Amsterdam is such a great city in so many ways and if you’re looking for options for travelling to Amsterdam from the UK without flying, here are 4 great ways to do it!
Despite the Netherlands being so close to the UK, flights between the two are very tempting for many travellers, especially flights to Amsterdam from the UK.
The great thing about the Netherlands is that once you’re in the country, the public transport network is more than good enough to take you anywhere so to visit Amsterdam, or another one of the popular cities in the Netherlands, you don’t have to fly into Amsterdam!
That only leaves the question of how to get to Amsterdam without flying – how do you swap flights to Schiphol for trains, buses, and ferries?
travelling to Amsterdam from the UK without flying
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Best Way to Travel to Amsterdam without flying?
Thankfully, the Netherlands is accessible in a few different ways from the UK. This list breaks down the most helpful methods for travelling to Amsterdam from the UK without flying, most (but not all) of which start from London.
While there are other ways to go flight-free from the UK to the Netherlands, the list below shows all those which I think are worth considering.
While a Hull – Rotterdam ferry exists, it is run by P&O (who sacked workers without warning a few years ago) and has very poor connections in either port. You could also take a ferry to France and then trains to the Netherlands, but of course, this would take longer/cost more than the direct options.
This is a guest post by Harry, the owner of Train X Europe. Based in the Netherlands, Harry plans flight-free travel across Europe. The Train X Europe blog features tips and inspiration for low-carbon travel, particularly for those in the UK and Ireland. You can see more on Instagram or Tiktok, and contact Harry by email.
Train from London to Amsterdam
The Eurostar might be an obvious option, but that’s because it’s a great one! By far the fastest way to get to the Netherlands, you have 3 or 4 direct journeys from London St. Pancras to Rotterdam and Amsterdam each day.
More times are available if you are willing to change trains in Brussels. City centre to city centre inside 4 hours for the direct trips – up to 5 and a half hours if you have to change.
Both options are similar prices, but that brings us to the main downside of taking the Eurostar to the Netherlands – it isn’t cheap! Looking six weeks ahead for the prices of the train from London to Amsterdam, you can see the prices vary widely, and €125-170 (£110-150) is not uncommon.
However, with high baggage costs on low-cost airlines today, plus travel costs between the airport and the city centre on either side, both of which are not incurred by travelling on the Eurostar between London and Amsterdam, it is worth doing the math because, in the end, the train from the UK to Amsterdam might not be more expensive.
Other than the price, it’s hard to fault the Eurostar. Having both Rotterdam and Amsterdam as stops is a real benefit, as you get a wider range of possible onward connections into the country.
The train is quick and comfortable… just make sure you arrive in plenty of time to check in if you choose this option! The official guidance is 45 to 90 minutes before departure.
Boat from UK to Netherlands
DFDS Newcastle – IJmuiden Ferry
This is a fantastic option for travelling to Amsterdam from the UK without flying especially if you’re coming from Scotland or northern England like Manchester. This ferry departs from North Shields and arrives in IJmuiden, a port 15 miles from Amsterdam.
Don’t worry – DFDS runs transfer buses to and from each port. It’s great to see these connections being recognised and included in flight-free service.
By all accounts, the boat itself is quite comfortable and well-equipped for food and entertainment. Here’s a video from fellow travel blogger Steve Marsh showing what a ‘mini-cruise’ on this route looks like.
You can choose between 2 and 5 bed cabins, inside or sea view. Cabins are mostly £70-90 (for a minimum of two people) – there’s no extra fare beyond that, so it’s good value!
The crossing is overnight, approximately 17:30 to 09:15 depending on the day. If you book transfer buses, you do so in the same booking, and you can do the same with your meals on board as well!
Stena Line Harwich – Hook of Holland Ferry
You’re in luck if you’re in London or East Anglia but still like the ferry option. Stena Line runs ferries from Harwich to Hook of Holland, and this is a great route.
You have day sailings (09:00 to 17:15) and night sailings (23:00 to 08:00) to choose from, and cabins on the latter run from £35 single-beds all the way up to £135 deluxe suites. If you want to see photos of the cabins or any more details, Seat61 has an excellent breakdown of the finer points of this route.
There’s another reason this is an affordable route to the Netherlands for many people – RailSail. You can get a ticket from any Greater Anglia station to the ferry port at Harwich included in your fare.
Did I mention that this ferry port has a dedicated rail station, so it’s easy to access? For those travelling from outside London, this is most useful for connections from London Liverpool Street or Peterborough.
On the other side, Hook of Holland – or Hoek van Holland – has a metro connection straight into Rotterdam. You have to change for Rotterdam Centraal, but you also have great onward connections from Schiedam Centrum and Rotterdam Alexander, both of which are on the same metro line (B). Alternatively, take the metro one stop opposite the brand new beach stop and start your trip in Amsterdam or elsewhere in the Netherlands immediately!
London to Amsterdam Coach
Flixbus from London to Amsterdam
If you want and need a cheap method of flight-free travel, coaches around Europe will always do the trick!
The best option for this route is Flixbus. Expect to pay £35-60 depending on the date and how far in advance you look. The good news? It’s a direct, cheap, and very low-emission way to travel from the UK to Amsterdam.
The bad news? It will take all day – here’s a sample journey on that route from the Flixbus website.
If looking for flight-free options from the UK to Europe in general, this particular coach might actually be handier for visiting Belgium. You can also take Flixbuses to Lille or Brussels, and then the train onwards from there.
This will certainly be faster, but many of those cross-border trains to the Netherlands will be run by Thalys – and these are often a similar price to the Eurostar anyway, so this may not save you very much money.
National Express Coach to Amsterdam from London
National Express have a page dedicated to London – Amsterdam coaches, but it displays the notice showing that these are currently unavailable and they hope to run them again soon.
Eurolines also runs coaches on this route, but they are more expensive for the same route as a Flixbus, so not worth it!
The flight-free routes from the UK to the Netherlands shown here can work great for business or leisure travel between Britain and the Netherlands, or they can form part of longer overland routes across Europe. We all want to travel with fewer carbon emissions and every time you choose one of these routes, you’re taking a positive step in that direction and increasing demand for these services. Happy travelling!
I hope this post on travelling to Amsterdam from the UK without flying helps you plan your route there!
For more related posts see:
- 26 Day Trips from London By Train! Ideas For Cities, Beaches & Europe!
- 10 Awesome Ideas For Alternative Day Trips from London!
- Things To Do Alone in Amsterdam with One Day in Amsterdam!
- 10 Amsterdam Solo Travel Tips So You Enjoy Amsterdam Alone!
- How To Spend A Weekend in Amsterdam On a Budget!
- Vegan Cafes In Rotterdam To Visit and Vegan Food in Rotterdam!