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Chunnel or Ferry from Normandy to England

Chunnel or Ferry from Normandy to England

Old Aug 1st, 2009, 04:08 AM
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Chunnel or Ferry from Normandy to England

We will be in Normandy France(Dives sur Mer) in late August and would like to go over to England (London/Windsor) for a couple of days. We will have our car with us. Is it better to take a ferry or the Chunnel? Thank you!
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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 04:31 AM
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Both options are feasible, but from where you are going to be in France it will be more convenient to take the ferry from either Caen or Le Havre over to Portsmouth. The channel tunnel entry point is at Calais, some 200km to the east of Dives Sur Mer. Do you really need to take the car with you, for just a couple of days? It would be a lot cheaper esp in August to go over without the car on the ferry and take the train up to London.
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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 04:48 AM
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>>

Is that a car owned by you or a car rented by you? In either case will you have permission from the insurance company / hire company to take the car to the UK?

Also consider flying from Dinard to Stansted with Ryanair

PS the only people who call it the Chunnel these days are the authors of bad guide books
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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 05:04 AM
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Thanks for the tip on the UK/insurance. Sorry about the faux pas on the "Chunnel." What is the best term to use?
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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 05:07 AM
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We will have our two young children with us, so we though that the car might make things easier for us. No???
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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 05:32 AM
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You will be in a left hand drive car -- you will be driving on the left side of the road. That is not easy (a real understatement) unless you do it semi-regularly. I have driven a left hand drive car occasionally and you cannot see around curves, often cannot see obstructions, and judging spaces on very narrow roads is an acquired talent.

A car will be next to useless in London -- very congested and VERY expensive due to stratospheric parking costs and the congestion fees (you have to pay to drive w/i London)

So once you did get to England -- you'd probably be taking public transport and trains anyway.

So save the long drive up to Calais and save the hassle driving a left hand drive car on the other side of the road. Take the ferry as foot passengers to Portsmouth and then the train in to London.

(If you really want to take a car -- some rental companies have a scheme where you trade your continental car for a UK car or vise versa - but you need to research ahead of time for the details)
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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 05:49 AM
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PS the only people who call it the Chunnel these days are the authors of bad guide books

...and a certain person who insists that the right to call it so is written into the United States constitution ;-)

We usually say Channel Tunnel, Eurostar etc.
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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 06:27 AM
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USAMom - I wholeheartedly agree with Janisj's comment.

We love the Eurostar but last year decided to take the ferry from Dover to Calais as footpassengers. NEVER AGAIN! We had to drag our luggage up a three storey ramp to get to the passenger section of the ferry, after being through a 3 stop passport/security barrier.
It was ON the bus, then OFF the bus, then back ON, then OFF again! Awful! Upon landing at Calais it cost us a 40euro taxi to the Eurostar terminal at Calais-Frethun( a long way away) to pick up the train into Paris. I don't know if leaving from Calais would mean the same in reverse for the Eurostar?! Maybe someone could help here?
I would only take a ferry if I drove onto the ship and I don't think you should bother with a car for this trip.
Maybe the one and only reason to do the ferry then train is for the kids sake - they would probably love it.
Thats my 2 cents worth at anyrate! Good luck with which ever way you decide!
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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 06:52 AM
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And, USAMom, trains are great for kids, especially compared to riding in a car; trains are spacious and comfortable, have a toilet at the end of the car, maybe dining on board or a picnic. I bet your kids would be thrilled by a boat/train combination.

However, trains can be expensive in Britain. You can save a lot by booking early.
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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 09:57 AM
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For a two day trip you will only need one small bag so that shouldn't be a problem.

tod, how else are you going to board a ferry?
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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 10:42 AM
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Tod--Just saw your comment about the ferry and luggage. We have to get from Calais to Dover on a Saturday in September to join a cruise. Is one ferry line easier to get on than another? We had not planned to make a reservation--we were told they run all day long and we have lots of time--or so I thought. We will have 2 medium bags and one small one plus a large tote. We are in our early 60's but travel a lot withour difficulty. Just afraid of the 3 flights of steps. Maybe there are porters--or is that an impossible dream!!
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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 11:19 AM
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To grankath - we have only travelled by ferry once, about a month ago, from the UK to France and return, and there were no porters and also no trolleys. So you have to be able to manage your luggage yourself. We booked a long way ahead for our ferry and it was full going to France but that was a Friday night. I also looked into catching the ferry from Dover to somewhere in France, sometime in the next few months and some of the ferries don't take foot passengers and some were full. So I would definitely look into it now and don't just think you can wing it. I'm no expert at ferry travel but I wouldn't chance it.

Kay
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Old Aug 1st, 2009, 02:09 PM
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If you're travelling from Normandy to Portsmouth, the overnight sailings are generally best and you should book in advance to get a cabin.
www.brittany-ferries.com
www.ldlines.co.uk
For ferries from Calais to Dover, there is never any need for foot passengers to book in advance. Both P&O and SeaFrance have fairly frequent sailings. Note that foot passengers are only carried on daytime sailings.
Luggage will be a problem: you have to take a bus from the terminal to the ship and vice versa, and there are no porters.
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