Written on: 28/04/2009 by speakout (86 reviews written)
St Pancras is a wonderful station
Fast service direct to heart of Paris
Only need to check-in 30 mins before departure
The Eurostar train service running out of St Pancras in London is just fantastic. I had the pleasure of using the service once when it ran from London Waterloo and although I didn't find fault with it then, the new service out of St Pancras really is first class.
The Eurostar International terminal at St Pancras is a wonderful light and airy space with plenty of shops to browse around before you embark on your travels. It is all really well signposted and the large number of check-in points mean that you don't have long to wait until you are at the passport and bag check (last check-in time is 30 minutes before your departure). Just like an airport you simply put your luggage on the automatic belts so they can be scanned and you collect them again after walking through the scanner. You then get your pasport checked and you make your way through to a holding area where you can buy coffee and a paper etc whilst waiting to be called to your train. The space is large with plenty of seats for everyone, modern and very clean and the toilets are also very smart.
You board your train about 30 minutes before departure via moving runways leading up to the higher platform level where the trains leave from. Your ticket indicates your carriage number and you can find the corresponding coach via the large numbers painted on the platform floor. This wasn't immediately obvious to me when travelling last week and when I asked as I was confused, the station staff politely told me what I had to do much to my own embarrassment as I noticed the numbers on the floor!
The carriages themselves have plenty of space for luggage, be it at the entrance of each carriage. Overhead spaces are large enough for small suitcases and soft bags and there is also a third space where you can store your coats etc. The seats are comfortable and have plenty of leg room and I also like the fact that you can lift the arm rests and spread out a little should the seat next to you not be occupied.
The journey itself is very relaxing and I would recommend you have a window seat so you can enjoy the view. The journey to Paris (Gare du Nord) only takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes but the most surprising thing about the Eurostar service is the fact that you are only actually in the Channel tunnel for about 20 minutes of the jouney.
If I ever have to go to Paris again then I will definitely be taking the Eurostar service. It is cheaper (in my experience of using non-flexible tickets) so much more relaxing than having to get to the airport an hour before departure and getting in line with everyone having to go through customs etc. The train journey is very pleasant and you get to look out at the rolling countryside and you leave from the centre of town and are deposited at journey's end slap bang in the middle of Paris. I would recommend Eurostar to anyone.