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How to Travel From London to Amsterdam

How to Travel From London to Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of the world’s most beautiful cities, known for its narrow houses, canals, cafes, flowers, cyclists, world-class museums, infamous Red Light District, and relaxed laws. For many people in the UK, the Dutch capital is one of the first foreign destinations you travel to without your parents. It’s a rite of passage that British teenagers flock to every year.

But even as you age, the fascination with this magical city continues. Amsterdam is a hugely popular destination among Brits for everything from romantic getaways to chilled city breaks. From cultural fixes to rowdy stag and hen nights. (That’s bachelor and bachelorette parties if you’re from North America.)

Access to Amsterdam is possible from every major city in the UK, but London offers the most options. And since the English capital is a transport hub, there’s a good chance you’ll stop here when traveling to Europe from the US.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled this list of the best ways to travel from London to Amsterdam. And don’t forget your travel insurance, because it might not always be plain sailing. For your trip, we recommend SafetyWing for younger travelers and TravelInsurance.com for anyone seeking a travel insurance policy tailored to your needs.

How to Get From London To Amsterdam

Here are five different ways how to travel from London to Amsterdam.

1. Eurostar Train

Eurostar Train
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The best way to get from London to Amsterdam is on a Eurostar train. As I have crippling flight anxiety, this is my preferred method of travel (when I have a choice). And as Cary Grant rightly said in North By Northwest – “it beats flying, doesn’t it?”

Your train journey begins at London St. Pancras Station in the city center. Other Eurostar trains run from London Victoria and London Liverpool Street, but London St Pancras International is more convenient. The departure building is located at the end of platform 15B, but you’ll need a ticket in advance to scan through the security gates.

From there, you’ll travel through the famous Channel Tunnel, skirting Northern France, into Belgium, and towards the Netherlands. Your first main stop will likely be Brussels, where you will have a short layover.

This is due to security checks and border bureaucracy, but it shouldn’t hold you up too long. Make sure you always have easy access to your Eurostar ticket and passport in case you’re asked to show both.

In some instances, you may need to change trains in Brussels, which might add an extra thirty minutes to the journey time. But you’ll soon be crossing into the Netherlands towards your final destination, Rotterdam Centraal Station.

Rotterdam will be the last stop before you arrive at Amsterdam Centraal Station. Many travelers alight here and visit the Hague, a famous tourist spot. And you will also be able to discover the differences between Rotterdam and Amsterdam in the process.

If you are planning to travel extensively across Europe, with multiple train trips, I would recommend purchasing the Global Pass by Eurail. Hugely popular with backpackers, this train ticket offers more value for money than single ticket prices when you want to explore several destinations in a set time frame.

Eurail also offers the Benelux Pass. You can use these train tickets to visit Luxemburg and Belgium for the price of one. If you enjoy traveling by train, these cheap tickets are a great deal, and you can use multiple train companies for your chosen journeys.

A direct Eurostar train usually takes just under four hours from London St Pancras International to Amsterdam Centraal Station. Trains are comfortable, with free WiFi, and a complimentary light meal with your ticket will be served if applicable.

Remember that an international train from London has the same security as airports. Don’t do what I did and get your pocketknife confiscated by an unsympathetic transport police officer.

See Related: Eurostar Standard vs. Premier: Which is Better?

2. Hop on a flight

Easyjet Airbus A319 at Amsterdam Schiphol airport in the Netherlands
Markus Mainka – stock.adobe.com

Although I will always prefer a direct train journey, one of the easiest and quickest ways to go from London to Amsterdam is by air. You’ll be on the ground in one hour and 15 minutes, making it the best way to travel to Amsterdam for a weekend getaway.

London is serviced by no less than six airports, each located at varying distances from the city center. When booking a flight from London to Amsterdam (or anywhere, for that matter), not considering the location of airports is a common mistake.

You can choose from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London City Airport, London Luton, London Stansted, and London Southend. Travel hubs are well-connected by the London Underground, taxis, and regular bus services. There are plenty of ways to get to your chosen airport from anywhere in the city.

Thankfully, things are slightly less confusing on the other end, as Amsterdam has just one major airport. Schiphol Airport is located just over five miles from the city center. A direct train runs every twenty minutes and takes just over twenty minutes to arrive at Amsterdam Centraal.

Prices for flights between London and Amsterdam vary by a large margin depending on the season. But if you consider flying with a budget airline, you might be able to find cheaper flights between the smaller airports in London and to other airports in the Netherlands.

Consider RyanAir and Easyjet for your flight from London to Amsterdam. Although carriers like British Airways and KLM are up there with the best in the world, they’re certainly not the cheapest way to make the trip. Book your tickets ahead of time to take advantage of the best prices.

Be sure to account for immigration and security checks when flying from London to Amsterdam. You must show a valid passport upon entering England and the Netherlands; and be prepared for busy passport control areas when departing and arriving. However, a visa is not required for US citizens who plan to stay in either country for less than three months.

See Related: How Much is a Trip to Amsterdam?

3. Take the Bus

Flixbus Touring Car At Amsterdam The Netherlands
Dutchmen Photography / Shutterstock.com

If you have time to spare and looking for a more economical option, a great way to go from London to Amsterdam is by bus. There are several private and nationally owned bus operators, so you have a few options.

One of the most well-known companies is Flixbus, which has a network across most countries on the continent. Buses depart from London Victoria Coach Station, and you can choose to arrive at either Amsterdam Sloterdijk or Bijlmer ArenA.

If you aren’t set on Flixbus, you can search for bus options from anywhere along the London area to Amsterdam via Omio to compare prices from multiple operators. This is the most budget-friendly option when traveling from London to Amsterdam. Again, buses depart from London Victoria Coach Station and arrive at Amsterdam Sloterdijk.

A third option for a London to Amsterdam bus is the National Express. This is an iconic UK coach service offering routes nationwide and into Europe.

A little more expensive, the National Express is known as having a higher standard of bus travel when compared to budget services. The journey time is also likely to be faster.

Your bus journey to Amsterdam starts in London and travels to the port town of Dover. Expect delays as border police check passports.

The coach then goes onto a ferry where passengers can get out and stretch their legs, and enjoy some scenic views and sea air from the upper decks. Docking at Calais, you’ll then make stops in Bruge, Antwerp, Rotterdam Centraal, and onto your chosen Netherlands destination.

The bus journey time from London to Amsterdam varies, but typically takes between 11 to 14 hours depending on which service and route you choose. Buses are generally comfortable, with free Wi-Fi (although the strength and reliability of the service can fluctuate). Powerpoints are available to charge your devices and adequate toilet facilities are on board.

Speaking from experience, a word of caution when choosing a budget bus service. You get what you pay for. Your overall comfort may vary depending on some wildly different factors.

This includes your fellow passengers, traffic and road conditions, and the driver’s demeanor. I find there’s a direct correlation between my comfort level and how close I am to the nearest screaming child.

Never, ever sit by the on-board toilet if you can help it. While it’s very convenient, it’s zero fun if another passenger deposits something foul near your nostrils.

And for Pete’s sake, take a shower before you board. Good personal hygiene on buses should be written into law.

4. By boat/ferry

Stena Line ferry ship the Stena Hollandica leaves Hoek van Holland to Harwich, England
VanderWolf Images – stock.adobe.com

There isn’t a boat or ferry directly from the City of London to Amsterdam, but a train can take you to the ferry terminal at Harwich International Station. Once in the Netherlands, you can take connecting trains or buses to Amsterdam. Checking options on FerryHopper is the best way to navigate and compare multiple routes and prices.

Harwich International is a train station and ferry port; located on the East Coast of Essex. To get there, take the train from London which departs Liverpool Street Station. There are two trains per day.

A ferry will take you across the English Channel to Hoek Van Holland (or Hook of Holland). Once there, you’ll be 30 minutes from The Hague. The daytime ferry is the Stena Hollandica. It leaves the station at 9 AM, reaching Amsterdam at 5:15 PM. The overnight ferry is the Stena Britannica.

It departs at 11 PM and arrives in Amsterdam at 8 AM. For the overnight journey, passengers will need to book a cabin.

Both ferries offer the same amenities: restaurants, shops, bars, cinemas, and a computer room. Two other ferries depart from the stations at Newcastle and Hull, but Harwich International is the closest to London.

Upon arrival in the Netherlands, you can visit the Hague and/or Rotterdam. There’s a regular metro service from Hoek Van Holland to each city.

You can purchase train tickets to Amsterdam from kiosks at each station. From there, you’ll be in the Dutch capital in under 50 minutes, but buses are also available if you’d prefer to travel by road.

Taking the ferry from London to Amsterdam is one of the longest and most complex travel options, but if you enjoy the experience of traveling, this is an ideal choice.

5. Drive

Asphalt curved road with cars passing through the forest in the region of Normandy, France
sergiymolchenko / Adobe Stock

If you prefer the freedom of having a vehicle when traveling, another way to get from London to Amsterdam is to drive. The entire journey should take you about seven hours, give or take the number of stops, the route you take, and the sights you want to see.

And everyone loves a good road trip! You can even rent a car or a luxury car for a larger group trip using RentalCars.com to make the road trip even more enjoyable.

Driving from London to Amsterdam will take you through France, Belgium, and the Netherlands through the Channel Tunnel. Note that you cannot drive through the tunnel and must load your vehicle onto a Eurorail shuttle. This leg of the journey will take about 35 minutes.

The trip through the tunnel will take you to the French port of Calais. Once you’ve negotiated passport control, you will drive the scenic coastal route towards De Panne Adinkerke.

The road then continues into Bruges, where you can head towards Antwerp or cross into the Netherlands at Sint Anna ter Muiden. The latter option is a longer but more pleasant drive.

If you take the more scenic route, you will go via Rotterdam and The Hague. If you selected the road to Antwerp, you will more likely drive through Breda and Utrecht. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure story! Whichever route you prefer, you’ll pass through some of the best cities in the Netherlands.

Driving from London to Amsterdam is ideal if you want to enjoy day trips from the city on your own steam. It’s also the most economical option if you’re traveling as a family, and it gives you the freedom to move at your own pace and visit sights along the way.

However, it’s not without its downsides. Amsterdam isn’t particularly car-friendly. Many hotels in the city center don’t provide parking, and you’ll have to leave your car further afield.

Driving on the continent is no cakewalk, and you need to have your wits about you. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with road rules and regulations in each country.

And don’t even dare get on the road without adequate travel insurance. Let me tell you – European drivers can be crazy, and accidents happen constantly. Don’t risk being uninsured.

If you want to rent a car in London and travel to the continent, you must provide several documents. These include a valid driver’s license, a GB sticker, and motor insurance.

You’ll also need proof of return travel and accommodation details. And if you don’t want to do all that, you could always try hitchhiking.

See Related: What to Do When There’s a Train Strike

Where To Stay In Amsterdam

Before starting your journey from London to Amsterdam, you should have some accommodation booked. Below, I’ve included some of the best places to stay in Amsterdam.

1. Ambassade Hotel

Ambassade Hotel at Night
Ambassade Hotel / Booking.com

This hotel is the perfect option for luxury travelers. Located in the heart of the city, Ambassade Hotel is close to many tourist sights.

The hotel also boasts an extensive library featuring books by authors who have stayed there. Right on a canal, it’s a great choice for an unmissable Amsterdam boat cruise.

Best for:

  • Central location.
  • Booklovers.
  • Canal views.

2. Morgan and Mees

Morgan and Mees dining area
Morgan and Mees / Facebook

If you prefer a boutique vibe, Morgan and Mees is a great choice. The hotel has a perfect location and is just a few feet away from the Anne Frank House Museum. Before you visit the museum, take a WW2 walking tour to learn about the writer’s life and times in Amsterdam.

Best for:

  • A classic, clean look.
  • Terrace and bar.
  • Excellent showers.

3. Hotel Van Gogh

Front and entrance of Hotel Van Gogh
Hotel Van Gogh / Facebook

For a more economical option, check out Hotel Van Gogh located near the famous Van Gogh Museum. The hostel features bright rooms and Amsterdam-style architecture. Don’t forget a museum ticket to see some of Vincent’s most famous works.

Best for:

  • If you’re on a budget.
  • Museum hopping.
  • Van Gogh-themed decor.

4. Heart of Amsterdam Hotel

Front of Heart of Amsterdam Hotel
Heart of Amsterdam Hotel / Booking.com

For social butterflies, the Heart of Amsterdam Hotel is a solid choice. One of the most centrally located hostels, with dormitories and private rooms, you’re never too far away from the action here. And check out this article on the best nightclubs in Amsterdam to find a place to let loose.

Best for:

  • Party animals.
  • Backpackers.
  • Access to nightlife.

5. Park Plaza Vondelpark Amsterdam

Room at Park Plaza Vondelpark Amsterdam
Park Plaza Vondelpark Amsterdam / Facebook

Moving a little further outside the city center, the Park Plaza Vondelpark is a gorgeous place to stay. Located right opposite one of Amsterdam’s most beloved greenspaces, this hotel is in the elegant Oud-Zuid neighborhood close to some of the best restaurants, bars, and clubs in the city. A guided bike tour is a great way to explore the city from here.

Best for:

  • Quieter location.
  • Vondelpark access.
  • Luxury.

6. Pulitzer Amsterdam

Pulitzer Amsterdam lounge
Pulitzer Amsterdam / Booking.com

The Pulitzer is one of the best hotels in Amsterdam for families. Centrally located, you’ll be staying in a historic canal townhouse.

Every inch of this beautiful hotel has been fascinatingly decorated, and both kids and adults will love it. The Amsterdam Tulip Museum is just down the street.

Best for:

  • Families.
  • Attractive decor.
  • Fitness center.

7. The Canal House

Executive suite at Canal House, Amsterdam

Passion is in the air at this romantic hotel right on the water. Highly rated by couples, The Canal House offers rooms decorated with dark woods and decadent fabrics.

Bathtubs for two are available in the larger rooms, and city views are available. Try this romantic walking tour for couples when you’re there.

Best for:

  • Couples.
  • Romantic decor.
  • Peaceful retreat.

FAQs

Houses and a canal in Amsterdam
Stuart Jameson / ViaTravelers

What is the best way to get from London to Amsterdam?

There are several options when traveling from London to Amsterdam. The fastest and most convenient way is to take a flight. I would argue the more comfortable option is the train, and the most exciting and enjoyable journey is by ferry.

Families or groups of friends should consider a road trip. A bus is economical but might not be the most pleasant experience.

How long does it take to get from London to Amsterdam?

It depends on which of the above options you’ve decided to take. A flight takes around one hour and 15 minutes. A train will take four hours.

A ferry is the longest trip and takes seven hours just for the crossing alone. Driving can take seven to 14 hours, depending on the route.

What is the cheapest way to get from London to Amsterdam?

A bus is the cheapest way to get to Amsterdam from London. But driving is arguably more economical for families and groups of friends.

This is a good article to read if you want to visit Amsterdam on a budget. And try here if you want to score some cheap flights.

What’s the currency in Amsterdam, and can I use British pounds?

The currency in Amsterdam is the Euro. No other currencies are accepted.

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