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Day trip to London via "Bullet Train"?

I was curious if any had taken the early morning bullet train from Paris to London to spend a day there? I know in a perfect world, London deserves way more than a day trip. We will be in Paris for 9 days and wanting to take a day trip somewhere, thought this might be worth considering. Any experiences out there? Appreciate it as always.

Posted by
516 posts

I know that RS suggests this as an option since the trip takes only 2:15 hours. If you are able to stay one night that might give you extra time to sight see. Have fun.

Posted by
107 posts

We did this in reverse a few years back. In my view it's a lot of time, effort, and expense for an ultimately unrewarding day trip.

Not that London is not rewarding in itself, it's one of our favorite destinations. It's just that the available time and the number of worthwhile sites can't be done any sort of justice as a day trip.

My recommendation is that the UK be done as a separate trip.

Posted by
107 posts

We did this in reverse a few years back. In my view it's a lot of time, effort, and expense for an ultimately unrewarding day trip.

Not that London is not rewarding in itself, it's one of our favorite destinations. It's just that the available time and the number of worthwhile sites can't be done any sort of justice as a day trip.

My recommendation is that the UK be done as a separate trip rather than on the Eurostar.

Posted by
2487 posts

the trip takes only 2:15 hours
Which is the time between the train leaving Paris and arriving in London; from your hotel to where you want to be in London it will be more than three hours. Each way.
Why not looking for something closer to Paris? Chartres. Orléans. Fontainebleau.

Posted by
1005 posts

Hi. IMO, the potential for large amounts of aggravation outweigh what might seem like a carefree way to spend a day. A few years ago, circa summer 2015, I was returning from Paris ultimately to Heathrow, but I had a day, so thought to take Eurostar, then train on to Oxford for a relaxing afternoon, a Shakespeare play, and an overnight in one of the colleges. I have a fair acquaintance with London, Oxford, etc., so it all sounded do-able and fun.

I did not take the earliest train, and perhaps it would have been wonderful if I had, still, I took a morning train. Should have been relaxing. Getting to and boarding Eurostar - no problem. The problems began when the train stopped for a few hours above ground outside of the tunnel. Granted, I am happy we were above ground. However, there were no communications in the train as to what was happening, no refreshment carts. Luckily we had daylight. When we got to London, I believe I encountered a Tube strike or similar. Most unfortunate. Took a taxi to Paddington - heaps of traffic and long lines for the taxis, too. Bounded aboard a train to Oxford (I already had my lodging booked), and arrived too strung out and exhausted to sit through the play.

What had seemed an enjoyable itinerary for a last day before flying home, did not turn out that way. Just a series of unfortunate events. But who can tell? I will probably avoid making a similar choice again in the future. My experience of Paris and France is rather limited, so I can think of many places I would like to seek out as a day trip - without quite as much "to do" as my London venture.

Posted by
1157 posts

Eurostar tickets go on sale 6 months in advance of your travel date and get much more expensive as that date approaches. We first visited Paris taking an early train from London and a late train back. You can snooze going and coming and there's not a lot to see. We annually take the Eurostar since we like flying into London for a week, then to Paris for a week, then back to London for a day or two and fly home. We take our own food and drink aboard (wine is OK) and buy a carnet of 10 metro tickets in the snack bar carriage aboard the Eurostar. You can find a schematic of the carriages and select seats that face forward and at a window at Eurostar.com.

Posted by
2923 posts

I am doing a day trip with four others to London from Paris in May but I have been to London 3 times before this. I'd skip London this time but my group really wants to go. My take on this is to do it if you want to, can afford it, and are willing to have just a quick glimpse of London. Just don't think you will see everything or do any more than a very cursory trip. I know we should assume that we will be able to do the second trip but what if it does not happen. Life is funny that way and London is one of the great cities of the world so why not go take a quick look if you are 3 hours away. We are taking the 7:43 AM train from Gare du Nord and leaving London on the 7:01 PM train back. When we are staying in Paris and my husband has business in London, he does that as a day trip and has had no issues. As long as you understand that the trip will be cursory, my vote is to do it. As my husband always says when I do not want to make an effort to go someplace extra while on vacation: "Oh yeah, we'll just do that next week -- oh wait, next we will be back home."

Posted by
16941 posts

Spur of the moment, it is $486 US pp round trip. Bought 6 months in advance, $104 US.

Posted by
932 posts

I have done a day trip to London. We were in Edinburgh, and found R/T airfare on a discount airline for less than $100/each. We had never been to London and wanted to check it out. So it probably took us about the same amount of time "door to door", if you will, as you on the train. We booked the hop on/hop off bus tour so we got to "see" all the famous spots of London. We also had time to do the Churchill War Rooms and lunch. It gave us a taste of London, and since then, we've been to London for long trips twice. I don't regret that day trip. It was fun to see the famous sites that we'd seen on TV/movies and in pictures. If it's not expensive, go for it!

Posted by
364 posts

I say go for it! I did the EuroStar London to Paris for the day and it was AWESOME!! The Eurostar is great- fast- and you will be in London in about 2.5 hours- you can go see Buckingham Palace, walk thru St. James Park, or go down and take a boat ride on the Thames river, have lunch, go to the Tower of London- you will have a great day!
Www. Visitlondon.com
https://www.seetickets.com/news/paris/2892
Hit Daytrips- I used this site- very reliable and easy to use.

Happy Travels✨💫

Posted by
3699 posts

The train takes more time than that -- passengers have to check through security at least a half hour in advance, both going and coming. An hour is a more comfortable minimum. So there goes more than six hours of your day,

Posted by
2927 posts

I've taken many day trips in which it takes 3 hours each way...or 4 for that matter. This was our common way to go to NYC to see a play, and exhibit, etc. when growing up, among others; i.e., skiing. The train makes it easy and relaxing, IMO. It will give you a nice, initial glimpse of London. That being said, determine how far away in time that you would prefer your day trip to be, draw a circle on the map, and look at the locations that fall within it.

Posted by
15 posts

Hello everybody!

I really appreciate all of the responses to my original question. I was very eager to hear everyone's feedback. One detail I didn't elaborate on is that we will have our two young boys with us (8 and 3). The London trip would be great but we have decided to take a day trip to Provins. The unknown variables, logistics and rushed schedule in London have us leaning a different direction. We are younger and God willing, will be back to give London its just due someday. With being in Paris for 8 days, we thought the old medieval charm of Provins would be something the boys would like and would be a nice change of pace from the bustling pace of the big city. As always, love the feedback and chatter. Safe travels everyone.

Posted by
2927 posts

One detail I didn't elaborate on is that we will have our two young boys with us (8 and 3).

Yes, that is an important detail. I'd wait to see how they adjust to the travel before making a decision as there is so much to see in Paris and parks for the kids to enjoy.

Posted by
72 posts

Considering the speed of SNCF trains, you could do Paris to Marseilles (St. Charles station) in 3h25m. Get to the Mediterranean. Or go Paris to Turin in 5h40m just to say you hit Italy before getting the next train back.

Berlin might be a bit too west if you're headed into Germany. It's a combined SNCF (French) and ICE (German) service that, including the change, takes over eight hours at least (leave Paris Gare de L'Est at 7.20 in the morning, get to Cologne at 9.48 and then get the next train out of there an hour later for Berlin Hauptbahnhof... it takes longer to get through Germany to get to Berlin than it does to get from Paris to Cologne). You could do Paris to Frankfurt at 320km/h (200mph) in under 4 hours though. Or just go to Cologne, see the Rhine river, agree with the locals that people that follow sports teams in Düsseldorf are inferior to people that follow Köln sports teams, and visit the cathedral that took over 600 years to complete!

I mean: you COULD do that just to say you did it. But then you miss the experience of staying in the place you just went to.

Posted by
6509 posts

What it the farthest day trip one could do from Paris, just to say you've done it? I'm serious. Berlin?

That would depend on how much travel time each way you would consider doable for a day trip. Berlin? I doubt it, it's a half-day trip each way so you would not see anything in Berlin and why would you pay for and take a whole day just to step out of the airport or train station and say 'I've been to Berlin'?

Posted by
21 posts

Having been to London but never having taken the Eurostar, I am going to do that and go to the Tate Modern, where I have never been to see the Picasso exhibit. That should fill my day sufficiently. And thanks to the above commentor on the price of the ticket being cheaper the further out.

Posted by
5556 posts

Don't forget to add 1/2 hour at each end for immigration formalities before boarding. While St. Pancras is a very attractive renovation, it's not right at the main London attractions. So you have to learn about the Underground before you've even mastered the Paris Metro. I've done Eurostar from Brussels, but I always stayed at least one night, and I had a particular objective, having visited England a few times specifically. If you don't have three months in advance to get a cheap fare, think about the many places in France to see. I still haven't been to Chantilly, Rouen, or Fontainbleau, and have probably spent four weeks in Paris by now. We put Giverny on our first stay in Paris, as a must.

If you insist on a long trip, consider Lille or Strasbourg, or even Caen or Bayeux. But your time is better spent in and near Paris.

Posted by
7691 posts

Not Berlin. It's 8 hours just to get there. 16 hours round trip.

Yes, 3 hours down to Marseille or Avignon would be it. Considering it would normally take 8 hours to drive but that you can get there in three hours on the TGV, and the complete difference in sights, that would be, to me, the most "different" day trip you could do.

Posted by
4734 posts

One advantage of a day trip in this direction is that the time zone change works in your favour - provided you don't arrive back too late ...

Posted by
7691 posts

well, if you don't plan on sleeping at any point during the 24 hours . . . I don't think 16 hours of travel really fits most people's definition of a day trip. But if it meets your needs, tally ho!

Posted by
101 posts

I wouldn't recommend a day trip to London. Its way too big, way too many things to see, and way too spread out for one day.

I will highly endorse the person who suggested Bruges. Its just a ridiculously beautiful little town.

Dijon and Lyon are also good choices. We were just there in April.

And if anybody in your party cares about Monet or Impressionsim art - I'd put Giverny on that short list of options as well. I don't know when you're travelling - but Giverny isn't open year round - so if that's your choice - just check to make sure it'll be open.