We don't all live in London...

...most of us will start our journey to mainland Europe at our own local station somewhere in Britain.  This page explains the best ways to add affordable UK train travel to your Eurostar journey, and some useful ways to by-pass London completely using ferry services from the North of England, East Anglia, the West Country & South Coast, avoiding London.  Here are the main options:

Option 1:  Buy a Eurostar through ticket...

...from 130 UK towns & cities to Paris or Brussels.

Option 2: Use Loco2.com

Book from any station in Britain to most European destinations at www.loco2.com...

Option 3: Buy a separate train ticket to London

You might want to book Eurostar more than 3 months ahead, which rules out options 1 & 2.  Or you might want to buy European tickets from a site which doesn't do through tickets from British stations north of London such as German Railways bahn.de or Belgian Railways b-europe.com.  In this case you'll want to book the UK leg separately.  You have several options:

...Buy a regular train ticket to London.

...or buy a special ticket to London International CIV, a well-kept secret.

...special tickets to London Eurostar CIV.

Option 4:  Eurostar from Ebbsfleet or Ashford...

Ebbsfleet International (M25)...

Ashford (Kent)...

Option 5:  Ferry from the North of England

If you live in the north of England or Scotland, by all means buy a Eurostar through ticket or buy a ticket to London to connect with Eurostar.  As Kings Cross and St Pancras stations are adjacent, and Euston only a short walk away, interchange is really easy between Eurostar and domestic UK trains arriving at Euston, Kings Cross or St Pancras.  But depending on your final destination, also consider by-passing London & Eurostar, using an overnight cruise ferry direct from the North of England to mainland Europe.

   
  DFDS Seaways ferry "Queen of Scandinavia"  Photo courtesy of DFDS.

Cruise overnight from Newcastle to Amsterdam with DFDS Seaways, then take onward trains to Munich, Zurich, Vienna, Milan, Copenhagen, Warsaw or Prague... Photo courtesy of DFDS

See the video...

Take a direct ferry from the North of England...

... then take onward trains from Amsterdam to anywhere in Europe...

Option 6:  Ferry from the West or South Coast

Travelling from the West of England or South Coast?  The ferry alternative...

  Brittany Ferries 'Bretagne' at Portsmouth...

Brittany Ferries Bretagne waiting to sail from Portsmouth to Caen...

If you live in the West Country or along the South Coast, by all means buy a Eurostar through ticket or buy a ticket to London to connect with Eurostar.  But also consider a ferry crossing direct to France then a train to Paris.  Once in Paris you can pick up the trains to Italy, Switzerland or Spain shown on the relevant country pages of this site.

From:   To:   Operator   From:   To:   Operator
Plymouth   Roscoff   Brittany Ferries   Portsmouth   St Malo   Brittany Ferries
Poole   Cherbourg   Brittany Ferries   Weymouth/Poole   St Malo   www.condorferries.co.uk
Portsmouth   Cherbourg   Brittany Ferries   Portsmouth   Le Havre   Brittany Ferries
Portsmouth   Caen   Brittany Ferries   Newhaven   Dieppe   www.ldlines.co.uk

For example, taking the 23:45 overnight Brittany Ferries ship from Portsmouth to Caen with a comfortable cabin reserved arriving 07:30, then taking the 09:24 train from Caen to Paris arriving 11:11, works well to catch an afternoon train to the South of France or Switzerland, or even the overnight sleepers to Italy or Spain.  The 22:00 overnight ferry from Plymouth arrives Roscoff 08:00, a train from Roscoff will get you to Paris by around 16:10-18:20.

To check train times & fares from any of these French ports to Paris (and to book online) use either www.loco2.com or www.trainline.eu.  Once in Paris you can pick up the trains to the South of France, Spain, Italy & Switzerland recommended on the other country pages of this site.  Remember to allow plenty of time (90 minutes+) for interchange between ferry and railway station at the French port.

Dover to Paris...

Train + ferry options from London & Dover to Calais & Paris are shown on the London to Paris by train+ferry page.

By direct cruise ferry to Spain...

Don't forget that Brittany Ferries sail up to 5 times each week direct from Plymouth & Portsmouth to Santander & Bilbao in northern Spain, see the Spain by ferry page.  It's a superb way to get there.

Option 7:  Ferry from East Anglia to Holland

Travelling from East Anglia?  Take the superferry from Harwich to Hook of Holland...

If you live in East Anglia, you can buy a cheap combined train+ferry ticket from any Greater Anglia rail station (for example, Cambridge, Ipswich, Norwich, Bury St Edmunds or even London) to any station in the Netherlands (for example, Amsterdam or Utrecht) via Stena Line's Harwich-Hoek van Holland superferries.  Fares are great value, around 49 each way using the daytime ferry or 79 each way using the overnight ferry including a private en suite cabin.  See the UK to the Netherlands page for details.

... then take onwards trains from Hoek or Amsterdam to anywhere in Europe...

There are daytime trains from the Netherlands to places such as Berlin or Basel, arriving in the evening.  Use www.bahn.de to find train times from Hoek van Holland, allowing plenty of time for connections, then book the trains by calling DB's UK office on 08718 80 80 66, lines open 0900-1700 Monday-Friday.


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