London is a major world city and capital of the United Kingdom. It is located about 360km west of Amsterdam over the North Sea. London-Amsterdam is a popular travel route normally attracting over 4 million passengers per year, although travel has been severely impacted from the ‘coronavirus’ measures.
Let’s look at the options for travel between Amsterdam and London by train, air, bus and ferry.
1. Amsterdam-London by Train
Travelling between Amsterdam and London by rail is an excellent option. A direct London-Amsterdam Eurostar train service takes around 4 hours and stops at Brussels Zuid/Midi and Rotterdam. You can easily book your London-Amsterdam rail ticket at the NS International site
Eurostar trains depart from London St Pancras at 1104 and 1716 arriving at Amsterdam Central at 1611 and 2214, respectively.
A direct 2x daily Amsterdam-London service is also now up and running. The trains depart from Amsterdam Central at 0747 and 1647, arriving in London St Pancras at 1057 and 1957, respectively.
Passengers departing Amsterdam need to go through a security and immigration check.
If the departure times don’t suit you, there is also the possibility of travelling between Amsterdam and London via a change in Brussels. You make the trip as follows:
(1) The trip from Amsterdam to Brussels which can be made using the high speed Thalys service which runs from Amsterdam Central to Brussels Zuid/Midi via Schiphol, Rotterdam and Antwerp. This runs 7-9x daily (weekdays), 4x daily (Saturdays) and 5-6x daily (Sundays) and takes just under 2 hours.
Alternatively, Amsterdam-Brussels can be made by the slower Intercity Brussels (13x daily) which runs hourly between Amsterdam and Brussels Zuid/Midi. This journey takes 2 hours 48 minutes.
(2) The Brussels-London part of the journey is made by Eurostar trains which currently run 5-6x daily. This trip takes 2 hours.
The journey times for London-Amsterdam for Eurostar+Thalys is from about 4 hours 40 minutes; by Eurostar+Intercity Brussels it ranges 5-7 hours.
Classes of travel on Thalys are Standard (2nd class), Comfort (1st class seat only, no food/drinks) and Premium (1st class seat with food/drinks served). 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. Check out our review of the London-Amsterdam Eurostar train (Standard Premier class).
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.
Eurostar offers onboard WiFi only on its new and refurbished trains. Power outlets are available at each seat of the newer trains.
London-Amsterdam one-way fares cost from £35 (Standard), £79 (Standard Premier) and £260 (Business Premier). The cheapest fares tend to be the direct train service; the Eurostar+Thalys through-fares are normally more expensive.
Eurostar’s UK site currently does not sell tickets for Intercity trains to the Netherlands or to any Dutch station.
Booking from the Netherlands, the cheapest Amsterdam-London one-way fares are available from €40. The London-any Dutch station one-way fare starts at €59 (Standard) or €99.50 (Standard Premier).
How to book online: You can book your Eurostar or Eurostar+Thalys or Eurostar+Intercity Brussels for London-Amsterdam at the NS International site
It is highly preferable to take a direct train between London and Amsterdam. If travelling via a change in Brussels do allow enough time for checking in/border control/security – arrive at least 45-60 minutes in advance if possible.
For more info see our international trains from Amsterdam article.
2. Flights Amsterdam-London
Amsterdam-London is a very popular air route with flights operating between Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) and 5 airports around London – Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW), City (LCY), Luton (LTN) and Stansted (STN).
Flight frequency has been cut back significantly from the ‘coronavirus’ measures. Flights to Southend (SEN) airport have been dropped.
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 air passengers will also need to submit “advance passenger information” to the airline prior to travel.
No frills heavyweight Easyjet connects Schiphol to London Luton (1-3x daily), Gatwick (2-3x daily) and Stansted (1-2x 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.
British Airways (Oneworld alliance) flies a reduced service from Amsterdam to London Heathrow (1-2x daily). Flights to London Gatwick and London City airport have been temporarily dropped.
From 1 October 2020 BA plans to fly up to 7x daily between Amsterdam and Heathrow – although this will depend on any UK-Netherlands travel restrictions.
Aircraft used are mainly Airbus A319/320/321; smaller Embraer aircraft are used on the (suspended) BA Cityflyer service from 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.
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.
BA flights departing Amsterdam Schiphol leave from the D gates.
KLM (Skyteam alliance) is the national Dutch carrier although these days is integrated with Air France. It currently flies to London Heathrow up to 4x daily. Flights serve Terminal 2 as the usual Terminal 4 remains closed.
KLM Cityhopper flies from Amsterdam to London City airport up to 3x daily.
KLM uses Boeing 737s on the route and smaller Embraer planes for its Cityhopper branded service.
Prices can be a bit more expensive than Easyjet and BA – expect to pay from about £120/€140 return if checking in luggage. One-way flights with KLM can be very expensive.
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.
Note, Ryanair flies from London Stansted to Eindhoven airport, 90 minutes south of Amsterdam. It currently only serves Dublin from Amsterdam Schiphol.
3. Amsterdam-London by Coach
Coach travel between Amsterdam and London has also been reduced considerably in 2020.
Flixbus currently operates a 1-2x daily coach service from Amsterdam Sloterdijk to London Victoria with fares from €25 one-way. Flixbus has recently absorbed Eurolines.
BlaBlaBus is a premium coach service which operates a 1-3x daily service between Amsterdam Sloterdijk and London Victoria – prices start at £22/€25 one-way.
4. Amsterdam-London by Ferry+Train combo
The Dutchflyer rail-ferry option is available from Stena Line ferries in conjunction with Greater Anglia (GA) and NS Dutch railways. The ferry runs 2x daily (1 day + 1 overnight sailing) between Hoek van Holland (Hook of Holland, near Rotterdam) and Harwich.
The special Stena ships operating on this North Sea route are the 240m long Stena Hollandica and Stena Britannica and the sailing takes 6 1/2 to 7 hours.
There are various ticket options available. From the UK, the Rail & Sail Harwich to any Dutch station costs from £55 one-way; from any GA station to any Dutch station costs from £49. Overnight sailings require a compulsory cabin – cabin fees range from £34 to £130. Cabins cost half-price for day sailings.
Buying from the Netherlands, the journey from Hoek van Holland to any GA station costs from €49 (day) and €76 (overnight). A ticket from any station in the Netherlands to any GA station costs from €66 (day) and €93 (overnight).
More info see Ferries UK to Holland
GA stations include London Liverpool Street, Norwich and Cambridge.
A metro line is now running from Hoek van Holland to Schiedam. From Schiedam you can connect to the Dutch rail network including Intercity trains to Amsterdam.
This article was originally published in 2010 and has continuously been updated. Last update 28 October 2020.