Ferry vs Eurostar: Getting from England to France

As you’ve seen all over my social media I recently travelled to Paris for a cheap girls weekend exploring the city. I was there for four days and it reminded me how much I love France from the people to the food to the scenery and the weather.

A few years ago I cycled 300 miles in four days from Paris to Riberac for Cancer Research. It was definitely a tough few days but it was also absolutely brilliant to see rural France and to camp in some of the lesser-known places.

When I went travelling around Europe I spent a month in France visiting Perpignan, Biarritz, Montpellier, Cannes, Nice and Marseille. I wouldn’t be able to pick a favourite.

How to travel to France

Getting from England to France is easy and once you’re there there’s loads to see, if you’ve got kids Euro Disney is a must. I still need to go skiing and I’d love to check out Champagne, for obvious reasons. You often see cheap ferry deals for France but being in London the Eurostar seems so much easier, I thought I’d take a look at which was actually better, here goes, ferry vs Eurostar.

Round One: Time

Ferry: You can get from Dover to Calais on the ferry in 90 minutes. If you want to come from London to Calais you can easily get a train from London St Pancras that takes an hour, right to Dover Port. Check in for car passengers closes 30 minutes before departure time and for foot passengers it’s 45 minutes. There are 46 sailings a day.

Eurostar: London to Paris takes just over two hours and you need to be at St Pancras Station 30 minutes before you leave. Cars aren’t allowed on the Eurostar, but they can use the EuroTunnel.

Eurostar vs Ferry

Round Two: Comfort

Ferry: you have your own car all packed up with everything you need, or you can just walk on with your suitcase and enjoy the crossing stood outside aboard the English Channel. You can stop when you like to make the road trip part of the adventure.

Eurostar: take as much as you like, but you’ll have to carry it yourself and use the luggage racks. There is an on board shop to buy snacks and of course a toilet too. There are 24 journeys every day to Paris.

Round Three: Price

Ferry: for a family of 4 (over 12), a week from now, the cheapest option for a week is £120. (£30 each)

For a couple, a month from now, the cheapest option for a week is £95. (£47.50 each)

Eurostar: for a family of 4 (over 12), a week from now, the cheapest option for a week is £576. (£144 each)

For a couple, a month from now, the cheapest option for a week is £268. (£134 each)

Wow, that’s quite a big difference! 

how to get to France

Round Four: Moving on

Ferry: drive off the ferry and you have immediate motorway access to get to the rest of France, and Europe.

Eurostar: there are trains connecting to the rest of nearby Europe from the Gare du Nord, where you’ll land. Or you can get a taxi from outside to the rest of Paris.

Conclusion

In my independent eyes I’d say that if you’re a family living in ‘Not London’ who wants to explore France / Europe the ferry would be the best option for the reasons above.

If you’re a solo traveller, or under confident driver, who lives in London, or within easy access, just looking for an easy weekend in Paris or nearby France the Eurostar is the best option.

And if you’re somewhere in between you’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons and decide for yourself!

Hope I’ve helped in some way. Let me know what which option you choose…

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2 Comments

  1. by Carrie on August 2, 2015  8:53 pm Reply

    I was wondering, all things being equal, if seeing the Dover Cliffs would make a difference in your decision. I am first time with 7 and 10 year old boys. Was planning on Eurostar, but friend said Dover Cliffs were beautiful. Thanks! Warmly, Carrie

    • by Vicky on August 3, 2015  6:56 pm Reply

      Hi Carrie, they are beautiful to see but would the kids appreciate them?

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