brussels day trip from london by train

Is The Eurostar London to Brussels Train Link Worth It?

Short city breaks have never been as popular as they are now. Our world is so well connected that it is easy to get on a train after work on a Friday and leave for the weekend. Come back on a Sunday relaxed and with a bag full of lasting memories. But you don’t even have to invest a weekend when you can easily do a day trip with the Eurostar London to Brussels train link. This little escape is a welcome break from the mundane routine of a 9-5pm workweek.

Eurostar has excellent offers to do a day trip from London to Brussels by train. This is perfect, as there’s no need to book an overnight stay. You can wake up in your London home, spent the day in Brussels, and fall asleep back in the UK.

Said and done – I booked myself a ticket mid-week and was all excited for a day in Brussels.

Brussels Day Trip Itinerary
A potential Brussels itinerary if you do a day trip by train from London

London To Brussels by Train: When Is It The Best Time To Book Tickets For Eurostar?

The fastest way to get to get to Brussels from London is by Eurostar high-speed train which takes you to Europe in no time. I find Eurostar extremely enjoyable to travel with and if I have the chance to choose them, I will!

Eurostar can be pricey, but only if you have set dates in mind. It’s also not the best option for spontaneous travellers. Deals are rare and can occur at the most random of times. Therefore, I would suggest taking a flexible approach and checking out availability as far as three months in advance. Booking ahead can get you return tickets to Brussels for £40.

london to brussels by train eurostar at st pancras international
St Pancras station with the Eurostar

The Eurostar website is neatly organised and offers you a good overview of pricing with a +/- a couple of days forecasting. You get options and seat availability and can browse for the best deal. Comparing prices and different times are worth it, as mid-week services tend to be cheaper than Monday or Friday.

My cheapest fare for a return from London to Brussels by train came £60 for a Tuesday in July. What a cheeky, little treat! I booked the day off and got all excited for my mini-escape to Europe.

Keep In Mind: Your one-day Brussels adventure will be an intense day. My alarm woke me up at 4:40am to catch the train to Brussels at 8am from St Pancras International. The overall travel time for the day is 4h plus your commute to St Pancras and back home. For me, this means an additional 2h. Therefore you want to spend about 6-8h exploring Brussels to make the trip time efficient.

The Eurostar has different fleets and this one came with a modern and clean design. The seats were spacious and super comfortable with generous legroom and a plug to charge my phone. The high-speed train can reach up to 330km per hour and it ran so smoothly that I fell asleep on the spot. The overall travel time on the Eurostar London to Brussels link is 2h.

One Day in Brussels: Things To Do

I arrived at Brussels Midi (South) at 11 am and walked approximately 20 minutes to the centre. The beating heart of the city is Grand Place. Here you find a beautiful medieval marketplace surrounded by stunning buildings. There is the Town Hall with its gothic facade and gargoyles, as well as the impressive Guild Halls which are elaborately decorated with gold. The square itself is known for being covered in flowers but on the day I went, there was the  Vlaanderen Festival taking place. Stages, music and lots of people were about!

grand place guild halls in brussels
Grand Place with the Guild Halls
brussels day trip buildings at grand place
The striking Gothic architecture is everywhere in Grand Place
Gargoyles at town hall in brussels
The details are mesmerising

The Grand Place is seamed by small, narrow side streets. This invites exploring the inner city in all directions. My first choice brought me to the famous Manneken Pis which was less than a 5-minute walk away.

The actual fountain is rather small, but if you know this, you’ll keep your eyes open. The area surrounding it bursts with Manneken Pis branded waffles- and souvenir stands. Apparently, there’s a female counterpart, the Jeanneke Pis, in a nearby shopping mall.

The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

Afterwards, I walked over to the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. This is a lovely sophisticated shopping passage. Here you find one chocolate shop after another selling luxurious and divine treats. It took me a while to check them all out before I decided where I’d like to stock up my chocolate supply for home.

Galeries Royales Saint Hubert in brussels
A shopping arcade to my likening. Every second shop is a chocolate shop
belgium waffles in brussels
When in Belgium….
elisabeth chocolate shop in brussels
Gorgeous chocolatier in Brussels

Corné Port-Royal was my favourite by a mile as their chocolate pralines were delicious. Every flavour combination ticked the box for me. I picked up a selection of assorted pralines as a gift set for my friends and family, as well as their own Florentines. Those have a wonderful crunch covered in the right amount of chocolate. They are not too sweet and just perfectly balanced.

corne port royal chocolates best belgium chocolates
Those came home with me

Sightseeing In Brussels

On the steps of St. Michael & St. Gudula Cathedral, I took a little break from all the sightseeing. The Roman Catholic church reminded me very much of a mini version of Notre Dame and you can visit the inside free of charge.

I checked all the pictures I had taken so far and looked for directions to the Comic Strip Museum. The museum was only a short walking distance away, located in a beautiful 1920s warehouse. Once you’ve entered the Comic Strip Museum you felt as if you’ve stepped back in time.

The Comic Strip museum can be found at Rue des Sables 20 in the city centre. An adult ticket costs 12€.

comic strip museum in brussels
The Comic Strip Museum is inside a gorgeous art nouveau complex
art display at the comic strip museum in brussels
Art display at the Comic Strip Museum

The authentic and well-preserved art nouveau architecture was impressive and simply breathtaking. The museum itself hosts Belgium Comic history over three floors and I found my childhood memories of Asterix & Obelix, TinTin, The Smurfs and Lucky Luke. It’s a nice little museum to walk around, dwell in childhood nostalgia and spend some time.

Flemish Food In Brussels

In the late afternoon, I strolled along Brussel’s High Street, the Rue Neuve. It’s nothing special with the usual retailers but the window shopping was a nice change from the cultural sightseeing. By then I was pretty hungry, so I was also looking for a nice restaurant to sit down and get a bite to eat.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see many fries shops in Brussels. A restaurant that was recommended to me was closed. In fact, a few food places were closed in the afternoon and would not open until the evening. Strange, as the Vlaanderen Fest was in full swing and the city was a lot busier than in the morning.

A quick search for the top 10 places to eat in Brussels recommended me Fin de Siècle. The restaurant was only a short distance away from my current location so I gave it a try. Turned out to be a good shout! Tucked away from the touristy chaos, in a quiet side street lay a beautiful little restaurant with a 1920s charm.

fin de siecle restaurant in brussels
Traditional Flemish food is meat-heavy and savoury

The menu was in French, but the waitress happily translated for me. The menu for the day had authentic but hearty Belgian dishes listed. Pork, lamb shank, potatoes, meat and salad. Hearty, savoury and substantial food- exactly what I needed! I ordered a traditional lamb stew with vegetables, potatoes and feta cheese, which arrived boiling hot and with fresh, homemade bread. An absolute dream!

Sitting there enjoying my meal and the late afternoon, the time flew by and it was time to head back to the train station. I walked back taking a route via the Place de la Bourse which was busy with people celebrating the festival and tourists filling the nearby chocolate shops.

It was a buzzing atmosphere and a perfect ending to my day in Brussels. The journey back to London was just as smooth as the previous ride on the Eurostar and I arrived back in London just after 10pm.

Is The Eurostar London to Brussels by Train Worth Your Time?

Thanks to the connection from London to Brussels by train, a day trip is easily doable. 8hs were absolutely enough to see all the major sites of the city and get a first taste of Brussels. In comparison to previous city breaks, Brussels is rather small and easily walkable. I’m looking forward to coming back one day to see the Grand Place in its full glory with the flower carpets and I haven’t been to the Atomium yet, which I’d like to see.

So to answer the question, yes a one day in Brussels with the excellent Eurostar link is totally worth it.

Overall Costs for a One Day in Brussels Train Adventure

Eurostar Return tickets: mid-week deal, £60*
Food: £20
Chocolate/Souvenir shopping: £20+
Comic Strip Museum: 12€
*Prices and costs are correct as of 2017

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed the post and would like to support my blog & research you can do so via Buy Me a Coffee.

Till next time,

Interested in more European solo travel adventures?

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  • Reply
    Ryan Maley
    3 March 2021 at 5:15 pm

    Lovely blog! I always consider doing these day trips from London until I factor in the price to get from Manchester to London 😆

    Loved Brussels though last time I visited, and this blog just makes me want to go back for the wonderful waffles and choc!

  • Reply
    28 February 2022 at 6:19 pm

    I didn’t even know you could go to Brussels from London by train! Haha I learned a lot in this post since I’ve wanted to visit Brussels for a while.

  • Reply
    Paul (Paul Passing Through)
    28 February 2022 at 7:45 pm

    That’s great you’re able to do a trip like that in a day via train. It looks like it was a lot of fun, too, and busy but not too busy. Have you done any other trips like this?

  • Reply
    1 March 2022 at 2:51 am

    I must do this! I was in Brussels when I was 15 years old and can still remeber some of the places we went by. I’d love to see how it has all chaged. I have a week free in a month;s time and was wondering what to do and this has given a great idea, so Brussels may well be revisited.Thanks for the restaurant tip, I’ll look it up if I get there. I’ve been on the Eurostar to Paris from London several times and loved the modern trains then – hope I can get an advance purchase deal ! Lovely photos too on your post.

  • Reply
    2 March 2022 at 5:32 am

    This looks so fun! I’m in the states and wish I could do something g like this on the weekend! I love your pictures!

  • Reply
    2 March 2022 at 8:40 pm

    This is such a great idea! Being able to do trips like this is a huge perk of living somewhere as central as London.

  • Reply
    Chalk and cheese travels
    3 March 2022 at 7:46 am

    I always forget about the Eurostar and am yet to try it. Sounds like a great trip and we’ll worth considering next time I’m home in the UK.

  • Reply
    4 March 2022 at 9:37 am

    I was in Brussels for a week, and was thinking of the reverse day trip to London, I did Paris instead, But I absolutely agree, Brussels is a city that can be experienced in a day. The grand square is such a central spot, and easy enough to explore what’s close by. Going to Brussels is a foodie’s delight – Belgian beer, chocolates, waffles and frites. I know that little chocolate shop you reference in the covered passage. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  • Reply
    4 March 2022 at 6:02 pm

    I never would have thought of doing this as a day trip, but if it timed out right and was cheap enough I’d definitely consider it. I loved Brussels and while a day is not enough to see it, it would give you a great taster. Speaking of tasters, I’d go to Brussels for the day just to stock up on chocolate

  • Reply
    Peggy Zipperer
    12 March 2022 at 2:08 am

    Great post! I’m still trying to figure out my options from London so this is so helpful! Definitely saving for later reference.

  • Reply
    JoJo Hall
    12 March 2022 at 3:24 pm

    Love doing day trips and a day trip from London to Brussels sounds amazing! I’m always jealous when you’re able to take a 3 hour train ride to another country to explore, which I could do that here in the states lol.

  • Reply
    21 March 2022 at 8:07 pm

    We love day trips so much! We actually did a day drip from Amsterdam to Bruge and it was so much fun!

    Europe trains are some of my favorite because of this!

  • Reply
    Tanith and Ben
    11 August 2022 at 4:57 pm

    Love this post Carolin! We have actually been talking about doing this for a while and this might just persuade us to give it a go. Absolute bargain as well for just over 100 quid. Great read, loved your pics too.
    Looking forward to the next post!

    Tanith and Ben from WTD@TW x

  • Reply
    11 May 2023 at 11:29 am

    I agree wholeheartedly with your itinerary and if you live in London, it’s more than doable. One small suggestion would be a slightly later dinner/return train back as you can always catch some shut-eye on the train. Or a hop over to Antwerp with an overnight (such a great city). Nice job!

  • Reply
    11 May 2023 at 1:01 pm

    What a great itinerary for a day trip with a difference! We visited Brussels many years ago and would love to go back. We’re based outside London so would likely have to stay overnight there before catching the Eurostar but that wouldn’t be a hardship. (Actually, I’ve just checked train times and we could probably just about do it in a very long day assuming no hold-ups getting to London.) We’ve never travelled on Eurostar so that would be an experience in itself. The travel times are super-fast and the mid-week prices excellent! Very tempted to do this trip… Thanks for all the really useful info!

  • Reply
    12 May 2023 at 3:51 pm

    I really have to try this next time I go to London! As a big fan of trains this is definitely a great alternative for a different trip and for spending a day in Brussels or in London! I have just been in Brussels and had no idea about this fantastic possibility.
    I believe it is quite tiring, since it implies a very long day full of activities to do, but it must be worth it for sure.
    As always your posts are very detailed, with very useful information and fabulous photos!

  • Reply
    15 May 2023 at 1:22 am

    You are so lucky you’re able to just hope a train for a day trip. Trains aren’t overly popular in Canada. I would love visiting the comic museum. It would be fun being taken back to times of childhood, if only for awhile.

  • Reply
    James Fahey
    15 May 2023 at 9:31 am

    Looks like a good way to travel to Europe at a reasonable price. I have seen a few people talk of the city as a great place to visit and this post highlights some reasons why. The comic strip museum looks interesting to me and has some nice-looking food.

  • Reply
    15 May 2023 at 5:36 pm

    This post came at the perfect time. We’re debating about doing a long layover in Brussels for our next trip so its nice to see all the things we can do while we’re there if we do have the long layover. It’s pretty amazing that you can do this trip from London in one day! Thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    24 May 2023 at 8:12 pm

    Even the train travel sounds like fun to me, so I wouldn’t mind the length of travel. That soup dish looks delicious! I’m not hugely into comics but there are so many famous Belgian ones that it would be a cool cultural study, This is a long day but a fun day, for sure.

  • Reply
    12 June 2023 at 3:13 pm

    It’s definitely worth it, particularly if you can grab a good deal (pre Brexit I used to find return tickets for less than £50, not so much nowadays) and in the summer when the days are long it can be a lovely day trip. Unlike Paris, Brussels is compact and you can do most of the sights in a day although looking at those chocolate shops (Easter is the best time to go if you want to be in chocolate heaven) and all the delicious food that doesn’t leave much time for sightseeing 🙂

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