London and Paris are two of the most iconic cities in Europe, rich in history, culture, and attractions. Many visitors to Europe want to visit both capital cities and need to figure out how to travel from London to Paris.
Did you realize that these two capital cities are only 214 miles (344 km) apart? And thanks to the creation of the Channel Tunnel (the Chunnel) it’s incredibly easy to get back and forth between them.
It is easy to combine visits to London and Paris into the same trip, due to their proximity. If you would like to plan a visit to both cities, you might be wondering what is the best way to get from London, England to Paris France?
To help answer that question, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to get from London to Paris (or from Paris to London). We’re going to list all the options you have for getting from London to Paris, as well as give you an idea how long each option takes, the cost associated with each method, the main companies and ways to book each route, and cost-saving tips.
We also provide advice on how to choose a method based on your budget, time, and travel style, and we also share our own preferred way to travel from London to Paris.
How to Get From London to Paris
Here are 11 different ways to get from London to Paris or Paris to London. We cover all the most popular ways such as taking the Eurostar train, flying, driving, taking a coach, guided day tours, and taking the ferry. We also cover less conventional ways such as walking, biking, and even swimming, as well as lesser-known options such as ride-sharing and private transfers.
It is important to remember that no matter how you plan to travel from London to Paris that you are crossing an international border and transitioning from the UK to the Schengen Area. You will have to go through border security and customs, so you need to make sure you have all the necessary travel documents before your trip to enter and leave each country.
Here are 11 ways to get from London to Paris in no particular order:
1. Eurostar Train
This is perhaps the easiest way to get from London to Paris and is usually our recommended way to travel between the two cities. The Eurostar is fast and efficient, and direct from the heart of London to the heart of Paris. All you have to do is get on the train on time and then you can relax the rest of the journey.
Although I think it is now taken for granted, taking a train directly between London and Paris is the newest way to get between these two European capitals. Before the Channel Tunnel, or Chunnel as it is often called, was opened in 1994, the only way to cross the English Channel was by boat or plane.
The Channel Tunnel is an amazing feat of engineering and it has the longest underwater section of any tunnel in the world!
Which train companies operate between London and Paris?
Only one passenger train company is able to use the Chunnel, and that is the Eurostar train. The high-speed train goes directly from London St. Pancras Station to Paris Gare du Nord. They run a number of trains each day between the two cities.
The Eurostar also offer direct trains from London to other places, including Disneyland Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam.
Note that the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train operated by Belmond travels between London and Paris and used to allow you to book a trip from London to Paris and vice versa. It was an approximately 11-hour luxury train journey that included a ride on the British Pullman from London to Folkestone, a luxury coach ride across the Eurotunnel, and then the Venice Simplon Orient Express train from Calais to Paris. However, when I checked in 2020, they were no longer offering this route, and we are not sure it will return in future years.
How much does the train cost from London to Paris?
A one-way Eurostar ticket can cost anywhere from starting at about €30 for a standard ticket to up to €300 for a business premier ticket.
There are no set costs for the Eurostar train tickets, and like airline tickets the price fluctuates based on how long until the travel date and how many tickets have been sold. There are currently three classes of tickets you can buy.
The three types of tickets are Standard Class, Standard Premier, and Business Premier. Your ticket type determines your access to food services, how spacious your seat is, lounge access, how many pieces of luggage you can bring aboard, and whether you will be charged change or cancellation fees if you need to change your ticket.
Currently, all classes offer comfortable seats, access to food and drinks (food is included with the Premier tickets), and up to 2 pieces of luggage per person (Business Premier allows for up to 3). For the most up to date information about the classes and what is included with your ticket, you can check that out here.
To save money, we recommend booking well in advance to get the best rates. Although you can sometimes get a good deal at less busy times of the year at the last minute, you could pay up to 10X the standard fare at busy times of the year if you book at the last minute.
Also if you have flexibility on your dates, the best availability and fares are often on midweek trains.
Can I use a Rail Pass to travel from London to Paris?
Yes, your Eurail Global Pass (European rail pass for non-Europe residents) or Interrail Global Pass (European rail pass for residents of Europe) can be used on the Eurostar. To travel with Eurostar using your pass you need to book your seat in advance and pay a seat reservation fee. You’ll be traveling in either Standard or Standard Premier, depending on the class of your rail pass.
Eurail and Interrail users only pay a fixed reservation fee, instead of the full price. At last check, the reservation fee was €30 for Standard class (available for 1st and 2nd class pass holders) and €38 for Standard Premier (available for 1st class pass holders only).
A reservation is mandatory and can be made up to 12 weeks in advance. Once you have your pass, you can do this on the Eurail website, in person at the Eurostar terminal, or by calling +44 (0) 1233 617 575.
Remember that your Eurail pass isn’t valid on other transport in the UK, so you should probably do this leg at the beginning or end of your pass’ validity.
How long does the train take from London to Paris?
The train from London to Paris takes an average of 2 hours and 30 minutes station to station, although in perfect conditions it could be as short as 2 hours and 16 minutes.
Passport checks are done at St. Pancras station before leaving for Paris, so you will want to get to the Eurostar terminal at least 45 minutes before your train.
Note that events such as worker strikes, protests, and adverse weather can affect the running of the train. You can check for Eurostar service updates and delays online here.
Where to buy train tickets?
You can buy Eurostar tickets directly from the company’s website, as well as from a variety of other online train ticket websites such as Trainline. Normally prices are the same across websites when we’ve checked.
You can also purchase tickets in-person at the ticket office in the Eurostar terminal at St. Pancras or Gare du Nord. However, if you are attempting to buy same-day tickets, this could be very expensive.
You can usually book Eurostar tickets from London to Paris up to 180 days in advance of your travel date.
Flying is another popular way to get between London and Paris because it is very quick flight and flights between the two cities are often inexpensive.
Remember though that between getting to and from the London and Paris airports, going through security and boarding procedures, it may be more time-efficient to simply take the train. But it is another good option to consider.
Which airlines fly between London and Paris?
Several airlines offer nonstop flights between London and Paris. At last check these include EasyJet, CityJet, Vueling, British Airways, and Air France.
Many more airlines offer flights that include layovers, including KLM, Swiss Air, Lufthansa, and Austrian Air. Although if time is a factor, these flights are going to take much longer than taking the train.
How much does it cost to fly from London to Paris?
The cost can fluctuate quite a lot depending on the time of year, availability, and proximity to travel.
You can often get a flight between London and Paris for under €100, sometimes much lower if you find a good sale with one of the budget airlines. We’ve seen them as low as €29 on sale. Just be sure to factor in any baggage fees when comparing prices.
If you have a large budget and want to avoid standing in long security lines, you can also charter a private plane from London to Paris. Private hire costs start around 5,000 euros for a light jet. You can check prices here.
How long does it take to fly from London to Paris?
Depending on the airline and airplane, it takes between 1 hour and 5 minutes and 1 hour and 30 minutes to fly directly from London to Paris or vice versa.
Make sure to confirm which airport your flights depart and arrive at. London has 6 major airports and all are in different directions from London, with different transportation options. You can see our London airport transport guide for more information on the best ways of getting to and from each one.
In Paris, flights to and from London land in one of its three major airports, Charles de Gaulle, Orly, or Paris Beauvais.
Also be sure to factor in the time to get to and from the airports. It can take up to an hour to get to London Heathrow from downtown London for example, and 45 minutes to get from Charles de Gaulle to the center of Paris.
Where to book flight tickets?
You can buy tickets from your preferred booking engine or directly from the airline. To compare flight ticket prices across airlines, we like to use Priceline, and Kiwi to search for the cheapest, most convenient options.
3. Car / Driving
Driving from London to Paris is another popular way to get between the two cities. It gives you a certain amount of flexibility, plus the comfort of staying in your own car the entire journey. You don’t need to worry about luggage restrictions or paying fees per person, and the timetable is more flexible than traveling by train or plane.
You have two options when traveling by car on how to cross the English Channel, you can take the Eurotunnel or you can take a ferry. The Eurotunnel is the fastest option and the one we’ll talk about most in this section. See the Ferry section later in the article if you prefer to cross by ferry.
You can transport pretty much any vehicle, including a car, truck, motorcycle, trailer, or campervan by the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. Those on motorbikes get reduced fares compared to car drivers and those with larger vehicles pay a bit more.
It is also the easiest way to travel with pets between the UK and France. However, you must have all the proper documentation, microchipping, and vaccinations for each pet to be allowed entry. You can see the pet requirements here.
It’s important to note that France and the UK have different driving regulations that must be followed. In addition to knowing the differences in traffic laws (e.g., people in the UK drive on the left and people in the France drive on the right), there are also different things you need to do to prepare to bring a foreign car across the border.
For example, all those driving UK cars in the EU are required to have a valid driver’s license, passport, vehicle registration certificate (V5 document), motor insurance green card, GB sticker on their car, have reflective safety vests in the car, and put stickers over their headlights so as not to “dazzle” oncoming traffic. Additionally, France requires all vehicles visiting Paris to have a new Air Quality Emissions Certificate, which can be purchased online. You can view the full requirements here.
Although driving is an easy option, it still requires preparation as you must have a number of documents and car supplies to take a car from the UK to mainland Europe, and these requirements do change fairly regularly. We recommend checking the most recent border crossing and driving requirements at least a month before your trip so you can obtain any necessary documentation or supplies.
Additionally, it’s impossible at this time to know how Brexit might affect the channel crossing. Although the Eurotunnel will remain open and able to run thanks to longstanding treaties, there may be customs related issues to contend with. Continue to check the Eurotunnel site for Brexit updates on that unfolding situation.
Can I drive across the Channel Tunnel?
No, nobody actually drives through the tunnel. Instead, you drive up into a special container shuttle and then sit in your car while a special vehicle called the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle carries you and your car through the tunnel.
These transport shuttles can carry all types of vehicles including cars, motorcycles, passenger vans, motorhomes, tours buses, and semi-trailer trucks (lorries).
Note: Vehicles that use flammable gas (e.g., LPG, BiFuel, Autogas, Hydrogen, CNG or CGH2 ) cannot be transported by Eurotunnel Le Shuttle because of safety reasons. This includes vehicles where the gas is only being used as a secondary or back up fuel source. Similarly, any flammable gas containers (e.g. for use in a campervan) and their size is regulated and these must be declared for inspection.
Taking a Car on Channel Tunnel versus Ferry?
Both the Eurotunnel and the ferry will take you from Folkestone/Dover to Calais (or vice versa). Taking the Channel Tunnel is much quicker and more direct than taking the ferry. It takes only 35 minutes to cross the channel via the Eurotunnel, as opposed to 90 minutes by ferry.
However, the ferry tickets can often be less expensive so good to price compare if you are on a tighter budget. Also, there are multiple ferry routes between the UK and France so you have more options in terms of where you depart and arrive.
How long does it take to drive from London to Paris?
It takes about 6 hours to drive and take the Channel Tunnel from London to Paris, excluding potential traffic and delays. The Eurotunnel Le Shuttle leaves regularly, with up to 4 shuttles per hour at busier times of the day/year.
However, note that 6 hours is about the shortest drive time under optimal driving conditions and so it can take much longer if there is bad traffic, construction, or Eurotunnel delays. We recommend allowing a couple of extra hours in your schedule so that you handle potential delays.
Before your journey, we recommend checking Traffic England for relevant UK road conditions and delays and this website for France’s highways. You can monitor the route using a service like Google Maps or a GPS unit to keep abreast of potential delays. You can monitor Eurotunnel service and potential delays here.
Fastest driving route from London to Paris?
There is really only one driving route from London to Paris, which is through the Channel Tunnel. If you take the most direct route it is about a 258 mile (415 km) drive from London to Paris plus about 34 miles (54 km) for the Eurotunnel crossing.
The fastest route is to drive from London to Folkestone along the A1. You then check-in and go through border security, board the Channel Tunnel transport, and then the journey across the Channel should take about 35 minutes. Once you arrive in Coquelles (near Calais), you’ll leave the shuttle, go through border security, and then head to Paris via the A26 and A1.
Cost of driving from London to Paris?
Prices for the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle vary based on the size of your vehicle, whether you have any trailers or attachments, and the kind of ticket you buy. One way fares start around £79, but round trip fares can be as low as £29 each way.
Don’t forget to also factor in the cost of fuel which can vary widely depending on your vehicle and current fuel prices. If you are driving an electric car or hybrid car, there are electric charging stations that you can use at both Eurotunnel Le Shuttle terminals in the UK and in France.
If you are renting a car, you will also need to take into account your rental car fees and any additional charges (e.g., cross border surcharge). If you are considering renting a car, keep reading.
Should I hire a car to drive from the UK to France?
Generally, we don’t recommend renting a car and driving it from the UK to France (or vice versa). If you own your own car or campervan and live in the UK or Europe, then it may make good sense to take your car across the Channel via Channel Tunnel or by ferry. You’ll save money and be able to drive in your own vehicle.
However, we find this is often more problematic for those with a rental car. First, several rental car agencies don’t allow rented or leased cars to be taken across the border, aboard ferries, and/or on one-way trips. Some do of course, but it limits your options.
Second, it requires you to learn the driving rules and regulations and have the proper documentation for both countries. Finally, it will mean that in at least one country you will be driving a car designed for driving on the wrong side of the road with the steering column and wheel on the opposite side.
Our advice would be to rent a car only where you need it and to rent the car in the country you plan to drive it. So if you need a car both in the UK and France, you can rent a car in the UK and then return it before you go to France. Then in France, you can rent a different car there for your time in France.
There is no reason you need a car to get from London to Paris. In fact, since you can’t actually drive across the Channel, you can’t use a car for the full journey anyway. And certainly, you don’t need a car in either London or Paris as both cities are not desirable places to get around by car. Public transportation is efficient and easy to use in both cities.
What do I need to take a rental car across the Channel?
For those renting, borrowing, or leasing a UK registered car, you still need to ensure your car meets all the standards and that you have all the necessary documentation and equipment. As noted earlier, these include a valid driver’s license, passport, insurance card, GB sticker, safety vests, and stickers on headlights. Those planning to drive to Paris, also need to have an Air Quality Emissions Certificate. You can view the full requirements here.
You will also need to ensure that you have permission to take the car aboard across the Chunnel (some rental car agencies do not allow this) and have a VE103 certificate.
Where to rent a car in London?
There are lots of car rental agencies based in London. Most of them center around one of the airports but there are some downtown locations too. You can find all the major international car rental brands in London.
Note that some rental car agencies do not allow cars to be taken out of the country, which means you would not be able to take them across the border by ferry or by Eurotunnel to France. Car rental agencies that do normally allow border crossing from the UK to France include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, and Sixt. But you will want to double-check when making your booking and check your rental contract.
If you plan to take the car to France (and elsewhere in Europe), an extra fee may apply. You’ll want to be sure to let the agent know when you pick it up to ensure you have the proper insurance, stickers, and documentation (e.g., VE103 certificate).
In terms of renting a car in the UK, you also normally need to have held a valid driving license for at least a year (some require up to 3 years) and the driver’s license must be in English or use the Latin alphabet. If not, you’ll need to obtain an International Driving Permit from your home country before your trip.
The minimum age to rent a car in the UK is 21, but some companies will charge an additional fee for drivers under 25. Note that there also may be further restrictions on those under 25 such as no access to premium level cars and no taking the car across any borders. You usually need a valid credit card to complete the rental transaction, but some places will accept a debit card.
Automatic transmissions are sometimes available but most car rentals have manual transmissions (“stick shifts”). Make sure you are comfortable using a car with the steering wheel on the right, which will mean shifting with your left hand.
Where to rent a car in Paris?
There are lots of car rental agencies based in Paris. Most of them center around the airports but there are some downtown locations too. You can find all the international car rental brands like Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, and Sixt here.
If you are planning to drive to the UK from France, as discussed above, you want to make sure you choose a rental car agency that allows for cross-border crossings.
The rental car agency requirements in France are similar to those noted above for the UK. The minimum age to rent a car in France is also 21, with some companies charging extra fees for drivers under 25. Again, automatic transmissions are available but most car rentals have manual transmissions (e.g. “stick shifts”).
4. Bus / Coach
Taking a bus from London to Paris is usually the least expensive transport option. While not as fast as a train or flying, it is an easy way to get between the two cities.
Which coach companies operate between London and Paris?
Flixbus is the largest bus network in Europe. their buses have large comfortable seats, bathrooms, wi-fi and power outlets. They pride themselves on being timely and energy-efficient. They run about a dozen buses a day from London to Paris, at intervals, although only about half of them are direct (the rest involve a transfer in Lille). They also own the Eurolines buses that run this route. The trip usually takes 7 to 9 hours.
BlaBlaBus (formerly Ouibus) is a French bus company that covers ten countries in Europe, and 300 destinations. They have an app that allows you to use e-tickets instead of printed ones. They offer about half a dozen buses a day, some go to the city center and others straight to the airport. The trip takes 7 to 10 hours.
Most buses from London to Paris leave from the Victoria Coach Station in London (164 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 9TP) and then end at the Bercy Seine Bus Station (210 Quai de Bercy, 75012 Paris). But you can also get buses from London to the Paris airports, Disneyland Paris, and a couple of other places as well.
Can coaches cross the Channel Tunnel?
Yes, buses and coaches use the same EuroTunnel shuttle service as cars do. So the buses do not actually drive across the Euro Tunnel, instead, they drive into a transport vehicle and are shuttled across.
How much does the bus cost from London to Paris?
Bus tickets prices from London to Paris can fluctuate a little but typically cost between £12 to £40 per person. Taking a coach is usually the cheapest way to get from London to Paris.
How long does the bus take from London to Paris?
The bus can take between 7 to 10 hours based on traffic and the number of stops. This makes it a bit longer than driving yourself.
How to book a bus ticket?
Taking a ferry across the channel is a unique, slower, and scenic way of getting from London to Paris. If you want the best view of the White Cliffs of Dover and the Cap Blanc-Nez (similar white cliffs of Calais), the ferry is our recommended option.
The ferries take foot passengers, cyclists, and vehicles. They are the most popular way for cyclists to cross between the UK and France.
The ferry is also a popular option for pet owners as most ferries allow pets to be brought aboard for those traveling with a vehicle. Pets must stay within the pet owners’ vehicle during the crossing, but there are pet exercise areas at each of the ports. If you want to travel with a pet, be sure to check the pet guidelines for your crossing in advance as they must have the proper documents and vaccinations.
There are three main ferry routes from England to France or vice versa. For the goal of getting from London to Paris, the quickest and most popular option is to get the ferry from Dover to Calais. We’ll focus on this route, but we’ll also talk about your other ferry options, including an overnight ferry option.
What are the ferry routes between the UK and France?
There are about a dozen possible routes you can take between the UK and France. Here are the main ferry routes between the UK and France:
- Dover to Calais
- Dover to Dunkirk
- Newhaven to Dieppe
- Portsmouth to Le Havre
- Portsmouth to Caen
- Portsmouth to Cherbourg
- Portsmouth to St. Malo
- Poole to Cherbourg
- Plymouth to Roscoff
For those planning a trip from London to Paris, we recommend the Dover to Calais as the fastest and most efficient route for most people. The Newhaven to Dieppe route is popular for cyclists and long-distance walkers. The Portsmouth routes by Brittany Ferries are a good option if you are looking for an overnight sleeper ferry.
How to get to the ferry from London?
You have the option to drive, take the train, or get a bus to reach the ferry ports. So this is going to depend on which ferry port you need to reach.
For all the ferries, it is recommended that you plan to arrive 60 minutes before your ferry is scheduled to leave in order to give you plenty of time to check-in and go through security and customs checks.
We’ll cover three of the ferry routes in detail below:
Getting to Dover Ferry Port from London
You can take a coach, high-speed train, regular train, or drive to get from London to the Dover ferry port.
If you are driving, the drive is about 80 miles (128 km) and takes about 2 hours. Traffic, especially leaving London, can really affect the drive time.
The fastest option to get from London to Dover is to take the high-speed train. The least expensive way is to take a coach from London.
The high-speed train to Dover leaves from St. Pancras Station in London and takes just over 1 hour. Other trains leave from both Charing Cross and Victoria Station in London and take about 2 hours to reach Dover.
The buses along this route generally take between 2.5 hours and 3 hours. Most coaches leave from London Victoria Coach Station and arrive either at the Dover Ferry Port (recommended), Dover City Centre, or Dover Priory train station. Bus fares generally range between £5 to £12 for a one-way ticket.
From the Dover train station or bus station, it is a short taxi ride (about 5 minute drive), shuttle bus ride, or a long walk (~ 30 minutes) from either station to the passenger ferry terminal. There are regular shuttle buses from outside the train station (fee of £2 per person at last check) that stop at the port. You can check taxi fares and prebook taxis online with minicabit.
Getting to Newhaven Ferry Port from London
The Newhaven ferry port is about 76 miles (122 km) from London and it is about a 2 hour and 15 minute drive. Traffic can really affect the drive time.
If taking the train, it takes about 1.5 to 2 hours by train. I think all routes require at least one train change to make this journey. From the Newhaven town station, it is about a 3 minute walk to the ferry terminal.
Taking a bus is possible but the direct bus only appears to run on certain days of the week. The bus takes about 3 hours.
Getting to Portsmouth Ferry Port from London
The Portsmouth ferry port is about 75 miles (120 km) from London and it is about a 2 hour or so drive. Traffic can really affect the drive time so be sure to check traffic conditions.
Trains from London to Portsmouth Harbor station take about 1.5 to 2 hours. It is a short taxi ride (~ 8 minutes) or long walk (~ 35 minutes) from the train station to the ferry terminal.
The bus from London to Portsmouth generally takes between 2 to 2.5 hours. Most buses leave from Victoria Coach Station and arrive at Portsmouth The Hard Bus & Coach Station. It is a short taxi ride (~ 8 minutes) or long walk (~ 35 minutes) from the bus station to the ferry terminal. There is a taxi rank outside of the train station or you can check taxi fares and prebook taxis online with minicabit.
How to get from the ferry port to Paris?
It will depend of course on which port you sail to from the UK, but in most cases you have the option to rent a car, take a coach, or take a train to Paris.
The most common ferry port is the Calais Ferry terminal. If you arrive in Calais by ferry, you have the option to rent a car, take a bus to Paris, or take the train. The fastest option, and the one we typically recommend, is to take the TGV high-speed train.
To get to the Calais train station (Gare de Calais Ville), you can either take an hourly bus for €2, take a taxi, or walk to the train station (~ 35 minutes). You can then take a train from Calais to Paris, the direct trains take from about 2 hours to 3 hours depending on route and speed of the train.
The Calais bus station is located next to the train station and direct buses generally take 4 to 4.5 hours to reach Paris. Most buses terminate at the Bercy Seine Bus Station.
How long does is the journey by train and ferry from London to Paris?
The entire journey will generally take from about 6 hours to 8 hours, depending on your train times, route, and connections.
The most time efficient way to use the ferry to get from London to Paris is to take a direct high-speed train from London to Dover, take a taxi or the shuttle bus from Dover train station to Dover ferry terminal (check in 60 minutes before departure), make the 90 minute ferry ride, take a taxi from the Calais ferry port to train station, and then take a direct high-speed train from Calais to Paris.
What is the cost of taking the ferry from London to Paris?
Ferry prices are often £30 to £90 per person between London and Calais, and depend on the time of year, time of day, whether you are bringing a vehicle or not, size of your vehicle, and whether you are bringing pets. Prices for other ferry routes between the UK and France often fall within this price range as well.
But you then of course also have to factor in the cost of getting to and from the ferry ports, whether you are driving, taking trains, or going by coach.
If you are going to take the ferry between Dover and Calais and plan to use trains, I’d estimate about £100 to £150 per person for the total journey from London to Paris. Less if you are traveling by coach.
Where to book tickets for ferry?
We recommend booking your ferry tickets directly with the ferry operators. The two main operators, and the ones that run the Dover to Calais route, are DFDS Seaways and P&O Ferries. If you prefer to travel from Plymouth, Portsmouth, or Poole, you can also check out Brittany Ferries.
DFDS Seaways – Operate passenger ferry routes from Dover-Dunkirk, Dover-Calais, and Newhaven-Dieppe multiple times a day. Crossing take between 90 minutes and 4 hours, depending on the route. For their Dover departures, they currently do not allow foot passengers, only those passengers traveling with a vehicle or bicycle. They do allow foot passengers on the Newhaven-Dieppe route.
P&O Ferries – Operate the Dover to Calais route many time a day and ferries take about 90 minutes. They allow passengers with vehicles as well as those on foot.
Brittany Ferries – Brittany Ferries operate ferry routes from Portsmouth, Plymouth, and Poole with most of their UK to France ferries leaving from Portsmouth. Ferries take from 3 hours to 8 hours to get from UK to France, and they also operate overnight ferry journeys. They allow passengers with vehicles as well as those traveling on foot.
If you are driving, we recommend booking in advance. If you are traveling as a foot passenger, you can book ahead of time on their website or you can usually easily buy tickets at the terminal the day of, as they never book up for foot passengers.
What if I want to take an overnight ferry from the UK to France?
Yes, it is possible to take a slow ferry trip across the English Channel between the UK and France. Brittany Ferries offers a number of overnight ferry options between the UK and France.
They offer routes leaving from Portsmouth, Poole, and Plymouth in the UK and going to a number of ports in northern France, including Le Havre, Caen, Cherbourg, and St. Malo.
For those wanting to travel by overnight ferry between London and Paris, we recommend booking either the Plymouth to Caen ferry or Plymouth to Le Havre ferry for options best suited for getting between London and Paris. But if you plan to explore the regions of Brittany or Normandy along the way, you have several route options.
Not all Brittany Ferry trips are overnight sailings so do make sure you book the correct one if you do want an overnight voyage. They typically have one daytime crossing and one overnight cruise for each route daily. The ships range from simple to fairly luxurious.
Many of the Brittany Ferry ships offer multiple dining options, cafes, live entertainment, gift shop, children’s play area, and a movie theater. When we do an overnight trip, we like to get on, check into our cabin, have a nice dinner at the restaurant, go see the live entertainment, and then head off to bed. The food from the main restaurant is usually very good.
Having traveled by overnight ferry a few times now, I would definitely recommend only booking the overnight ferries if you book a cabin. There are nice reclined airplane style seats you can reserve as well, so this is an option if you are the kind of person who can sleep comfortably in reclined seats (I personally cannot). As otherwise you are paying more for a much longer ferry and will probably arrive pretty tired if you aren’t able to get enough sleep.
We take these ferries when we want a slower and more luxurious ferry option. This is often the first day of a trip or the final day of a trip for us so it often makes a nice transition. But if we want a quick option, we’ll book one of the regular 1.5 hour ferries to cross the Channel.
Can I travel in my own boat from London to Paris?
Yes, technically you can travel along the River Thames from London to where it enters the Channel, cross the English Channel, and then navigate the Seine River to reach Paris. But this journey, especially the English Channel crossing, has certain legal requirements and crossing by barges and small boats are weather dependent and can be dangerous.
If this is something you are considering, you should definitely start researching the route and your options well in advance.
6. Take a Guided Tour
If you are wanting to head off on a quick and organized day or weekend away, you might visit Paris from London on a guided day trip. The two cities are close enough together that it’s possible to leave before breakfast and be back by dinner!
How long is a guided tour from London to Paris?
Most of the guided tours from London to Paris are one long day. So you’d leave London early in the morning and leave Paris by train in the evening. Most day trips leave around 6:00 am and return to the city around dinner time, so expect a long full day of travel and sightseeing.
However, if you have more time, some tours stay overnight in Paris for a day or two.
How much does a tour cost from London to Paris?
Tour costs start at about £200 per person and depend on how much is included. Most include Eurostar train tickets, a sightseeing tour, and an attraction ticket or two. Multi-day trips will, of course, cost more.
What are some Tours that go from London to Paris?
There are a number of tour options, especially day tours from London to Paris, that you can take. Here are some of the better-rated options we’ve found:
- Paris Full-Day Trip from London – This 14-hour tour includes a guide who meets you at the train and stays with you throughout the tour. You take the Eurostar train to Paris, take a sightseeing bus around Paris, visit the Eiffel Tower for lunch, and enjoy a Seine River cruise. At the end of the day, you have free time to visit the Louvre, go shopping, or do what you wish before your return to London by train.
- Paris Rail Day Trip with Options – This 15-hour full-day round trip Eurostar journey to Paris allows you to choose the type of Eurostar train ticket (standard or first-class) and how you want to see Paris. You can do independent sightseeing on your own which includes a sightseeing bus pass or you can join a guided day trip around Paris with a guide that includes a Seine River cruise.
- Day Tour by Eurostar with Louvre Tour – This tour includes Eurostar tickets, a sightseeing bus tour of Paris, 3-course lunch at the Eiffel Tower, and a visit to the Louvre Museum.
- Guided Paris Day Trip with Free Time – This tour includes Eurostar tickets, a sightseeing bus tour of the city, and a Seine River cruise. You then have the afternoon to use as you wish and explore independently.
- Day Tour that includes Versailles – If Versailles is one of the places you want to see in Paris, you might want to check out this tour. It includes Eurostar tickets, a guided coach tour of Paris, a visit to the Eiffel Tower, and then an afternoon at the Palace of Versailles.
- 2 Day Overnight Tour of Paris from London – If you have time to stay overnight in Paris, this tour gives you 2 full days to explore. The tour includes Eurostar tickets and a guided first day in Paris which includes visits to the Eiffel Tower and Louvre and a Seine River cruise. On your second day you have the full day free to sightsee as you wish. Trip includes a night at a 3-star hotel in Paris and breakfast.
Note that some of the tours are fully guided with a person meeting you either at the London train station or when you arrive in Paris and then stay with you for the rest of the day. Others are partially guided and some are independent and they just book your tickets and let you explore independently. So just be sure to read carefully what is included and what is not.
Join a Full day Walking Tour of Paris?
Another idea is to book your own train tickets and make your own way to Paris on the Eurostar and then join up with an all-day walking tour of Paris. You can leave London super early to join the tour, but I’d recommend spending the night beforehand so you are well-rested and won’t have to worry about rushing to get to the tour starting point.
For example, this full-day walking tour includes a guided walking tour of several areas of Paris, including Montmartre, Île de la Cité, and the Latin Quarter, a guided visit to the Louvre Museum, a visit to the Eiffel Tower, and Seine River cruise tickets.
7. Carpooling / Ridesharing
If you are looking for an inexpensive option to get from London to Paris but would like to avoid the bus, you could consider a rideshare or carpooling option. It is an option that also gives you a built-in travel buddy for the journey.
Ridesharing services for a London to Paris trip?
For a trip from London to Paris, you can check out carpooling or ridesharing service like BlaBlaCar, Carpling, or Liftshare to find a carpool across the Channel. On these websites private citizens can offer a seat in their car for a fee to travelers headed in the same direction.
Do keep in mind the safety implications of accepting a ride in a private vehicle with a stranger. Make sure someone always knows where you are going and who you are going with. We recommend sharing the location of your ride and journey, such as with Google maps or similar tracking app, so that a family member or friend can see your location in real-time.
It is technically possible to take a mainstream ride share service like Uber from London to Paris. But you are very unlikely to get a driver willing to make this journey and the cost of the trip would be high. If you are looking for a private transfer like that, see our section below on Private Transfers.
Ridesharing travel time from London to Paris?
The timing will depend on the exact route and method of crossing the English Channel, but most drivers estimate it will take between 6 and 8 hours.
Cost of ridesharing services from London to Paris?
Carpool rides from London to Paris seem to be generally be priced between £35 to £50.
This would make it cheaper than renting your own car and about the same price as driving your own car when you calculate fuel costs and ferry or Eurotunnel prices.
8. Private Car Transfer or Cab
If you don’t want to deal with any logistics or changes and don’t mind a more expensive option, you might consider booking a private car transfer. Although most cab companies and rideshare drivers won’t do such a long cross-border journey, there are some private transfer companies that offer this service.
The driver will pick you up from your hotel, train station, or airport in London and then take you to the chosen destination in Paris. You can also do the reverse and get a private transfer between Paris and London.
How to Book a Private Car Transfer or Cab from London to Paris?
As noted, most companies do not offer this service as it is such a long drive and includes a cross-border crossing over the English Channel. So your options are pretty limited but there are a few companies that can arrange this service.
Here are a few options:
- This private transfer service takes you from London to Paris. A driver will pick you up from your lodging, handle your luggage, and offer you a comfortable ride all the way to Paris. They will have water and snacks available and short breaks will be made for toilets and refreshments. Service can include up to 15 passengers.
- If you are traveling from Paris to London, the same company offers private transfers starting in Paris. So you would be picked up in Paris and driven to London.
- This private transfer service picks you up anywhere in Paris and drops you off anywhere in London. The driver picks you up in a Mercedes car that includes air-conditioning and Wi-Fi. Service can include up to 8 passengers.
How long does it take to get from London to Paris by private transfer?
A private transfer between London and Paris will generally take between 6 and 8 hours, depending on traffic. Most use the Eurotunnel to cross between the UK and France.
Cost of a Private Car Transfer or Cab from London to Paris?
Prices for this service start at around £530 and go up depending on the number of riders and the style of car you desire. A group of up to 4 can travel together for about £1,068 and a group of 8 for £1,268.
Although this is an expensive option for a single traveler or couple, it can be a reasonably priced option for a family or large group.
If you are an avid cyclist, it’s possible to ride your bike from London all the way to Paris. You can cycle all the way to the edge of England and then jump on a ferry or take the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle to cross the English Channel to France. Most cyclists take the ferry.
While we’d recommend such a long-distance cycle trip only for those with more experience as a cyclist, most of this route is fairly flat and suitable for beginner level long-distance cyclists. We’ve read of a number of parents with older children who have successfully done the Avenue Verte route
If you plan to do this route, I’d just be sure to do your research in advance.
Bike route from London to Paris?
There are two main routes, and a variety of variations that cyclists may choose in getting from London to Paris. The two main routes are (in very simplified detail):
Dover/Calais Classic Route: Follow the old Roman Road of Watling Street out of London down to Dover. Cross the channel by ferry to Calais, then follow Napoleon’s Route National 1 from Calais to Paris. This route is 304 miles (490km) and is not waymarked.
Newhaven/Dieppe Avenue Verte Route: Follow the A11 down to the port of Newhaven. Cross the channel by ferry to Dieppe. Then follow the D915 into Paris. This route is about 247 miles (398 km) long and is waymarked.
We recommend getting a guide to help you understand the route and prepare for the journey. There are a couple of good cycling guides for the route. These include this detailed guidebook by Cicerone on how to follow either the Classic Route or Avenue Verte Route. There is also this cycling guide by SusTrans that helps direct cyclists how to get from the London Eye to Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris using the Avenue Verte route.
If you are looking for good maps, Ordnance Survey makes the best maps for the UK and IGN makes similar maps for France. For choosing a map, Ordnance Survey recommends the weatherproof active maps of the Landranger series for long-distance cyclists and IGN recommends the Top100 or Top75 series maps for cyclists. Ordnance Survey makes paper maps, digital maps, and also has preloaded GPS units for cycling and hiking.
It is recommended that you pair a guidebook or maps with a cycling GPS to navigate and stay on the route.
A great online resource for planning your trip is london2paris.co.uk, a website dedicated solely to biking from London to Paris. Most people do the trip independently, but you can also join organized rides of cyclists doing this route or organize a group yourself.
Can cyclists bike across the Channel Tunnel?
No, you cannot actually cycle across the Channel Tunnel. Instead, you can have your bicycle taken across in a specially adapted trailer across the Eurotunnel shuttle.
To use the Eurotunnel cycling service, cyclists must book their crossing at least 48 hours ahead of time by calling the EuroTunnel sales department to ensure a space for their bikes: 44 (0)1303 282201. You can find out more here.
You can also bring bikes across on the Eurostar train; however, this would defeat the purpose if you want to cycle most the route between London and Paris. You can find out more about bringing bikes on the train here.
Can cyclists bring bikes onboard the ferry?
Yes, you can bring your bicycle onboard almost any of the ferry services between the UK and France. Most cyclists prefer to take the ferry rather than the Eurotunnel as it is generally less expensive, requires less pre-planning, and the ferry crossing locations are better aligned with the popular cycling routes.
How long does it take to cycle from London to Paris?
It takes most people 2 to 5 days to cycle from London to Paris, but the route can be done in less than 24 hours. It depends a lot on if you are trying to get there as quickly as possible or if you plan to do some sightseeing and exploring along the way.
It seems that 3 days is the most popular amount of time allocated to the route, which allows most people to complete it while moving along at a steady pace. If you want to do some sightseeing along the way, I’d recommend 5 days or more.
Where to rent a bike in London?
If you won’t have your own bike, there are a lot of places where you can hire bikes in London. For rentals, almost all stores require that you return the bikes in London. So if you are planning a round-trip cycling tour to Paris and back, this would work fine.
However, if you are planning to cycle from London and Paris and not return to London, then it is unlikely you’ll find a bike hire shop where you can rent in one country and return in another.
If you need a one-way bike rental, we recommend purchasing a bike for the trip and then selling it at the other end. So you could buy a bike in London and then sell it in Paris. There are a number of places in both cities where you can buy and sell used bicycles and cycling gear.
If you are really committed to slow travel, you can walk from London to Paris. As there is a large body of water in your way, you won’t be able to walk directly, of course, but you can do the crossing on foot via ferry or Eurotunnel.
Walking routes from London to Paris?
The shortest route would be to walk from London to the ferry terminal in Newhaven, walk onto the ferry, and then walk from Dieppe to Paris.
If you trying to figure out your walking route, or at least a place to start, the Avenue Verte Route might be a good one to consider. It is popular with cyclists and you can read more about the route above within our cycling section. There are a couple of guidebooks on the route (although they are geared to cyclists) that might be helpful.
Whatever route you choose, make sure you do research on the route you want to do and have a good map. It is recommended that you pair a good map with a compass and GPS unit designed for hiking.
If you are looking for good maps, Ordnance Survey makes the best maps for the UK and IGN makes similar maps for France. For choosing a map, Ordnance Survey recommends the weatherproof active maps of the Explorer series for long-distance hikers and IGN recommends the Top25 and Blue Series maps for hiking. Ordnance Survey makes paper maps, digital maps, and also has pre-loaded GPS units for hiking.
Can you walk through the Channel Tunnel?
No, you can’t walk across the Channel Tunnel. The only way to get across the English Channel is on a train, in a vehicle through the Channel Tunnel, or on a ferry.
How long does it take to walk from London to Paris?
It takes at least 3 days to walk from London to Paris and most people take 1 week. According to Google maps, it would take approximately 57 hours to walk the 234 miles from London to Paris. That, of course. considers only the most direct route and doesn’t factor in sleep and rest time.
The most direct route itself is approximately 234 miles; however, 75 miles of that is the ferry, specifically the Newhaven to Dieppe one. So the walking distance of that route would be about 159 miles.
How long it will take to make the journey will depend on your chosen route, level of fitness, planned stops, and how fast you want to move. I’d figure out your route and route length first and then estimate your time based on how many miles you think are doable per day on average.
So for example, if you calculate your chosen route will entail about 170 miles of walking and you think you can walk 30 miles a day you could reach Paris in about 5 or 6 days. If you do 20 miles per day you’d get there in about 8 to 9 days, and if you think 10 miles per day is more realistic it will take about 17 days.
11. Swim the English Channel
Ok, you probably aren’t seriously considering this one, but it’s fun to think about!
You can swim from England to France across the English Channel, but not vice versa anymore as the French have outlawed the act of swimming from France to England. Although if you start in England, you can then return on the same swim back to the UK if you want to do a return swim.
Keep in mind there are certain legal regulations, a fee, and necessities for being able to do this very long swim. You will need to train, particularly in cold water conditions, before undertaking this swim.
Once you are committed to doing it, the first step is to complete the Channel Swimming Association registration packet. Then you will need to book a Channel Swimming Association escort pilot to follow alongside in a boat who will provide assistance if needed and will also bring along your documentation.
You will need to book a swim window (usually a span of several days in a warmer month) and wait for good weather to ensure a safer swim.
If you are interested, you’ll want to head over to the Channel Swimming Association website that offers information regarding registration and regulations. It also offers lots of tips, support, and advice to prospective swimmers.
Swimming route across the English Channel?
Swimmers usually start near Shakespeare’s Cliff between Folkestone and Dover, and end at or near Cap Gris Nez, between Boulogne and Calais in France.
At its shortest point, the channel is only about 21 miles (32 kilometers) long; however, most swims are longer because currents often pull the swimmers out of their desired tract.
How long does it take to swim the English Channel?
It depends on the ability and swim style of the swimmer. Swims can take anywhere from 7 hours (lightning fast) to 27 hours.
People have been successfully swimming across the English Channel since 1875 and you can see a list of some of the more notable swimmers and record holders here.
What is the cost of swimming across the English Channel?
The cost of a Channel swim is generally between £3500 and £5000, but can vary widely. At a minimum, you need to pay for a registration packet and pilot boat.
But you also need to consider travel to and Dover, how long you might need to stay in Dover (food and accommodation), supplies, and time in France (unless you swim back). If you are getting any training lessons, you’ll want to add those costs as well.
What is the Best Way to Get From London to Paris?
The best way to travel between London and Paris is going to depend on what you think of as best. If we had to pick one method, we’d recommend taking the Eurostar train. But this will not be the best method for everyone.
Cheapest Way to Get from London to Paris?
The cheapest practical way to get from London to Paris is to take a bus, which will generally cost you between £12 to £40 per ticket. If you book ahead of time and for a less desirable time slot, you can get from one great city to the other for the cost of a movie ticket.
Carpooling is also a low-cost option as well.
Quickest Way to Get from London to Paris?
The quickest way to get from London to Paris is to take the Eurostar train. On the Eurostar you can get from the center of London to the center of Paris in under two hours.
Most Cost/Time Efficient Way to Get from London to Paris?
Still probably the Eurostar train. It’s possible to get very inexpensive fares and it’s by far the quickest route.
Most Luxurious Way to Get from London to Paris?
A private jet ride is probably the most luxurious and expensive option.
Other more luxurious options, at much lower price points, include a private transfer service, first-class Eurostar train ride, first-class or business class flights, booking a luxury guided tour, or taking an overnight ferry.
Best Way to Sightsee Between London to Paris?
Driving or cycling allows you to plan an itinerary of interesting stops along the route and allows you to stop and soak up the scenery at your own pace.
Best Way to do a Day Trip to Paris from London?
If you only have a day or two to spare to visit Paris from London, we recommend taking the Eurostar train between the two cities as it is the most efficient. A direct flight can also be a good option although we prefer the train.
If you are looking for an option that requires minimal planning, you might consider booking a guided day trip, such as this one, from London to Paris. You just need to make sure you have all the required travel documents with you and then the rest of the planning (including your Eurostar train tickets) will be handled by the travel company.
Most Leisurely Way to Get from London to Paris?
Walking from London to Paris will take you about a week but you will have plenty of time to reflect along the way. Cycling or a slow drive are also more leisurely options.
Our Preferred Way to Get from London to Paris?
Normally, we take the Eurostar train as its the most efficient method. If we need our car in France, we normally drive and take the ferry to cross the Channel. The Eurotunnel is faster with a car, but we typically choose to take the ferry.
If we have extra time, we enjoy taking an overnight ferry with Brittany Ferries.
What do I Need to Know Before Traveling Between London and Paris?
It’s important to remember that you are crossing an international border when you travel between London and Paris. Many people will need to prepare in advance in terms of reservations, travel documents, vehicle paperwork, and travel plans.
Here are some things to know before you go:
- Everyone needs to have a valid passport to travel between the UK and France. You may also be asked for proof of onward travel. Depending on your citizenship, you may also need a visa and other travel documents. If you are unsure what you need for travel, I’d check with the UK government website and the travel authority for your own country.
- The primary language in the United Kingdom is English and the primary language spoken in France is French.
- The currency used in the UK and France is different. The currency in the UK is the British pound sterling (GBP) and the currency in France is the Euro.
- The electricity voltage is the same in both the United Kingdom and France (230 V); however, the plug types are different. The standard plug type in the UK is Type G and in France is Type C or E. So you will need to pack a travel adapter to plug in electrical items no matter what country you are from if you plan to travel in both countries. You can see our guide to travel adapters if you need to get one.
- If you are bringing pets or other animals across the border, you will need to have the proper documents for the animals. This normally includes a pet passport, microchipping, required vaccinations, and vaccination records for each pet to be allowed entry. There may be special requirements depending on the specific type of transportation you use (e.g., ferry versus Eurostar). You can see the pet entry requirements posted by Eurotunnel here. Please be sure to check the latest pet requirements before you travel and have all the supporting documentation on hand.
- If you are planning on driving between the UK and France, be sure to have the proper documentation, permits, and car supplies needed. See our Driving section above for more information as the requirements for drivers are different for the UK and France.
- Note that many rental car agencies do not allow for cars rented in the UK to be driven in France and vice versa and many do not allow for ferry crossings, so be sure to do your research before making a booking. Drivers from some countries will need to get an International Driving Permit before their trip to rent a car and drive in the UK and France. See our Driving section for more information.
- If you plan to drive in either country, the driving regulations are different for the UK and France so be sure to check driving laws and regulations for each country. Notably, the biggest difference is that those in UK drive on the left side of the road and those in France on the ride side of the road. This is one of the reasons we don’t generally recommend visitors rent a car in one country and drive to the next as the cars in the UK are designed for drivers driving on the left and cars in France are designed for those driving on the right side.
- Note that once you cross the border you are also changing international time zones with a one hour time difference. So be sure to reset your watch and plan your travel accordingly. The UK is in the Greenwich Mean Time time zone and France is in the Central European time zone. So, if it is 10:00am in the UK, it will be 11:00am in France.
- If you are planning to do sightseeing in London, we recommend checking out our suggested 2 day London itinerary, 3 day London itinerary, or 6 day London itinerary. For transport, you can check out our London public transit guide and our Oyster Card guide. For money savings passes, you might consider the London Pass.
- If you planning to spend time sightseeing in Paris, we recommend checking out our suggested 1 day Paris itinerary, 2 day Paris itinerary, 3 day Paris itinerary, and our Eiffel Tower guide. For money saving passes, you might consider the Paris Museum Pass or Paris Pass.
- If your travels are also taking you to Edinburgh (or elsewhere in Scotland), see our guide to traveling from London to Edinburgh.
- The United Kingdom left the European Union officially on January 31, 2020 and is no longer a part of the EU. There is now a transition period until the end of 2020 while the UK and EU negotiate arrangements. The current regulations on travel for the UK and EU will continue to apply during the transition period. New rules will likely take effect on January 1, 2021. Those planning travel in 2021 should definitely check for new rules and regulations that may affect travel between the UK and France.
- If you have any questions about travel between London and Paris, feel free to ask in the Comments section below. We can also answer questions about general travel to either the UK of France. We regularly travel to both and have lived in both the UK and France.
We hope this helps you figure out how to get from London to Paris, or vice versa!
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Which of these methods is your favorite way to travel between London and Paris? If you have any of your own tips or advice about travel between London and Paris, feel free to share below!