Ferries to France

December 3, 2014

Planning on taking the family over to the content? Here’s some useful information of where the ferries depart from.

Sea France ferry on route to Calais in France - Photo by David Merrett

Ferries to France – Operators, UK Ports, and Timetables

If you are planning on taking the family over the channel for a European adventure, perhaps for a spot of Camping in France, then needing to know where ferries leave in the UK, and where they then dock in France, is an important first step of planning your journey.

Hopefully the table below will help you with your planning, with a summary of which French ports are served by which ferry operator, and from which ferry port. Click on the ‘View Ferry Timetable’ to see more information from that operator.

Destination Departs Operator Approx Duration Timetable
Calais Dover 1.5 hours View Ferry Timetable
  1.5 hours View Ferry Timetable
Dunkerque /Dunkirk Dover 2 hours View Ferry Timetable
Dieppe Newhaven
  4 hours View Ferry Timetable
Le Havre Portsmouth   4.5-9 hours View Ferry Timetable
Caen Portsmouth 3.5 hours View Ferry Timetable
Cherbourg Portsmouth 3 hours View Ferry Timetable
Poole   4.5 hours View Ferry Timetable
St. Malo Portsmouth   8 hours View Ferry Timetable
Poole 10 hours View Ferry Timetable
Roscoff Plymouth 6-8 hours View Ferry Timetable
Ferry operators to France

Locations of French Ferry Ports

Click on a port for details of ferry ports and choices of where to sail from.

[geo_mashup_map object_ids=”37222,37219,37215,37211,37207,37201,37172,37163″]

Are you planning on transporting gas cylinders for camping?

Transporting your gas cylinder
Many of us use gas cylinders when taking the family camping, and just because you’re travelling to France, doesn’t mean you can do just the same the other side of the Channel. However, there are some rules and regulations.

Read more >

Can I take a roof box on a ferry to France?

From our experience of family travel, families don’t travel light, and a roof box was one of the first essential purchases we made (followed by a larger car, and then a trailer…but that’s a whole separate story).

If you have a roof box a big question you might have is: can you take it on the ferry?

The answer is “yes”, “no”, or “it depends”.

Sorry, not a useful answer, so here’s the details….

Ferry operators have height restrictions on certain decks, and the space for taller vehicles can be limited, especially on some routes. In addition, the height of a standard family car with a small roof box is very different to a MPV with a big roof box.

So it really depends on your vehicle, the size of the roof box, and the ferry that is operating on the route you wish to go on.

Can I take a trailer or bike rack on a ferry to France?

As with the roof box, the answer is “it depends”.

Just as with height, vehicle length can be restrictive and can attract a supplemental charge. After all, the more longer vehicles the operator takes, there will be less that can fit on the ferry.

For example, Brittany Ferries state that a trailer can be up to 4m long and up to 1.83 metres high. When measuring the length of your trailer you must include all of the length, including the hitch.

Note that anything larger (such as up to 9m long) would fall into a Caravan category.

Trailers and caravans may not be permitted on some routes, such as those operated by high speed ferries.

Useful Links on Ferry Vehicle Dimensions


Use the table above to see which operator provides the ferry service on the route you wish to take, and then click on the link below to see what vehicle restrictions and advice they provide.

  • Brittany Ferries – They have a useful table that shows the heights and length of vehicles, and what is and is not permitted. Vehicles over 1.83 metres may have a supplemental charge.
  • DFDS Seaways – Click the link to view their FAQs. They are fine if your vehicle’s combined height is less than 2.35 metres and less than 5 metres long.
  • Condor Ferries – Click to view the vehicle information for Condor Ferries. There is only limited space for vehicles over 1.85m. Their standard car length is 5.5m. If you have a trailer or caravan and the combined length is over 6.5m you must ring 0845 609 1024.

 Please note that the above information has just been provided as a guide to help you plan your family trip to Europe. Always double check the latest information with the ferry operators before booking. 

Should you take the plane or a ferry to France?

If you’re unsure on whether to fly or take the ferry, Brittany Ferries have put the following together that compares flying vs. taking the ferry.

Ferry to France vs Plane

Image source: Brittany Ferries – Ferry VS Plane to France

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Gav Grayston
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Gav Grayston Contributor

Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.

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  1. If you’re planning to use the ferry on one of the longer crossings such as to Roscoff, we’d suggest that you do a night crossing, especially if you have younger children. Night crossings mean your children can get a good nights sleep meaning that they are fully refreshed for the onwards journey to your chosen destination. This in turn means less tired and stressed out children allowing you to have a happier journey!

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