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Train travel London to Bruges

We will be traveling from Oxford to Bruges next September. It appears that we should take the Eurostar (from St. Pancras station) to Brussels, bus to Brussels-Midi and then a train to Bruges. I think we can get a ticket that is for ALL Stations which would cover both the Eurostar and the inter-country train to Bruges. Is it possible to make it all the way to Bruges in a day? If so, what time of day do you suggest we catch the Eurostar? We will need to take a train in to St. Pancras in the early morning.

Of course we will need to return to London to fly home, but I think I can figure that out based on the answer to the first question.

Thanks for your insight.
Deb

Posted by
16743 posts

There is no bus in the mix in Brussels; Eurostar arrives to Midi/Sud station. However, in London, you do need to transfer by Tube or taxi between Paddington and St. Pancras stations, and check in for Eurostar 30-60 minutes ahead of departure (depends on ticket type and also crowding or recommendations by Eurostar). The whole trip takes about 6 hours.

Posted by
15566 posts

You can get a Eurostar to Brussels Midi. Roughly every 2 hours and it takes 2 hours and 45 minutes. From Brussels Midi, there are frequent trains to Bruges, so it will take anywhere from 3 3/4 to 4 hours from London St Pancras to Bruges. Trains from Oxford to London Paddington take a little less than 1 hour. You need to be a London St Pancras at least 45 minutes prior to departure of the Eurostar to do passport check, and who-knows-what for customs after Brexit. I'd put a 2 hour cushion from arrival at Paddington to departure at St Pancras Int'l for transport time between stations and passport check.

Posted by
4653 posts

Paddington to St Pancras is a direct journey on the Hammersmith & City or Circle Line. However, the layout at Paddington is a bit confusing as there are two sets of platforms marked "Circle Line", one shared with the Hammersmith & City and the other shared with the District Line. Trains from the second pair only go one stop to Edgware Road. The one you want is the Circle/Hammersmith & City set of platforms, the entrance to which is on the extreme left of the station as you get off the train from Oxford.

Posted by
4668 posts

Sorry but this trip represents the mistaken belief that the UK and Belgium are adjacent, but that is only as the crow flies. Can you fly home from BRU?

Eurostar is much cheaper three months in advance, but then it is non-changeable and non-refundable. You can also buy the ABS (any Belgian station) add on, which is not always the cheapest but makes the whole trip less annoying. There are many trains per hour from Brussels to Bruges, and it's good on any of them.

Note that Brexit may increase the required Immigration and Customs time for your early arrival at St Pancras and on your return from Brussels Midi. Do not ignore this check in rule.

Posted by
23245 posts

Sorry to disagree with Laura but unless you are in Business Premier on Eurostar - which is sell-a-child expensive and only for politicians and top level company executives on expense accounts - 30 minutes ahead check in is likely to leave you behind. Most days you need 60+ minutes. You'll be following the crowd through airport style security, then British exit Border Control, then French entry Border Control (as the first country the train enters leaving the tunnel, good for all Schengen countries, and why you don't need to pass Belgian Border Control when you get off the train), and these things all take time, and the trains don't wait.

All bets are off after Brexit - assuming it happens - nobody will know how long things will take. By September we may/probably will have a better idea, so best to keep a watching brief on here and the England Forum for changes.

Posted by
26 posts

Thanks everyone. While my husband and I have traveled extensively (and often) in Europe, we have never gone to Belgium and its time! Yes, I was aware that England and Belgium aren't connected :) We are traveling on the British Air companion ticket (great benefit of the card!) but unfortunately that means we must fly home from London. Sigh. I will keep an eye on Brexit's ramifications and make sure we have plenty of time for clearing whatever hurdles there are at the St. Pancras station. I appreciate the posting about which Circle line train to hop on--many thanks for that hint.

Deb