Travelling from the major European cities to London is easy thanks to the extensive rail network. Being the main transport hub, London is served by direct trains from Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Glasgow, Brussels and Paris. The direct connections are usually shorter in duration than indirect connections which are also available from Milan, Barcelona and Berlin. There are over 350 train stations in London but the main ones are King's Cross, Fenchurch Street, Waterloo, London Bridge, Victoria, Paddington, Liverpool Street, Charing Cross, St Pancras, and Euston. They connect to central destinations through the bus and tube system.
London Waterloo ranks number one in terms of platforms and floor space. With 24 platforms, including underground options, it is the busiest train station in the UK. There are direct tube links and shops where visitors can buy foods, drinks, prescriptions, clothes, and gifts. Trains from Waterloo take people to the South Coast and South West of the UK. Top destinations include Southampton, Poole and Bournemouth. The second largest station, Victoria, is close to Belgravia, Westminster, and Pimlico. The Victoria line is operated by Southeastern and Southern trains which also connect to Gatwick Airport.
Train companies operating domestic services to London include the Great Western Railway, Virgin Trains, and Southern Railways. Virgin trains provide some of the fastest journeys to London. For instance, travelling from Manchester takes 2 hours 6 minutes while a trip from Leeds is only 1 hour 53 minutes. On the other hand, international services are offered by Eurostar through St Pancras railway station, which is situated north of central London.
Apart from being the greenest modes of transport, trains to London are faster than flying or driving. Coming from anywhere in Europe, Eurostar trains are great options via St Pancras terminal. What’s more, rail services offer cost-effective travel options such as Oyster travel smartcards and travelcards. These are electronic smartcards that pay for single trips on public transport. Off-peak seasons also come with low-cost fares.
As well as all the obvious tourist attractions, including Buckingham Palace, the theatre district or some of the best museums in the world, travellers can opt for a different experience. Why not take a tour of Westminster, or explore lesser-known boroughs of London such as Shoreditch and Peckham and take advantage of the numerous pubs? The Barbican Conservatory offers an afternoon tea surrounded by exotic plants, but it is essential to book ahead. When travelling in London passengers can purchase an Oyster card that can be used on tubes and buses alike. They are available to buy from all stations as well as corner shops.