains may also be less damaging to the environment because they are not released directly into the upper atmosphere.

The rapid growth in aviation, as flights became more affordable, has led to a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions associated with travel. This presents a major challenge to any claim from the tourism industry to be environmentally sustainable.

2. Convenience

Five reasons to travel to Brussels by Eurostar | Amanda's WanderlustI personally find travelling to Brussels by Eurostar much more convenient and less stressful than travelling by plane. The schedules offer flexibility and convenience, with 10 trains per day between London and Brussels. Getting to London St Pancras is easy, as it is on the London Underground network. The same applies when you arrive in your destination city, as Eurostar stations are generally centrally located.

The check in process is much less hassle. You only have to arrive 30 minutes before your train’s departure times (compared to one hour in an airport). So far, I’ve found the check-in, security and customs process to be less stressful and time-consuming than when taking a flight.

You can also take more luggage with you, thanks to the more generous baggage allowances. Eurostar allows two bags (plus hand luggage) with no weight restrictions. Most flights limit you to one bag (plus hand luggage) and up to 20kg. There is no requirement to check your luggage in, which means no waiting at the carousel when you arrive and no chance of your luggage going missing. You can access your luggage throughout the journey.

3. Fast and reliable

Five reasons to travel to Brussels by Eurostar | Amanda's Wanderlust

Travel to Brussels by Eurostar is fast and reliable. The journey time from central London to the centre of Brussels is just two hours. I know the flight time alone is slightly quicker at around one hour and 15 minutes. But add to that the extra time it takes for check in, security, and baggage reclaim, plus transferring from the airport to the city centre, and Eurostar wins hands down.

According to Eurostar the total time taken for the journey, when all this is taken into account, is two hours 31 minutes by Eurostar and three hours 19 minutes by plane. The extra time you are required to spend in airports adds to your journey.

Five reasons to travel to Brussels by Eurostar | Amanda's Wanderlust

Punctuality is a priority on Eurostar, which results in a very reliable service. Figures from 2013 showed that 92.5% of trains between London and Brussels arrived within 15 minutes of their scheduled time. Contrast this with the reliability of flights, with 76.6% of British Airways flights, 85.1% of easyJet flights and 81.3% of Air France flights arriving within 15 minutes of their scheduled time.

4. Fewer hidden costs

Five reasons to travel to Brussels by Eurostar | Amanda's Wanderlust

Travelling by Eurostar is good value, with the lowest fares starting at around £29 each way for standard class. The price varies depending on which scheduled service you choose, but still it is easily comparable to a cheap flight and fairly affordable.

But perhaps more importantly there are fewer hidden costs. For example, you don’t have to pay a charge to choose your own seat, the generous baggage allowance means you don’t get stung for hold luggage charges or excess baggage, and there are no airport taxes to pay. Train fares also seem to me to be more stable than plane fares. This all leaves you with more money to spend when you reach your destination (on delicious Belgian chocolate for example!).

5. It’s more comfortable

Five reasons to travel to Brussels by Eurostar | Amanda's Wanderlust

One of the things I like most about travelling to Brussels by Eurostar is that it is more comfortable than flying, which means you arrive at your destination feeling less stressed and tired. For me, there is something more traditional and charming about travelling by train. Maybe even more stylish.

For starters you get more leg room, so you can stretch your legs out, sit back and relax. You can also watch the world go by through the window, rather than just looking out at the clouds.

Five reasons to travel to Brussels by Eurostar | Amanda's Wanderlust

You are free to move around the train, to visit the café car or toilet, at any time during the journey. This beats crossing your legs until the seat-belt sign is switched off! In many seats you can plug in your phone, laptop or tablet, ensuring you arrive fully charged. And there is no switching off during taxi, take-off and landing.

Things to do in Brussels

Five reasons to travel to Brussels by Eurostar | Amanda's WanderlustFor ideas of things to do in Brussels, check out:

DIY Walking Tour of Brussels

Brussels: Seat of European Power

Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Lyon, Avignon, Marseille and the French Alps. This is NOT a sponsored post and as always all views are my own.

Five reasons to travel to Brussels by Eurostar | Amanda's Wanderlust

 

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42 thoughts on “Five reasons to travel to Brussels by Eurostar”

  1. This is great. Very informative. I’ve never travelled by Eurostar before, but I’ve been considering it recently. I’m definitely going to look into it now if we’re facing service cuts.

  2. I took the Eurostar for the first time last year and totally agree! If you take into account the extra time you spend at the airport, Eurostar is just as quick as flying and definitely more comfortable.

  3. I definitely love and prefer train travel but usually opt for flying because it’s cheaper. When you can fly for 19€ and the train is 150€, it just doesn’t make sense. I wish their costs would go down because train is so much more fun, exciting, convenient, and easier!

    1. Thanks for your comment Lyssie. I think it depends when you book, as there have been some great offers recently. I personally try to take the environmental cost of travel in to account too, and this is not reflected in the cost of air travel.

  4. I love traveling by train, especially in Europe. It’s so easy and fun to get around that way. Maybe next time I’m in London, I’ll get a train over to Brussels for a couple days (I love Belgium!).

  5. Ahhh I LOOOVED Brussels and actually travelled there by Eurostar from London as well! Definitely recommend taking the train, I find it’s less of a hassle than going to the airport! My only suggestion is to book ahead of time for cheaper prices 🙂

  6. I LOVE train travel – and you’ve given me some reasons to love it even more (I didn’t realise air travel was 10 times more harmful!). Unfortunately, like Lyssie, the price difference is often so huge. I wanted to travel via train to London next month, but from where I live in France it was going to cost around €200 more to go via rail 🙁 It will be such a shame if they reduce services though!

    1. That is a shame Nadine. The cost of air travel is artificially low because the aviation industry doesn’t pay tax on fuel for example, but I think this will change over time if we ever get serious about tackling climate change. In the meantime, booking further ahead will get you cheaper tickets.

  7. I truly enjoy train travel, but like the comment above me noted, it’s hard to justify train travel when flights are so much cheaper. I guess it makes it less shocking that the train business isn’t doing so well when you look at it like that. Personally, I would love to ride this route from London some day, so I hope they continue to operate!

    1. Thanks Kirsten, I try to take in to account the environmental impact of my travel as well as the cost, so this means flying less often and some times paying more to travel in a more sustainable manner. But I know that’s a tough call to make.

  8. I have never used Eurostar but I assume it is like the other train services in Europe? I was just in Liege this summer by train and had a fabulous time. I wish I had more time to visit Brussels. Next time!

  9. I agree completely with you. Brussels (it’s always weird to add an s behind Brussel for me haha) is a great city, and has plenty of things to offer to people. To me it’s a bit strange that people are incredibly worried or say that Europe isn’t safe while the chance you get killed in a carcrash is so much higher than in a terroristattack. I will not let them hold me back haha. And from Amsterdam (close to where I live) to get the train is mostly way cheaper than the flights which is great!

  10. This is really good as two days ago I was having a conversation with my husband about going to Belgium by train. We weren’t sure if we should drive (which is a bit of a pain as we live in the UK) or take the Eurostar.

  11. Haven’t tried traveling by train in Europe. We usually rent a car, but we are starting to travel more long-term so we will definitely try this! Thanks for sharing.

  12. Going from London to Brussels by Eurostar is definitely better than flying, at least when you have to be in the city centre. When you have to get to Heathrow, I guess flying would be better and easier.
    I also discovered recently to take the Eurolines bus from Brussels to London. It’s a lot of fun when you have plenty of time. It takes quite a lot of hours, but sometimes slow travel is nice as well. Anyway, I love you reasons to sustain the train from Brussels and Paris to London.

  13. We haven’t got a chance to travel in Eurostar but have travelled a lot by trains in Europe and must agree train travelling is the best option to explore Europe. This post is very informative and we would definitely consider Eurostar next time we plan a trip. Thanks!

  14. Since moving to London, I haven’t really gone out anywhere as I’m too busy exploring what this city has to offer. I should probably do this Brussels trip soon enough. Also, I agree with everything you mentioned – train travel is the way to go. 🙂

    1. Thanks Noemi – I hope you’re enjoying living in London. Both the London-Paris and London-Brussels routes are really convenient on the Eurostar so definitely worth giving a go while you’re living in the city!

  15. Great reasons to choose Eurostar! I love train travel and choose it whenever possible. It’s one of the few means of transport where I can actually do something while traveling. The other is flying, but as you’ve already pointed out, it’s not as comfortable. On a train, I can read or work in between enjoying the scenery. Stick me in a bus or car, and I’ll be sick all the way there.

  16. I’ve always wanted to travel on Eurostar but the ability to get where I’m going quickly in a plane has always trumped any reasons I could come up with to travel by Eurostar. I think you may have just convinced me! Thanks! 😀

    1. Thanks Shannon. For short trips like London-Paris and London-Brussels it really is just as quick to go by train when you take in to account the extra time you have to arrive before a flight to clear security and so on. Worth considering!

  17. Oh my gosh, I so agree!! I love taking the train from Amsterdam to Paris for the same reasons. I’ve done the Brussels to London (and back) once and it was quite nice. Trains are just so much more comfortable. Hands down.

  18. I don’t know why I’ve been recently afraid to fly. Traveling by train is such a good option, I wish we had this option all the time. Never heard of Eurostar, but would look into it if I’m ever in Brussels!

  19. Yes to all of the points you make! Trains are more sustainable, more comfortable, and more fun! It’s my favorite way to travel, and train stations are just so delightfully quirky compared to airports. I’ll be looking into your recommendations for Eurostar.

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