3-days-drive-trip-to-london - Asians in France | Life & Living in France

3 Days Itinerary from Paris to London (Day 1) Check out the Best Fish n Chip in London

We have been thinking about this for the longest - Driving from Paris to London. And this is our first trip to London, UK and we are driving there! It is only a short trip for 3 days.

When we first arrived in London via the EuroTunnel, everything is so similar to Singapore. It's like arriving home! 

  • Right Hand Drive
  • Singapore use Cambridge Education System (PSLE, N/O/A Levels)
  • English Speaking Country
  • Multi Racial - Their supermarket have alot of International food stuffs and Chilli Sauce. Indian, Mexican, Asian etc
  • Drivers in London are like Singaporeans - Impatient!
  • Congestion Charge Zone - ERP Zone like Singapore

After our experience drive to Germany, we decided to have a 3 Days Drive from Saturday to Monday. We can save a night of Hotel this way.

Things to Note Before Driving from Paris, France to London

  1. UK Drives on the Left. France and other EU drives on the right. You have to really check your blind spot when overtaking or at congested roundabouts. You probably can't see most cars coming on the right.
  2. Road Signs are in Miles. Not in KM
  3. London Congestion Charge Zone. You have to pay an £11.50 daily charge if you drive within the Congestion Charge zone between 07:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday. [Download Map here]
  4. UK use Pounds not Euros.
  5. Dartford Crossing Charge. You must pay if you use the Dartford Crossing (the Thames River) between 6am and 10pm. You must pay by midnight on the day after you cross. The payment service is called Dart Charge.
  6. Petrol. UK Petrol and Diesel are more expensive than France. Fill your tank before you enter UK at the stations in Calais.
  7. Passport. You need a passport to enter into UK from France

London in 3 Days: Day 1

Drive to Calais

3 Hours Drive from Paris
22 Toll Fee
300 km Distance

As usual, we will stop at Calais, Macdonalds for our Brunch (ard 10am), top up petrol before heading to the Eurotunnel.

This is our first time in this area and the road signs are confusing. We have a hard time finding the Petrol Kiosk and also the Check In for EuroTunnel. Luckily we reach Calais early to allow us more time to navigate.


Drive Through EuroTunnel

From € 80 / Way

Toilets Available

35 mins Journey

Check in EuroTunnel

We have bought our tickets via www.eurotunnel.com earlier. The process to self check-in is very fast. Just insert the credit card you used to purchase the ticket. The machine will print out your "boarding ticket". Hang it at your rear view mirror or your dashboard.

If you are early, you may even board the earlier train, and pay the difference in fares if there is.

We are so excited as this is our first time, driving a car into a Train. The space for a car is pretty tight but we managed to get it through.

After driving for 4 hours, from Sens to Calais, a 35 mins train ride is definitely a good rest. I can close my eyes and take nap after having our Macdonalds breakfast.

Exiting the EuroTunnel

Once you reach UK, you will need to drive your vehicle out of the train and off you go on the UK highway via M20. It takes away for us to get used to the speed limit as it is in MPH, you gotta do some mental conversion. 


Shop: Sainsbury's Ashford

Value for Money

Many Discounts

Open Mon - Sun

  • UK #2 Largest Supermarket Chain
  • Check out their website
Sainsbury

Sainsbury

This is our first stop in UK, as we googled online, Sainsbury is the #2 supermarket Chain in UK. This place sells my Lingham's Chilli Sauce at £1.50. You definitely can't find this in France. I am also looking for Curry Leaves, but unfortunately it is not sold at this outlet.


Eat: Golden Chippy

Less than £8 

Superb Service

Delicious!

  • Located at 62 Greenwich High Rd, London
  • Top Ranking Fish and Chip in London by Tripadvisor
  • Fish n Chips at less than £8 !
  • Awesome Service!
  • Probably the Best Fish & Chips in UK

Large Size Fish n Chips

2Pc Chicken

Le Menu. Prices for Take Away

Standard Size Fish n Chips

Along our route to London Centre, we googled a place for Fish n Chips and Golden Chippy came out to be along the way and reviews seem good!

​We were surprised by how Customer oriented Golden Chippy is! They took time probably every 15mins to check on the customer's and even serve fruits after the meal.

It has been quite some time since we experienced such good service vs ¯_(ツ)_/¯ we get all the time in France.

We ordered the Standard and Large Codfish, 2 Piece Chicken to share among the 3 of us. The codfish taste fresh and the batter is crispy too! And bill come up to be £23 including 2 coke (with ICE!)


Carpark: Vintry Thames Exchange

2 Hours Drive from Folkestone
12 £ Parking Charges
115 km Distance

£12 for 12 Hours During Weekend. Pre-Book your Parking here!

Finally, LONDON!

Finally, LONDON!

Driving in London centre is definitely similar to driving in Singapore. The drivers are impatient, congestion everywhere. And there seemed to be a lot of speed cameras in London - Like really alot! Try counting..

Parking in London centre is definitely expensive. But we found a place to Pre-Book Parking at £12 for 12 Hours during weekends! Check this website for more info! So fun, it is one of the cheapest parking we can find in London. If you manage to get a roadside parking, good for you. It is free on Sundays.


Go: Borough Market

Open Mon - Sat

Wide Variety of Food!

More than 130 Traders!

  • Located at 8 Southwark Street, London
  • One of the largest and oldest food markets in London.
  • Nearest Underground Station is London Bridge (Northern and Jubilee lines)

Borough Market with The Shard just behind

Doesn't look that appealing though

Phone Booth making way for ATM

Phone Booth making way for ATM

Lobster with Free Fork anyone?

Lobster with Free Fork anyone?

Look at the Crowd on a Saturday Afternoon!

Look at the Crowd on a Saturday Afternoon!


Eat: Richard Haward's Oyster

£1.50 for Medium Oyster

Taste Fresh!

Delicious!

  • Located at Borough Market Facing the Street
Oyster Specialist!

Oyster Specialist!

We went specially to try this Oyster out as recommended. This is probably my first positive experience trying out raw oysters.

Fresh Oysters!

Fresh Oysters!

3 Medium Oysters - £1.50 Each

3 Medium Oysters - £1.50 Each

2 more pls!

2 more pls!

Because they have a few selection of oyster and I have no idea how to order from there. I just went up to the boss and told him, Ermm, 3 Oysters please!

We are just mindblown by the freshness of the oyster. After have 1, we order another! And was craving for it all the time. Wonder why I didn't crave for any french food in France. 


See: The Shard

Open Mon - Sun

From £ 26 / Adult

Recommended Stay Duration: 2 Hrs

  • Located at 32 London Bridge Street
  • Tallest Building in UK, 4th Tallest in Europe
  • Nearest Underground Station is London Bridge (Northern and Jubilee lines)
  • Pre Book via Website for 15% off
London Bridge Station

London Bridge Station

From the Bottom of the Shard

From the Bottom of the Shard

From the Left to right, Millennium Bridge, Southwark Bridge, Railway, London Bridge

From the Left to right, Millennium Bridge, Southwark Bridge, Railway, London Bridge

Sunsetting, can you see London Eye ?

Sunsetting, can you see London Eye ?

View of Tower Bridge

View of Tower Bridge

View of Tower Bridge at Night

View of Tower Bridge at Night

London Bridge Station Railway Lines

London Bridge Station Railway Lines

Probably the Best View Toilet in the entire london

Probably the Best View Toilet in the entire london

View of Tower Bridge from London Bridge

View of Tower Bridge from London Bridge

Bicycle Lanes Bigger than Car Lanes

Bicycle Lanes Bigger than Car Lanes

About the Shard

The Shard, also referred to as the Shard of Glass, Shard London Bridge and formerly London Bridge Tower, is a 95-storey skyscraper in Southwark, London, that forms part of the London Bridge Quarter development. Standing 309.6 metres (1,016 ft) high, the Shard is the tallest building in the United Kingdom, the 105th tallest building in the world, and the fourth tallest building in Europe. It is also the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom, after the concrete tower at the Emley Moor transmitting station.

From our previous trips, we often will go to the tallest building or tower to view the entire landscape of the region or city. This is the most expensive entry ticket we have encountered so far. Do Pre book online for 15% off!


Stay: Martel Guest House

Free Parking

Breakfast Included

Aircon

£110 / Night

Triple Room

Free Wi-Fi

  • Located at Zone 3 of London - Book here
  • Breakfast is freshly prepared
  • Daily tidy of the room 
  • Book early, as it gets unavailable very fast!
Yummy Breakfast! Wonder why the Eggs so white.

Yummy Breakfast! Wonder why the Eggs so white.

Free Parking!

Driving back from London to Martel Guest House takes about 45mins, the distance isn't that far but the roads are slightly congested during a Saturday Night. We even pass by Camden Town along the way and it looks happening!

Upon reaching the Guest House, we are greeted by Mr Phil! From all the reviews gathered, ​indeed his introduction and service makes our day too. He is very patient to explain the whole procedures, the keys and the breakfast timing.

The only complaint we have is, as we are at the bottom level, we can hear the thumping sounds whenever the 2nd level guest walks about in their room.​ Mrs Travelvoila complains about the bed being too firm though. Probably we walked 14km for our first day in London.

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London in 3 Days: Day 2

London is definitely not a place to drive especially the cost of parking is so expensive. Hence the 2nd day, we will be taking the underground visiting the places.


Transport: Underground

All Days

From £ 2.40 / Trip

Golders Green to Bank Station: 20mins

At Golder's Green

At Golder's Green

From Martel Guest House, it's around 25mins underground ride to Tower's Hill. In London, they use Oyster Card, similar to our Singapore's Ezlink card. And so unlucky that, the Circle Line is closed on the day. We have to walked from Bank Station to Tower of London. 


See: Tower of London

Open Mon - Sun 
9am to 5pm

From £ 21 / Adult

Recommended Stay Duration: 3-4 Hrs

  • Tallest Building in UK, 4th Tallest in Europe
  • Nearest Underground Station is Tower Hill Station (Circle & District)
  • Pre Book via Website for 15% off
Individual Tickets Queue

Individual Tickets Queue

Not too bad, we get to see some happenings stuffs along the way.

We reached the ticket office at 10.30am and the queue is long! We bought the Thamesclipper bundle with Tower of London (£4 savings) so you need to go to the Group Ticket Office instead of joining the main queue.

Some Read Up

The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London.

It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill.

The first thing you will encounter is the Free Tour with the famous Yeoman Warder tours, this tour starts every 30mins and a duration of 1 Hour. A narration of the past of the Tower of London, and each of the landmarks are for.

Traitors Gate

Traitors Gate

Next up is the Crown Jewels, we were so lucky that there wasn't a queue going into the building displaying the Crown Jewels. It is actually quite interesting to know about the history of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. And why is a Queen selected instead of the King. Read up before your trip and you will have better knowledge. Because the internet connectivity isn't very good inside the building.

I will say the Crown Jewels is probably the Key Highlights, and there are a few key places to take a look if you have time.

The Queue Outside Crown Jewels


There is armor for the private part as well

There is armor for the private part as well


Tower of Torture

Tower of Torture

Tower of Torture

View of Tower Bridge from London Tower

View of Tower Bridge from London Tower

View of Tower Bridge. Behind us is just Tower Pier to board the River Bus.


Transport: Thames Clipper

All Days

From £ 6.30 / Trip

Tower Pier to Westminister Pier20mins

  • River bus service on the River Thames in London
  • Can use with Oyster Card

As we are planning our route in London, Thames Clipper came as a wise choice for us to enjoy the cruise along Thames River from Tower Pier to Westminister where we are going to see the Big Ben.

Inside the River Bus

View of Tower Bridge From the River Bus

View of Tower Bridge From the River Bus

Westminister Pier is just opposite London Eye

Westminister Pier is just opposite London Eye

The River Bus is pretty enjoyable, queue is not very long and ample seating space inside the ferry. However, if there is limited seats for the outside area. You may need to stand to enjoy the cruise.


See: Big Ben

The crowded at Westminister

We wanted to take a look at Big Ben because Jay Chou sang a song on Big Ben. Westminister Palace and Abbey are closed on Sunday so it is just a touch and go for us. While we tour the Thames River from Tower of London to Westminister and proceed to our lunch venue.

The sun was pretty glaring when we are there around 2pm. Can't take beauitful shots of Big Ben though. Nonetheless, westminister seem to be a popular spot. There is a lot of passerby! 


Eat: Gold Mine London Duck

£43 for 3 Pax

Good Service

Delicious!


This photo of Gold Mine is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Deep Fried Squid with Garlic and Salt

Deep Fried Squid with Garlic and Salt

Half Roasted Duck, you can request to remove to bones

Half Roasted Duck, you can request to remove to bones

There is actually Fortune Cookie, Four Seasons and Gold Mine to choose from. Gold Mine is the furthest away from the underground station though.

Before we even come to London, we are craving roasted duck! The one in Tricotin isn't as good as this! While researching on which London to take. We conclude with Gold Mine.

Reviews say that can try Fortune Cookie (which is cheaper) or Gold Mine.

When entering Gold Mine restaurant, we were greeted with a sign (no credit cards payment) as their payment machine is faulty. We got abit worried though as we are left with £60 Cash. We are used to paying by card in France so we actually draw out £100 for our trip. Lucky the bill came up to be less than £50.

And at 3pm we are so hungry, that we ordered half a duck and deep fried squid. The Chilli for the Duck is also awesome, we requested refill for the Chilli Sauce.

After a hearty meal, while planning whether to Go Harrods or Primark, we realise they close at 6pm on a Sunday! Now we can only go 1 place and Primark it shall be.


Shop: Primark

Value for Money

Many Discounts

Open Mon - Sun

  • Many Many Outlets!
  • Check out their website
  • Good Bargain Stuffs out there.
Oxford Street

Oxford Street

With only 30mins to shop we are rather short of time! So we just agree on a time to meet then do our own shopping. I would say most of the stuffs are rather cheap but all of them are made in China.

I got a Winter Jacket for £19 !​ And here's our shopping for 30mins.

With Primark closing at 6pm, we just wander off along Oxford Street from ​Totteham Court Station to Oxford Circus Station. In fact, that day we walked 16km!

3 Days in  London: Day 3 - Back to France

Before driving back to Paris, France, I was making my final check on the best routes to take and whether if there is any toll to pay and google map keep mention about Toll charges. That is where I realise, we have to pay Toll when crossing to Dartford (Queen Elizabeth II Bridge)

So if you are driving from London back to Paris, please take note of this invisible toll charge. You can make payment online because there will not be any toll station at this Queen Elizabeth II bridge.

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Dartford Crossing charge (Dart Charge)

Dartford crossing is a major road crossing of the River Thames in England. So if you are the upper part of London above the Thames River, this is one of the bridge to cross with charges!

You can only pay on their website according to this article, they have taken away the Toll Stations for convenience sake.

So remember to pay your Dart Charge if you are required to cross. Charges apply between 6am and 10pm every day, including Christmas and other bank holidays.


Shop: Ashford Designer Outlet

Great Discounts

Many Brands

Open Mon - Sun

  • Located at Kimberley Walk, Ashford
  • Check out their website
  • Good Bargain Stuffs out there.
  • 30 Mins from Folkestone Eurotunnel
  • 90mins from London Centre

Before we conclude with Ashford Designer Outlet, we actually wanted to go Blue Water Shopping Centre which is at Dartford.

Somehow, we decided to drop by Ashford instead because there is a Gap Outlet and Abercrombie & Fitch Outlet.

According to my wife, she mentioned the clothes in A&F are much cheaper! The top she got for me last time at SGD50 cost SGD30 only! And if there is a 10% discount on your next purchase. So the first minute, you just purchase any cheaper stuffs, you get 10% on your next purchase instantly!

With so many brands to shop yet only 2 hours, we definitely be there the next round.

Back to Folkestone Euro Tunnel

After our 3 hectic days trip to London, it's a long drive back to Sens. It is not as long as the Germany Trip as I get to rest 35mins in the EuroTunnel Train. Driving 4 hours from Calais to Sens is considered acceptable.

Shop: Calais Channel Outlet Store

Value for Money

Free Parking

Open Mon - Sat
10am - 7pm

  • Not much Brands though
  • Check out their website
  • Good Bargain Stuffs out there.

After exiting the EuroTunnel, we decided to take a look at the Outlet Store nearby.

Definitely good bargain stuffs there, I got an Orange Adidas Sneaker for €30!​ Do check out that outlet store if you have time. 

Well, 4 hours back home! Will be back to UK and London for sure!

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Planning a trip to London? Let us know what questions you have?

Donovan

Don is a Kiasu Singaporean that blogs his journey while exploring Europe. A Singapore Travel Blog that provides travel guides and tips on how to travel free and easy in Europe.

  • Angela says:

    The oysters looks good! Are they fresh?

  • I have been to London 5 times, taken the Chunnel and never thought about the cars that are put on! Love London and you packed a lot in. I have never gone up the Shard, need to try it next time- as long as I can handle the height!

    • Donovan says:

      That’s our first trip to London. Visiting them again soon.
      You should try the Shard, beautiful but expensive.

  • Jithin says:

    Driving to UK from France sounds interesting. The country side of UK is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing the information.

    • Donovan says:

      It is quite fun taking the car up the train. The only thing is the car is not suitable for left hand driving, especially driving in London. Too many blind spots.

  • RJ says:

    Yay! What an experience.. I wanna try this in the future.. I guess driving would save a lot of money for hostels/hotels and It would be fun.. Road trips are the best.

  • Thanks for the useful tips. I have only heard about the congestion charge but obviously it’s real. Driving on the ‘other’ side, however, is the biggest challenge for me.

    • Donovan says:

      Ya, i guess it does helps with congestion. Driving is pretty congested in London, driving on the left hand side of the road, with a left hand drive car makes it more challenging.

  • It’s amazing what you covered in that amount of time, I am very impressed. We love visiting France via the tunnel, both in the car through Eurotunnel and via passenger train with Eurostar. Eurotunnel is particularly good as it’s so quick and easy to board, plus of course we can have our own car to explore and bring home lots of shopping from France too!

    • Donovan says:

      Yaaa! Especially if you can visit Ashford in UK. There is a designer outlet which have alot of shopping to do.

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