Tuesday, April 28th, 2009
Note: This post is part of a series on our Self Drive Family Holiday in France.
Ferry crossings to France
There are two reasons why we decided on the ferry crossing to France rather than flying, the first is the cost, if we were to fly, there would be 6 air tickets to purchase and then we would still have to hire a car in France. The other is just to try something different, I haven’t been on a car ferry to France before and so it sounds like it could be a fun part of the journey rather than something you just want to get over with. With the cost of cheap flights becoming more expensive, and increased competition amongst Ferry companies mean that cheap ferries to France are a real alternative to the no-frills airlines especially as they offer you the added advantage of door-to-door access, greater independence and flexibility giving you the freedom to explore France as well as the rest of Europe.
Dover to Calais
There are plenty of ferry crossing to France from the UK, the most used route is the 90 minute journey from Dover to Calais with a large choice of companies and crossings throughout the day. Probably the best known France ferry companis is P&O ferries, below is an example of what you can expect to pay:
- The prices range between £25 and £55 depending on time of travel in either direction.
- The cost is also the same for any amount of passengers up to 9 passengers.
Depart 6am: £25 (up to 9 people and a car)
Depart 8:30am: £55 (up to 9 people and a car)
So on average you are looking at about £80 to £100 for the return journey = approx £20 per person (based on 6 people)
Dover to Dunkirk
Another common route is from Dover to Dunkirk. Dunkirk is just north of Calais and is more convenient than Calais for many destinations in France as well as Belgium and Holland as well as providing shorter drive times to Germany, Switzerland. It also has the benefit of being a much quieter port meaning that you are on your way from the ferry port more quickly and the roads are a lot quieter although I think the crossing time is a little longer at about 2 hours.
Norfolkline is the only ferry company sailing to Dunkerque, France and an example of what you can expect to pay is below:
Outward journey - The Dover to Dunkirk Ferry
Friday 3 July 2009
6am depart: £24
Saturday 4 July 2009
6am depart: £39
Return Journey – The Dunkirk to Dover Ferry
Sunday 19 July 2009
Monday 20 July 2009
Prices above are for up to 4 passengers and a vehicle any extra passengers are £15 each for return tickets (add £30 to the total for 6 people)
So it will cost around £80 to £100 for the return journey (about £20 per person based on 6 people)
What if you live in the North?
From the North of Britain you don’t have to drive all the way down south to get on a ferry at Dover. Ferries from Newcastle to Holland, may be a better option even if you are travelling to France as it can not only save you many miles of driving put a few pounds as well. From Newcastle to Dover is 347 miles, take the ferry from Newcastle to Holland and it is only 175 miles before you reach the French border.
Ferries from Newcastle to Holland cost from £129 (one-way) based on 2 people and a car. For more details take a look at the DFDS Seaways Website
Ferry to Spain
Another option worth looking at if you are travelling to Southern France, is to catch the Ferry to Spain (Portsmouth to Bilbao) and then drive into France.
Go back to the main Self Drive Family Holiday in France page.