By Train from London to Cologne (Köln) and Aachen

Eurostar, Thalys TGV and ICE trains make rail travel from London in England to Cologne (Köln) and Aachen in Germany time competitive with flying.

TGV Thalys and ICE train in Köln
© Koelnmesse GmbH

High-speed trains make railways a good option when traveling between London in the UK and Cologne (Köln) and Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle) in the western parts of Germany. The basic routing is the Eurostar from London to Brussels (Bruxelles) in Belgium and then either the German Railways’ Inter-City-Express (ICE) or TGV Thalys trains to Aachen and Cologne (Köln). Total travel time (including check-in time of Eurostar trains) is around 5 to 6 hours from London-St Pancras International to Köln Hauptbahnhof (half an hour less to Aachen). Fares range from around £230 (next day, one-way) to £120 return (booked a month in advance). Specials can drop return prices to below €100.

By Train from London to Cologne and Aachen

Fast trains connection London and Cologne (Köln) via Brussels mostly five times per day. The fastest train traveling time from London-St Pancras International to Köln Hauptbahnhof is 4h11 but does not include Eurostar check-in times. From Cologne to London, the total traveling time is 5h20 to 6h30 and include the check-in times required for the Eurostar trains in Brussels.

The earliest departures from London for Cologne is shortly before 7 am for arrival around noon with the last departure of the day leaving London around 3 pm to arrive in Köln at around 8 pm. From Köln, the earliest trains of the day depart just before 8 am to arrive in London at noon with the last train of the day leaving Cologne before 5 pm to arrive in London at 9 pm.

All trains between Brussels and Köln currently stops in Aachen about half an hour before arriving in Cologne.

Timetables often include further options at night but will leave passengers overnight in Brussels or on a crazy nighttime sightseeing tour of The Netherlands or on a night train via Paris, Stuttgart and Frankfurt. Sometimes, these overnight train connections are the cheapest options but a crazy way to save £10 pounds. Flixbus coaches may be faster and almost certainly cheaper.

Tickets for Trains between London and Cologne

Ticket reservations and timetables for train travel between London and Cologne are available from various sources but the official service providers usually have the best special prices and most reasonably cancellation and change policies. Standard full-fares should be the same but special discounts are often available only on the specific railway company’s own website.

Deals on First Class travel over weekends and holiday periods are often only marginally more expensive than second-class tickets.

Trainline is an easy to use comparative search and booking website that include options from various railways lines, as well as buses. (Buses are very slow but often very cheap compared to the trains, especially when traveling at short notice or at busy times.)

Reservations and timetables are also possible at the English website of German Railways (Deutsche Bahn), Eurostar or the official websites of French Railways – Oui or RailEurope (US  & Rest of the World).

Note special conditions when booking bargain fares – savings fares and discount offers usually come with inflexible change policies. Return fares are usually cheaper than buying two one-way tickets.

The most obvious alternative to traveling from London to Cologne by train is flying. Cheap flights to Cologne-Bonn Airport depart from London-Heathrow (LHR) on Eurowings, from London-Stansted (STN) on Eurowings and Ryanair and from London-Southend (SEN) on Flybe.

Buses offer a further alternative. Although coaches are less comfortable and take longer, Flixbus often has very good deals available with full-fare tickets for immediate travel often far cheaper than trains of flights. However, traveling time by bus between London and Cologne is around 12 hours – avoid buses requiring long stopover at night in Brussels or arriving at Cologne Airport at 3 am..

Treyn offers a wide range of package holidays from the UK to Germany for travelers preferring trains to planes and buses. The romantic Rhine Valley is a popular destination for sightseeing, riverboat cruising, and walking vacations.

Henk Bekker in armor

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance travel writer with over 20 years of experience writing online. He is particularly interested in history, art, and culture. He has lived most of his adult life in Germany, Switzerland, and Denmark. In addition to, he also owns a travel website on the Lake Geneva region of Switzerland and maintains statistical websites on car sales and classic car auction prices. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Development Finance from the University of London.

European Traveler
Lake Geneva
Best-Selling Cars
Classic Car Auctions