After years of believing that travel by Eurostar was the reserve of the elite, I finally took the plunge and booked a last minute break to Lille, travelling by Eurostar for a price too good to turn down!
These days the Eurostar can be picked up from London St. Pancras, Ebbsfleet or Ashford International, Kent. Making it relatively accessible to all, and particularly those in the South East. Security for Eurostar travel is tight, as it has to be, but still far easier than air travel as the number of passengers is far less! They recommend you are at the security gates at least 30 minutes before you travel, and that’s definitely good advice as you don’t want to get stuck in a queue behind a large school group!
Somehow I think I was expecting the Eurostar to be like a 21st Century Orient Express; with slick staff in space age uniforms, and buttons that brought champagne directly to your table. However, the Eurostar is sadly just a train. A train that travels with speed and fluidity under the English Channel, whizzing you through the fields and pylons of France and arriving at a station in a different country in less than two hours, but still just a train.
My top tips having travelled on Eurostar would be:
- If you don’t have to plan in advance, don’t worry. The last minute deals at the moment are stunning value.
- Pack yourself some snacks and grab a hot drink at the station before departure – the buffet car on board serves great coffee and pastries but you’ll spend most of your journey in the queue.
- Pick your seats before you travel! It doesn’t cost extra to choose your seats on Eurostar, and if you do a little research you can select seats with charger ports, a table and a window. Bliss!
- Trains outside of the obvious Eurostar rush hours (very early and reasonably late) tend to be better value and are really quiet, meaning you can stretch your legs our and enjoy the view.
- When on board, keep an eye out the window if you can, even if all you can spot is the orange and white tent that is Ashford Designer Outlet, it’s always nice to be aware of the moment you travel under water and into a new land.