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To the UK by Train

Continental Europe to the UK

The Eurostar is a high-speed passenger train service passing through the Channel Tunnel (under the English Channel) directly connecting a number of cities in Continental Europe with London. Another high-speed train service is the Eurotunnel Shuttle carrying road vehicles and their passengers through the Channel Tunnel between Folkestone in southern England and Calais in northern France. The high speed trains are comfortable and the service efficient offering travellers short check-in times, quick boarding and above 90 percent punctuality.

The Eurostar

Eurostar trains travel at a top speed of 300 kph (186 mph) but slower through the Channel Tunnel at 160 kph (100 mph). St Pancras International in London is the UK terminal for the Eurostar trains making stops (on some journeys) at Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International in England. There are daily services at the London terminal connecting with stations in the French cities of Paris (Gare du Nord) and Lille (Lille Europe) and the Belgium city of Brussels (Brussels Zuid/Midi) on the following routes:

  • London – Paris (2 hrs 15 mins) with 16-19 trips a day.
  • London – Lille – Brussels (2 hrs) with 6-11 trips a day.
St Pancras International in London by Sunil060902

The Eurostar serves another three routes between London but with less frequency including Marne la Vallee (for Disneyland Paris), Marseille (with stops at Lyon and Avignon) and the ski resorts of Bourg-Saint-Maurice, Aime-la-Plagne and Moûtiers in the French Alps. The routes are:

  • London – Marne la Vallee (2 hrs 50 mins) operating four days a week (1 trip a day) but daily during school holidays.
  • London – Marseille (6 hrs 30 mins) operating four days a week (1 trip a day) in summer.
  • London – French Alps (7 hrs 40 mins to 8 hrs 20 mins) operating twice a week (1-2 trips a day) in winter.

You can easily connect with the Eurostar in Paris and Brussels from many destinations in Europe. You can easily connect with the Eurostar in Paris and Brussels from many destinations in Europe.

  • Paris is the hub for high-speed trains in France featuring six railway stations handling connections with many cities across the country as well as cities in Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Italy.
  • Brussels Zuid/Midi is the hub for Belgium’s railway network including domestic connections and high-speed links with cities in Amsterdam, France, Germany and Luxembourg. 
The Eurostar by Bernard Pépellin

Travellers boarding the Eurostar to London at Gare du Nord in Paris and Lille Europe in Lille undergo British immigration clearance at the respective stations before boarding. Travellers boarding the Eurostar to London at stations on the London – Marseille route, London – French Alps route and Brussels Zuid/Midi have to get off the train at Lille Europe for British immigration clearance before boarding the train again. Only travellers boarding at Marne la Vallee undergo British immigration clearance upon arrival in London.

Eurotunnel Shuttle

The Eurotunnel Shuttle carries road vehicles (including cars, motorcycles, caravans and buses) and their passengers through the Channel Tunnel between Folkestone in southern England and Calais in northern France. The train journey takes 35 minutes and therefore there is no need to get out of the vehicle while on board. Upon arrival at Folkestone, you can drive on the M20 motorway heading towards London, A259 along the southern coast of England and the A20 heading towards the southeastern region of England. British immigration and customs checks are at the point of embarkation in Calais and not in the UK.

Inside the Eurotunnel Shuttle by iPierre

Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Railways (NIR) and Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) operate a joint Enterprise (cross border) train service between Dublin in the Republic of Ireland and Belfast in Northern Ireland. The journey takes about two hours and tickets are available from both Northern Ireland Railways and Irish Rail at the railway stations in their respective countries. Alternatively, you can also purchase tickets in advance from their websites, which also offers discounted fares. There are no border controls (immigration and customs checks) as you cross the border from either side.

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