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A Dover to Calais or Dunkerque ferry is usually the cheapest way to cross the channel. Dunkerque is in France, east of Calais. The
Eurotunnel is the fastest way, but it will almost always cost more.
I have found that you can usually (subject to availability and price difference when you booked) turn up for an earlier ferry or Chunnel without having to pay more, because they can give resell your space on the later service, but if you're late they will often charge a penalty of about £40 to change your ticket.
The cheapest return prices I have seen are £35 for Dover to Dunkerque, £50 for Dover to Calais, and £100 for the Eurotunnel. Double these prices for the most popular high season / midday crossings.
Don't forget to take your passport. Sometimes they don't check passports on the way into France, but they always check on the way back. You will probably be allowed back in the country (assuming you speak perfect English and have other ID etc), but it's a hassle.Dover to Dunkerque
Dover to Calais
Harwich to Hook of Holland
Newcastle to Amsterdam
Hull to Rotterdam
Hull to Zeebrugge
Norfolk Line (now DFDS) Dover - Dunkerquewww.norfolkline.com
Regular schedule from Friday 4th February 2011:
Departures from Dover
Departures from Dunkerque
Norfolk line (DFDS) is often the cheapest ferry crossing the channel, costing around £50 return in low season and £100 in high season. Book an off peak sailing time to get the best deal. The ferry goes from Dover to Dunkerque, which is just east along the coast from Calais. The crossing takes 2hrs, which is about 1/2 hour longer than Dover to Calais, but it takes about 15 minutes off the drive to the Germany.
I have never had a problem getting on to an earlier ferry with Norfolk Line, and have had to pay for a few later ones. If you need to change a booking, call 0844 847 5042 (or +44 208 127 8303 if outside the UK) or email email@example.com 24 hours in advance of your sailing time. I wasn't charged to change the details of the car on a booking in 2010 but you may be charged if you want to change to a more popular ferry time or won't make your original booking time.
P&O Ferries Dover to Calaiswww.poferries.com
The P&O Ferries leave about every 45 minutes in the daytime, and about every hour throughout the night. The Calais ferry terminal is about a ten minute drive from the duty free supermarkets.
Crossings take about 1.5hrs and the motorway to Germany can be picked up easily. I have always found Norfolk Line's Dover to Dunkerque route to be cheaper than the P&O Dover to Calais, and you make up the extra sailing time by being closer to the Ring at Dunkerque. However, P&O does have nicer terminals at the borders.
Eurotunnel Dover to Calaiswww.eurotunnel.com
The Chunnel takes 35 minutes, an hour less than the Calais ferry. Note that you can't take an LPG car on the Eurotunnel, and it is probably more economical to take a trailer on a ferry than the Chunnel. You can also load up on duty free on the ferry, but not the tunnel, although better deals are probably available in the supermarkets and booze warehouses around Calais. The Eurotunnel operates 24hrs a day, 365 days a year, and leaves every 30 minutes.
Stena Line Harwich (Essex) to Hook of Hollandwww.stenaline.co.uk
The Harwich to Hook of Holland service takes 6.5hrs and leaves twice a day:
Norfolk Line Newcastle to Amsterdam (IJmuiden)www.norfolkline.com
The Newcastle to Amsterdam service goes overnight at 5pm and arrives at 9.30am the next morning. The return journey has the same sailing times. The Nurburgring is about 225 miles from Amsterdam (versus 305 miles from Calais). A sample search just after Easter 2011 gave a return price of £150 for a car and £218 for a two person cabin (compulsory on overnight sailings).
Note; All times stated are local times.
P&O Hull to Rotterdamwww.poferries.com
The Hull to Rotterdam service goes overnight at 9pm and arrives at 8am the next morning. The return journey has the same sailing times. The Nurburgring is about 210 miles from Rotterdam (versus 305 miles from Calais). A sample search just after Easter 2011 gave a return price of £170 for a car and £240 for a two person cabin (compulsory on overnight sailings).
P&O Hull to Zeebruggewww.poferries.com
The Hull to Zeebrugge service goes overnight at 6.30pm and arrives at 9am the next morning. The return sailing leaves at 7pm and arrives at 8am. The Nurburgring is about 250 miles from Zeebrugge (versus 305 miles from Calais). A sample search just after Easter 2011 gave a return price of £170 for a car and £240 for a two person cabin (compulsory on overnight sailings).
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