Crossing English Channel by Ferry

Old Oct 24th, 2003, 04:58 AM
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Crossing English Channel by Ferry

We would like to visit Canterbury and take a ferry or hovercraft across to see Normandy? Has anyone done this? Is it a big hassel or should we save it for another trip?
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Old Oct 24th, 2003, 06:15 AM
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My husband and I took the ferry from England to the Normandy area of France. It takes about 7 hours to cross the channel. We stayed in Normandy 4 days and took the ferry back to England. We didn't find it a big hassel at all. We loved our tour of Normandy. I have no information about a hovercraft though.
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Old Oct 24th, 2003, 06:17 AM
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It's not a hassle to cross the channel, but from Canterbury your nearest port is Dover. From here most crossings take you to Calais. Unless you have a car to take you further and a few days to stay then Normandy is not that easy to just "pop over" to. BTW, there are no longer any Hovercrafts crossing the channel (and I used to enjoy using them).
The easiest way to get into the middle of Normandy is to cross to Caen (or possibly Cherbourg), but you'd have to go to Southampton or Portsmouth. You can get to Dieppe from Newhaven (summer only).
It's amazing the statistics of numbers of passangers who never get further than Calais when crossing the channel, but then they're going on booze-cruises anyway.
In short, unless you have either the desire to travel on to Normandy from Calais or the time then save it for another trip.
I'm sure that someone will contradict me though!
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Old Oct 24th, 2003, 06:56 AM
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If you're in a car it's a doddle.

Well under an hour to Dover, ferries about every 30 minutes, taking 90 mins to Calais (lot less by Seacat, which matches the extinct hovercraft for speed, though not for quirkiness), then a few hours down the autoroute to Normandy. Worth trying www.Cheapest-ferry-crossing.co.uk for deals. Prices can be unbelievably high (and ALWAYS higher than Concorde per passenger mile) so play round a lot to get a price that's merely extortionate.

Without a car, you need either:
- to go back to London, train to Portsmouth then ferry to Caen
- pray that Ben Haines tunes in soon, to help you get a train from Calais to Caen. Trains from Canterbury to Dover less messy, and walk-on ferry fares also extortionate.

The cheapest way is almost certainly to fly London-Paris then train to Caen, unless you can organise yourself to get a cheapo for the car.
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Old Oct 24th, 2003, 08:11 AM
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Canterbury is a long way from Normandy. The easiest way to do this is to go via London to Portsmouth, then take an overnight ferry to Caen or St-Malo (www.brittany-ferries.com) or to Le Havre or Cherbourg (www.poferries.com). If you get a ferry from Dover to Calais, the easiest way to lower Normandy is via Paris, so an alternative would be to go by train from Canterbury via Ashford to Paris, then by train. You didn't say which part of Normandy you want to visit.
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Old Oct 24th, 2003, 09:08 AM
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If you plan to take a car, check with your hire company first - you may not be allowed to remove it from Britain or have to pay an additional insurance premium for the privilege.
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Old Oct 24th, 2003, 10:01 AM
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What time of the year are you talking about? If it's in the winter, don't do it! The seas are very, very rough!
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Old Oct 24th, 2003, 11:27 AM
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So far as I know, this is the first time I have been an answer to prayer. Now, can I live up to the billing ?

The fastest train route from Canterbury to Normandy lies via Paris, with a transit of the city.
To Caen not Sunday, Canterbury West 0711, Ashford 0737 to 0829, Paris Nord 1123, taxi or bus, Paris St Lazare 1200 or 1225, Caen 1406 or 1409

To Rouen not Sunday, Canterbury West 0711, Ashford 0737to 0829, Paris Nord 1123, taxi or bus, Paris St Lazare 1240, buffet car train, Rouen 1345

Now avoiding Paris

Mondays to Fridays Canterbury East 0729 or 0806, Dover Priory station 0756 or 0836, Dover Eastern Dock 0915, Calais Maritime 1145, Calais station 1229, Boulogne Amiens 1501 to 1610, Rouen 1740 to 1805, Caen 2014

Saturdays and French bank holidays Canterbury East 0729 or 0806, Dover Priory station 0756 or 0836, Dover Eastern Dock 0915, Calais Maritime 1145, free bus, Calais station 1229, Amiens 1501 to1530 or 1610, Rouen 1700 or 1740 to 1805, Caen 2014

Sundays. Canterbury East 0930 , Dover Priory station 0957, Dover Eastern Dock 1045, Calais Maratime 1315, free bus, Calais station 1348, Boulogne 1426 to 1436, Amiens 1602 to 1831, Rouen 1940, no connection to Caen

But as jenstu13 and AR say you could sleep from Portsmouth to Le Havre. I find winter crossings not bad, now that boats have stabilisers.

Canterbury West 1750, Waterloo East 1934, Waterloo 2000, Portsmouth Harbour 2134, Portsmouth Continental ferry port 2230, bed on P & O Ferries, Le Havre 0645

Boats also sail from Portsmouth at much the same time overnight to Ouistreham near Caen and to Cherbourg. Google will find you the operators, P & O Ferries UK, Condor ferries, and Brittany Ferries

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Old Oct 24th, 2003, 11:40 AM
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If you have a car it would probably be easier to take the Channel Tunnel; crossing is only half an hour from Folkestone to Calais, and getting on the train with your car is very easy too.
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Old Oct 24th, 2003, 06:37 PM
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I agree with the last post from Tulips.
By FAR the simplest is the Channel tunnel train. We visited Canterbury, spent the night, drove to Folkstone. Then we drove the car right on to the channel train,,drove off in Calais, and drove down the coast of Normandy. Simple! Hertz has a "le Swap" program where you change cars in Calais (not far from the port) from right to left hand drive for France. Last year we were in France,Belgium and went the other way. Changed the car at the same Hertz office in Calais to a right hand English car , drove onto the train, and drove off in Folkstone, for our visit to England. It only take about 25 minutes. Of course if you have an English car and are going to Normandy for a short time you CAN use the same car (but I wouldn't advise Passing any cars, for you can't see from the right side drive). I think plenty of English people go over to France and drive this way.
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