Holidaying in Europe. No airport hassle, no fussy luggage rules, just a quick hop from London and through the tunnel. So, in keeping with our ‘great journeys’ theme this month, we thought we’d round up some of our favourite Eurostar routes.
London to Paris, the classic Eurostar journey. Settle in for a scenic jaunt along the coastline of northern France as you steam towards the City of Light. Take in classic sights such as the Louvre and pretty Montmartre, then revel in the sumptuous flavours of French fare at one of the buzzy restaurants in the Latin Quarter. For those on a budget, Hotel Mayet in Les Invalides is a great base for exploring, or, if you’re looking to splurge, try regal Hotel Lancaster, a historic mansion that oozes opulence.
Get set for glamour, because Eurostar now offers direct journeys to the South of France. Pass through pretty French countryside as you travel straight to Avignon, home to a wonderfully-preserved old town and close to Provence’s famous Lavender fields. For a room with a view, base your stay at La Mirande, perfectly poised opposite Avignon’s Papal Palace.
Alternatively, travel straight down to Marseille, set at the start of the Cote d’Azur. A journey along this glitzy stretch of coastline promises beauty and oh-so-much glamour. We suggest swapping train for car and travelling up to St Tropez – where Hotel Pastis is a must stay – and continuing to Cannes, Europe’s movie star capital. Here, Hotel Le Canberra flaunts 1950s design and perches just a short stroll away from the beach.
Belgium is a great option for short breaks at low costs. The Eurostar serves Brussels in a mere couple of hours, and from here you could continue to Bruges, Ghent or Antwerp for no extra cost. Plus, because the country is so tiny, you could easily bundle all four into one trip.
Brussels boasts the European Parliament, beautiful Grand Place and the curious Atomium. For something a little different, Brussels Waffle Workshop is great fun for families, groups or dessert lovers. Stay at Made in Louise, a delightful bolthole set among stunning Art Nouveau buildings in the Ixelles district.
If you’ve got the time, Bruges really is a must see. This picture-perfect town is packed with chocolate shops and medieval buildings that line its cobbled streets and canals. It’s doable as a day trip from Brussels, or you could spend the night and stay at Sint Niklaas B&B, a tiny home-from-home with superb views of the town.
In April of this year, Eurostar will launch direct routes from London to Amsterdam – hurrah! The journey will take less than 4 hours and will take you through Brussels and Rotterdam along the way. Delightful Amsterdam is a jumble of gabled facades, canals, coffee shops and bicycles, and its highlights include the Anne Frank Museum, the Van Gogh Museum and Vondelpark – which is glorious for a summertime stroll. Lloyd Hotel will suit design-conscious travellers, while The Dylan Amsterdam caters to foodies – there’s a Michelin-starred restaurant inside.