Bruges to London?

Old Jan 18th, 2006, 09:34 AM
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Bruges to London?

We are taking a group of students to Amsterdam, then Bruges, then London. We would like to cross the English Channel by boat. I know there is the option to go back to the Netherlands and go Hook to Harwich route. Does anyone know how we could go to Dunkirk or Calais from Bruges and cross to Dover from there?
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 10:14 AM
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May sound complicated but it's not - take a train from Bruges to nearby Ostende and then hop the coastal tramway to DePanne from where buses connect with the trams to roll hourly to Dunkerque (45 min from DePanne)
or you can take a train right to DePanne from Bruges with one change.
the coastal tram is quite famous and goes right along the sea all the way to DePanne.
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 10:22 AM
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Or you can take the train to Ostende and the hydrofoil from Ostende to Dover.
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 10:39 AM
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this option is not by boat, but you could take a regional train from bruges to brussels (about 1 hr) then
take the eurostar to london waterloo,
smack dab in the middle of london (about 2 1/2 hrs)
ps bruges is sooooooooo charming!
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 11:06 AM
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Here is a quote from www.seat61.com, a site that gives wonderful information on train and boat travel in Europe.

"There have been no direct ferries of any sort from Dover to Oostende for some years now. It used to be possible to travel by train + SeaCat + bus + train from London via Dover & Calais to Oostende, Bruges, Ghent and Brussels, with through tickets available. Sadly, Hoverspeed have stopped operating on the Dover-Calais route as from 7 November 2005, so it is no longer possible to travel this way."
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 11:17 AM
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The boat is a great way to go but it'll cost a whole lot more in time and money than the Eurostar from Brussels to London (2.5 hrs)- this because folks under 26 can get $45 one-way youth fares on Eurostars Brussels-London, with a free transfer from Bruges to Brussels (ABS fare - All Belgian Stations fare that means you can take a free train from any Belgian station to Brussels in conjunction with a Eurostar ticket - so $45 would take the students under 26 all the way from Bruges to London - over 26 cheapest is $90 one way. Youth fares can be hard to book on some trains - only certain number of seats at that fare on each train but you can book nine months ahead - youth fare can also be changed once in Europe up until time of train without penalty. For details on Eurostar youth fare i suggest calling BETS (800-441-2387), Eurostar booking experts that i've used and highly recommend - they work thru RailEurope but have so much better service. As for the boat - cost at least $20 to get to Dunkerque, then about 25 pounds or $40-45 for the boat then about $30-40 to go from Dover to London by train and will take all day.
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 11:28 AM
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Adding to my previous note: You could take the train from Bruges to the Calais Ville station. There is free bus service from the station to the ferry port. When you get to Dover you can take a train from the Dover Priory train station to London.
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 11:29 AM
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Sorry for the wrong info I gave. I did this years ago. TimS has it right...
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 11:36 AM
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OK, you've sold me on the Eurostar. We did that last summer and I had forgotten our ticket to Bruges or from Bruges is free to the Eurostar in Brussels. And it will get us into London much faster.

Thanks for all the wonderful advice!
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 11:57 AM
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I think the students may appreciate taking one of the world's fastest trains - nearly 190 mph and blasting under the Chunnel as much as the boat ride - as least no one will become sea sick or the boats won't be cancelled in case of foul weather. And $45 is so cheap - but book very early to get this fare for a group of several people or more to get on the same train and sit together. Linda at BETS i mention above is a Eurostar booking wizard in terms of getting the block of seats you'd want.
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 01:13 PM
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There are no ferries from Oostende or Dunkerque that take foot passengers, so the only option by sea is from Calais. From Bruges to Calais, the easiest route is by train via Lille. At Calais, you have to get a bus from the station to the ferry terminal (no longer free). The ferry is cheap (14 euros when I used it last month). At Dover, there is a bus to the station (also no longer free). The journey is very complicated and should certainly only be considered if you're travelling light. It is much cheaper than using Eurostar if you haven't booked in advance - Eurostar's fares if you buy a ticket at the station before boarding a train are very high.
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Old Jan 19th, 2006, 08:56 AM
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Geoff's warning about if not having booked in advance you could end up paying a hundred dollars or more more than the $45 youth fare ($60 or $75) on some days - and you should book as soon as you're sure of the day as these cheap fares are strictly limited in numbers on many trains. Can book 9 months in advance and have fare locked in. The $45 youth fare hasn't changed in a few years and seems due to go up since comparable youth fares in europe are often much higher.
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