The train journey from London to Hamburg is very easy. Eurostar trains from London connect very efficiently at Brussels Midi station with Deutsche Bahn ICE high-speed trains bound for Frankfurt-am-Main. Passengers for Hamburg take this train as far as Cologne Hauptbahnhof, changing there onto a direct train to Hamburg.
There are many other options for travelling by train from London to Hamburg. Some passengers trim the Cologne to Hamburg journey time by travelling via Hannover, but that requires an extra change of train. There are routes via Paris and yet others which use Thalys trains for the Brussels to Cologne leg, but these are invariably more expensive than itineraries which rely on Deutsche Bahn services from Brussels to Cologne.
Rail tickets from London to Hamburg via Brussels normally go on sale three months prior to travel. On your journey from London to Hamburg by train, you’ll speed across the territory of four countries: England, France, Belgium and Germany. As the latter three countries are all members of Schengen, there is little by way of border formalities.
London to Brussels
Board a Eurostar service from London St Pancras to Brussels. Little more than an hour after leaving London you’ll already be in northern France, speeding through Flanders fields towards Lille Europe, where almost all Brussels-bound Eurostar trains make an intermediate stop. Some trains make up to three additional stops – at Ebbsfleet, Ashford and Calais.
From Lille, it is just 35 minutes to Brussels, where Eurostar trains terminate at Brussels Midi station. Trains run every five minutes from Brussels Midi to Brussels Central (for the city centre). Your Eurostar ticket is valid for this short onward hop within Brussels.
Remember to factor in at least half an hour for Eurostar’s airline-style baggage check prior to boarding your train. This is a light-touch security scan, and there are no restrictions on taking liquids on board Eurostar trains.
Brussels to Cologne
From Brussels-Midi there are up to nine high-speed trains to Cologne each day – a mix of Thalys and ICE services. The journey takes just under two hours and most trains make just a couple of stops along the way.