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-   -   Spontaneous Trip to London/Paris (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/spontaneous-trip-to-london-paris-706432/)

eeyann May 19th, 2007 05:10 PM

Spontaneous Trip to London/Paris
 
My wife and I are heading to London and then Paris next week and haven't preplanned many activities, assuming we'd buy museum and theater tickets when we get there. After more scheduled European trips with the whole family, I'm kind of looking forward to a more spontaneous approach with this 9 day trip. Will we be missing out on much with this more uncharted approach? We reserved our travel arrangements of course, but I'm just a little nervous about the rest.

Thanks for your thoughts!
Eeyann's Husband

janisj May 19th, 2007 05:51 PM

Nope - no problem at all. As long as you have booked a place to lay your heads - no need to pre-book much if anything else. Some popular restaurants may be booked up - but there are hundreds of others where you can just walk in.

London museums are mostly free - but some special exhibitions w/i the museums/galleries do have tickets and do sell out. But there is much more to do than your few days will allow so not to worry.

And theatre tickets can be bought on teh day of performance at TKTS in Leicester Square.

In Paris you can buy the museums/monuments pass at any of the covered properties after you get there.

Fidel May 19th, 2007 05:55 PM

I think that's a splendid way to travel. That is actually how I usually go, even with lots of advance notice -- I look at posts with people charting their trip down to the hour and it makes my eyes water. I check out a couple things, maybe buy theatre tix and make a note of an exhibit I want to see and when I get there buy Time Out or equivalent and go from there. Have a fantastic trip!!


crefloors May 19th, 2007 07:36 PM

When I went to Paris last year I had a list of things that I wanted to do. My friend and I would check the list each evening and decide on one or two things to do the next day along with exploring the neighborhood around the place we were visiting. If we got side tracked, no big deal. It was a great trip.

StCirq May 19th, 2007 07:46 PM

I go that way a lot, but then I know my way around Paris better than I know my way around DC, the big city I'm closest to. Should work fine as long as you've got your accommodations arranged and have a general sense of what you want to do. For me, the big bugaboo is always checking what's open on what days. I can easily find myself in Paris wanting to see some exhibit or other that's closed on Tuesday's and I haven't remembered to check on that.

lcsnor May 19th, 2007 08:03 PM

I don't know how long you will be in England but think about spending some time outside London for an entirely different experience. It's relatively easy to take a train out of town and visit some of the beautiful towns and cities. Consider Cambridge, Oxford, Winchester,Norwich,Bath,Canterbury, Stratford upon Avon(all relatively close to London) or if you want to spend a night out of London what about York or even Edinburgh. London is a great place to visit & enjoy the sights but there are museums, art galleries and theatres in any major city. England's smaller cities offer cathedrals, castles, quaint shops, markets etc.,etc. and a real feel for England which many visitors never experience.

blightyboy May 19th, 2007 08:09 PM

Absolutly no problem as long as you have a bed for the first night so you can recover from the flight. If you can get up to York for a couple of days you will really enjoy it. Are you flying in to London and out of Paris?


eeyann May 19th, 2007 08:19 PM

Great ideas! We were hoping to take at least one day trip from London, maybe take the train to Oxford. We've never been outside London, except for a disappointing bus tour.

Yes, we've booked our hotels. We've got tickets on the Eurostar to Paris in the middle of our 9 day trip. We fly in and out of London because of a good deal with Virgin Atalntic.

I'd love to spend more time in the English countryside. Does it work to make day trips by train and return to London in the evening?

Thanks everyone! As always, your experience is priceless!

Eeyann's Husband


blightyboy May 19th, 2007 08:30 PM

Yes day trip to York is ok - leave early at sat 7amm and arrive back at 8pm - a long day but worth it.
7 am train arrives at 9am
18.30 back arrives 20.42

http://www.gnertickets.co.uk/Time_Ta..._Timetable.asp

blightyboy May 19th, 2007 08:34 PM

LONDON KINGS CROSS 08:30 Train GNER
YORK 10:33
Return journey: Wednesday 20 June 2007 Station Arr Dep Travel by Service Provider
YORK 19:14 Train GNER
LONDON KINGS CROSS 21:17
£20 each

noe847 May 19th, 2007 08:44 PM

It sounds as though you've been to London before. If so, a day trip would be fine, even though your time in London sounds relatively short. There are so many possibilities for day trips.

We've done Oxford as a day trip and really enjoyed it.

I'd consider York to be do-able as a day trip also, although we did it as an overnight - we were there 24 hours. The train ride from London is 2 hours, which isn't that much longer than the bus to Oxford (which took us 1 3/4 hours on a Sunday morning)


blightyboy May 19th, 2007 09:31 PM

see the previouis post

noe847 May 20th, 2007 07:09 AM

I'm sorry, blightyboy, upon re-reading I see that it wasn't too clear that I was actually trying to agree with you (that's why I said 'also'). To reinforce that I was comparing the length of time it took us to get to Oxford, which was just 15 minutes shorter.

So here's what I meant:

"Along with blightyboy, above, I'd consider York to be do-able as a day trip, although we did it as an overnight - we were there 24 hours. The two hour train ride from London (see above quoted schedule) isn't that much longer than the bus to Oxford (which took us 1 3/4 hours on a Sunday morning)"

Barbara_in_CT May 20th, 2007 08:55 AM

York is very doable on a daytrip.

1. Tour Yorkminster
2. Walk the Shambles
3. Lunch at Betty's.
4. York Castle Museum
5. Pick-up a sandwich and snacks to enjoy on the train back to London.
6. I think you can even have time to enjoy an Evensong at the Minster.

You'll probably spot other things that you had no idea about and you can do what absolutely pleases you at the moment.

eeyann May 20th, 2007 09:32 AM

Thanks everyone! We're looking forward to seeing a bit of the English countryside and York sounds wonderful. The specific information you've provided has been very helpful and I feel much better about planning day-to-day on our trip.

I love getting the benefit of so much expert travel experience!

Thanks again,
Eeyann's husband



christicbo May 20th, 2007 09:50 AM

Look into the eurostar with my article http://www.associatedcontent.com/art...tar_train.html .

leather1026 May 20th, 2007 09:57 AM

ne has great suggestions , I can only add that if you can pick a day for York and go to the GNER site you may still get very cheap tickets on the train.

leather1026 May 20th, 2007 09:58 AM

Oops Blighty, I missed your post about the train times.

janisj May 20th, 2007 11:21 AM

christicbo: As I mentioned on another thread, you registered this afternoon and posted the exact same thing <b>five</b> times, and <u>nothing</u> else.


jsmith May 20th, 2007 12:03 PM

Winchester, the original capitol of England, is one of my favorites and is just about an hour from Waterloo station. Very easy walking and the Cathedral has an interesting history. Some of the early kings are buried there. We had quite a good meal near the station on either Sussex St or Jewry St, sorry can't remember which, near the intersection with City Rd.

Brighton is another about an hour by train from Victoria. The Royal Pavilion is the biggest attraction and the Art Gallery adjacent has one of the best collections of Art Nouveau and Art Deco in Britain. Just be sure to visit on a good day so you can enjoy the seafront.


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