A great bonus of being a Londoner in Brussels is the Eurostar, a quick two-hour painless journey home.
Whatever station you are travelling from you need to be checked-in/checking-in thirty minutes before departure. In my experience in Brussels and Paris, thirty minutes is plenty of time, but at St Pancras, I recommend giving yourself an hour, as there is often congestion with other trains going to Paris.
Did you know in the winter you can take the Eurostar to the Alps and in Summer to the South of France. Having taken the Eurostar to Chambéry before to spend a week skiing in Meribel, I can tell you how easy it was. Pop on the train in London and next thing you’re a forty minute-max car journey from the slopes. Dreamy. Plus you get some pretty views.
If you’re travelling Standard, there are some plugs – particularly if you find yourself on one of the new trains and you can buy drinks and food in the canteen carriages. I often buy a hot drink and snack in the departure lounge – plus plenty of reading materials. If you are travelling Standard Premier or Business, there are big comfy relaxing chairs, complimentary magazines, plenty of plugs, with food and drinks served shortly into your journey. When booking trains, I often find it costs a small amount (under 20 EUR) to upgrade – that’s less than I spend on drinks & food in the departure lounge.
Recently, Eurostar have “upgraded” their trains. I have to say, I’m not a big fan of the new trains. I am sure they are more efficient or something, but the old ones have a little glamour. I remember the first time I took the Eurostar, when I was around 9 years old, we travelled to Paris business class, there were white table cloths, dimmed table lights and everything, I guess the new trains destroy that memory.
I worked out last night that I have travelled back and fourth by Eurostar around 20 times this year which equates to 40 journeys. Of which, one was slightly delayed and left me sprinting across to Kings Cross to catch a train to Norfolk in 10 minutes rather than one hour. I made it, breathless et all. There was one bad delay, James & I arrived almost three hours late into St Pancras and for dinner with friends. But guess what, even before we disembarked the train, they were informing us that we were entitled to compensation for our delay and gave us easy advice on how to make a claim. I took note. It was easy and simple.
My only slight issue with Eurostar is despite my numerous journeys this year, they don’t acknowledge my loyalty. Perhaps because they don’t have a true competitor. I mean the Eurostar is faff-less in comparison to flying, you need a car for the channel tunnel and obviously it’s a lot quicker than taking the boat. I travel both Standard and Standard Premier but either way there no acknowledgment of my loyalty. Next year, I’m going to be taking the Eurostar even more than this year, maybe I’ll hear from them then.