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London to Tours with car - Euro tunnel or Ferry?

London to Tours with car - Euro tunnel or Ferry?

Jan 22nd, 2011, 11:28 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
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London to Tours with car - Euro tunnel or Ferry?

Would the Ferry be more interesting than the Tunnel with the difference in cost in mind? What would be the advantages ? This would be mid June 2011, four adults w/ one infant.
FREDMADCEL is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 11:57 AM
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hi fred,

which ferry did you have in mind?

dover - calais? [you might as well do the tunnel]


newhaven - dieppe?

poole - cherbourg/st. malo?

you will need to do your own homework as to which is going to be the best deal for you. Bear in mind that if you do dover-calais, you may need an overnight stop en route to Tours, which will increase the cost, as will the added petrol. OTOH, if you take an overnight ferry and book a cabin, that will increase the costs too.

you can work out mileages on viamichelin.co.uk.

where are you going to be starting from?
annhig is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 12:20 PM
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You can get some good deals on all crossings if you book it early. You cannot really get out of the car on the Shuttle train - not much room. Depending on where you are travelling from you may be glad of the chance to walk around and have a break on the ferry, especially with an infant on board. It will give the adults in the back of the car a chance to stretch their legs.
You should compare the prices and decide whether the minimal time saving through the tunnel is worth it.
hetismij is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 12:47 PM
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Oh one thing - if you are planning this trip in a rental car then you need to make sure you can take the car out of the UK - many companies will not allow you to do so or will charge a lot for the privilege. Taking it without permission will mean you are not insured.
hetismij is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 12:49 PM
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I don't think that a 20 minute trip through the tunnel really requires the concept of a break or stretching one's legs.
kerouac is online now  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 01:23 PM
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It's more than 20 minutes through the tunnel on the car train Kerouac.

My point is that with two adults and an infant in the back they may be glad to get out and walk around - which they can on a ferry but can barely do on the shuttle.
hetismij is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 02:09 PM
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Will this be a rental car? And if so -- will you be driving around the UK first?

If you rent a UK car -- some companies (Hertz is one I think) have a scheme where you turn in one car in England and pick up a different/LHD car in France.

If you aren't driving in England except to get to the train -- then wait until you are in France to rent a car.
janisj is online now  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 02:46 PM
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it may be only 30 mins actually in the tunnel, but you have to get there [an hour and a half at least from Central London] get loaded on the train, then get unloaded on the other side.

that's a least 2 1/2 hours, probably longer. only worth it if you are heading for north-east France, Belgium, or Germany.

if you want Normany, or the Loire, you are probably better off choosing to sail.

and the ferry is more fun!
annhig is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 02:51 PM
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You could fly to Tours from Stansted with Ryanair
alanRow is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 03:22 PM
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If you are starting in London, my suggestion would be the ferry from Portsmouth to Caen. Details are at www.brittany-ferries.co.uk.

The ordinary ferry takes 6 hours, which means you have three main options.
1)Stay in Portsmouth overnight and take the 0815 ferry.
2)Take the 1445 ferry and stay in Caen or Ouistreham immediately after your arrival in France.
3)Take an overnight ferry.

These are big comfortable ships with good facilities.
chartley is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 11:08 PM
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Personally, I wouldn't dream of (and never use any more)anything other than the tunnel.

The ferries to Normandy mean less driving - but they're expensive, limited in number, and involve a long sea trip (Channel weather is notoriously unpredictable, and often makes for VERY uncomfortable and unpleasant journeys if prolonged). Many regard the boat as part of the holiday, and many find them perfect for driving from the Midlands or North to Spain - but if you just want to get the car to Tours ASAP, they're a nuisance IMHO.

The ferries to Calais add at least 90 minutes to the tunnel journey. Tours is at the outer limit of a same-day drive from London: using the ferry puts it beyond, unless you get up at 0300.

The ferry to Dieppe has the advantage that Dieppe's nice (or rather less horrible than Calais). That's all, Both Newhaven and Dieppe are hours off the direct London-southern France route - and neither are nice ednough to waste time on - and you no longer go through Calais on the ferry: there's a short, fast road straight from after Immigration (one of the ferry problems is that Immigration's a lot slower than in the tunnel) to the motorway system.

It's just not true that you can't stretch your legs in the tunnel. We and our dog find the tunnel, and the pre-embarkation car parks, just perfect for leg stretching.
flanneruk is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 12:04 AM
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that's why I asked where the OP is starting from, Flanner.

if they are starting from say, Cornwall, the answer is going to be different to [or is that different from?] if they are starting in Kent.
annhig is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 06:29 PM
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We love the advice and dialog! Thanks so much to all who have responded to our questions. Rental car is for more room than our son-in-law's small Eastern Euro. car. We love seeing the country side and exploring (though a screaming 8 mo. old granddaughter may lessen the pleasure). Perhaps 5 of us being cramped in a small car will promote love and good feelings, but we really appreciate info about the ferry vs. the Chunnel, time, cost, rental cars, etc. We really do rely on input from you who have experience to ease us into our travel adventures. Thank you!
FREDMADCEL is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 06:31 PM
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P.S. We are leaving from our daughter & son-in-law's home in Potters Bar-North of London.
FREDMADCEL is offline  
Jan 24th, 2011, 02:11 AM
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hi Fred,

now we know where you are coming from, it does, as GTD says, make it easier. Personally, I think that from North London the tunnel is the way to go. Max 3 hours to boarding [being VERY conservative] 1 hour in the tunnel counting boarding and disboarding, 5 hours to Tours.

compare with the Portsmouth - Caen ferry - you've got to get round the M25, then the M3 - 4 hours minimum. then either 6 hours on the ferry, or 3, followed by a 3 hour drive. Even with the fast crossing, that's at least 10 hours, which with a small baby is probably going to take you two days.

Another option of course is to do both - tunnel out, ferry back! you could leave Tours midday, have decent supper in Caen, take night ferry to Portsmouth, and be home in time for lunch.
annhig is offline  
Jan 24th, 2011, 02:43 AM
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Coming from North London it makes even more sense to consider the Ryanair flight from Stansted and hiring a car once in Tours.

Saves you the cost of 2 ferry rides, the extra fee a hire company will charge for out of country use and the steering wheel will be on the correct side of the car - or are you going to rely on the passenger telling you when it's safe to pull out from behind that large lorry?
alanRow is offline  

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