Flying to Amsterdam is pretty swift but the hassle of getting to the airport can turn the 45 minute flight time into a 4 hour venture, by the time you’ve travelled to the airport, waited in the terminal and flown to the other side.
In a bid to test a less stressful method of transportation (not to mention more environmentally friendly), I recently ventured to Amsterdam from London via the Eurostar.
I can testify that the journey – just under 4 hours – is pretty seamless and you feel a lot perkier not being subjected to aircraft cabin pressure!
The Eurostar hub is inside the wonderful London St Pancras International Station, which is one of my favourite spots in the metropolis given the fact that it boasts a plethora of great stores – Fortnum & Mason, Laduree & Aspinal of London to name a few – plus there’s a mix of top restaurants on the doorstep and the stunning St Pancras Renaissance Hotel to explore.
I booked a Friday 11am train from London, getting me into Amsterdam for the early afternoon.
Unlike at the airport, the security process was swift and I didn’t have to take off my shoes or remove my laptop.
It can be a bit of a price hike, but if you can run to it, upgrading to business premier on the Eurostar is well worth it.
You start reaping the benefits of your upper class ticket at check in, with a dedicated lane which is devoid of crowds.
After clearing passport control you are granted access to a lounge area.
The Eurostar business premier lounge is a bright and lofty space with a mix of coffee tables seats and high breakfast chairs available.
There are magazines and newspapers on offer when you walk in and a help-yourself kitchen area further on through.
On the day I visited, breakfast was still running, with fresh pastries laid out for the taking, cereals and a fruit bowl featuring some pretty juicy plums.
The hot chocolate comes highly recommended as do the creamy cappuccinos!
In the lounge toilet I was delighted to see Diptyque hand wash, and there was enough space in the bathroom to take your luggage in to change and freshen up.
The walk to the premium carriage, number 16, was a bit of a schlep, but I quickly forgot any stresses as I settled into my comfortable seat.
My seat, number 51, was a single window seat.
Perks included a USB charger point, coat peg, a mirror that flipped down on the seat back in front, a power socket (although European not UK), foot rest, glass holder and fold-down tray.
I hadn’t been sat down long and one of the friendly attendants introduced themselves and let me know they’d be looking after me for the duration of my journey.
In business premier your ticket includes a three-course meal designed by Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc OBE.
Drinks are also part of the package, with a glass of Piper-Heidsieck champagne offered from the get go.
Other beverages in the bar included Bombay Sapphire gin and tonics and a nice spread of wine.
I opted for a small bottle of the Chateau Bellevue Bordeaux Superieur 2016.
During my journey, a winter themed menu using seasonal ingredients was served up with a stilton and pecan salad to start and three choices for main, including fish pie, tandoori spiced chicken and a grilled butternut squash salad.
I opted for the butternut salad which was perfectly cooked, with a tasty lentil, kale and horseradish salad prepared as an accompaniment.
To round things out, an apple mousse with apple compote was served up for dessert with a platter of cheese delivered after we left Brussels.
During my London to Amsterdam to London the train stopped at Brussels and Rotterdam, before pulling into Amsterdam Centraal, in the heart of the canal-veined city.
I felt much better physically taking the Eurostar over flying to Amsterdam. Even though it’s a short flight, the cabin pressure always makes me feel sleepy and has a bad impact on my skin!
I’d also managed to get work done during the 4-hour train journey, with room to pop my laptop up and an intermittent wifi signal allowing me to connect where possible.
Check the Eurostar website for deals, as there are often bargains to be had if you book well in advance.
It’s certainly a more relaxed way of kickstarting a city break and there are plans to make the journey time from London to Amsterdam even faster with the wait in Brussels eliminated…
‘Super goed!’ as the Dutch would say!
For further information and to plan a journey, visit www.eurostar.com