London to Paris – Train vs Plane vs Bus

I spent the last weekend in Paris, travelling via bus. However, next week I will be travelling by train for the airshow, while my colleagues are flying. With all this in mind, and the summer approaching, Simple Flying decided to investigate which mode of transport is best.

London to Paris Plane Train Bus
There are three main ways to get from London to Paris. Top Image: Flixbus | Plane and Train via Pixabay

London to Paris is an incredibly popular route, being served daily by rail, bus, and plane. However, each mode of transport is different, with different pros and cons to each. We’ll take a look at what’s good and what’s not to build a clear picture of what is the best option for each individual. Without further ado, let’s begin.

Via bus

There are plenty of bus connections between London and Paris. The two main providers include Flixbus and Ouibus. Now, taking the bus offers an option that no other mode does – night travel. The bus from London to Paris takes around eight or nine hours.

As such, it is possible to leave one city late in the evening, and arrive at the other in the morning. While this sounds like a great idea, remember that the bus needs to cross the channel halfway through. This is where everybody needs to get up off of the bus, and clear immigration. Both ways I managed about two hours of sleep.

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London to Paris Plane Train Bus
Flixbus is one of two main companies operating the London to Paris route. Photo: Flixbus

However, the main benefit of taking the bus is the cost. Looking at prices for a weeks time, when the Paris Airshow is in full swing, prices start from just £21.99 each way. A bargain, especially as it is only a week away.

Via plane

Considering we are an aviation-themed website, it would be rude not to mention the aviation aspect of the route. If you live near an airport, it’s the quickest way to get to Paris. However, you have to be at the airport so many hours before your flight and then get from one of Paris’ airports into the city centre.

The plane can also be more expensive. Flying also has the greatest range of ticket prices. Prices in a weeks time start at £41 with Vueling, stretching to £410, exactly 1000% more, with British Airways. There’s also the cost of airport parking to consider here too.

Flying to Paris can be quickest if you live near an airport. Photo via Pixabay

Via train

The train is the third and final option. Train services between London and Paris are run exclusively by Eurostar, meaning the company is only really competing against flights. The train has the benefit of departing central London and arriving in central Paris. It is also the method with the least faff, as you clear passport control at your origin, and just walk off the train at your destination.

The train is also the most expensive option, however, with the cheapest tickets a week out starting at £101. However, if you’re worried about cost, booking in advance could render some huge savings, as at the time of booking, my train one the same day in a weeks time cost just £29 one way.

London to Paris Plane Train Bus
The Eurostar is cheap when booked in advance. Photo via Pixabay

The verdict

It really depends on what you’re looking for in order to determine which mode of transport would be best between London and Paris. If you’re looking for a cheap last minute choice or overnight travel, the bus certainly prevails.

However, if you’re happy to book well in advance, and want the least amount of faff, then the Eurostar is the best option. It is also usually the quickest if you live more than an hour from an airport. However, if it’s the feeling of exhilaration as you accelerate down the runway, or utilising frequent flyer status that’s for you, then the best bet would be to fly.

All in all, I think I would tend to opt to take the bus when travelling to Paris as it is cheap, and gives me the whole day in Paris without an extra night at a hotel.

How about you? Which mode would you, or have you preferred. Let us know in the comments.

  1. This is a route that I travel very regularly for business, personally I take the plane, it takes me about an hour and 45 mins to get to St Pancras, and you still have to be at st Pancras 20-30 mins before departure. The last two trips I have taken eurostar has been more than £275 and easyjet about £100.

  2. Great if you have the option of using a train and/or bus instead of a plane, but many/most airport-city pairs don’t have that option. For example, Eindhoven (NL) has various (cheap) direct flights to London, with a flying time of about an hour. Other options:
    – Train: First a low-speed train service to Rotterdam, change at Rotterdam, then catch the Eurostar to London via Brussels/Lille and the Channel Tunnel. Travel time is about 4 hours. Much more expensive.
    – Bus: Much longer journey, via Brussels/Lille. Low price, but a flight can be comparable in price if booked on time.
    And what about travel to Dublin? Or Manchester? No overland options for the former, and tortuous overland options for the latter.
    Nice to have choices, but (I think) travel by train/bus will make a minimal dent in the aviation industry.

  3. The passport control at the train is the same or even worse than the airplane, you go twice trough it, each way, while at airports you only or at Dover it’s only once or none at departure in the case of the airport . With the train you will also get the check your baggage security thing, check in thing and you have to be at least 1 hour before train leaves so it’s not exactly hassle free and I will say it’s even worse than airports. Uk it’s not in schengen area and I think this complicated train boarding experience might their fault.

    Bonus point for the bus in train experience:D

  4. One thing failed to mention in this article is the environmental effect of each mode of transportation; I would imagine the train is much “greener”, to use a blanket term, then flying the short distance.

  5. Easyjet London(Gatwick) to Charles de Gaulle CDg Paris departs several times a day but my favourite is the Eurostar Train from St Pancras to Gare du Nord(Central town to central town) although i must admit it is much more expensive.
    I never tried the Bus/Coach which looks like the cheapest option but it takes forever.

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