Wednesday 23 January 2008

Eurostar, St. Pancras, London to Brussels

St. Pancras is a beautifully-restored Victorian station, seemingly designed to usher in a new golden era of rail travel. A vast, soaring glass roof, laced with pale blue steel girders, arches over the top of the grand red-brick Victorian building, allowing daylight to pour on to the platforms and the upmarket shopping concourse one level below. The station is also dotted with charismatic bronze sculptures, such as one of writer John Betjeman holding on to his hat as he surveys the stunning roof. The ideal place to admire this inspiring station is probably the champagne bar next to the platform. On a more practical note, St. Pancras' is also handy for the many tube and rail connections at nearby Kings' Cross. On board the Eurostar, little has changed. The trains run faster through England (Brussels to London is now just under two hours), but still half empty. As ever, you move through stations much quicker than you do through airports, but the Eurostar isn't cheap - a fully flexible standard class return is a whopping £309. 7/10