20 Years of the Eurostar:
Standard Premier Class
– London to Brussels –
Every four to six weeks or so, I make my way from the UK to France (or from France to the UK), and always by train, as I prefer the train to the plane; as well travelling on the TGV, part of my journey is taken on the Eurostar. Last November 2014 saw the start of Eurostar’s 20th anniversary celebrations, and it only seems like yesterday, well to me at least, that these sleek trains started their daily trips between London, Lille and Paris, as well as Brussels. I love the Eurostar, it provides me with regular transport between the UK and Europe and with less hassle than flying – you are allowed two pieces of luggage plus personal hand luggage, no need to cram all your cosmetics and liquids in plastic bags, no checking in your luggage with minute weight restrictions and then waiting to collect them at the other end, or sharing two toilets between hundreds of people, as well as cramped airline seats…….
……..the trains have three classes, Standard, Standard Premier and Business Premier; it’s Standard Premier that I always travel on, with wider seats and individual power sockets, as well as complimentary magazines, newspapers and the all important light meal that is served with beer, spirits, wine and soft drinks, all of which are included in the price of the ticket. For me, this standard of class gives me what I require after a long journey either from the South West of France or North Yorkshire, and it’s well worth the extra few £’s or €’s, especially if you are travelling alone with lots of luggage. I also appreciate the fact that there are more individual seats available in Standard Premier, which I prefer.
As part of the anniversary celebrations, those readers who live in London, or who like me travel on the Eurostar regularly, will have seen the #BETTERCLOSER posters on the walls of the London Underground, and all the other train stations that the Eurostar serves. As well as the normal routes between London St Pancras and Paris, Brussels and Disneyland Paris, as of May 2015, there is a direct route to the Provence in the South of France, stopping at Lyon, Avignon and Marseilles. And, as the new routes come into operation, the new e320 trains are starting to be rolled out too……with the original order of ten e320s now in the final stage of completion, this increases the number of new trains to seventeen in total.
For me, the Eurostar is an essential form of travel, mainly for work, but it has also opened up an easy, cheap and convenient way to travel to Europe (and the UK), for all, whether it be for business, leisure or to visit family and friends. As well as St Pancras in London, you can also board (and disembark) at Ebbsfleet and Ashford in the UK, and Calais and Lille in France. I always travel via Lille, (on the Brussels service) so I can change there to get a train to Bordeaux, which takes me to my home in France. My last return trip was paid for by Eurostar, so I could share my review here, and my journeys were comfortable and fast, with both outbound and return trains arriving at their destinations on time. My light meal comprised a bottle of rose wine, water, a fabulous cheese platter with assorted bread rolls, oat cakes, butter, salad, a delectable marmalade cheesecake, coffee and a chocolate.
The staff on my last trip were friendly and attentive and I was offered a top up of coffee twice, as well as more bread rolls, water and wine. I for one will be celebrating 20 years of being #BETTERCLOSER this year, and I am already in the process of booking my next journey back to the UK from France! DO check out my Instagram feed for all my past and future Eurostar journeys, as well as my Twitter feed and Facebook account, where you will see my Eurostar journeys progressing through images. Karen
Eurostar operates up to 9 daily services from London St Pancras International to Lille with return fares from £69. Fastest London-Lille journey time is 1hr 20 minutes. Tickets are available from eurostar.com or 08432 186 186.
With the option of flexible fares, Standard Premier offers the freedom to work, think, or simply unwind. You will be presented with calm, spacious surroundings with on-board staff offering a light meal and a selection of magazines.
Standard Premier fares start from £189 return
Disclaimer: I received a free return journey travelling Standard Premier with Eurostar, and all views and opinions are my own.
Images: The Clearing for Eurostar
St Pancras Art and Artefacts:
Images: St Pancras Station website