Fastest journey6hr 31m
There are two main routes for taking the train from London to Stuttgart. Both journeys take 7 hours or less, with a choice of travelling via either Paris or Brussels. Both include the Eurostar and a choice of onward TGV or ICE high-speed trains.
The journey by train from London to Stuttgart is very easy to organise. Through tickets to Stuttgart can be purchased here on Loco2 via either Brussels or Paris. It is the Brussels option which we describe here.
Your journey kicks off with a high-speed run on Eurostar from London to Brussels. The connection in Brussels onto a German ICE is very efficient. You take the ICE from Brussels to Frankfurt-am-Main, changing at either the Hauptbahnhof or the airport station (Frankfurt Flughafen Fernbahnhof) for the third and final leg of your journey to Stuttgart. Changing trains at Frankfurt Airport is actually easier than at the city centre Hauptbahnhof, merely because the airport station is so much smaller and your onward connection to Stuttgart normally leaves from the same platform.
The journey from London to Stuttgart is easily done in a day. It is one big hop across Europe with some decent scenery along the way. Tickets for your journey from London to Stuttgart via Brussels go on sale three months prior to travel. That’s the time to book if you are keen to get a bargain fare.
London to Brussels
Board a Eurostar service from London St Pancras to Brussels. Little more than an hour after leaving London you’ll already be in northern France, speeding through Flanders fields towards Lille Europe, where almost all Brussels-bound Eurostar trains make an intermediate stop. Some trains make up to three additional stops – at Ebbsfleet, Ashford and Calais.
From Lille, it is just 35 minutes to Brussels, where Eurostar trains terminate at Brussels Midi station. Trains run every five minutes from Brussels Midi to Brussels Central (for the city centre). Your Eurostar ticket is valid for this short onward hop within Brussels.
Remember to factor in at least half an hour for Eurostar’s airline-style baggage check prior to boarding your train. This is a light-touch security scan, and there are no restrictions on taking liquids on board Eurostar trains.
Brussels to Frankfurt am Main
The direct ICE trains from Brussels to Frankfurt am Main take about three hours for the journey. These trains stop five to eight times along the way. In Brussels these services depart from Brussels Midi and then also stop at Brussels Nord. In Frankfurt trains stop first at the airport station, then continue to the city centre station (Hauptbahnhof) where they terminate.
The route east from Brussels initially traverses the flat lands of Brabant to reach Liège-Guillemins station. East from Liège, the train cuts in tunnels through hilly country to reach the German border just before Aachen. Beyond Aachen, the train speeds east to the Rhineland city of Cologne, arriving at the city’s main station (the Hauptbahnhof). From Cologne, the train continues along a new high-speed line to Frankfurt.
Frankfurt am Main to Stuttgart
Fast trains leave hourly from both Frankfurt-am-Main Hauptbahnhof and from the airport station (Frankfurt Flughafen Fernbahnhof) for Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof. Trains leaving the airport station are all ICEs. From the city centre Hauptbahnhof, there is more of a mix with Intercity and EuroCity trains in use as well as regular ICEs.
The journey time varies between 1 hr 15 mins and 1 hr 50 mins depending on the route taken and the number of intermediate stops. Some trains make just one stop along the way, others may stop up to six times. Most of the slower Intercity and EuroCity services take a particularly scenic route which gives wonderful views of the Odenwald hills to the left of the train.
It is an easy journey by train from London to Stuttgart. Tickets to Stuttgart can be purchased here on Loco2 via either Brussels or Paris. It is the Paris option which we describe below.
Your journey starts with a high-speed run on Eurostar from London to Paris. In the French capital, you change stations from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de l’Est. That’s just a short walk. At Paris Est, you join a French TGV or a German ICE train for the onward journey to Stuttgart.
Tickets for your journey from London to Stuttgart via Paris go on sale four months prior to travel. Tickets for the route to Stuttgart via Brussels only open for sale three months in advance of travel, but the Brussels route can sometimes be cheaper than the Paris option. This is one of those frustrating situations where it’s hard to know whether one should book the Paris route or hang on to see if a cheaper fare might later be available via Brussels. Your call!
London to Paris
Board a Eurostar service from London to Paris. There are upwards of 15 trains to Paris from London each day with departures at least hourly from the beautifully restored station at St Pancras in London. The fastest trains speed to Paris in just 2 hrs 16 mins, with slower services taking up to 20 mins longer to reach the Gare du Nord in Paris. The first part of the journey from London sweeps through Thameside landscapes and rural Kent to reach the Channel Tunnel. Little more than an hour after leaving London you'll already be in northern France, tracking south through Flanders fields towards Paris.
Remember to factor in at least half an hour for Eurostar's airline-style baggage check prior to boarding your train. There is a luggage and body scan and you'll be asked to show your passport. There are no restrictions on taking liquids on board Eurostar trains.
Paris interchange: Paris Nord to Paris Est
It is an easy ten-minute walk from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de l’Est in Paris. Or if you have lots of luggage consider a (very short) taxi ride for around €10. There’s really no point going by Métro.
If you’re on foot, exit the station from the main entrance and turn left onto Rue de Dunkerque. Walk along the Rue de Dunkerque, crossing Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis and Rue La Fayette, still continuing on Dunkerque. You’ll come to a T-junction where you turn right into Rue d’Alsace. Follow Rue d’Alsace (you’ll now see the platforms of Gare de l’Est below you to your left) to the flight of pedestrian steps which leads down to the side entrance of Gare de l’Est. Beware of the hustlers who often hang around the steps soliciting donations and offering to carry your luggage.
The route above is the quickest, but for step-free access to Gare de l’Est here’s a slightly longer alternative. Leave the main front entrance of the Gare du Nord and walk straight ahead down Boulevard de Denain (which runs down beside the Café Terminus Nord). Follow Denain to Boulevard de Magenta, turning left onto it. Take the third left onto Rue de 8 Mai 1945 and walk along to the front of the Gare de l’Est.
Paris to Stuttgart
There are five daily direct trains from Paris Gare de l’Est to Stuttgart (except on Saturdays when there are just four services), with both French TGV and German ICE services on this important business route. Both offer equally high standards of comfort and service. All trains on this route make just two intermediate stops; they are at Strasbourg and Karlsruhe. The route includes the LGV Est line (newly extended in July 2016) where trains regularly travel at speeds of up to 320 kph. The fastest trains from Paris to Stuttgart take just 3 hrs 10 mins. Some services may take up to 20 minutes longer.
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Image credits: © Kamlesh Sethy