Getting from Amsterdam to London: Plane, Train, Ferry, or Bus

by Roger

by Roger | August 31st, 2008  

Travelers who are making a grand tour of Europe nearly all include both Amsterdam and London if they can, and due to their locations they often get strung together as back-to-back destinations. Those wanting to pull this off have four major options, including a couple that many people aren’t really aware of unless they really do their research. We’ll go over all the details below, and of course, this applies to people going from London to Amsterdam as well. Just turn your computer monitor upside down and follow the instructions in reverse.

Methods of getting from Amsterdam to London:

  1. Plane
  2. Train
  3. Ferry/train combo
  4. Bus (which drives right onto the Eurostar train)

Flights from Amsterdam to London


This is the fastest (but not the easiest) way to get between the cities, and of course fares can vary greatly depending on the time of year, day of week, and how far in advance you buy. If everything is going your way the cheapest airline is almost always Easyjet, as they have fares for one-way flights starting under €40 including all fees. The complicated part of this is that Easyjet doesn’t fly into Heathrow, so you have to fly to Gatwick, Stansted, or Luton in London. In each of these cases the transportation from that airport into central London could easily add €10 or more to the transaction, although cheap buses are available if you book them well in advance. There’s also the train fare from Amsterdam Centraal to Schiphol Airport, which is €3.80, so once you add all this up and the time this all takes, these cheap and fast flights aren’t quite so cheap or fast.

VLM Airlines, BMI, and British Airways all have nonstop flights into Heathrow, and since that airport is on the Piccadilly tube line it’s usually the cheapest and easiest airport to fly into in London. Your best bet is to go to Kayak.com to compare all your possibilities at once, but be careful about the London airport part.

Trains from Amsterdam to London

This is the second easiest way between the two cities, and the total amount of time it takes is probably only a bit longer than flying when you add everything in (as in hotel door to hotel door). The journey takes around 6 hours, give or take 30 minutes. You’ll take a direct train to Brussels in about 3 hours, and then switch to the Eurostar (after checking in), which takes around 2 hours more all the way to St. Pancras Station in London.

Prices on the train to Brussels bit are very standard, but the price on the Eurostar bit can fluctuate just as much as prices on flights. If you buy this ticket well in advance you can often qualify for a special promotional fare, which is far cheaper than the regular fare. These promo fares are only good on round-trips, but amazingly enough they are almost always still cheaper than the one-way normal fare. Finding them at €99 return is common, and they’ve even been as low as €69 during certain parts of the year. One-way fares are always way over €100, so you are better off just using half of one of these than buying a one-way.

Find out about the promotional fares and book your complete ticket on the Dutch rail international tickets site.

Ferry/train combos from Amsterdam to London

This is an option that doesn’t occur to some people, especially Americans who aren’t used to this sort of service. You take a train from Amsterdam Centraal to the Hook of Holland (Hoek van Holland, in Dutch), which takes about 90 minutes and includes an easy transfer in Schiedam, and then you board the Stenaline Ferry for the trip across the channel to Harwich. Once there you’ll follow everyone else boarding the train to Liverpool Street Station in London.

The whole journey takes about 12 hours. You have a daytime option leaving around 11am and arriving around 10:30pm, and an overnight option leaving around 7pm from Amsterdam and arriving in London around 8am the next morning. The ferry part takes around 7 hours, and if you haven’t been on one of these you are certain to be amazed that they are actually much more similar to small cruise ships than to some rickety boat shuttle.

Prices for the whole thing start at €33 each way, though they are a bit higher during July and August. There are comfortable reclining chairs in the normal areas (though experienced passengers will take those all really fast so you have to be quick), but you can also rent a small cabin starting at €30 for a single or €50 for a double. Prices are lower for the cabins on the daytime crossing, and they often offer them at half price, which is nice for anyone who stayed up all night.

Check the Hook of Holland to Harwich ferry prices here

You can get more information and book these ferries on the Stenalines site. If you book at a travel agent the price will be higher, so book online if you can.

Bus from Amsterdam to London

This is the cheapest method and probably the least famous as well. It’s actually the easiest method by far, but the fact that it takes around 10 or 11 hours makes it less than ideal for many people. The bus leaves from in front of Amstel Station in Amsterdam, which is about 2 km south of Centraal Station, and easy to reach by tram or metro. The fairly comfortably Eurolines bus then drives to France, where it drives right on board the train that goes through the Channel Tunnel. It drives off the train on the other end, and is then London-bound. The bus makes a pit stop before the tunnel, so you have a chance to stretch your legs and buy some food.

The one-way fare for the bus is €40 for adults or €36 for people 13-25 years old, but as long as you are paying attention you can usually get a promotional fare for €13, no matter your age. That’s right, all the way from Amsterdam to London on one bus, including a trip through the tunnel, for €13 each way. If you are backpacking around on a small budget this is your best option for sure.

You can get these promotional fares on the Eurolines website (which is fairly confusing even once you switch it to English), and you can sometimes get similar fares from travel agencies in Amsterdam.

Now that you know you are definitely coming:

>>Look for flights to Amsterdam
>>Look for Amsterdam hotels
>>Look for hostels in Amsterdam

>>>Return to the Amsterdamlogue home page to see the latest Amsterdam articles

{ 3 comments }

judy June 18, 2009 at 3:59 pm
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excellent info,thanks a lot. Den haag here i come!

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Jean Friedman July 13, 2009 at 3:53 pm
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Just the information I needed. Thanks!

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Henk July 21, 2009 at 4:49 am
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Hello – My wife and I are heading for our first trip to Europe (doing one of the Budapest/Amsterdam river cruises) and intend to stay 3-4 days long in Amsterdam after leaving the ship. In trying prepare for our trip I came across your website. We found the site extremely informative and useful and your writing style was very easy and contained a great sense of humour. Keep up the good work and we will be returning on a regular basis before our actual arrive.

Henk – Adelaide, Australia

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