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Any Belgium station: can I get to Bruges with a single round trip London-Brussels ticket?

I'll be arriving in London on a Monday and would take a train from there to Bruges and later return to London from Brussels on a Wednesday (in between, I will be meeting up with friends in Maastricht, Netherlands and Frankfurt, Germany - I need to set my dates/itinerary based on their availability to host me).

It looks as if I can get better prices by booking a round trip ticket, rather than two one-way, and I believe this will work for what I need but I'm not entirely 100% certain and am hoping someone is able to confirm that I'm interpreting the 'Any Belgium station' option correctly.

If I were to book round trip London to Brussels, would I still be able to get to Bruges on that same ticket (I would be going London to Brussels (for train change/connection only) to Bruges in one day)?

Note: I also researched flying into Brussels from the US and departing from London, but that wasn't producing very viable options so train travel with backtracking seems to be the best choice for me.

Posted by
32256 posts

If you have a ticket from London to Brussels your ticket is not valid beyond Brussels.

If you have a London to Any Belgian Station you can continue your journey within 24 hours to any Belgian station. That is one trip, in a straight line. It is not a pass. You may not, within that time, go to Antwerpen and then Brugge. You need to go direct to Brugge.

On your return trip you can start from any Belgian station - it does not have to be the same one you arrived at - and go in a straight line to Brussels where your Eurostar will return you to London.

You can use whatever tickets you need to purchase to go between your arrival station and your departure station, but the Any Belgian Station will not be valid to do that.

I hope you are aware of the very strict time restrictions on checking in for your Eurostar journey both in London and in Brussels. You can't just rock up and get on.

Posted by
30 posts

Nigel,
Thank you for the reply. I think Any Belgian Station will meet my needs: London to Bruges one day, Brussels to London another (my travel among Bruges-Maastricht-Frankfurt-Brussels would be completely separate from this Eurostar ticket).

Your note regarding strict advance arrival times is appreciated. I had read that a minimum of thirty minutes is required. I realize I will need to build a buffer into the London to Bruges portion to allow for customs at Heathrow and time to get from the airport to train station.

Do you have a recommendation on how much time this should be? Scheduled landing is a bit before 12:00. I anticipate a few hours will give me more than ample time, but do also realize there's a potential risk of my flight arriving late (which is the piece of the plan that gives me slight anxiety).

I plan to explore Brussels for the day/night before leaving for London, so I should be golden from that perspective.

Posted by
32256 posts

Nicole L.

I have a rule of thumb when I collect people from Heathrow. Other than watching my app to make sure the flight is on time, I make sure that I am outside the frosted glass doors 90 minutes after scheduled arrival and expect to see whoever I am meeting between 90 minutes and 2 hours.

That gives time for the plane to make the long journey from touchdown to the jetway or the stand and the bus, disembarking, making the long march, queueing for immigration / border control, collecting your luggage and walking through Customs and through the frosted glass doors. Note that Customs is the least of these, a simple walk through the appropriate passage and door unless you have something to declare or you get pulled out of line (rarely) by the invisible people behind the one way mirrors or monitor screens.

I've never had anybody through the frosted glass doors before I got there. I have had a few later, and one nearly 4 hours after landing - but that was when there were well publicised delays in the airports.

So, if your flight is on time, 2 hours for that, 30 minutes to get to the Underground, get your ticket or Oyster, and wait for the next scheduled tube train, and 60 minutes on the tube. Allow at least one hour for Eurostar check-in. So - around 4 and a half hours. It's a shame you can't fly straight to Brussels.

I know you will be on a weekday, but my comments are also for other readers.

With your arrival around noon, the first train I would contemplate, if I were not averse to risk (but I am) would be the 17:04, arrival in Brussels at 20:05. That one doesn't operate on Saturdays. The 15:04 is just too risky. The 16:04 on Saturdays ... maybe ... if ... you want to roll the .... dice. The 18:04 (which is an hour later on weekends at 19:04) is much less stressful but doesn't reach Brussels until 21:05 (an hour later on weekends) and you'd need a late train to Brugge, and probably a taxi there because of the lateness of the hour.

I'm sorry I can't be more helpful or positive.

Posted by
32256 posts

There are frequent trains to Brugge / Bruges from Brussels are frequent until 2200, then ...

The trains to Brugge / Bruges become less frequent as the night draws on, taking about an hour and leaving at
22:06 arr 23:03
22:22 arr 23:28
22:51 arr 23:52
23:06 arr 00:03
23:24 arr 00:28
00:29 arr 01:32 which is the last one of the night....

Posted by
30 posts

Nigel,
Thank you, again, for your expertise. The 17:04 and 18:04 were the two I was eyeing. Though it could work out okay, the risk of it not may be a bit more than I'm willing to take on. I don't think I was factoring in enough time for Heathrow. Based on your information, I now think that I would be better off staying in a London hotel close to the train station that first night and then catch an early train to Bruges on Tuesday and stay there just one night. I was originally planning to stay there for two before heading to the Netherlands, but better to cut back on time by a bit than risk missing it all together!

Nicole

Posted by
13 posts

Nigel - to piggyback on Nicole's questions - we'll be in London for 2 nights, then plan to travel to Bruges for one night. The following day we planned to take a train or trains to Orly Airport to pick up a rental car.

  1. Were you referring to Eurostar for the ticket "London to Any Belgian Station?"
  2. If not, how do we get from London to Bruges by train?
  3. Do you know how we would get from Bruges to Orly by train?

Thanks!!!!
Karyn

Posted by
8889 posts

Karyn,
1. Yes. On Eurostar you can buy a ticket London to Brussels, or a ticket London to any station in Belgium. The latter is slightly more expensive, but it does exactly what the name suggests and is cheaper than buying two tickets.
Click here for details.
2. London St Pancras --> Bruxelles Midi by Eurostar, Bruxelles Midi to Brugge by Belgian intercity. If you don't do it all in one day, you can just buy a ticket to Brugge at Bruxelles Midi. There are 2 trains per hour Bruxelles Midi to Brugge and vice versa.
3. Brugge to Bruxelles Midi, Thalys Bruxelles Midi to Paris Nord, RER to Orly.

"travel to Bruges for one night. The following day we planned to" - that leaves very little time in Brugge. 2 x ½ day. I would have 2 nights in Brugge.

Posted by
4684 posts

There are a couple of early morning through Thalys trains all the way from Bruges to Paris, aimed at local business people, which don't require a change in Brussels. Try looking on thalys.com to see if they are worthwhile.

Posted by
7060 posts

I realize that the price of the trans-atlantic flight is of paramount importance. But it doesn't make sense to fly to London if you don't want to go there. It's quite far from the London airports to the Eurostar terminal, too. Have you considered a second flight within Europe, such as you might get from Lufthansa? That would be much faster than flying first to New York or other American city with many flights to Brussels. You could still be at BRU by 11 AM.

Posted by
30 posts

Hi Tim,
I do plan to spend time in London as well and had originally looked at flying into Brussels and out of London. However, the flights available did not work out well in schedule and cost. I will be staying in London the first night I arrive from the US. I had already opted to do so and then found out it also works out well for a friend who lives in England to be able to meet up with me. After my time in Benelux, I'll be back in England (both London and Bath) for about a week before heading to Iceland and then the US.

Nicole L.