If you had told me to get the train from Germany to England five years ago I would have told you that you’re mad, why bother when a flight takes one and a half hours? Well fast forward five years and there were a couple of different reasons why I finally decided to try it out, but in short: I LOVED it. If you are thinking of getting the train to England from Germany (or vice versa – I did both ways) then carry on reading and I will let you know how it went for me!
Why I decided to take the train in the first place
The decision came in 2022 when the travel industry was just recovering from the pandemic. In Summer 2022, chaos began in airports when the flights increased but there weren’t enough staff. This meant a LOT of people lost their luggage for weeks or months (I usually travel with hand luggage so luckily never experienced this problem), flights were delayed or cancelled (this however happened to me A LOT) and the prices were constantly increasing. Because of all of this madness, my boyfriend suggested that for Christmas we take the train to England. He sold me the idea by reminding me that I can take a big suitcase for no extra cost which will fit all my Christmas presents, and of course we would hopefully avoid any travel chaos.
As my parents no longer live very close to an airport in England, taking the train wasn’t actually that much longer to flying, as you also have to consider the time it takes to get to the airport and getting there early etc.
We bought a first class rail pass that is valid for 4 days (these do not have to be consecutive days, but you do have to use them within a month) for 320€. It sounds like quite a lot as you can usually fly to England for around 100 – 200€ (although I have paid over 300€ to fly there before), however when you add up how many trains we took it is actually quite good value. Also note that we paid for first class tickets, second class would obviously be cheaper. This was our itinerary that was all covered by the rail pass:
With the first class rail pass you get standard premier on the Eurostar, which means we got free meals too. I wasn’t expecting much but we had a small falafel salad and the yummiest caramel dessert on the way there. The way back was a pastry and a yoghurt (not as exciting).
Our original plan was to get the train from Munich to Paris and then the Eurostar straight to London, which would have been a bit quicker as there are less connections, however we had some problems booking that way which is why we went through Brussels instead.
- You can take as much luggage as you want.
- You can take as many liquids as you want.
- You don’t have to be at the train station early (apart from for the Eurostar where you should be one to one and a half hours early to get through security).
- You can work or watch films on the train using their wifi (sometimes it wasn’t a great connection so I still recommend downloading films beforehand, but to send emails and messages etc it was fine).
- You have a nice view of different cities/countries that you pass through.
- It is more sustainable than flying (it uses a LOT less Co2).
- You can pretend you are in an Agatha Christie book while being on a train (just without the murder, hopefully).
- You have way more room than in economy on a flight.
- Depending what train you get, there is usually a cafe/bar if you get hungry.
- You are flexible on what trains you take.
- It’s a shorter way from our flat to Munich Central Station than it is going all the way to the airport.
- We had to book seat reservations for all trains which were around 8 – 16€ per person per train on top of the rail pass (for some we didn’t have to, but we wanted to make sure we were sitting together).
- If you miss a connection, you would have to buy a new seat reservation (or wing it and hope that there is a free seat).
- Trains do get delayed too, we barely had any delays though so it went pretty smoothly!
- On a couple of trains there was not much storage for big suitcases, but the staff on the train were lovely and helped us find some space for them.
- When we arrived in Brussels, our next train was suddenly departing from another train station that was 10 minutes away. Luckily we found someone with a Deutsche Bahn uniform who directed us to get on another train to catch the original train, otherwise we would have missed our connection completely.
- The more connections you have, the longer it takes as you need a good amount of layover time in case there are delays.
Why I liked it so much
The train time from Munich to London including layover time was 12 hours, 9 of those hours were on trains! I know it sounds super long, but it really didn’t feel this long at all. I think the reason why I liked it so much was because I had been so busy leading up to Christmas that it was a relief to just sit on a train and not have to do anything. I worked for a few hours, read a book, had a few naps, ate food and watched a film. It was stress free and I loved every minute of it. There is something about slow travel that relaxes you while on the way to your destination, so that you are mentally prepared for your holiday and ready to relax.
Would I do it again? Yes and probably will do it for Christmas this year again! We also have a trip planned later in the year where we will be taking the train to Italy! Follow me on my instagram to keep up with my travels 🙂
Thanks for reading,
2 thoughts on “Slow Travel with the Train from Germany to England”
” You can pretend you are in an Agatha Christie book while being on a train (just without the murder, hopefully).”
This made me smile, you are my tribe! I love rail travel and funnily enough it was using the train when I lived in Germany that converted me.
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Hahahah I‘m glad you liked it!! Everything is just so close to get to as well when you live in Germany, it’s like the perfect country to live in and travel to other places 😍