London & Paris in Winter

Jul 2nd, 2019, 11:43 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 6
London & Paris in Winter

Hi all
I would need some advice for my 2 weeks trip in Dec. We are a family of 4, with 2 teenage girls. It will be the first trip for my girls to Europe
This is the itinerary I have in mind:
- London for 2-3 nights (any suggestion which area is good to stay for 1st timers)
- (rent a car) to Oxford, Cotswold, Stratford-upon-Avon, Bath for 4 nights
- London 1 night
- Paris 3 nights
- London 2 nights before flying off from Healthrow
Pls provide as much advice you can as I have so far book air tickets only and nothing else.
1. Is the itinerary mentioned above feasible and recommended?
2. For car rental from London to Oxford, where is the best place to rent the car as I understand the traffic in London can be a challenge? Should we take a train to Oxford and rent the car from there?
3. For Oxford, Cotswold, Stratford-upon-Avon, Bath, is 1 night stay in each destination enough?
4. When we return to London after travelling from the west, should we stay 1 night in London before we take the rail to Paris?
5. Do hotels/apts there allow us to keep some of our luggages with them while we travel to Paris and return back to the same hotel/apt? Because I foresee its troublesome to carry our big luggages to and fro.
Thank you in advance!
evelyn0712 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2019, 12:12 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,322
Are you flying home from London?

I'll address all of these bits together:

>>- London for 2-3 nights (any suggestion which area is good to stay for 1st timers)
- (rent a car) to Oxford, Cotswold, Stratford-upon-Avon, Bath for 4 nights
- London 1 night
3. For Oxford, Cotswold, Stratford-upon-Avon, Bath, is 1 night stay in each destination enough?
4. When we return to London after travelling from the west, should we stay 1 night in London before we take the rail to Paris?
<<

As you have it laid out -- you'd be staying in London two different times (three actually because you'd stay there a night yet AGAIN after Paris) -- that unnecessarily complicates things and leaves you almost no time IN the city. Plus it has you packing and moving a LOT. Think about arranging things so ALL your London time is together. Then the 1 in night Oxford, 1 night in the Cotswolds, 1 night in Stratford and 1 night in Bath has you moving FOUR time in four days -- losing valuable sightseeing time with every move.

Consider this idea: Arrive at LHR and immediately take the Express coach to Bath. Stay there one night car less. Explore Bath the after noon of your arrival and the next day until maybe lunch time. Then collect a rental car and drive to a base in the Cotswolds -- Like maybe Burford or Stow-on-the-Wold. Bath to Burford is about a 90 minute drive. Stay in the Cotswolds 3 nights. From that base you can also visit Stratford upon Avon. From Burford to Stratford is about an hour's drive and from Stow on the Wold to Stratford is 40-45 mins . . . both with a lot to see and do in between so it would be a nice day out and back. Check out and drive the short distance to Oxford and drop the car there. Explore Oxford all day, then take the train in to London, stay there until you leave for Paris on the Eurostar.

HOWEVER . . . you are talking about December with very short days, and possible awful weather (or not). So at the time you are there, a car trip may not be that great an idea -- if there is heavy snow for instance?

Now to throw out a completely different idea: You could fly immediately on to Paris after landing at LHR. Spend your Paris days at the front end. Then train to London and stay a few nights, then head out to LHR and collect a car and head to Bath then follow my idea above for the Cotswolds/Stratford then drive to LHR, drop Car and fly home.

But again -- only if the weather is decent.
janisj is online now  
Jul 3rd, 2019, 04:18 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 46,935
I would heed janis's advice. Your trip as planned is needlessly complicated and risky, given the time of year you'll be traveling. You need to simplify things considerably and take into account the weather and what you'll do if it interrupts your plans.
StCirq is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2019, 05:41 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 70,487
I loved Paris at Christmas! I had a wonderfully warm long coat and had a magical time.

I would spend one week in each city. Maybe take day trips out of London if you want to explore the countryside. But I'd settle in for a week in each city.
starrs is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2019, 07:28 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,322
My ideas were juts ways to tweak your plans . . . but in fact starrs idea of JUST London and Paris is much more practical. Fly to Paris stay a week, train to London stay a week. Fly home. That solves the weather problem of road tripping in winter. Then, if you want, you can do a day trip out of either city by train -- Oxford or Bath from London, maybe Chartres from Paris.

However - you only say December and not your exact dates. If you are there actually ON Christmas Day you might want to fiddle things a bit so you are in Paris on Christmas. Though being in London on Christmas is fine, it does shut down a bit and there is no public transport of any kind (except a few taxis and pre-booked car services) on the day.
janisj is online now  
Jul 3rd, 2019, 07:34 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,339
Book your return Eurostar trains to Paris and back well in advance - time varies but months in advance possible and cheapest tickets can sell out months in advance - www.eurostar.com - also for advice check www.seat61.com and BETS-European Rail Experts.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2019, 08:13 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,559
One small suggestion: Be prepared for how early night falls in winter -- the twilight is dimming by 3 or 3:30 p.m. This might influence your daytime plans.

Too bad you bought your air tickets. A London/Paris split is ideal for a multi-destination search function, flying into one city and home from another. No more expensive, considering what it will cost to return to your entry city, and saves a day on the vacation. Something to keep in mind for the next trip.
Southam is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2019, 01:11 PM
  #8  
mjs
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,336
I would also just stick to London and Paris in the winter with short days and possible inclement weather. Plenty to do in these cities, especially London. If you cannot open jaw it, fly upon Arrival to Paris and train back to London as recommended above
mjs is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2019, 02:00 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,467
Can you change your return ticket to a multi-city, return home from Paris? It will save at least a half day of travel, actually more because you will have fewer hotel changes, and the cost of travel back to London.

I totally agree, keep it simple, especially in winter. a week in Paris and a week in London, one hotel in each, no hauling luggage around. You can easily do day trips from each, have them planned with necessary info, but make the decision last minute, based on weather, etc. If you can’t change tickets, then, yes, on landing, go Straight on to Paris. Don’t waste all that time and complicate things by staying one night in London first. You will be tired anyway. Just get to Paris.

If you love theatre, you could take a day from Paris and add to London and get cheap tickets to plays, etc.

From Paris, even in winter, Versailles might be interesting and the town is worth a visit. Chartres is actually close enough for a day trip too, if it is of interest.

From London, it is super easy to do a day trip to Oxford by train. Some hate it, but your girls might enjoy seeing Blenheim (if it is open) from Oxford. Tour Oxford in the morning (check times and get tickets), take the bus from Oxford to Blenheim in the afternoon.
I do prefer an overnight in Bath, but a rushed day trip is also doable.
Hampton Court is an easy day trip from London.
Theatre: As soon as we arrive and get settled, we head to box offices and kiosks for last minute, cheap tickets to plays, concerts, etc. That is a great way to spend dark, winter evenings in London.

If you do decide on Overnight in Bath, go by train. Also, go there directly after Paris. Put all nights in London together at the end of the trip.

Sassafrass is online now  
Jul 3rd, 2019, 07:07 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 6
Thank you all so much for your suggestions and comments.
I guess doing 1 week in each city is a good idea than moving around so much especially in unpredictable Winter conditions.
We could also do Disneyland in Paris if we have a week.
Any suggestions which website for buying air tickets from Heathrow to Paris?
What about the area to stay in?
Sorry, I have lots of questions as we will travelling from South East Asia (with no winter here, so sunset is at 7pm everyday) and not too familiar about Europe.
And we will be back a couple of days before Christmas.
evelyn0712 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2019, 07:19 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,322
>>We could also do Disneyland in Paris if we have a week.<<

You could also do the wonderful Warner Brothers Harry Potter studio tour in London.

>>What about the area to stay in?<<

Each city has many MANY good central neighborhoods. In London you can stay in a hotel or flat in almost any central neighborhood - it will mainly depend on what sort of property you prefer and your budget per night. In Paris you will do better in a hotel or perhaps an Aparthotel because a great many short term rentals are illegal - though booking this far ahead you may still find a decent selection of legal listings.

>>And we will be back a couple of days before Christmas.<<

That helps a lot -- since the Christmas shutdown in London won't be an issue.
janisj is online now  
Jul 5th, 2019, 06:34 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 70,487
Originally Posted by evelyn0712 View Post
Any suggestions which website for buying air tickets from Heathrow to Paris?
What about the area to stay in?
Take the train from London to Paris via the Chunnel. 2 hours and 14 minutes.
https://www.eurostar.com/us-en/train/uk/paris-to-london

Stay in the 6th in Paris. What is your budget?

starrs is offline  
Jul 5th, 2019, 08:42 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,322
Are you perhaps channeling Pal buy any chance. It isn't the 'Chunnel' to anyone anywhere outside of northern Michigan. Its Eurostar Eurostar Eurostar . . . .
janisj is online now  
Jul 6th, 2019, 05:57 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 46,935
It's not the Chunnel unless you're stoned and stuck in a bygone era. And you don't have to stay in the 6th unless you want to spend way more money than you need to and feel it's important to impress your friends.
StCirq is offline  
Jul 6th, 2019, 06:24 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 70,487
Originally Posted by StCirq View Post
It's not the Chunnel unless you're stoned and stuck in a bygone era. And you don't have to stay in the 6th unless you want to spend way more money than you need to and feel it's important to impress your friends.
LOL
I have no need to try "to impress" my friends or anyone. I stayed in a fabulous hotel on the Right Bank in April...and have to admit my friends WERE impressed. Mostly by the Jean Paul Gaultier designed toile walls, but the huge room also impressed them and they loved the French doors opening which I have to admit I loved since in April they had not turned the a/c on and it was wonderful to have a breeze coming in.


Funny that. Thinking someone chooses the 6th to "impress" someone else.

Nope. I missed the 6th. I missed the hotel that feels like home to me and will happily return again on the next visit.

But really? WHO chooses the 6th "to impress" anyone? It's a crazy idea that anyone would choose a section of the city to "impress" people who aren't along on the trip, but even if there are people like that...the 6th?! Really? The 6th.

That's a very interesting concept.
starrs is offline  
Aug 13th, 2019, 10:30 PM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 6
West End musicals

I would like to know which website I can go to get discounted tickets for West End musicals? isit also cheaper if i go to the discount booth in London? or isit the same price?
evelyn0712 is offline  
Aug 13th, 2019, 10:33 PM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 6
And for my itinerary in UK, I am planning 2 nights in London and then travel out to the west for 4 nights in Cheltenham as a base.
And then travel out for day trips to Cotswold, Stratford upon avon, maybe Oxford and then Bath. Do you suggest we drive or just take the rail/train?
evelyn0712 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2019, 03:55 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 6,452
Actually, I absolutely adore the 6th and don't like staying anywhere else.

Thin,aristocrat 🛳
Pepper_von_snoot is offline  
Aug 14th, 2019, 04:38 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17,018
The Cotswolds in December, is basically a cold damp place with a few lovely villages
I'd want a car to explores them at that time of year
bilboburgler is offline  
Aug 14th, 2019, 06:20 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,588
Evelyn, 2 nights in London gives you 1 full day, for the largest city by far in Europe. That's nothing. London is perfect in winter; the countryside a bit less so.
I think your teenage girls might be disappointed to spend so little time in London, and so much in Cheltenham, especially during the darkest days of winter.

Which musical do you want to see? Many of the popular ones do not have discounted tickets. Go to the website of actual theatre, and book via that site. Some may redirect you to another booking site, but that's fine. If you don't have any preference what show or play you see, you can try the discount booth at Leicester Square, or try online at the theatre's site a few days before to see availability. If there are lots of places free, they might offer discounts there.
Tulips is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:25 PM.