Going to Paris by train from London is easy-peasy. You board the train at London St Pancras station, and within two hours you are strolling down the French Boulevards. 2 hours is very short as it often took us more than 2 hours to get to The New Forest from London – you know, something that is reasonably closeby! In this blog post, I will explain how to book your train tickets to go to Paris by train from London, how to quickly get through security at London St Pancras and give you some nifty tips and tricks on taking the Eurostar!
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Booking your tickets for Paris by train from London
As I am Belgian and Josh is British, we took the Eurostar about twice a month to see each other. At the time we had a friend working for Eurostar who would provide us with cheap tickets. However, this was not always the case, and sometimes we had to book our tickets through the Eurostar website or another train ticket seller.
What we noticed was that the Eurostar website was not always cheaper, in fact, I found that the Omio website had some very cheap Eurostar tickets!
How to book cheap tickets for Paris by train from London
Booking cheap tickets for Paris by train from London can be relatively easy if you know when to book. I would say it is crucial to be flexible with your dates as some dates can be excruciatingly expensive. I know getting up early is not very nice, but the early trains out are often cheaper than the ones at 10 am. Whenever I book traintickets in Europe – especially in countries with surge pricing and special rates, I ALWAYS use Omio to pick up very cheap tickets! I did so recently for a first class (fancy schmancy – no the difference between second and first was literally 5 euro) ticket from Paris to Angouleme and it was 80 euros cheaper than on the official website.
What do you need to take the train from London to Paris
When taking the train from London to Paris, you will need your passport. You will not be allowed to board without your actual travel passport. My husband (back then my boyfriend) forgot his passport at home when we were planning on taking the Eurostar together to see my parents in Ostend. They tried to let him board and even called customs and border security in Belgium… I had to go alone.
You will also need your ticket on your phone or printed. It will come as a barcode that you scan to get in.
Will my luggage get checked when taking the Eurostar
Yes. Your luggage will get checked when taking the Eurostar. Just after you enter the departures area with your bar code, you will have to put your bags through big scanners like you would typically do with your hand luggage at the airport. At the time, I did not have to take out my liquid or my electronics. I think it was more to check for drugs than for anything else. The process is pretty swift, and I would say I never had to wait for longer than 10 minutes to walk through and get in line for passport control.
How does passport control work when taking the train from London to Paris
Passport control is honestly quite ‘’chill’’. You will get checked by the British customs and the French if I am not mistaken. These people are very friendly, and they always remarked how often I took the Eurostar (Ah you again or ‘’deja de retour?’’) depending on what end of the line I was boarding.
The facilities in the United Kingdom are relatively high tech and a lot better than those in Brussels (more about this in another blog post). You board the Eurostar in Paris Nord via the first floor of the station.
Is there food and drink in the Eurostar terminal in London St Pancras
When waiting to board the Eurostar in London St Pancras, you can have a bite to eat or something to drink in the waiting room. You can either sit in the little pub or take your food and drink out to the large waiting hall. There is also a newspaper shop where you can buy souvenirs and tourist tat, newspapers, and candy.
Can I bring food and drink into the Eurostar terminal
If you would like to take your own food and drink into the Eurostar terminal you 100% can. Taking the train from London to Paris is not like taking a plane. You can take water and food with you on the train. A lot of families do this to make sure they are not spending a small fortune on the train, and I often used to take a small bottle of wine with me on the train. So yes! You can bring your own food and drink onboard the Eurostar trains! I often had a Burger King on the Eurostar or when I was waiting to board the train.
Is there a cafe onboard the Eurostar
Yes. There is a coach that is a little bar. Here you can order sandwiches, drinks, snacks and even hot meals. Sure – the quality is not all that, but if you are desperate for water, some snacks or even a glass of wine, you can easily buy your drinks in the onboard bar. The onboard bar is also able to sell you Oyster Cards when travelling to London or metro tickets when travelling to Paris. The staff speak French and English and sometimes even Dutch!
Is it worth it upgrading your seat on the Eurostar
It is overall, not worth upgrading your seat on the Eurostar. Sure – food (very small portions) and a small bottle of wine will be included, but overall, it is not worth the extra in cost.
Because of ticket availability, Josh and I had to upgrade our seats on the Eurostar a few times when booking through our friend. I was actually looking forward to travelling Eurostar Standard Premier as I thought it would be the equivalent of travelling business class on the plane. Ha – I was wrong. It was overall quite disappointing. Sure – the food was excellent, and the little bottle of wine was definitely very welcome, but I don’t see how this merits the massive difference in price. In fact: you did not get a lot of food at all, and the little bottle of wine is the same one I used to buy in the bar for a few euros. Hmm… not at all the experience, I was expecting, nor do I think it is good value.
Sure – you get a plug which came in very handy for me as I was always working on my laptop, but most new trains have plugs in Standard anyway…
Would I recommend travelling to Paris by train from London
Both times Josh and I travelled from London to Paris were by Eurostar. Overall I had a great experience, and I would recommend travelling by Eurostar. Sure you can take a coach down to Paris, but it takes quite long, and it can be quite uncomfortable. You can also take a plane but seen that you need to get to Luton or Heathrow and then from Orly or Charles de Gaule down to the centre this can take a lot longer than a Eurostar (not to mention that it is actually bad for the environment!). So yes I would recommend travelling to Paris by train from London as it is probably one of the best ways to get to Paris from London!
Lieze Neven is a globetrotting travel writer and expat currently based in Nepal. With a passion for exploration, she has lived in Dubai, the UK, and Belgium, alongside her international teacher husband. Her parents live in France and she tries to visit Paris at least once a year. Together, they travel the world looking for the best hotels, experiences and food locations have to offer!