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There are several ways to travel from London to the Dutch capital and theoretically, you can be enjoying your Amsterdam holiday in less than two hours. One of the most convenient routes has opened up thanks to the London to Amsterdam Eurostar line which has opened a direct route taking three and a half hours. Find out the best ways to travel between the two cities plus a few tips on where to stay in Amsterdam, where to go next, and some frequently asked questions.
How to Get From London to Amsterdam on the Eurostar
Getting from London to Amsterdam on the train couldn’t be easier. We very recently took the Eurostar from London to Amsterdam and were so impressed by the ease of the journey, and especially impressed with the hygiene and social distancing precautions they took. We’d always taken the bus in the past since we generally travel on a budget and have the benefit of time but this time we felt it would be safer to travel by train, due to it meaning fewer hours in close quarters with other people.
It takes three hours and forty minutes on the direct train from London to Amsterdam but sometimes you have to change in Brussells (we noticed more of this when we booked the return train from Amsterdam to London). This will usually add an extra 30-60 mins to the trip.
We arrived at the station at St Pancras International in London and went through to departures; everything is well signposted so there shouldn’t be an issue. There’s also plenty of food and drink options to stock up before you get on the train. In normal times there’s also a dining car on the train.
Don’t forget to have your passport handy as you’ll need to show it a couple of times. It will be glanced over by border control but that’s it. You’ll need also need to scan your ticket a couple of times so have it ready on your phone or printed out.
Once you’re in the waiting hall, you just watch the board like at an airport and wait for your gate. We were boarded in groups and off we went. There was plenty of room for our two big suitcases. At the time of writing, masks are mandatory on board.
The journey was quick and smooth; you’re only in the tunnel for around twenty minutes and I barely noticed we were in there (I say this for the people with claustrophobia like myself who might be worried).
We decided to get off at Rotterdam because The Hague, which is nearby, was our destination. We didn’t realise this was an option and had booked tickets to Amsterdam. So bear in mind that both Amsterdam and Rotterdam are destination choices.
You can book tickets on the Eurostar website or through Omio. You can then put the booking code on your Eurostar app so it’s no different to booking through their app but you have more options to buy connecting trains all in one go. Use this Omio referral code (jessie8m4s1c) at checkout for a €10 discount. You can also use Omio if you decide to use the bus or even fly.
Note: If you’re planning on travelling by train a lot then I would consider the Global Pass from Eurail. It will cover your Eurostar travel as well as your trains in The Netherlands and onwards.
Tip: The Eurail train pass offers a special deal for The Netherlands trains and combines Belgium and Luxembourg for the same price as a one country pass called the Benelux Pass. So if you’re travelling by train within the country this could be a great deal.
Read More: Historical & Literary Day Trips from London
How to Get From London to Amsterdam by Bus
This is a longer trip so when we personally did it last year we decided to break it up by staying in Brussels for a week. Many of the trips will have you change buses in Brussells or Paris so incorporating this change as part of your trip can be a welcome break.
There are direct buses from London to Amsterdam and this trip will take you ten hours so allow a day for travel or simply get one of the overnight buses to arrive at your destination in the morning and not waste any time.
Many of the buses leave around eleven and arrive around wight in the morning which is very civilised compared to some of our own overnight bus experiences that have had us arrive at five in the morning in the middle of nowhere with no coffee for a few hours. We use Omio to compare buses and times.
The bus station in Amsterdam is right by the main train station so very central and there are convenience stores and coffee shops nearby to recover at.
The prices for the buses are much cheaper (unless you get a great bargain on the Eurostar) and will usually be around €50 upwards.
When you get on the bus, the bus itself will be loaded o to the train to go through the channel tunnel. It takes around forty minutes and being in a metal box within a metal box isn’t the most pleasant feeling in terms of claustrophobia and it can get very warm during the summer months. You are allowed to get off to go use the toilet, however. Once you’re out, you’ll be driving on the road again; you will have to have your passport checked as you cross into every country and this can add time; sometimes they’ll want to check your luggage, too.
Flying from London to Amsterdam
Taking a plane from London to Amsterdam can be a very easy option if you want something typically cheaper than the Eurostar, and more convenient than the bus. The prices for flights vary, ranging from around €50 – €120 depending on when you book, and will take one hour and twenty minutes to get to Amsterdam.
I generally avoid short flights because I dislike flying at the best of times. So, save all that anxiety for longer trips but, as I’ve changed in Amsterdam many times, I can say it’s a very quick trip between London and Amsterdam and Amsterdam Airport is very clean and nice. Flights to Amsterdam leave from all of London’s airports, including London City Airport so you have plenty of choices. It’s easy to get to most of London’s airports on the train or Underground but I’d also recommend the National Express coach if you’re going up to London Stanstead. We usually book our flights on Skyscanner, wherever we go.
How to Drive from London to Amsterdam
Another great option – particularly if you’re wanting to keep as socially distanced as much as possible, or want the freedom of having your own vehicle on the other side – is to drive to Amsterdam. The easiest way is by using the Channel Tunnel.
Taking your car through the Channel Tunnel:
The easiest option to get your car from London to Amsterdam is to use Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. You can load up your car with what you need and, similar to the bus above, you’ll be loaded on to the shuttle. The cars cost anywhere from £31 up each way and you just sit in your car until you emerge in France. Your journey will take around seven hours total, not including breaks.
Where to Stay in Amsterdam
If you’re looking for somewhere comfortable and convenient to stay after your journey to Amsterdam, here are a few of our recommended accommodation options.
Ambassade Hotel: Our favourite luxury and historic hotel in the heart of Amsterdam, boasting exciting literary connections with its own library bar full of books that have been signed by the authors who’ve stayed there. The hotel spans ten original canal houses that were built in the seventeenth century.
Hotel Dwars: A charming city centre hotel that provides all the comfort and vibes of home. Everything is designed to be relaxing from the warm decor and vintage furniture to the facilities like a coffee machine in the bedroom and rain shower in the bathroom.
Hostel Van Gogh: Conveniently located near the Van Gogh Museum and other major attractions and with beautifully decorated and bright dorms and rooms. This is a great option for travellers staying in Amsterdam on a budget.
Where to Travel in The Netherlands after Amsterdam
The Netherlands has a lot to offer outside of Amsterdam and, if you’re looking for a few places to consider as easy day trips or as a next destination, then we highly recommend the below places from personal experience. Depending on when you’re arriving, make sure to check what flowers are in bloom as there are plenty of flowery destinations to choose from near Amsterdam, most famously Keukenhof for its tulip fields.
The old capital of The Netherlands; The Hague has a lot to offer, not least a long expanse of beaches to relax on. The city centre has everything you could possibly want, including streets lined with boutique shops, cafes, and wine bars. The museum options are endless with highlights being The Humanity House and The MC Escher Museum. A visit to the Peace Palace is a must, with it being home to the U.N.’s International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, showcasing The Hague’s political heart and soul. Here are some great places to stay in The Hague.
Famous for the blue and white Delft Pottery. A visit to the Delf Factory is an absolute must (although try and control yourself in the gift shop). With canals to wander (Delf is actually a canal-ringed city) and a town square that’s postcard-worthy, you won’t forget your trip to Delft in a hurry.
A gorgeous university town that is known for its historical architecture, including the oldest building in The Netherlands, built in 1575. There are some fascinating museums in Leiden, including the world’s first Ethnology Museum, a PIlgrim’s Museum which demonstrates the life of the pilgrims before they left for America, and The National Museum of Antiquities full of Greek, Roman, and Ancient Egyptian pieces.
The cheese is probably what will spring to mind when you hear of this town, and it’s a fantastic reason to visit since the famous cheese market is still held in the medieval town square. The square is striking with the central Gothic town hall building with its red and white shutters. Also on the square is the 17th-century Goudse Waag, once a cheese-weighing station and now home to the Gouda Cheese Museum.
Travelling from London to Amsterdam – Frequently Asked Questions
What currency do they use in The Netherlands?
They use the euro (€). Make sure to check the current exchange rate before you go.
We use the UK Tide Bank when we’re abroad, due to the fact that they don’t charge non-Sterling transaction fees similar to banks like Revolut. It works fine in the cashpoints and for contactless payments and updates you on your phone for everything spent. It also just keeps our holiday money separate from our main account which is ideal if you get your wallet stolen and we’ve used it right around Europe and the US with no trouble.
If you’re new to Tide you can get a £50 bonus if you sign up with this code (ESAXBLKCC).
Why is The Netherlands sometimes called Holland?
This is akin to referring to the United Kingdom as England. Holland is only one district of The Netherlands. It is correct to say that you’re traveling to Holland if you are visiting Amsterdam, due to the fact that Holland (which means woodland) refers to the northern region of the country.
The other regions of The Netherlands generally dislike being referred to as Holland (because they’re not Holland), but since the Holland region was a central part of the country’s economic history, and therefore more widely known on the global stage, many people refer to the country as Holland. The bottom line, however, is that it’s wrong. The country is called The Netherlands and Holland is one of several districts.
Is The Netherlands in the EU?
Yes, it is. It was a founding member and was one of the first countries to adopt the euro back in 1991.
What language do they speak in The Netherlands?
They speak Dutch. However, perfect English is widely spoken across the whole country so you won’t have any problems from a travel perspective. Signs are also bilingual and sometimes only in English. It really is remarkable how good the English is in The Netherlands.
What should I pack for the Netherlands?
The weather is actually incredibly similar to the UK. It rains a lot in The Netherlands so pack a raincoat or umbrella and, apart from that, just pack for the season. Certain painkillers aren’t sold over the counter (for example, ibuprofen with codeine) so maybe stock up on certain things if you think you might need it.
What’s the time difference between the UK and The Netherlands?
The Netherlands is one hour ahead of the UK. BST +1
What side of the road do they drive on in The Netherlands?
Like most of Europe, the Dutch drive on the right-hand side of the road. The driving is generally relaxed compared to many other countries. The cities in The Netherlands are very much geared towards cyclists; with cycle motorways and established rules for cyclists, it’s definitely worth renting a bike if you don’t fancy driving.