Ferry Crossings UK Europe

Posted on 17/08/2012 by Grant Hooker

Crossing the English Channel on a Dover – Calais ferry is almost a rite of passage for any UK resident. Whether it’s for that exchange trip to a French school or for a chance to stock up on some great wine and cheese at the legendary Calais Hypermarkets, we British know how to get to France! There are, however, many other ferry crossing routes from our island to Europe.


Ferry crossings from Dover

Dover to Calais tends to be the cheapest crossing because it’s the shortest and it’s the route with the most competition with P&O Ferries and SeaFrance operating the route. Norfolk Line (part of DFDS Seaways) operates a service form Dover to Dunkirk which is just up the French coast from Calais.

Dover is a great option for a quick and cheap crossing to Europe, but there are plenty of other routes available should you wish to choose.


EuroTunnel from Folkestone

With up to 41 trains per day, the Eurotunnel is the quickest way to get to Europe. You just need to get to Folkestone (near Dover) and then drive your car onto the Eurotunnel train. In less than an hour you will be driving in France. Once on the Euro Tunnel train you stay in your car and of course the view isn’t as good as it is from the ferry but saves time!


Ferry Crossings from Newhaven

Newhaven is about 60 miles further east along the coast from Dover. The gap between England and France is further so journeys tend to take longer than the Dover – Calais route. LD Lines operate a route from Newhaven to Dieppe in France. Note that the route is sometimes affected by the tide times.


Ferry Crossings from Portsmouth

Portsmouth is further along the south coast about an hour from London. Portsmouth is a great place to spend some time before catching the ferry. The Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has some of Britain’s most famous ships and it’s not too far from the ferry terminal. Brittany Ferries operate from Portsmouth to Caen, Cherbourg and St. Malo in France as well as ferry crossings to Santander and Bilbao in Spain. Crossing to Spain takes 24 hours, but is a great option if you want to explore Spain without having to spend time driving all the way through France. Some of the ferries to France leave late in the evening and then wait outside the French port until early morning. This means you can get a good night’s sleep in a cabin on the boat.

LD Lines also operate a service to Le Havre in France.


Ferry crossings from Poole

The area around Poole is perfect for camping and so many people choose to spend a few days in the local area before catching the ferry. Brittany Ferries run a service from Poole to Cherbourg in France.

Condor Ferries run a service to St. Malo via the Channel Islands and you will need to change ferries on this route in either Jersey or Gurnsey.


Ferry crossings from Weymouth

Condor again run ferries to St. Malo via the Channel Islands so you’ll need to change ferries in Jersey or Gurnsey.


Ferry crossings from Plymouth

Plymouth is a 4 hour drive from London so may not be the most convenient if that’s where you are starting your journey. However, if you are combining some time exploring the south coast counties of Devon, Cornwall or Dorset before heading to the continent then this is an ideal option.

Brittany Ferries operate from Plymouth to Roscoff and St. Malo in France as well as Santander in Spain.


Ferry crossings from Ramsgate

Ramsgate is just a few miles from Dover, but is a lot less busy port. Transeuropa Ferries run a service from here to Oostende in Belgium.


Ferry crossings from Harwich

Harwich is in East Anglia and is one of the UK’s largest freight ports, but has a couple of very useful ferry routes as well.

Stena Line operates two brand new ferries between Harwich and The Hook of Holland which is not far from Amsterdam.

Norfolk Line (part of DFDS Seaways) runs a route from Harwich to Esbjerg in Denmark. This is a good option if you are planning to drive up into Scandanavia.


Ferry crossings from Hull

P&O Ferries operate services from Hull to Zebrugge in Belgium and Rotterdam in Holland.


Ferry crossings from Newcastle

DFDS Seaways operate a ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam. This is a good choice if you plan to tour the north of England or Scotland before heading to Europe

Check out this map to get an idea of all the crossings...