Few cities are as iconic for travel must-do’s as London and Paris — which is exactly why they should be on every family’s bucket list! On this exciting adventure, Essential Europe: Best of London & Paris Family Adventure, we take all the hard work out of planning your convenient summer vacation to the lands of plucky wizards, audacious teddy bears and a little prince so you can make storybook memories of your own. Get whimsical in Windsor, where you’ll step into the footsteps of the royal family, board a private double-decker bus in a group of just 26 or fewer, and enjoy an invigorating speedboat ride on the Thames River. Soar to great heights on the London Eye, and admire an exclusive Vantage point high atop the Eiffel Tower. Marvel as you trek from the capital of the United Kingdom to France via the high-speed Chunnel, and pedal at your own pace on a fun included biking tour. With family-friendly accommodation options in the heart of each city, we’ve got it all taken care of for you — so reserve your departure today!
Depart home and fly overnight to London, England
Your journey begins with an overnight flight to London.
Double your pleasure on a double-decker
Today, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and more will thrill you when you arrive in the U.K.’s capital. If you arranged your air or a transfer through Vantage, a greeter will welcome you for your ride to your centrally located hotel (with a pool for the kids!).
Get settled in before departing on a private double-decker bus tour with your small group of just 26 travelers. Learn about contemporary architecture like the Gherkin building, and London’s Roman roots during a fascinating jaunt through the city’s iconic highlights.
Tonight, you’ll have a welcome briefing and get to know fellow travelers better during an included Welcome Dinner.
Pedal whimsical Windsor
This morning, head to the Royal Parks of London for an exciting small-group guided bike tour. (The pace will be age- and ability-appropriate for the group.)
Later, you’ll head to Windsor, where you'll be given local currency to explore and pick what you want for lunch. Perhaps you’ll opt for a ploughman’s platter, a modern precursor to the charcuterie plate. This cold assortment of bread, cheese, onions, pickles and butter can also be served with ham and eggs. Then, see how the other half lives during an included tour of Windsor. You'll depart via motorcoach, bound for the official residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Your guided tour includes a peek into the royal bedchambers.
This evening, dinner is on your own, and you’ll have time for independent explorations.
Reach great heights and speeds on the Thames and the London Eye
Today is a day that’s sure to entertain. After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll visit the Tower of London for a guided visit. Its storied history as both a palace and a prison is sure to excite kids of all ages, and you’ll learn about its famous residents and dark history thanks to the Yeomen Warders — otherwise known as the Beefeaters. Their colorful uniforms are just as colorful as the tales they tell as the official guards of Her Majesty's Royal Palace. Lunch is included at the Tower of London today.
Afterwards, satisfy your need for speed with a fun Thames speedboat cruise. In a small group, climb aboard a RIB vessel to see the city’s most iconic sites from a new vantage point. It’s best to wear comfortable clothes you won’t mind getting a splash or two on as you zip along for 50 minutes of thrills.
It’s just a glimpse of what you’ll see next from far above the city skyline aboard the London Eye, up next. Much more than a Ferris wheel, its high-tech glass pods have interactive touchscreens. Your half-hour rotation puts you 450 feet in the air for soaring views of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and more.
This evening is at your leisure.
Travel back in time at the British Museum, then take in some theater in the West End
This morning, after a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, you’ll visit the British Museum. The first national public museum in the world houses an eye-opening 8 million artifacts spanning some six millennia. Enjoy a kid-friendly, hands-on tour — especially fascinating is sure to be Ginger, the 5,400-year-old mummy who offers up a key to deciphering hieroglyphics.
This afternoon, enjoy free time before heading out in the early evening for an included pub dinner. Then, prepare to be amazed during an iconic London experience — a theater performance. The West End district is renowned as the “Broadway of Europe,” and you’ll enjoy an experience that is age-appropriate for your group (performances to be determined based on schedule closer to your departure date).
This morning, you’ll depart your hotel, conveniently leaving your luggage to be transported separately as you take another exciting transportation option — the Chunnel! The 31-mile Channel Tunnel connects Paris and London under the sea and is a true engineering marvel. Who doesn’t love riding a train . . . especially when it cuts down on the commuting time between your next city! On board, enjoy a snack. You can then indulge a bit more on all of France’s culinary delights when you arrive, board a coach, and journey to Montmartre for a guided tour.
Visit the UNESCO-listed Palace of Versailles
This morning, play the narcissist when you visit the UNESCO-listed Palace of Versailles and its dazzling Hall of Mirrors. Gaze at yourself, and those around you, admiring the multiangled view of Sun King Louis the XIV’s architectural opus. Your departure will be the best time of year to admire the resplendent gardens, too.
After free time for lunch, visit the famed Arc de Triomphe. This monument is the epicenter of 12 avenues in the heart of the city, and you can admire its breathtaking glory and learn about its prominent place in history honoring those who fought in the Napoleonic wars during a guided tour.
This evening, enjoy leisure time and an independent dinner. Ask your Adventure Leader for recommendations about Paris’ hundreds of charming bistros.
Enjoy a family-friendly Paris tour and a Louvre scavenger hunt
This morning, embark on a family-friendly tour of Paris, culminating with the Louvre. Just as much a work of art as the works within it, the building has a storied history as a fortress and royal palace and crypt. Just after the French Revolution, it was opened as a public museum, and today houses some 38,000 objects and gets about 8 million visitors a year. You’ll be one of them, admiring such works as the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. Discover them in a unique way during a Vantage-exclusive guided tour with commentary and a fun scavenger hunt.
This afternoon, enjoy a scenic lunch overlooking the grand Eiffel Tower. Afterwards, feel free to roam — perhaps you’ll try shopping, or grab a sweet treat, like a crunchy macaron or some mouthwatering French chocolates.
Tonight, bid adieu to France during a private cruise on the Seine at night. Sail past the glittering Eiffel tower and wave to others on the picturesque banks.
Depart Paris and fly home
Today, you’ll be transferred to the airport if you bought your flights from Vantage, and fly back to the U.S.A.
Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Tour Director or local representatives at the destination.
Please Note: The hotels listed are preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract our hotels a year in advance, unforeseen situations do occasionally occur. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality and value will be substituted. You will receive verified hotel information with your final itinerary.
Note: That hotel ratings are based on the hotel and a leading travel industry authority on hotels throughout the world.