Notices

England, Paris itinerary help

Reply

Jan 25th, 2015, 11:50 AM
  #1
krm
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 32
England, Paris itinerary help

Hello,
I am planning an 8-9 day trip with husband and children ages 13 and 18 in June. The current plan is to arrive at London Heathrow, rent a car and stay in Bath 2 nights, then return car to Heathrow, take a train into London for 2-3 nights, then Eurostar to Paris for 3-4 nights, then fly home from Paris. Would it make sense to return the car in London rather than Heathrow if we stay in Kensington area? Or should we stay in London for the first few nights then head to the English country side for a few nights then head to Paris? Also, we could reverse the trip by flying into Paris, then return home to US from London.
We would like to see Bath, Stonehenge, Chipping Campden or another quant Cotswold village, the main tourist sights in London and Paris, with a day trip to Versailles.
I'm exhausted just thinking about this itinerary, let alone trying to execute it without too many glitches!
Advice on how to streamline this would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!
krm is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 25th, 2015, 12:15 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,856
>> The current plan is to arrive at London Heathrow, rent a car and stay in Bath 2 nights<<

BAD idea. You don't want to drive to Bath after an overnight flight. Also you don't wan/need a car IN Bath.

There is an express coach from LHR to central Bath. You can collect a car if you want to explore enroute back to LHR.

>>We would like to see Bath, Stonehenge, Chipping Campden<< Chipping Campden is a LONG way from both Bath and Stonehenge - though there are Cotswold villages much closer.

Another option -- totally car-less would be coach to Bath/2 nights. Second day book a tour with Mad Max (don't be put off by the name -- a great company)

http://www.madmaxtours.co.uk

Their Tour#1 would tick all your boxes.

On the 3rd morning train to London and so on . . .

OR - After Bath, fly from Bristol to Paris/visit Paris, train from Paris to London/visit London, fly home . . .

BUT IMO you are really REALLY trying to do too much - Just London and Paris would be doable but rushed in your short timeframe - especially w/ a family/kids.

I'd stick to London/Paris and fly open jaw into one and home from the other. Even cutting back to London/Paris you wouldn't have time to see more than a small fraction of the major sites in both cities. 9 days (if that includes your travel days) is really only 6.5 days 'on the ground' then half a day spend between London and Paris. And don't discount the effect of jetlag on all or some of you.

(If you really mean an 11 day trip -- then you'd have 8.5 days free)
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 25th, 2015, 02:11 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,687
a bit rushed by it is noted you want to see some places to/from Bath go for it - pick up car at Heathrow - drive a bit towards Stonehenge - maybe see Stsonehenge and move up towards the Cotswolds then over to Bath, thru the heart of the Cotswold Hills.

but janis makes a salient point about driving after an all night flight - maybe stay in London at first - then pick up car somewhere out of London (you do not want to drive in London!) - then return car in Bath - take the fast train (90 mins) back to London and onto the Eurostar train to Paris.

www.eurostar.com has the fares for the Chunnel trains - early birds get the fat worm but you have to book in stone weeks/months early to get those - walk-up fares can be shockingly steep. www.seat61.com has great advice on these discounted fares.

but the whole thing is a tad fast, even for a fast-moving bloke like me. If you've never been to London or Paris you have not scheduled much time in those places - and to do things like a day trip to Versailles. So think about dropping the English driving thingy and stick to London and Paris and perhaps do a day trip from each - like to Oxford or the Cotswolds or Stonehenge or even Bath.

From Paris day trip to Versailles.
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jan 25th, 2015, 02:21 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,856
Re PQ's suggestion to take the train to London and Eurostar to Paris. That is a bit if a hassle since the train goes to Paddington and then you need to cross London to St Pancras.

Whereas you could simply fly to Paris from Bristol.

The Eurostar make sense - and is the very best way to travel between the two cities IF one is IN either city. But being just a few miles from Bath, flying from Bristol would be easier.
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 25th, 2015, 03:40 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 285
The first thing that struck me was your wanting to immediately get into a car and drive in an unfamiliar country and possibly driving on the other side of the road. Not a good idea. I don't even care for the idea of landing and immediate getting on a bus or train.

I also think you are trying to do too much for such a short stay. Just with Paris and London alone with your stated 8 - 9 days it's barely enough time to scratch the surface of seeing both of these cities. Much less trips out to places like Versaille. That takes a day away fron Paris.

I would probably fly into Paris and spend 4 or 5 days there then take the quick city center to city center Eurostar to London. Once in London decide if you really want to leave it to see other places.
elizzie4000 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 25th, 2015, 05:20 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,300
Most comfortable plan is to make Bath a day trip by rail from London. Having a car will put you up against severe traffic restrictions in central Bath and you don't have time to explore the countryside on such a brief trip (it's certainly worth exploring, though.) Consider, too, how much these young adults will want to spend their short vacation in a car. London can transfix them, especially if they help with the planning.
Southam is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 25th, 2015, 05:40 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,647
Sorry but you are trying to force 20 pounds of stuff into a 10 pound bag.

Your limited time will be easily taken up by just London and Paris - in fact, there will be many things you want to see you don;t have time for. Wandering around the British countryside for several days will give you essentially no time in London - and I think not very enjoyable for the kids.

Stick to just London and Paris with the Eurostar in between.
nytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 26th, 2015, 05:46 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 5,106
Shoud be a fun trip for you all.

I'd skip Versailles. Basically a huge, stuffy, ornate building -- well, OK -- a spectacular one with a spectacular garden. But. There are plenty of similar things to occupy your time in Paris, for a fraction of the fuss.
stokebailey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 26th, 2015, 07:05 AM
  #9
krm
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 32
Thanks for all the great info! This is very helpful. Instead of Versailles, does anyone have a suggestion for a nice day trip from Paris that would also be interesting to teenagers?
krm is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 26th, 2015, 07:44 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,856
IMO you don't have any time for a day trip from Paris. Teenagers would be most interested in things IN Paris.
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 26th, 2015, 08:09 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 29
We spent our first 3 nights of an 12 night England trip in Bath. We rented a car, drove to our b&b, walked around Bath that afternoon, then visited nearby sites for 2 days. We absolutely loved this part of the trip. We then spent the next 5 days driving to other British locations that I absolutely wanted to see, finishing our trip in London, staying near Green Park. My husband still teases me for planning a trip that forced him to drive on the left side of the road with a stick shift car. That said, it was a brilliant trip. Except for the nights in Bath and London, we stayed in tiny towns at b&bs that we stumbled upon. I loved walking in the shoes of my favorite authors and visiting sites prominent in history that I had read.

Even with so many more days, we have many, many places we didn't get near. And, it was just two of us. I can't imagine taking time out of a short trip to pack up a family and change cities and transport modes. Too much time stuck dropping the car, taking the train, etc, with all the associated hurry up and wait. I'd leave at least one city off your itinerary, and I'd probably make it Paris.

I don't think driving part of the trip is a bad idea. I always find driving makes me feel connected to the area in a way that trains don't. It is the ability to stop on a whim, visit a park or a grocery, for example.
janjanjan47 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 26th, 2015, 09:11 AM
  #12
krm
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 32
Thank you! I do love driving and the flexibility having a car gives you. My husband is a road warrior and loves to drive. We've driven in every major city in the US as well as the autobahn in Germany, so i think he could tackle left side driving. My kids are really nagging me to see both paris and london, but the practical part of me realizes seeing just one country makes more sense. i just don't know if we will ever get the chance to see both countries with them as the older son is heading to college in September.
It's tough planning a trip with kids, as my husband and i want to see the smaller towns and countryside, while the kids are more interested in the big cities and the touristy sights.
One last question... should i skip Stonehenge?
krm is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 26th, 2015, 09:29 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,635
There really is not something "similar" to Versailles anywhere. People shouldn't go to places for no reason, just because they think they are supposed to. They should go for a purpose, which is because they are actually interested in the history of the place. So no, there is nothing similar to Versailles elsewhere if you know anything about it. If you don't care about Marie Antoinette, Louis, etc., nor the history of Versailles, then don't go. But if you do, there is nothing similar in Paris.
Christina is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 26th, 2015, 09:33 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 111
I've been planning a similar trip trying to figure out how to get my time in the UK countryside but came to the conclusion in order to fit it in (at the right time after jet lag)and utilize my time most efficiently, is to stop trying to do it on my own and go on a SMALL bus tour (limited # of seats). This way I know my departure/return to London are guaranteed and included in one price.

We are likely going to choose the Oxford/Cotswolds/Stratford tour because my teen daughter wants to see Oxford and the Cotswolds. Personally, I'd rather go to just the Cotswolds or just Bath - because even on these day tours, you spend more time in the car driving then 'seeing' if you go to more than one place, but it will give us a "taste" to hopefully come back for more! I always google map everything to see how much time will be spent on the road.

The other half day we have planned (it's just a simple train ride) will be to the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio tour - my daughter's a huge fan.

There are so many day trips to choose from including ones to Bath/Stonehenge and one of the tours I saw does have an overnight trip which may suit your needs as well.

But honestly, as so many have mentioned, you need at least a week in London to even scratch the surface and if 7-8 days is all you have, I'd stick to either staying in one country (UK) or just visiting the two cities (London/Paris).
Fishnlines29 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 26th, 2015, 09:34 AM
  #15
krm
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 32
Thank you. Still considering Versailles, as my kids truly do want to see this. Too many sights to see, not enough days. Might need to add a few days to our trip...
krm is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 26th, 2015, 09:35 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 111
Yes, I would skip Stonehenge either way but based on your last response, I would stick to London/Paris - you wont have any problem filling your time!
Fishnlines29 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 26th, 2015, 09:37 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 111
Oh, and I meant to say, it's funny about Versaille - because of my daughter's history class last year, she's dying to go there!
Fishnlines29 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 26th, 2015, 12:18 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 285
Personally, I would skip Stonehenge for such a short trip. I went to London around a dozen times before I saw it on my last trip. I went with a friend who lives in Winchester and she drove us. While, it was nice to see it because of having seen it countless times in movies, tv, the news, the mystery of it's origins, etc. I found it a bit underwhelming. And walking in a circle around it with bus loads of people in a line on a path was ho hum.
elizzie4000 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 26th, 2015, 01:31 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,687
Whereas you could simply fly to Paris from Bristol.>

makes sense but then you miss all the wonderful countryside of Kent and then church-steeple dotted northern France - and see only tarmacs and airports - plus it may not be that much quicker - about 5 hours all told by train but yes if you just want to get from Bath to Paris fly- for some reason I thought your plans were to return to London before Paris but if not janis' idea could be a money saver if not that much in time all told. Make sure your flight don't go into Beauvais, France, a long long way from Paris as Ryan Air flights often do.
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jan 26th, 2015, 02:17 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,019
krm: if you can add a couple of days to your trip, you could easily go on and see everything. IMO, if your kids want to see Versailles, they should, and I can't imagine not seeing Stonehenge, but that's me.

So consider adding a few nights.

I like janisj's idea of flying from Bristol to Paris and can see an itinerary like this:

Land in London, stay as many nights as you can. maybe train to Bath.
Now rent your car and drive everywhere you dream of, with Bath as your base.
The fly from Bristol to CDG on easyjet. Cheap fares.

And of course, upthread janisj suggested getting the express coach from LHR to Bath. Rent a car in Bath, and make your way to London seeing everything you'd like. I think I might turn my car in somewhere other than LHR or central London, taking the train in. Winchester comes to mind, but simply because I've done it. Then you can experience the Eurostar to Paris.

Do try to add a few nights if you can.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:53 PM.