Taking the Channel Tunnel route is by far the quickest journey to reach Paris with your rental car. However, if you are looking to make the most of the incredible scenery between London and Paris, you may consider taking the scenic ferry route. VroomVroomVroom has put together this 5-day self-drive itinerary to make your travel hassle-free as possible, or close to it.
Whether you are a first-time visitor or a Londoner born and bred, you're sure to find plenty of things to do once in this vibrant city. To get you started, make sure to take a Big Ben selfie, watch a show in West End, steep yourself in history at Tower of London, discover amazing marine life at SEALIFE, and plan a visit to the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
You can also explore the world behind art at British Museum, see the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, enjoy The View from the Shard, shop at Westfield Stratford, admire London's canal, visit the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis or the Wembley Stadium. With your rental car, all these wonderful options and attractions are available to you.
Of course, there is a lot more to England's capital than just the castles and historic houses. Here are some of the hidden gems that are well worth travelling for: Kensington Roof Gardens at Kensington High St, St Dunstan-in-the-East in Dunstan's Hill, St Bartholomew's the Great on Cloth Fair, Dr. Johnson's House at 17 Gough Square and Leadenhall Market at Gracechurch St.
Day 2: Enjoy a walk in Devil's Dyke
Devil's Dyke Highlights
When English landscape painter John Constable called the panorama from Devil's Dyke as “the grandest view in the world,” he wasn't mistaken. About an hour and a half drive from London and just a 15-minute drive north of Brighton, Devil's Dyke offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Sussex countryside just waiting to be explored.
Enjoyed by millions since the early 1800s, the area around Devil's Dyke offers a lot of walking trails to suit your needs. Have a short walk around Devil's Dyke in the South Downs and learn more about the hidden secrets of the landscape with sights over the most famous of all the dry chalk hills.
Devil's Dyke is also a perfect spot for cycling, kite flying, paragliding and hang-gliding, picnicking to simply taking in the beautiful scenery.
Day 3: Explore underground tunnels in Newhaven Fort
Only a short drive from Devil's Dyke, the town of Newhaven is a charming working port often missed by visitors. Newhaven can be found between Brighton and Eastbourne on the A259 coast road, with easy access to the South Downs, the Seven Sisters – and even France on the ferry (since 1851). Once in Newhaven, simply follow the signs to Newhaven Ferry Port. The ferry port is the easiest and closest link to France via Dieppe. Operated by DFDS, taking the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry route will offer you access to amazing locations across Normandy and northern France, as well as cities like Rouen and Caen.
Offering a plethora of amazing sights and attractions, this small town may be best known for the famous Newhaven Fort, which served as a coastal defence during the two Worlds Wars. Immerse yourself in the story of the First World War or explore the realities of British life in the Second World War. Kids and adults will enjoy all the tunnels and passageways. After exploring, you can enjoy your meal in the 1940s-themed Fort Tea Room.
If you are searching for some impressive scenery, the sight from the top of the ramparts at Castle Hill is amazing with views to the Ouse Estuary, the Downs, Seaford Head and out to sea. Nearby you'll see the Castle Hill Nature Reserve.
Day 4: Dine on Dieppe's renowned seafood
You'll find the bustling port town of Dieppe on the shores of the Alabaster Coast in Normandy. Holding a varied history and a charming fishing port that could challenge other nearby coastal towns like Honfleur and Deauville - Dieppe is another place that is well worth stopping by.
The Château-Museum is a must if you want to discover the history of Dieppe. Home to a wonderful display of paintings, archaeological pieces, folklore of Pays de Caux and Dieppe and more - this medieval castle was built originally as a defence against the English Channel. It also served as a prison during the French Revolution.
Seafood lovers can take their pick from many restaurants around the port. Popular must-try dishes in Dieppe include the marmite dieppoise (Dieppe fish stew), the sole à la dieppoise, and the lisette à la dieppoise.
Day 5: Fall madly in love in Paris
It's no wonder why Paris is called as "The City of Love." With numerous iconic monuments, boutiques, restaurants, museums, galleries and more, you're sure to discover plenty of things to see in the City of Lights. If you are an art enthusiast, chances are The Louvre is on your to-do list to see Mona Lisa amongst other 35,000 works of art that are on display. But if you want to witness a more fringe art scene in the city, the 59 Rivoli is well wort checking out.
Only a 50-minute drive from the city center by car via A13, the grand palace of Versailles is worth the detour. With its luxurious interiors and perfectly manicured gardens, it's no surprise why Chateau de Versailles is such a hit. The spectacular Notre Dame de Paris aka Notre-Dame Cathedral is another must-see. Of course, no trip in the city is complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower. Open every day except certain holidays, the Eiffel Tower attracts more than 7 million visitors each year.
Wander around Montmartre and visit this incredible statue Le Passe-Muraille (the Passer-Through-Walls) situated just off of Rue Norvins. For other different things to look out for while in the city, don't miss out to visit these not so secret spots: Victor Noir's tomb in Pere Lachaise Cemetery, the Dodo Manège, Catacombs of Paris, the Montmartre Vineyards, Sewers of Paris, Sacré Coeur Basilica, Hotel De Sens, Point Zero and Le Louxor Palais Du Cinema.
Do you know that you can download this map directly to your phone? Press the box symbol located on the top-right corner of this map to open in your Google Maps app. Now you can easily access this map on your next road trip adventure from London to Paris.
Travel time and distance: 5 hours and 43 minutes via A1
If you are coming from London, taking the Eurotunnel is a great option to reach France quickly. Note that Eurotunnel's car carrying service runs via the Channel Tunnel aka the 'Chunnel` from Folkestone in south Kent and Calais/Coquelles in northern France. Folkestone takes about an hour and a half's drive from London, while Calais is a three hour drive from Paris.
The short 4-hour crossing from Newhaven to Dieppe via DFDS is another alternative route to take if you want to explore the heart of Northern France. You're also a few hours' drive to explore the beautiful Paris. Take note that a crossing for a car and 2 people costs from £49 each way. For 2 adults and 2 children with a car, you'll pay from £56.50 each way.