London, capital of the United Kingdom, is one of the most beautiful, historic, and popular cities on Earth. A highly significant cultural, business, and entertainment location, the city is home to an interesting mixture of modern architecture, towering skyscrapers, elegant palaces, expansive parks, winding streets, exciting attractions, and historic sites of interest like the Tower of London and Big Ben.
A huge city with so much to see, London is the sort of place where people typically spend several days or even weeks, but you can still see a lot of London in a single day and have some great experiences. So, if you’re planning a trip to Paris and want to head off to London for a day trip, here’s all you need to know about planning that trip and having the best possible time.
Getting To London From Paris
There are several different ways to get to London from Paris, with train, bus, car, ferry, and plane being the most popular examples. If you’re planning a day trip, some of these options are simply too time-consuming, so for the purposes of this kind of trip, we’ll just focus on the train and plane options.
Getting To London From Paris By Train
The Eurostar train connects the capital cities of France and England, running between the Gare du Nord in Paris and St. Pancras station in Central London. The whole journey takes around two and a half hours overall, so it’s quite a speedy connection considering how far the train actually travels, and one of the best reasons to take the train from Paris to London is that it arrives right in the center of the city, offering easy access to many landmarks.
The train leaves from the center of Paris too, so it’s very convenient at both ends of the journey, and travelers only need to get to the station and check-in 30 minutes before departure. The trains start running quite early in the morning and go through into the evening. Plus, when traveling to London from Paris, you’ll adjust to London time, which is one hour behind the French capital, so you effectively get a whole extra hour to play with.
Getting To London From Paris By Plane
The Eurostar train is evidently the easiest and smartest option for travel between Paris and London for a day trip, but if you prefer to fly, this is perfectly possible too. The fastest option is to usually fly out of Charles de Gaulle Airport and head for Heathrow. The journey only takes an hour, and you can catch the Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station, getting into Central London in just 15 minutes. However, you will have to factor in the added cost of a flight and the time commitments of getting to and through the airports.
Getting Around in London
London has one of the best public transportation systems in the world, with most people making use of the city’s subway system, typically known as the London Underground or ‘The Tube’. While the London Underground may seem confusing at first, it’s actually a very quick and reliable way to get around the city, and you can download apps or make use of maps to plan out your routes.
Many of the big sites of interest like Hyde Park, Covent Garden, Buckingham Palace, Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus, and more can be reached via the Piccadilly and Central Lines of the London Underground, and travelers can buy either a 1-day travelcard or make use of an Oyster card to get around with ease. If you have a contactless payment card, this can also be used to pay for tube travel.
Important Information And Things To Do In London
- Best Time To Visit - London famously has a reputation for having rainy and cloudy weather all through the year, but in fact, the city can get very warm and sunny too. The general golden rule to follow with London is that the weather is highly unpredictable. It can be warm and sunny one day and then cool and rainy the next, so trying to plan your trip based on climate conditions is very difficult. The peak tourist season is in the summer months, but London is always quite busy, so you’ll have to deal with the crowds no matter when you go.
- The Main Sites - There are a lot of things to see and do in Central London. No visit can be complete without stopping off at Buckingham Palace, home to the Queen of England herself. Walks around areas like Hyde Park and Regents Park are always enjoyable too, with many visitors stopping off along the way to feed the friendly squirrels and birds in these areas. Other popular hotspots include Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and the House of Parliament, as well as London Bridge, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, and more.
- Shopping and Dining - London is the perfect city to go shopping. Oxford Street is generally regarded as the best place to shop in the city, home to many big brand stores and deluxe boutiques, but you can find lots of great shops all over the city. Those looking to pay a little less and find more quirky stores should check out areas like Notting Hill and the Portobello Road Market. As for dining, you’ll find everything from fast food chains to Michelin star restaurants in London, with Chinatown also having some of the best restaurants in the city.
- Off The Beaten Path - Many London tourists simply go around the big monuments and landmarks like the London Eye, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace, but if you’d like to see a little more of the city and experience a different side to London life, there are plenty of other areas to check out. Covent Garden is a great place for shopping and dining, with many street performers also operating in this area, while Bayswater and Kensington are filled with luxury homes and stunning tree-lined streets. For trendy bars and lounges, take a trip to Soho.
- Museums and Culture - London has several museums, both large and small, and many of them are free to enter. The British Museum, for example, is totally free and features some outstanding art and artefacts from by-gone eras and ancient civilizations, while the Natural History Museum and Science Museum are right next door to each other and also have a lot to offer. Any trip to London is always enhanced by a show, so you can also head down to the West End to see the likes of Les Miserables, Thriller, Wicked, and The Play That Goes Wrong.