Extended Weekend: London

Posted by Strainu on May 01, 2008
From Paris

Transport
Map

There are three ways to get from Paris to London:

  • the plane – there are three companies operating flights between the two cities: Air France, British Airways and Easyjet. The price difference between “normal” and “low-cost” airlines is minimal. This is the method we chose as it is simple and cheaper than the train if you book at the last minute. The flight takes an hour, but you must be at the airport at least an hour before the takeoff. If you have more time, it might be cheaper to go by train to Tours and take a Ryanair flight from there.
  • the train – the Eurostar, that is. The trip takes about 2 and a half hours, you get to see more than from the plane, but it’s incredibly expensive if you don’t book a long time ahead.
  • the ferry – there are several companies with ferry services from Dover to Calais, with prices starting at 13 euros per passenger. You could argue that this is the cheapest way to go to London, but it’s also the longest, as you have to come with commuting times from the ferry terminal to the railway stations.

As an interesting observation, it must be said that a flight from Bucharest to London (which takes almost 4 hours) is just 25% more expensive than a flight from Paris to London (1h).
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Accommodation
London is a huge city, with thousands of hotels and hostels. Nevertheless, if you don’t book in time you might have trouble finding cheap hotels. We stayed at Charlie’s Bed and Breakfast, an interesting little hotel in northern London recommended by our predecessors at Supelec. It was a very comfortable room with old-fashioned bed covers and high colorful windows. It was all very clean and you could find lots of tourist information near the reception. The only problem was the bathroom, because the window wasn’t closing.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Museums
Public museums are free in London, and they’re a lot of them. Near the world famous Harrods shop you have an Art Museum, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum.

Due to the lack of time we only visited the Science Museum – 6 floors of scientific models, games and exhibitions. You could learn anything from the debris found on the bottom of Tamisa to how the Moon lander looked like. Pretty impressive.

The British Museum was another point of interest we couldn’t miss. I personally wanted to compare it to the Louvre, but I found there is no comparison possible. The Louvre tends to put art from the same period together, while the British gathers art by the geographic area it was created in. I wandered about the whole day in the museum but still missed some rooms and overlooked others. If you have the time, go in at least 2 days at the British Museum.

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Sightseeing

There is a lot to see in London. You can start with a walk along the Thames river, then get on the London Eye to have a aerial view of the British capital and to decide what you want to see. Due to the lack of time, we limited ourselves to Big Ben, the Buckingham Palace (with the guard change, of course) and some commercial avenues.

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Alternatives
Most Western European capitals can be easily reached from Paris: Berlin, Madrid, Luxembourg, Bruxelles, Amsterdam… you only have the problem of choice.

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

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5 Comments to Extended Weekend: London

  • Monica says:

    Oh cmon, doar 3 stele jumate?
    Personal nu gasesc nici un defect Londrei (in afara ca e extrem de scumpa)…I just love it.
    Science museum mi s-a parut cam boring, probabil fiindca sunt fata ๐Ÿ™‚ adevarul e ca daca nu era moka si nu avea imax nu calcam inauntru.
    Natural Science museum mi s-a parut fantastic(cred ca e visul oricarui copil), Victoria and Albert destul de ok – pacat de organizarea cam haotica a camereleor … la British n-am mai apucat sa ajung si parca imi pare rau si de National Galleries si de Tate.

  • Strainu says:

    Nota, dupa cum poti sa-ti dai seama, e o medie, in care fiecare parte contribuie la fel de mult. Transportul a fost mediocru, iar la atractii trebuie sa tii minte ca eu veneam din Paris, ceea ce inseamna ca 3* e cam maximul pe care il putea obtine ๐Ÿ˜€
    Mie mi-a placut Londra de sus, la nivelul solului insa era extrem de aglomerata.
    Tot respectul pentru British, ala e de 4,5-5*. Science e intr-adevar prea putin interactiv si dupa o vreme te plictisesti, iar istoria naturala nu m-a interesat niciodata foarte mult. Chestie de gust banuiesc.

  • Strainu says:

    P.S. De ce pastrezi tot blogul de IE? S-a terminat de aproape un semestru materia aia…

  • The other way to travel from France to England is by ferry travel.

  • […] do it – just find a cheap plane ticket and go for it. We’ve already covered Prague, London, Lyon among others on this […]

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