When you travel by plane you can choose from a number of airports. It is worthwhile to find out in advance how you want to get from the airport to your holiday address. That can save a lot of money! Listed below are the main airports.
The Oyster Card is not valid for the Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect services between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow. You can buy single tickets for this (from £22,- for one-way adults, kids between 5 and 15 years old inclusive travel free when accompanied by an adult). From Heathrow you can also take the tube to the center of London.
You can buy an Oyster Card at a cash desk at the Heathrow tube station.
The Oyster Card is valid for the train connection with Gatwick Airport. These train connections are Gatwick Express, Thameslink and Southern services. Gatwick Express costs around £20,- even with the Oyster Card. With ThamesLink or Southern Services you pay £8.30 with the Oyster Card for a single trip for an adult outside rush hour. The peak is in this case (not the other public transport) from Monday to Friday from 6:30 to 9:30. In rush hour you pay £14.70 for an adult.
However, children are not allowed to travel with the parents for free on these trains. You would have to buy an Oyster Card for the children at the airport and have the Young Adults Discount set on the Oyster Card. Then the children would be able to travel for half the money. Alternatively, buy a train ticket for the children, the cheapest is about £8,-.
You can buy your Oyster Card at the station or at the Transport for London desks in both terminals.
Back we took the plane from Gatwick. This airport is less crowded than Heathrow. There are also special security checks for families.
Towards London, the Eurostar is still departing from Brussels South. Tickets can be obtained from €59,- (early booking discount). You will only get this low price if you travel with the IC Brussels and not with the Thalys. When you travel with the Intercity Brussels you can leave from any station (is included in the price). The expectation is that from the end of 2019 the Eurostar will depart from the Netherlands.
We took the train on the way to Brussels South and from there the Eurostar to London. Do not forget to get off at Brussels South/Brussels Midi! The station is not as eye-catching as you would expect... Because we wanted to have some margin (had to switch a few times, it also depends on where you live) we have spent the whole day on the trip. It is advisable to check in 45 minutes prior to departure from the Eurostar (at busy times) and otherwise at least 30 minutes in advance. The check is considerably faster than that at the airport. Because of the margin we had, we still had plenty of time for french fries at the station.
Nowadays the Eurostar runs directly from London to Amsterdam/Rotterdam twice a day. The journey from London to Amsterdam lasts only 3:41 hours and to Rotterdam only 3:01 hours. The price is from €40,-! (early booking discount!). You can only pay that low price if you make the entire trip with the Eurostar: in the morning (8:31) or at the end of the afternoon at 17:31. For children from 4 to 11 the price is even from €28.50. From 12 years you pay the full amount. Children up to 3 years old who do not have their own seat can travel for free. When you travel at another time, you can always travel to Brussels South with the Eurostar and then travel on the Thalys or Intercity Brussels.
Do not forget if you book the trip with the Eurostar that you can also reserve the seats for free! We were a little too late for a place at the window with his four, so we were sitting behind each other. The train arrives at St Pancras International station. Do not forget to look around you when you arrive here, a really beautiful station! The advantage is that you arrive in the center of London. You can buy an Oyster Card at the station. There is also a special offer at Eurostar: for a number of museums, the second person is free for a paid exhibition. The offer is valid for five days from the departure date stated on the valid Eurostar ticket. Click here for more information.