Ideas for first timers

What’s the difference between Eurostar and Eurotunnel Le Shuttle?

Planning a trip to Europe but unsure of how to travel? Let us show you the difference between two of the most popular ways to get there.

Travelling to France is exciting no matter which way you choose to get there. But which should you choose from Eurostar and Eurotunnel? Read our guide to help you plan your next journey.

Are Eurotunnel Le Shuttle & Eurostar the same company?

Eurostar and Eurotunnel are completely different companies but share use of the Channel Tunnel. To be specific, Eurotunnel is operated by Getlink, the company which owns and operates the Channel Tunnel, connecting the UK with France. Eurostar is a customer of Getlink and runs its passenger trains through the tunnel. However, whichever you choose to use will get you into Europe from the UK easily.

What do Eurotunnel Le Shuttle & Eurostar offer?

Eurostar run passenger trains from three UK locations: St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International and travels to Europe. Destinations include Paris, Lille, Amsterdam, Brussels, Calais, and Disneyland Paris. Eurostar also offers a seasonal service to Avignon and the French Alps plus connecting services throughout France, Belgium, Holland, and a limited connection into Germany.

Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is also a train service, but we carry freight and all forms of vehicle, including cars, motorbikes, campervans, caravans, coaches, and lorries. Eurotunnel services leave Folkestone in the UK and take just 35 minutes to reach Calais in France.

A diagram showing three tunnels under the sea

Do Eurotunnel Le Shuttle & Eurostar use the same tunnel?

Yes, Eurostar use Eurotunnel’s tunnel. The Channel Tunnel (sometimes referred to as the ‘Chunnel’ for short) is the longest undersea tunnel in the world at 38km long. It is made up of three tunnels, each 50km long, that link Folkestone in Kent to Calais in France. Two are rail tunnels, used for freight and passenger trains, and the third is a service tunnel. Eurostar is one of Eurotunnel’s biggest customers and their trains take only 20 minutes to pass through the Channel Tunnel.

The nose of three trains with the Eurotunnel logo at the platform

Can you take your car on Eurostar?

Eurostar only run passenger trains, so you cannot take your own vehicle using this mode of transport. Therefore, when planning your journey, you need to decide if you would like to drive your own vehicle once you are across the Channel. Driving will allow for social distancing and greater baggage allowances.

Can you be a foot passenger on Eurotunnel?

At Eurotunnel we can only allow you to travel in a vehicle – be that your own or as part of a coach trip. You cannot travel as a foot passenger, but you are able to take a bicycle. If you don’t need or want to drive your vehicle for your trip, you can travel as a foot passenger on Eurostar.

What Covid-safe measures are in place on Eurotunnel and Eurostar?

Eurostar’s Coronavirus measures are frequently updated on its dedicated page. Train carriages are being cleaned more regularly and some seats left free in each to make social distancing easier, but this is not always possible. Masks should be worn for the duration of your journey, except for brief periods of eating or drinking. At the station in London, masks must also be worn, and trains might be boarded slightly earlier to allow you to find your seat and maintain a safe distance from other passengers and staff.

Travelling with Eurotunnel, you will remain in the comfort of your vehicle at our terminals, without coming into contact with staff or other passengers. During your crossing from Folkestone to Calais you must remain in your vehicle and toilets are closed, allowing for complete social distancing from other passengers aboard your shuttle. You are not required to wear a mask while in your vehicle, unless you are travelling by motorcycle (and are not currently wearing your helmet) or travelling in a convertable car, with the roof down.

All our Covid-safe measures and additional information about your journey can be found on our dedicated COVID hub.

Cars lined up inside a shuttle

Can I take my pet on the Eurostar?

Eurostar do not currently allow passengers to travel with any pets, unless you’re travelling with an assistance dog. However, Eurotunnel allows you to travel with your pet with an additional cost of £22 each way (applicable for dogs, cats & ferrets and not charged to assistance dogs).

Travelling with your horse? We can cater for them too.

How long are you in the tunnel on Eurostar and Eurotunnel Le Shuttle? 

Eurotunnel shuttles are custom designed to carry you and your vehicle, regardless of type, through the tunnel to France in just 35 minutes. Depending on your final destination, Eurostar takes approximately two and a half hours to reach Paris from London.

What destinations do Eurostar & Eurotunnel offer?

London, Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam are the main Eurostar destinations. Other stops depending on the service and season include Calais, Lille, Lyon, Avignon, Marseille, Marne-la-Vallée (for Disneyland Paris), and Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Eurostar also offer a train service from London to Bourg-St-Maurice in the French Alps between December to April. As well as London, Eurostar also travels from Ashford International or Ebbsfleet International in Kent, UK although not all services stop here. For more information on each station click here.

Eurotunnel takes people from Folkestone, Kent, UK, to Calais in France. You can plan unique trips that you set the pace for, and with no baggage restrictions, into the rest of France, or even Belgium or The Netherlands.

Skyline view of a French city with buildings and trees under a blue sky

Which is better for Disneyland Paris – Eurotunnel or Eurostar?

If you are heading to Disneyland Paris, you can take a direct Eurostar to Marne-la-Vallée for access to the Disneyland parks and hotels. However, Eurostar will only allow you to take a certain amount of luggage and you won’t be able to experience the comfort of travelling in your own vehicle. Once you arrive, you will need to arrange any extra transport yourself.

Eurotunnel Le Shuttle provides the fastest route to Disneyland Paris by car and once you have arrived in Calais, you can plan your onward journey at your own pace. Want to know exactly what it’s like to drive to Disneyland Paris? Read our guide here.

Pink and white doll house like building with mickey mouse clock and sign saying Disneyland Park

Frequently asked questions

  • Yes, passports are mandatory for all passengers who are travelling on either the Eurostar or the Eurotunnel and they will be checked by customs officials prior to departure.

    When travelling with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, all passengers passports will be checked at the drive-through border controls. Learn more about our safety and security measures here.

  • When travelling with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, you should check in at least 1 hour before your departure time. This allows for security checks at the French and British frontier controls and means you’ll have plenty of time to get into the boarding lanes. 

    You can discover more about travelling with us on our timetable page.

    The check in procedure for Eurostar varies depending on your ticket type, but those with a standard ticket should aim to arrive between 90-120 minutes before their departure.


  • All our tickets are purchased per vehicle and covers up to 9 passengers. 

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