20 May 2015

The Great Escape - record May bank holiday for Eurostar as Brits head to Europe

  • Eurostar sees highest ever May bank holiday passenger numbers  - a 16% increase compared to  2014
  • Over a third of Brits are more likely to choose European breaks thanks to the strength of the Pound
  • New route to Lyon and the South of France a popular bank holiday choice
Eurostar is set for a bumper bank holiday with over 140,000* passengers expected to travel this weekend - a 16% increase on last year, and Eurostar’s highest ever passenger numbers for the late May bank holiday weekend.
The strong pound makes European breaks even better value for UK travellers, with over a third saying this factor makes them more likely to holiday in Europe this year. This Friday (22nd) is the busiest day for Eurostar this month, with over 43,000 people travelling on this day alone (17% more than in 2014), and Paris the most popular destination.
For Brits looking to enjoy a bank holiday break, beach life is the biggest draw, with over 40% listing it as the most important factor, followed by cities (18%) and food (16%)**. Eurostar’s new direct route to Lyon, Avignon and Marseille makes it easier for people to reach the sunny South of France coastline, and over 6,000 travellers have chosen to enjoy the new service during May bank holiday weekends. 
Mary Walsh, Director of Communications, Eurostar says: “With the arrival of our new route to Lyon and the South of France, our passengers have a great range of destinations to enjoy this bank holiday weekend. Whether they prefer a seaside break or city escape,  there’s no better time to travel to Europe.”
Over  60,000 people have booked tickets for the new service since they went on sale in December. The new route offers a seamless journey from London to the centre of Lyon, the French capital of gastronomy in just over four and a half hours, the sunny Provencal lavender fields in under six hours, or the bright lights of Marseille in just over six hour, with fares starting at £89 return.
For more information, visit Eurostar.com
Notes to editors
* Late May bank holiday weekend defined as Friday 22nd May – Monday 25th May, compared to Friday 23rd May – Monday 26th May 2014.
** Research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Eurostar, of 1000 respondents in the UK
About Eurostar
  1. Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.
  2. The current Eurostar train was first introduced into service in 1994 carrying 750 passengers and operating at speeds of up to 300kph.  Since then, the fleet of 28 trains has carried more than 150 million passengers between London and the Continent.  Following their refurbishment these trains will continue to form a core part of the Eurostar fleet. The new e320 will carry around 900 passengers at speeds of up to 320kph.
  3. Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership between Europe’s leading high-speed train operators that is developing simpler ways to book and travel on the fast-expanding, European high-speed rail network.
  4. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are entirely separate companies.  Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, while Eurotunnel operates vehicle shuttle services and the Channel Tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel’s biggest customer.
  5. Eurostar was established in 1994 as a partnership between three railway companies: SNCF, SNCB and LCR (London and Continental Railways). On 1 September 2010, Eurostar became a single, unified corporate entity owned by three shareholders: SNCF, SNCB and LCR. LCR’s holding was transferred to the Treasury in 2014, and sold by the UK government to a consortium comprising Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure on 28th May 2015.