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How to change trains in London

How to change trains in London

20 January 2020

Here are some great ways to keep calm and carry on when changing trains in London.

London is one of the most exciting cities in the world but, because of its sprawling size, it can often seem like a daunting place to navigate. These top tips should help clear the air about changing trains in the Big Smoke. 

Changing trains in London for Eurostar

Travelling by train between the UK and Europe normally requires a transfer from one London station to another. Whether travellers are aiming for Paddington, Euston, Waterloo or one of London’s many other major train hubs, most journeys will involve travelling to or from the Eurostar terminal at Kings Cross St. Pancras International. 

Far from being just any old train station, London’s St Pancras International is a beautifully restored piece of history that will add that extra touch of glamour to any rail journey. A destination in its own right, St Pancras International is packed full of restaurants, cafes and shops offering excellent before-journey meal and snack options as well as last-minute souvenir buying opportunities. For a real taste of opulence, visit Searcy’s, Europe’s longest champagne bar. There is also a food market just outside in Granary Square, open Wednesdays to Sundays. 

Timing your train transfer

While London’s transport system is largely reliable, the city remains one of the busiest in the world, so when it comes to transferring from one station to another, it’s better to be safe than sorry. For this reason, it’s recommended to allow at least an hour for a London train transfer. These details below are directions for travellers going from various London train stations to Kings Cross International station. If you are arriving into Kings Cross International and want to change stations, please reverse these directions. 

Tube to train

If you purchase a train ticket that requires a London transfer, your ticket will often include the cost of using the “tube” (London Underground), the DLR (DocklandsLight Railway), or other train services between London stations run by the likes of Thamelink or Southern trains. Keep your eyes out for the ‘†' symbol on eligible tickets. For any additional travel within London you can use your bank debit card on the gates to gain access, as long as it has a chip in it. It will automatically calculate the amount of travel you take during one day and cap it at a maximum amount which, at time of publication is £8.50 between zones 1-3. Be sure to always use the same bank card. You can also use a local Oyster card. For more details see here.

Getting around London from station to station

Below we outline some of the most popular London station transfer routes. If in doubt though, we recommend consulting the TfL journey planner website or CityMapper, a useful travel planning app perfect for double checking your journey on the go. 

Kings Cross to Kings Cross St Pancras International 

Getting from Kings Cross underground station to St. Pancras International involves a short walk between stations. If you’re coming into Kings Cross on a UK train, walk to the end of the station platform to go through the ticket barriers and exit onto Kings Cross Square. Turn right out of the exit and walk across the large pedestrianised area towards the red brick clock tower of the St Pancras hotel. Upon reaching St. Pancras road, cross the street but do not go through the first entrance as this leads to the Underground station. Instead, turn right and walk a little further between the two stations where you will see the entrance to St. Pancras International to your left, about 150m away. The Eurostar check-in point will be clearly signposted. 

Euston to Kings Cross St Pancras International 

Euston is just a 10 mins walk away from Kings Cross St Pancras along Euston Road. If you’re travelling with a lot of luggage though, you can always take the trusty tube by catching either the eastward Northern or Victoria lines one stop to Kings Cross. Once you arrive, follow the carefully marked signs pointing towards the Eurostar departure point.

Paddington to Kings Cross St Pancras International 

The fastest way to get from Paddington to St. Pancras International is by tube. You can either take the Circle line or the Hammersmith and City line to do so. When you arrive into Paddington, instead of heading towards the main station concourse, turn away from it and follow the pink line down the platform to the back of the station. After climbing a short set of stairs, cross the footbridge at the end of platform and follow the signs towards the Circle line in the direction of Kings Cross. All eastbound Circle or Hammersmith and City trains stop at Kings Cross St. Pancras. 

Waterloo to King’s Cross St Pancras International

Take the Bakerloo line going north to Oxford Circus, then alight and change to the Victoria line going north to Kings Cross. Underground trains run every few minutes, and the whole journey should only take around 15 mins.

Liverpool Street to Kings Cross St Pancras International 

Take the Circle, Hammersmith and City or Metropolitan line westbound directly to Kings Cross, only four stops away. The entire journey should take less than 10 mins.

Victoria to Kings Cross St Pancras International 

If arriving into London Victoria, walk along the platform in the direction of the station concourse. Head towards the main exit at the front of the station where you will see signs for the Underground. Catch a northbound Victoria line train and take it directly to Kings Cross station, just five stops away. 

Marylebone to Kings Cross St Pancras International 

Head to the Underground and take the Bakerloo line south one stop south to Baker Street. Alight and change over to the Metropolitan line or Hammersmith & City line to get to Kings Cross, three stops away. The journey should take less than 15 mins. 

You might also enjoy our changing trains in Paris blog or our blog on Best activities to do in London by train

Image credits top to bottom: Kings Cross departures concourse (cropped and resized) Flickr Commons ©Martin Pettitt, At the Station iStock ©coldsnowstorm, Kings Cross St Pancras underground sign (resized) Flickr Commons ©Jon Chan, St Pancras International station Flickr Commons ©Nan Palmero, St Pancras International railway station iStock ©KevinAlexanderGeorge

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