LONDON is the top destination for UK travellers so far this year and German travellers look like following suit, if new plans for a London-Cologne train service get the go-ahead.

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Dublin and Barcelona came in second and third in the January 2010 travel pop chart as devised by, who keep records of this kind of stuff, with Rome and Paris making up the top five.

“UK travellers have realised that a trip away doesn’t have to cost the earth,” said’s John Erceg, who added that there had been a 20% rise in UK tourist trips to the capital since 2009.

Last year, the strong euro helped London tourism ride the recession as Europeans flocked over the Channel on a mass bargain hunt, but since then the pound has gone up and it seems the slack has been taken up by UK city-breakers.

Some way in the future, it’ll be the turn of Germans to fill up our hotels as the prospect looms of a direct Cologne to London service.

Changes to regulations governing Channel Tunnel trains plus the completion of the high-speed link through Kent mean that German rail companies are getting ready to make tracks for London.

Rudiger Grube of Deutsche Bahn told Die Welt, as reported in the Financial Times, that he forecasts a million Germans using the Cologne-London route every year once the service is up and running, possibly by 2015.