Please sign in to post.

24 hour layover in London to Paris

My family is traveling to Paris and we're flying from the US to London and then have an overnight layover then onto Paris later the next day. I have several questions: What is the best (i.e. cheapest) way to get into London City (near Hyde Park) with (2) 7yr. olds? We will only have a carry on and backpack each. I'm not sure whether to do the rail then underground or shuttle/taxi. My son doesn't have a lot of endurance due to a medical condition. How much time should we allow the next day to get from our hotel to Heathrow? Our flight is at 6pm so we'll be sightseeing during the day. Will we have to go through Immigration again when we fly into Paris? We've been to London before but only the 2 of us and we took the Eurostar from Paris to London so this is much different. I'm excited to share Europe with our children as we've been over several times with just the 2 of us but this traveling with kids is making my type A personality go into overdrive. Thanks!

Posted by
338 posts

It's not the cheapest way, but you might want to consider getting a taxi or arranging for a car to get you to the Hyde Park area after you land. We took our kids (ages 5 and 7) to London in July and they were wiped out by the time we landed. We had arranged for a taxi through the apartment rental company we used and it was well worth the money to be able to walk out get in a car and be on our way. Plan on about 40 minutes or so for a taxi to the Hyde Park area. If you want to take public tranist, there are express trains from Heathrow (and Gatwick depending on where you are flying out). The Heathrow train runs to Paddington. The various Hyde Park lines and stops are pretty close. It's pretty easy to switch Tube lines. You can take the tube to the departure station for those trains. Your 7-year-olds will travel on the Tube for free. This will require a bit more time than a taxi or shuttle. I'll allow others with more recent experience to give you an idea of how long. One additional factor to consider is what day you'll be departing. Weekday traffic will dictate when you need to leave for the airport if you decide to use a shuttle or taxi. What might be a 40 minute drive from Hyde Park on a Saturday afternoon is much different than one during a work day. The train may be a better option in that case. I believe that you'll have to clear immigration again. I recall having to do that many years ago when we flew into Paris and went on to London. Have fun!

Posted by
3319 posts

The cheapest way to get into London would be by tube. You won't need to take a train since the terminals all have a tube station located inside the terminal. Once you clear customs, the tube ride is about an hour depending on which of the terminals you are coming from. A taxi/shuttle will take about the same amount of time if traffic is good - if traffic is bad then all bets are off! We hired a car to pick us up at Heathrow and take us to east London this summer and, because of an accident on the north circular road, it took over two hours. At least with the tube you know exactly how long it will take. You also can take the Heathrow Express but that is considerably more expensive than the tube and I have not used it so will leave that to someone else who knows. On the way back I would allow at least an hour to get to Heathrow by tube and at least an additional hour to go through security. Don't get on the tube any later than 3.5 hours before your flight to be on the safe side. I usually allow 4. There is lots to do at Heathrow so don't worry if you have a bit of time on your hands. In addition, sometimes there are problems on the tube and lines are temporarily shut down and you may have to reroute...not likely but it can happen. One thing to keep in mind is that parts of the tube are routinely shut down on weekends for repair and maintenance. These are clearly shown on a board at the entrance to each tube station during the week before the planned closure. So if you're going to or from the airport on Saturday or Sunday be aware!
You will have to go through customs/immigration again once you arrive in France.

Posted by
45 posts

We haven't nailed down which hotel we're staying at but the 2 we are looking at are near Hyde Park on the Thames side. Sorry for the vagueness!

Posted by
26038 posts

Maria, please forgive the question but I would like to know as I regularly suggest and use the Eurostar rather than the plane. What caused you to choose the flight from Heathrow to Paris instead of the Eurostar when you are already in central London? I usually say that before you have boarded the flight you could be walking off the train in Paris. Is it because the train would be too confining for the children? If you are able to answer I would value the response.

Posted by
45 posts

Thank you for all the info! It's much like Atlanta where taking the Marta is a guarantee over trying to drive to the airport. We'll be landing on a Sunday and heading out on Monday so we'll definitely take the underground back to Heathrow. The last thing I want is to be stuck in traffic. Thank you so much for the time allowances! Nigel- We actually planned on flying directly to Paris but because we're using our airline miles, we have to have a connection. We could have flown out later that day but I want to take the opportunity to let the kids experience a little bit of London so we opted for a connecting flight late the next day. The Eurostar was great but I do remember it being pretty pricey for just 2 of us back in 2004. The kids will get to experience the rail when we continue our travels from Paris to Germany. I appreciate the suggestion, though!

Posted by
12355 posts

The Tube may be cheaper, but the Heathrow Express is so much easier and faster-something to consider with your child who is easily fatigued. The flight alone will be hard on the child. The Heathrow Express is on 15 minutes from airport station to Paddington. Children travel free on the Heathrow Express (with a paying adult) if you use the discount code found on the website. Since you will fly from Heathrow again the next day, you can get a return ticket for £34 for each adult. Total €68 for both directions to and from Paddington. A taxi from there to anyplace around Hyde Park should not be much. See more information in the "deals and discounts" area of the HEx website.

Posted by
4536 posts

If the hotel is near Hyde Park Corner station then the speed issue between the HEX and underground is a wash - both should take about 45 minutes. Unfortunately saying the hotel is near Hyde Park doesn't really pin the location down tightly enough for the best advice.

Posted by
8700 posts

Your best door-to-door option from Heathrow to the Hyde Park area is a private car service. Hyde Park is in postal code SW1. Just Airports offers a cash fare of £36 for an Estate (station wagon) from LHR to anywhere in SW1 and a cash fare of £46 for a MPV (minivan).

Posted by
45 posts

Thank you. Do you know if that amount per person or just for the private car? It might be nicer to take that from the airport when we arrive as I know we'll all be a bit tired from the flight.

Posted by
970 posts

The Tube is the cheapest, slowest, most inconvenient and most uncomfortable way to get into London. The fastest way is the Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station. Unlike the Tube, there are bins for luggage. And it doesn't make umpteen stops. The non-stop trip takes about 15 minutes. You will need to taxi from Paddington to your hotel. The Express is, I believe, 12 pounds one way. A car hire from Heathrow to your hotel will cost in the neighborhood of the Express plus taxi. Allow for an hour or so. I'm usually a basket case when I get to Heathrow, and I don't take overnight flights. All I want to do is get to my hotel as fast as possible. It's one area I don't regret ignoring the cheapest alternative.

Posted by
8700 posts

The prices I quoted for Just Airports are per vehicle, not per person. You'll pay the same regardless of the number of people.

Posted by
8954 posts

The Tube is the cheapest, slowest, most inconvenient and most uncomfortable way to get into London. It's not the slowest, or most inconvenient. When you take into account the time you have to wait on line get a tube ticket and transfer once you arrive at Paddington, the Tube is just as fast. Also for most folks it will be a direct journey as most hotels in the city center will be very near one of the Picadilly stops.

Posted by
4556 posts

Make your decision once you've chosen your hotel. As Michael pointed out, if your hotel is close to a Piccadilly line stop, the tube can be the both convenient and the fastest way (as well as the cheapest). Most tube stops do have some stairs so consider that if that if it would be a challenge for your son. For example, you indicated that you were looking at staying near Hyde Park on the Thames side. If you were staying near the South Kensington or Knightsbridge tube station, the tube would be an option which required no transfers. The Heathrow Express is very convenient if you are staying at Paddington. If you are not staying at Paddington, you still have to get to your hotel and once you add in that time, it is not always the fastest way to your final destination. The car service is very easy, although subject to traffic.