London is a major world city and capital of the United Kingdom. It is located about 360km west of Amsterdam over the North Sea.
Let's look at the options for travel between Amsterdam and London by air, train, bus and ferry...
1. Flights Amsterdam-London
Amsterdam-London is a very popular air route with flights operating between Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) and 6 airports around London - Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW), City (LCY), Luton (LTN), Stansted (STN) and Southend (SEN).
Flying time generally takes between 45 and 60 minutes although flights into London Heathrow can be delayed slightly by the management of air traffic into rotating stacks. As the UK is not part of the European Schengen border agreement you will need to go through passport control at both sides. UK passengers will also need to submit "advance passenger information" to the airline prior to travel.
No frills heavyweight Easyjet connects Schiphol to London Luton (~4x daily), Gatwick (~6x daily), Southend (~2x daily) and Stansted (~3x daily) using Airbus A319/A320 aircraft. Return prices start at about £80/€95 when including checked luggage. At Amsterdam Schiphol, Easyjet check-in desks are located at Departures Hall 3 - usually queues are not too bad except for peak times - and flights depart from budget pier H. Note, you will go through a security screening on reaching that pier and there are no shops/cafes beyond that point.
British Airways (Oneworld alliance) flies from Amsterdam to London Heathrow (~9x daily), London Gatwick (~3x daily) and London City airport (up to 7x daily) with a reduced schedule at weekends. Aircraft used are mainly Airbus A319/320/321 plus a few Boeing 737s from Gatwick and the occasional larger Boeing 767 on the Heathrow route; smaller Embraer aircraft are used out of London City.
BA flight prices can be a little more expensive than Easyjet and the service is more geared to business passengers or those with onward connections. BA has its own Galleries lounge at Schiphol, as well as multiple lounges at Heathrow and Gatwick. Return economy prices are from approximately £85/€100 - the very cheapest fares being the hand-luggage-only fares to/from Gatwick. BA also sells more expensive Club Europe (business class) tickets on the London-Amsterdam route.
Flights departing Amsterdam leave from the D gates - sometimes there is a security screening right before the gate. Note, BA also flies from Rotterdam airport to London Heathrow and London City.
Prices can be a bit more expensive than Easyjet and BA - expect to pay from about £120/€140 return if checking in luggage. Do not try to book a one-way flight with KLM as they charge expensive fare tariffs for one-ways.
KLM caters for its frequent flyers with its Crown lounges at Schiphol. KLM should be noted for having an excellent network from Amsterdam to all over the UK.
Indonesian airline Garuda (Skyteam) flies 5x weekly (from Sep 2014) between Amsterdam and London Gatwick using a Boeing 777. This is a tag flight for its Jakarta-Amsterdam-London service. Ticket prices are from around £90/€100 return for economy, Garuda also has a business and first class cabin.
Note, Ryanair flies from London Stansted to Eindhoven airport, 90 minutes south of Amsterdam.
2. Amsterdam-London by Train
Travelling between Amsterdam and London by rail is a certainly viable option. There are currently no direct routes - you need to make a change at Brussels and possibly Rotterdam. Journey time for Amsterdam-London is about 4 hours 40 minutes on high speed trains and about 6 hours using Intercity services between Brussels and Amsterdam.
The Amsterdam-London rail journey is made up of 2 main parts:
(2) The Brussels-London part of the journey is made by high speed Eurostar trains running 6-7x daily via Lille and the Channel Tunnel. This trip takes 2 hours though you need a little extra time beforehand to check-in and go through security and border checks. Check out our detailed review of the London-Brussels Eurostar train.
Classes of travel on Thalys are Comfort 1 (1st class) and Comfort 2 (2nd class). Comfort 1 includes drinks and snacks served at your seat, newspapers/magazines and free WiFi internet. Comfort 2 passengers can purchase food and drink at the onboard bar. All seats have individual electric power outlets.
Intercity trains have 1st class and 2nd class carriages. The Intercity Brussels trains often have an attendant passing through the train selling drinks and snacks.
Eurostar has 3 main classes of travel: Standard (2nd class), Standard Premier (1st class 'lite') and Business Premier (1st class). Standard Premier passengers get roomier seating, drinks and a light meal served at their seat plus a selection of magazines. Business Premier ticket holders get a full meal and drinks, newspapers and magazines as well as Eurostar lounge access. Standard passengers can buy refreshments at the onboard bar buffet car.
Note that Eurostar does not offer onboard WiFi but plans to introduce it in the near future. UK and Euro electrical power outlets are available for Standard Premier and Business Premier passengers - plus Standard coaches 5 and 14.
It is possible to purchase through-tickets for the Amsterdam-London rail journey.
Booking from the UK, London-Amsterdam tickets using Eurostar+Thalys are priced from £55.50 one-way, £99 return in 2nd class (Standard+Comfort 2) and £112 one-way, £169 return in 1st class (Standard Premier+Comfort 1). Note that the fully flexible Business Premier tickets come in at around a hefty £300 each way. Eurostar currently does not sell tickets for Intercity trains to Netherlands.
Eurostar also sells a fare from London to any Belgian station - priced from £45 single, £79 return. If coming to the Netherlands you would then have to buy an additional ticket between Essen (Belgian border) to your Dutch destination station.
Booking from Netherlands, the cheapest fares using the Eurostar+Intercity trains are €59 one-way, €109 return (2nd class+Standard) or €124 one-way, €220 return (1st class+Standard Premier). These fares are valid to any Dutch station. Thalys+Eurostar fares start from €79 one-way.
When travelling Amsterdam to London do allow enough time for checking in/border control/security at the Eurostar terminal in Brussels. We suggest arriving at least 1 hour beforehand if possible.
Future: From December 2014, the old Amsterdam-Brussels Intercity will be restored and will run 16x daily. It is possible from December 2016 that direct London-Amsterdam Eurostar services will start.
For more info see our international trains from Amsterdam article.
3. Amsterdam-London by Coach
From the UK, promo online funfares (occasionally offered) start at £9-£15 one-way. Standard prices range from £24-£35 for a single and £45-£65 for a return. From Netherlands standard singles start at €38 with occasional promo fares as low as €9-€15.
Megabus also runs a cheap 2x daily coach service between Amsterdam (Zeeburg P&R coach park) and London Victoria. The journey takes about 10 hours and includes a ferry crossing. One-way fares start at £18 or €22 each way.
iDBUS is a premium coach service run by French Railways (SNCF). It operates a daily overnight service between Amsterdam (Sloterdijk station) and London Victoria - prices start at £33 or €39 each way.
4. Amsterdam-London by Ferry+Train combo
There are various ticket options available. From the UK, the Rail & Sail Harwich to any Dutch station costs from £39 one-way (£26 for children 4-15); from any NEEA station to any Dutch station costs from £45 or £32 for children. Overnight sailings require a compulsory cabin - cabin fees start at £30 for a single berth. Cabins cost half-price for day sailings.
Buying from Netherlands, the journey from Hoek van Holland to any NEEA station costs from €45 (day) and €70.50 (overnight). Fares from any Dutch station to any NEEA station are from €60 (day) and €85.50 (overnight). More info see Ferries UK to Holland
NEEA stations include London Liverpool Street, Norwich and Cambridge.
If travelling from Hoek van Holland to Amsterdam then it's a short walk to the Hoek van Holland haven train station. Take the half-hourly Sprinter service going to Rotterdam - get out at Scheidam Centrum (26 minutes) then hop onto an Intercity train going to Amsterdam. The Hoek-Amsterdam rail trip takes 1 hour 35 minutes in total.