St Pancras International Railway Station opened in 1865 and the Midland Great Hotel (designed by Sir Gilbert Scott) was added in 1875. The station was the main railway hub for soldiers departing to the war and transporting children to the countryside during both the first and second world wars. The Midland Great Hotel closed in 1935 but now is converted to a five star hotel after going a refurbishment a few years ago.
You can read the history about the station via this link The station is renowned for its beautiful Victorian Gothic architecture and its infamous Dent clock which has been reconstructed at the apex of the Barlow arch inside the station.
The International Railway Station operates journeys to the Home Counties, the Midlands, North of England including Leeds and international services to France and Belgium. The operators are First Capital Connect, South Eastern High Speed Train, East Midland Trains and Eurostar.
I've used the station a few times for the Olympic Games in July 2012 where I caught the to Stratford International for the Olympic Park and also an East Midland train back to Leeds as I was unable to get a train home with East Coast trains from Kings Cross Railway Station.
It's a lovely station with a wide range of cafes, restaurants and shops. Please check out the station's
website for further information.
A railway station was built on this sight in 1837 (open by London and Birmingham Railway Company) with a number of additions and extension. The station was rebuilt from scratch between 1961 to 1969 to accommodate the West Coast Main Line's electrification.
Some features of the original station can still be seen today such as the two Portland stone entrance lodges, the war memorial (Euston Road) and the Euston Arch and the Statue of Robert of Stephenson.
The railway station serves trains to Birmingham, the Midlands, the North West of England (including Liverpool and Manchester), North Wales and the West Coast up to Glasgow.
Virgin Trains and London Midland are the main train operators departing from Euston Station. Scot Rail offers overnight services to Scotland which depart from this station.
I used London Euston Station twice in 2013 to travel to Birmingham and also in the past to visit friends in Milton Keynes.
London Euston Station has a number of cafes, restaurant, shops and services which are available to travellers.
I only needed a one way ticket from Brussels to London, I believe that I booked at the lowest rate available which was £40 for the one way, I think the lowest round trip is £69 so obviously some cost savings if you are going to return to buy a round trip ticket. The experience was very similar to traveling from Paris to London, you clear both Belgian and UK immigration in Brussels but still go through customs once you reach London. The Eurosar leaves from Bruxelles Midi (Brussels Zuid), not the Central Station, in Brussels and arrives at the St. Pancras in London.
You must check in 30 minutes before departure, there is security and immigration to go through and a waiting room on the other side with a couple of places to get a snack. Wifi is not free in the lounge if you are traveling in 2nd class. We traveled in 2nd class, you can visit the dining car but otherwise no food or beverages are served but you can bring your own, there is no restriction on liquids like there is on a plane. The seats are comfortable enough, the trip is only a little over 2 hours.
Last trip on Eurostar to/from Paris June 2013
If you are planning on taking the Eurostar to Paris, there are tickets in different price brackets for each train, once the lower fare tickets are sold, a higher rate kicks in. In February 2013, the lowest current fare, without regard for any special promotions, is £69 round trip and you can book the tickets 120 days before travel on the UK site and the European site, I found that you could buy tickets farther out if you booked on the US site so it's worth looking there if you are traveling during a busy time. You don't have to be a UK resident to book on eurostar.co.uk but I'm not sure if the converse applies to UK residents trying to book on the US site (eurostar.com).
It also appears that once the lowest price tickets are gone, they are gone as the tickets at that level are non refundable and only so many issued at each price point. In July 2011, we traveled in 2nd class, my niece who was 17 qualified for a youth ticket, the lowest fare there is £59 (February 2013 increased to £66). In 2nd class, you can visit the dining car but otherwise no food or beverages are served. The seats are comfortable enough, I don't think I looked at our seating assignment because I would have changed it, we were in a 4 seater facing another couple.
The 1st time I traveled I found a cheaper 1st class fare on www.raileurope.com than the 2nd class fare on Eurostar's website so I booked the 1st class tickets on raileurope.com, it's worth a look if you miss out on the cheapest level of fares. In 1st class the seats were a bit wider and they served a meal, for a 2 1/4 hour train ride, I thought it wasn't necessary to sit in 1st class.
If you choose flexible date on eurostar.co.uk you should be able to see what dates if any have the £69 fare left. One more hint, check both eurostar.co.uk and eurostar.com, the 1st time I booked the US site was much higher than the UK site. Clean out your cookies before checking otherwise it will direct you back to the one you started on.
The Eurostar leaves from St. Pancras station in London and arrives at the Gare du Nord in Paris. You clear immigration before boarding the train so you don't have to do it once you've gotten off the train. You must check in 30 minutes before departure, there is security and immigration to go through and a waiting room on the other side with a couple of places to get a snack.
We used the Eurostar to get from London to Paris and then back to London, the train was on time both directions and the journey takes about 2 1/4 hours which is much quicker than flying considering the travel time to the airport and having to be at the airport well before your flight. And certainly better than the hellish overnight bus we took the last time we traveled between London and Paris!
We've traveled in both 1st class (Leisure Select) and 2nd class (Standard Class), the 1st class was booked because they were cheaper than 2nd class at the time (see tip above), a served meal and beverages is included with 1st class but I could have certainly lived for 2 hours without eating and the food wasn't that great. There is food available at a buffet in 2nd class at an extra cost. The seat are larger in Leisure Select than Standard, an extra 7 1/2 inches, and there's more legroom, about 4 inches. 2nd class is comfortable enough and you can bring your own drinks and snacks if necessary.
When you walk off the train in Paris, it's just like walking off a normal train, no additional security. In London, you clear immigration in Paris but must go through customs in London.
After two weeks wandering England the leaving off day has arrived. We should move from London to Paris, and this time we choose the Eurostar, departing from Saint Pancras Station to Paris Nord.
Only 2:42 hours trip, this is a marvelous way for a ride, but I should recognize I was a bit disappointed, please, try to understand me, the train is very comfortable, silent, and the service is really good, but I was expecting something like a kind of excitation because of the high speed. Believe me you will not feel nothing like this. Absolutely steady, quiet, even at full speed you will not experience any emoton, neither on the surface nor inside the Eurotunnel.
Anyway, never mind, I strongly recommend the Eurostar.
If you wish to explore Kent from London the Kent Rover ticket offers 3 consecutive days unlimited travel in the county for £39.50 and up to 4 accompanied children at £5 each. The area covered is bounded by Swanley - Sevenoaks - Ashford International - Dover - Ramsgate - Swanley plus Tonbridge - Tunbridge Wells - Sittingbourne - Sheerness on Sea and Rochester - Gravesend. After 09.30.
The fastest service from London on this list is Sevenoaks (from Charing Cross) and this journey would be in addition to the cost of the Kent Rover. However still good value travel but with some limitations - read the linked website carefully before considering purchase of this ticket.
This value ticket offers one return journey from Marylebone to Leamington Spa and unlimited travel between Leamington Spa and Stratford on Avon . A day ticket is £35 , child £17.50, senior citizen £26.00 (no railcard required). 4 days travel is £55, children £27.50 and senior citizens £36.30.
2013 prices. Not vaild on any train on any train from Leamington due in to London before 10.00.
Group Save also applies to the 4 day version (3 adults / children pay £36.30, 4 adults/children pay £27.50). Senior citizens do not need a railcard so if you are a tourist from overseas and over pension age (proof required) you can take the low fare as shown above.
Please note - through 2013 this card will change in price and scope).
This day ticket is only available from Tourist Information Offices (NOT AVAILABLE FROM RAILWAY STATIONS OR THE WEBSITE) at Bedford, Brighton, Dunstable, Greenwich, Luton, Sandy, and St Albans. You may be staying in the London area near one of these towns and this is why this tip is included. Travel after 10.00 and not for travel on services departing Moorgate or St Pancras to any station between St Albans and Bedford between 16.30 and 19.01.
One days unlimited travel costs £17 and up to 4 accompanied people (adults or children) are £2 each. Travel on any FCC service. The website describes the area covered.
Valid on all Southern services from their stations including their London stations but after 10.00. Not valid on trains departing London stations, Clapham Junction or East Croydon 16.45 - 19.15.
1 day - adult £14. Accompanied children £1 each . Group (up to 4 adults or children) £28.
You must purchase from the website (www.southernrailwaytickets.com/daysave) a minimum of 7 days before travel - you cannot buy this ticket at a station. Other options of the ticket are available - see the website. 2013 prices.
New in 2013 - other versions of the ticket are available for peak travel, weekly travel and flexi (5 nominated days in one month).
A good value way to explore the area west of London by train is a day ticket that offers unlimited rail travel from London Paddington to Reading, Tilehurst, Reading West, Winnerish Triangle, Greenford, Windsor and Eton Central, Marlow and Henley on Thames. After 09.30 (10.00 if Network Railcard used) and not allowed on mainline services to Reading (local trains only) between 16.00 and 19.15. A one day ticket costs £19.00, with a railcard £12.55 and child £9.50. 2013 prices.
Please note FGW have a minimum fare Monday to Friday - some of the prices quoted above may only be available on Bank Holiday Mondays and weekends. Ask at FGW stations.
To explore to the west of London by train the Thames Rover is a good value option. The area covered is Paddington - Moreton in the Marsh - Banbury - Bicester Town - Bedwyn - Basingstoke plus Reading - Redhill and the Greenford, Windsor and Eton Central, Marlow and Henley on Thames branches are covered too. After 09.30 and also not allowed on Paddington and Reading on mainline express trains (only local trains) between 16.00 and 19.15.
Any 3 days in 7 costs £45, with a railcard £29.70 and children £22.50. For 7 days travel £79, £52.15 and £39.50.
Very good value. 2013 prices. Please note FGW have a minimum fare Monday to Friday - some of the prices quoted above may only be available on Bank Holiday Mondays and weekends. Ask at FGW stations.
I have included this - it is not necessarily a London tip but as many tourists will make London their first place they visit in the UK this ticket that covers the whole of the UK for unlimited rail travel may be of interest. It is never advertised!
It allows unlimited travel on all trains including the Ffestiniog Railway in Wales but not Heathrow Express, Heathrow Connect, London Underground or large city metro systems. Nor does it include ferries or buses.
The First Class option permits the holder to partake of all complimentary offers such as breakfast on Virgin Trains.
2013 prices are - Adult 7 days £464, child / with railcard £306.00, 14 days £702 and £463.
First Class Adult 7 days £702, child / with railcard £463. 14 days £1073 and £708.
There are some restrictions from some London stations -please ask me if you want to know more.
London is easy to get to by Train from all major citys in the UK and it does not take long, it's easy to visit just for the day from Manchester with a journey time of only 2 hours and 10 minute by Virgin Trains.
From York its only 1 hours 50 mins on the East Coast Main Line and Edinburgh: 4 hours 30 mins.
All the Trave information By train to London is available on the Visit London website!
There are many different type of train tickets to buy including singles and returns. Often an off peak day return ticket is cheaper than a single. Also you may wish to travel to a place and not sure when you will be returning, so in that case you could buy an off-peak return that allows you to make your return journey anytime within the next 30 days and happens to be less than 60% of the price of buying two singles.
Kings Cross Station is the station in London I arrive at from Leeds. The journey usually takes me 2.15-2.30 hours on the train with East Coast. East Coast serves Yorkshire, North East of England and Scotland. Services to and from the home counties and Cambridgeshire also operate at this station by First Capital Connect.
London Kings Cross Station is undergoing an intensive regeneration and renovation. During 2012 the new Western Departures Concourse was completed and currently the original station's entrance will be restored with a new public square. You can check out the programme by clicking on the link. The Western Concourse offers a wide range of the usual station's facilities plus shops, bars, cafes and restaurants.
I can usually get reasonable price tickets from Leeds to London and vice versa and sometimes it can be cheaper travelling via London to the South of England than going via Cross Country trains!