If you are planning a trip to France then as the saying goes “time spent in reconnaissance is never wasted”. Our "Ferry to France" page is designed to give you some pointers which will hopefully save you some time and money with your trip to France.
Booking the ferry that best suits your needs, not just on price but in terms of getting you closer to your final destination and allowing you to travel at a time that’s suitable to you (and your family) requirements is really going to make a difference to the overall success and enjoyment of your trip.
Clearly by shopping around you can save money as the Ferry companies often have special offers available.
Regardless of whether this is your first trip by ferry or you are an experienced campaigner then I'm confident you will find some useful information in this section of the website.
Before you leave home
Make sure you have the documentation you need for all passengers such as passport or ID card and of course if you are driving in France you will need the vehicle documents, such as Log Book (V5), MOT, and Insurance documents.
See our Checklist page for more details.
Each ferry company has its own rules for boarding, but typically its three quarters of an hour to an hour as an absolute minimum for check-in prior to the ferry departing. I like to be there two hours before the ferry is due to leave just to avoid the queues.
When you book you will get check-in details via email from the ferry company so read them carefully and let them know if you have any special travel needs that they should be aware of.
I know it’s a boat not a plane but I always take a small hand luggage type bag with me so I can leave my big case in the car and just take what I need with me to my seat.
All the ferry companies have things well sign posted but just make things quicker and easier for everyone by making sure you have your booking reference and passports to hand.
Port staff will be direct you through the security checks and guide you into car lanes where you must remain with your car.
They will then issue you a boarding card that you must hang on your interior mirror so the harbour staff can easily identify you.
Size of Vehicle
If you are driving a standard car there won't be a problem but just be careful to check with the ferry company if you are driving something huge.
When on board
LPG cars/vans have to have the tanks turned off whilst on-board.
The clocks on the ships are always quoted in local time to the port you are leaving so UK when you are going out and French time when coming back.
All the ferry companies have a variety of things for you to do and spend your money on whilst on board.
You will be directed through the security checks and will enter the departure car lanes where you must remain with your car.
The staff will guide you on board and they carefully position all the vehicles according to size and weight. Always remember to put the handbrake on and I usually leave it in gear to make sure.
If you are also considering the Channel Tunnel as an option then why not read this excellent article on the Eurotunnel by Roger Holden.