Spain Guide

France Guide

Ferry to France French Crossings

Ferry to France French Ferry crossings

The cross channel ferry route was created in 1841 as a means of sustaining the link between trains on the English side and their counterparts in France.

These days we are more likely to be taking the ferry to France because we want to be able to use our car once we arrive, and also because it is useful to have the car for carrying luggage and children, and for bringing back some local fare (and a bottle or two of wine) on the return journey.

Where can you get a ferry to France?

A ferry crossing to France can take anything from 70 minutes to eight hours, depending on the route. The five major UK ports and their routes to France are as follows:

Dover to Calais and Dunkirk

Newhaven to Dieppe

Portsmouth to Caen, Le Havre, Cherbourg, St Malo

Poole to Cherbourg

Plymouth to Roscoff

There are about eight main ferry providers, most of which run ferry services from the UK to France, but also to the Netherlands, Belgium, the Channel Islands and Spain.

When you take a ferry to France, you must remember to take the appropriate passports for you and any children who are travelling with you. Nowadays some companies demand that each child has their own passport. Also, if you are going to be driving in France, you need to have your driving licence and insurance documents with you. In France, drivers are obliged to have proof of ownership on them when they are in the car because otherwise they could be suspected of driving a stolen vehicle. The same rules apply for motorbikes.

You do not necessarily have to be in a car in order to take the ferry to France, there is plenty of room for foot passengers as well. If you are cycling around Francecycling around France, you can take your bike on the ferry with you at no extra cost (usually) but you may have to check in with the other vehicles.

The rules have changed about taking pets over to France with you in the last few years. If your pet is microchipped, vaccinated against rabies, and blood tested by an approved lab, you should be able to take it with you.