This 12 day London Paris itinerary with kids will give you everything you need to plan your family trip to London and Paris.
Planning a trip to London and Paris is very exciting but it can also feel very overwhelming. There is so much to do and see in both places.
We received so much advice about the best things to see and I almost gave up planning. It was too much!
After a few family meetings we decided to push ahead with our trip to London and Paris and although it was hectic at times, we created incredible family memories.
London Paris Itinerary Overview
We couldn’t do everything there is to do on a London Paris Itinerary so we had to prioritize what works best for our family. The best advice I can give you when planning a trip like this is to start listing everything you find interesting.
From there you can start narrowing down what you want to do for your trip. At one point for this trip we were going to Belgium!
It evolved a lot over the few planning months. I suggest talking about this and planning 12 months in advance if you can. This allows you to research and really decided what your family is interested in doing.
I am a big believer in doing and seeing things you want to do. Don’t do things because everyone says you have to do.
For example, everyone says you should purchase tickets to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower to see the best view of the city of light, but we know our family.
We don’t like heights and the elevator to the top wouldn’t have been a great time for us. We followed our gut and experiences Paris and the Eiffel Tower the way we wanted to.
And we had no regrets. Plan this trip for your family and prioritize what you all want to do.
Now I realize that what parents want to do and what kids want to do may differ. We are a family of five and everyone has different interests.
To keep everyone happy when planning a family vacation itinerary to London and Paris, check in with everyone through the planning process.
Allow the kids time to do their own searching about the places you are visiting and create their own list. The bring everyone’s list together.
For us we had a few things that each one of us picked out that wasn’t on everyone’s list. My daughter wanted to go see a show on the West End and we also spent time touring the Paris Saint-Germain futbol stadium.
It is best to let everyone list their top choices and then create an itinerary everyone agrees on.
After all the brainstorming was done we settled on London, Disneyland Paris, and Paris for our trip. As I started researching flights we decide to fly Iceland Air.
Iceland Air offers 1-7 night extended layovers as part of your flight to London. Because of that we decided to include a 2 night trip to Iceland in our vacation.
This was a bit unexpected in our plans but it made sense to take advantage of the time in Iceland and extend our trip.
Popular London Itinerary Attractions
Below is a list of the most popular London attractions. We had 3 days in London for our visit so we knew we couldn’t see and do it all, but this will help you get started with your brainstorming stage of planning.
- Buckingham Palace
- Tower of London
- Westminster Abbey
- Covent Garden
- Big Ben
- Tower Bridge
- River Thames
- Windsor Castle
- Hyde Park
- Crown Jewels
- Piccadilly Circus
- London Eye
- British Museum
- Trafalgar Square
- Kensington Palace
- London Bridge
- Borough Market
- Shrek’s Adventure
- SeaLife Aquarium
- Tate Modern
- Warner Brothers Studio: The Making of Harry Potter
Popular Paris Itinerary Attractions
- Eiffel Tower
- Arc de Triomphe
- Notre Dame Cathedral
- Moulin Rouge
- Louvre Museum
- Gare Du Nord
- River Seine
- Luxembourg Gardens
- Latin Quarter
- PSG Stadium Tour
Best Way to Travel from London to Paris
You can fly from London to Paris but we found it very easy to book a ticket for the Eurostar Train. The train ride is under 3 hours and a very comfortable way to travel.
It takes guests under the English channel. Eurostar departs from the London-St. Pancras train station and arrives at Paris Gare du Nord.
I was a bit concerned that we would feel claustrophobic when traveling under the English channel but we did not. It was fairly quick and we barely noticed.
We were surprised by our ears popping much like when flying. I didn’t expect that but it was momentarily and wasn’t an issue. I only mention it to be aware if traveling with young children, maybe bring something to soothe that.
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12 Day London Paris Itinerary for Families
Before we start on our London Paris Itinerary I want to share a few tips that really helped my family during our vacation.
- Carry a light-weight backpack that can fit snacks and refillable water-bottles.
- Dress in layers because the weather can vary and be unpredictable.
- Use a Esim for Wifi. We used Nomad and it was reliable when searching directions on our phone.
- Don’t be too worried about using public transportation. We used the London Underground (the tube) and the Metro in Paris. It was our first time and we were able to navigate it pretty well. Usually there is someone around that can assist you if you are confused by the kiosks to purchase tickets. Most of the time they are willing to help.
- There are also bus tour options in both cities if you prefer to tour the city that way.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes. These athletic shoes for the boys and these athletic shoes for the girls were great options for keeping us growing on our long walking days.
- Plan breaks in your day to sit at a restaurant or rest at your hotel. A 1-2 hour break can be a huge help in keeping everyone moving for the day.
- Plan free time. This was something that I always forget because I am such a planner but build it breaks and free time into your itinerary. It allows you to go at a relaxed pace and you never know what you might discover when you don’t have a plan.
- Many people like to do a guided tour during their trips. We prefer self-guided but this is a personal choice. You may want to do a mix of both. Check out these London Tours and Paris Tours for more information. If you are on a budget don’t feel as though you have to purchase a tour. Take a look at what the tours offer and put your own walking tour together.
Day 1: Travel Day
We live in Rochester, New York and found the best price for flights out of Toronto, Canada. This is under 3 hours for us and totally worth saving money.
I am big on trying to budget for family travel and if I can save we will drive a few hours. Be sure to check surrounding airports whenever you are traveling.
I booked a red-eye which in retrospect wasn’t the best plan. I didn’t research the flight time to Iceland. I thought it would be longer but it was 4.5 hours.
That is not enough time to get a good night rest. So we boarded around 11:30pm and due to the 4 hour time change, arrived in the morning (day 2) in Iceland.
We didn’t really sleep more than an hour and had to keep moving forward with our day. Next time I would probably book a day flight but it ended up being okay and we adjusted fairly well.
We stayed at the Odinsve Hotel apartments and it was a great place for our two day stay.
Day 2: Arrival Day and Full Day Iceland
We spent the day walking around and exploring Iceland for our first day. We were very tired but couldn’t check-in to our hotel until 4:00pm.
Here are the details for our Iceland day:
- Iceland Accommodations: Hotel Odinsve Apartments
- Brunch: The Laundromat Hotel
- Dinner: Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur
- Explored Reykjavik: Saw Harpa, Hallgrimskirkja, Rainbow Road
We were really just pushing through this day because we were exhausted. I was happy to call it an early night after dinner.
Day 3: Full Day in Reykjavik Iceland
I am going to give a quick overview of this day but if you want a full in-depth Iceland itinerary read this: Family Trip to Iceland: Our 2 Days in Iceland Itinerary.
Details of Iceland Day 2:
- Breakfast: Braud & Co.
- Puffin Express Boat Tour
- Whales of Iceland Museum
- Lunch: 101 Reykjavik Street Food
- Perlan Museum
- Dinner: Reykjavik Chips
- Dessert: Voffluvagninn waffle cart
Then we headed back to the room to pack for our early flight to London. If you are planning to do an overnight layover in Iceland you may want to check out FlyBus to get to and from the city center.
We used it and it was an easy way to get from the airport to the city. Also be sure to read my article on our visit. I go into much more details on everything.
Day 4: Travel Day to London and West End
If you are arriving from Iceland, London is an hour ahead time change. Book an early morning flight if you can to maximize your time in London.
Our flight left around 7:30am, which meant leaving our hotel around 3:00am! It was worth it to arrive in London early afternoon.
Something I would have done differently if I was doing this again would be our flight. We flew into Gatwick and I wish we would have flown into Heathrow.
I booked the flight because it was cheaper but we ended up spending money on the Gatwick Express train to get into the city. The Gatwick Express was a bit stressful and the money saved was not worth the time for us.
If you can book into Heathrow I suggest doing it. I booked our Gatwick Express train tickets early but it didn’t really matter because it was crowded and we ended up missing a train. Overall it was a frustrating first hour in England.
We did manage to get it figured out and the rest of the day was great!
Details for our first London Day:
- Breakfast/Lunch: Grabbed food at the airport and train stations.
- Hotel Accommodations: Marlin Aldgate Apartments
- Dinner: The Theatre Cafe Diner
- Matilda: The Musical
Day 5: Self-Guided Walking Tour of London
For this day we decided to spend the day walking around London on our own. We did use the London Underground to get back to our hotel but we wanted to walk to see as much as we could.
As I mentioned earlier we prefer self-guided tours to be able to do things at our own pace. Another option that might work for families is booking a Hop on/Hop off bus tour that offers a mix of both.
We didn’t stop at all of these places to go inside. Some we only walked by to see and others, like Shrek’s Adventure we had tickets for.
Details for Self-Guided Walking Tour of London:
- Tower of London
- London Bridge
- Breakfast: Borough Market
- Tate Modern
- Shakespeare Globe
- Graffiti Tunnel
- London Eye
- Shrek’s Adventure
- Lunch: Great British Fish & Chips
- Big Ben
- Westminster Abbey
- Buckingham Palace
- Underground back to Hotel
- Dinner: Pizza Union
We did plan time to experience Shrek’s Adventure which is an interactive experience. It was a blast and if you are a Shrek fan it is totally worth including in your itinerary.
If you are looking for all the details check out this post: Family Trip to London: 3 Night London Itinerary
We ended up walking more than 8 miles during our day and I was very happy we had comfortable shoes. If you are looking for good walking shoes check out these cute athletic shoe options.
Day 6: Day Trip to The Making of Harry Potter
We are big theme park fans and love The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando, so we knew we wanted to visit the Making of Harry Potter in England.
This is not actually in London and we needed to take a train to get there. Once you arrive at the train station their is a bus included with your ticket that takes you to the studio.
The travel time is a little under 2 hours so it will be a longer day trip, be sure to plan accordingly. There are also options for Harry Potter tours that include pick-up in the city.
This might be a better option if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of the train. Learn about Harry Potter Studio ticket options.
If you are a big Harry Potter fan I would include this in your visit. If you are not it might not be worth it. We probably fall somewhere in the middle and it was okay.
We liked touring the sets and walking through some of the scenes but we found Universal to feel more immersive. I go into more details in this post: Family Trip to London: 3 Night London Itinerary
Details for our Harry Potter Day:
- Breakfast: Dulce
- Lunch: Warner Brothers Studio: The Making of Harry Potter
- Dinner: Pret Take-Out in our Room
Day 7: Eurostar Train to Paris
We booked the Eurostar in advance and it was a great way to travel from London to Paris. Before we started our time in the city of Paris we took another train to go to Disneyland Paris.
We are huge Disney World people and couldn’t wait to visit this park. The Eurostar does not go directly to Disneyland Paris anymore.
You need to take the RER A to get there. This is located in the same station as the Eurostar but we found it to be very confusing. We had to transfer from the RER B (or D) to the RER A. Try to go over this before you arrive. Check out this youtube video for more details.
We arrived at Disneyland Paris in the afternoon. I had booked a package that included a 3 nights at the Newport Bay Resort and 4 day tickets to Disneyland Paris.
This is more than enough time to visit both Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studio Park. Like I mentioned earlier we really like visiting the Disney Parks but if you aren’t big on theme parks a day trip to Disneyland is enough.
Disneyland Paris is similar to the layout at Disneyland California. The two parks are within walking distance to each other and Downtown Disney is also easily accessible.
The train station is at the parks making it very easy for a day trip from Paris.
Once we checked in we headed over to The Walt Disney Studios park to ride a few attractions. We were able to ride Web Slingers and Avengers Assemble: Flight Force.
Then we headed home to get a good nights rest before our early morning.
- Breakfast and Lunch: Picked up at the train station to eat on the way. You can also purchase food on the Eurostar.
- Dinner: Five Guys at Downtown Disney
Day 8: Disneyland Paris
- Breakfast: Granola Bars in Our Room
- Lunch: Au Chalet de la Marionnette Restaurant
- Dinner: Pizzeria Bella Notte
We arrived at Disneyland Paris for rope drop and spent the day at the park. The highlights of our day were Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Phantom Manor. We thought they were very unique to the park.
Read more about Disneyland Paris: 19 Disneyland Paris Tips You Should Know for Your First Trip
One of the best things we did was stay to watch the drone show. It is worth staying late to see this unique night show.
Day 9: Walt Disney Studios Park
- Breakfast: Granola Bars in Our Room
- Lunch: McDonalds at Downtown Disney
- Dinner: Pym Kitchen
We started with the most popular ride Crush’s Coaster. As we headed there we discovered that it was having technical difficulties and was not open yet. We had the same issue with Web-Slinger and Tower of Terror.
This made the start a bit frustrating. We decided to do some of the flat rides in the Pixar area and single ride Ratatouille.
We did end up riding all of the attractions at the park. One of my favorites was Tower of Terror. It is different than the Hollywood Studios location and I didn’t expect it to be. Such a fun ride!
One of the things I did before we arrived was make reservations for Pym’s Kitchen. This is a buffet style table service meal.
It was really one of the only places we sat down to eat at during our entire trip and was a great choice. There was something for everyone on the buffet and we enjoyed it.
During our day we also had time to go back to the hotel to rest and swim in the pool. The Newport Bay Resort has an indoor and outdoor pool for guests.
I am going to do a full itinerary of our time in Disneyland and will share that here once it goes live.
Day 10: Disneyland Paris to Paris
- Breakfast: Granola Bars in Our Room
- Lunch: New York Style Sandwiches at Downtown Disney
- Dinner: Rotisserie Chicken, Baguettes, and Fruit from street markets
On our last day we packed up, left our luggage at the resort, and spent the morning in Disneyland. We arrived a bit later but we were able to meet a few characters and ride a few last minute attractions.
Then we took the train back into the city of Paris. This was much easier than our first experience. It was less busy and we had a better understanding of what we needed to do.
The plan for the day was to check-into the hotel, relax, and explore a bit.
Our hotel was lovely and I was so grateful for the air conditioning. We stand at the Grand Leveque Hotel. It was a cute boutique hotel and one of our favorites during the entire trip.
It was also located along a cobblestone street with bakeries and food stands. After walking around for a bit we decided to pick up some fruit, bread, and a rotisserie chicken to enjoy a quiet evening at the hotel.
Day 11: Paris Walking Day
We had one full day in Paris and we decided to do another self-guided walking tour. We wanted to see the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower but we were mostly excited to eat at the small little bakeries along the way.
We didn’t purchase tickets to go in the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa. If that is something you are interested in be sure to purchase tickets in advance.
It was very crowded and there will be long lines to get in the museum. Paris was really hot and humid during our visit but we pushed through.
We walked to Notre Dame Cathedral. This is still under construction but you can view it from outside. From there we walked and took the Metro to Paris Saint-Germain stadium.
When visiting we decided to take the stadium tour. This was such an unexpected and cool experience. As fans of the World Cup it was fun to walk through the locker room and see what the players see.
After this we headed home for the evening. We had to pack for our departure the next day and we wanted to rest before our night activitiy.
I was not sure it would be worth it to stay up late to see the Eiffel Tower at night but it was the highlight of our time in Paris.
At dusk, which was 11:00pm during our visit in July, the Eiffel Tower sparkles for 5 minutes. It happens continuously on the hour.
This was so fun and we really enjoyed seeing the Eiffel Tower. We didn’t feel like we missed out by not riding to the top.
Then we made the 15 minute walk back to our hotel for the night.
You can read more details of our trip to Paris in this article: Family Trip to Paris: 5 Nights in Paris with Kids
Day 12: Paris and Travel Home Day
On our final day we slept in and checked-out of the hotel. We were picked up by a driver to take us to the airport. It was a long day of travel and we were ready to get home.
I was so happy we booked a driver to take us to the airport and I didn’t have to worry about the logistics of having our luggage and navigating the Metro.
Do what works for your budget but this was something I was happy we splurged on.
Overall Opinion of Our London Paris Itinerary
The trip required us to change hotels every 2-3 nights and that was the most exhausting part. I’d prefer to stay a little longer but it worked because of our time constraints and honestly the time we spent was enough in each location for us.
There is not much you can do to get around the short stays if you want to see a lot. Be prepared that it will be exhausting to pack, unpack, and pack again.
Overall our London Paris itinerary was a great first time visit to Europe and one we will never forget.
Read Next: 21 USA Bucket List Destinations for Families
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Leah has been traveling with her family of 5 since 2012 and sharing her expertise on planning family vacations and visiting theme parks since 2016. Leah has been featured in Visit Rochester, Undercover Tourist, and Home Publications. She has worked with brands like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Hersheypark, Toyota, and various Tourism boards and destinations. Leah creates family travel itineraries based on real trip experiences with her family. Her guides and tips help others plan great family vacations. Learn more about Leah and Five for the Road.