How to search & book a ferry
UK to France options
How to search and book a ferry
There are ferry routes all over the world and it's a wonderful way to travel. We love it! Nothing beats relaxing on a ferry knowing you are being transported across the sea to a new destination. Many ferries on longer routes have comfortable lounges, shops, bars and restaurants and some even have swimming pools, spas and cinemas. Cabins are usually simple but clean and have everything you need for a peaceful nights sleep. Most ferry company websites give detailed descriptions of their boats so you can see exactly what's on board. They also have handy information about the port and services available before you board.
If you want to get a ferry the first thing to do is work out what route you want to take. There are a couple of ferry comparison websites which will throw up all kinds of routes and similar routes once you fill in the destinations you want to travel between. AFerry* and Direct Ferries both allow you to search by route, port or country and both have routes all over the world. Once you find the route you need you can either book directly through the site or visit the ferry company's own website to book. Remember to put in all the information correctly to get a correct final price.
Our 'Quick Links' page at the top has links to the most popular ferry companies and the countries they cover.
UK to France options
Calais to Dover is the fastest sea route from the UK to France. It takes about an hour an a half, once you're on the ferry, to get across and there are dozens of ferries each day. There are 2 ferry operators, DFDS Seaways and P&O Ferries, and it is also possible to get Le Shuttle - the Eurotunnel train, which you get on in Folkestone and takes about 35 minutes to reach Calais.
Prices vary hugely and it's best to book in advance as you can grab a ferry crossing for as little as £20 each way. We've enjoyed many crossings on all three options and we particularly enjoy taking the DFDS Ferry and booking the Premium Lounge which is such a lovely, luxurious way to start a holiday!
Other options to consider are the DFDS Seaways route from Calais to Dunkirk which is a longer crossing (2 hours) but the port is much smaller and shouldn't add too much time, if any, to your journey. It's a great choice if you're heading to Belgium or the Netherlands.
Longer ferry routes to France are available on Brittany Ferries from the south coast of England (Portsmouth, Plymouth and Poole) to a handful of French ports on the west coast (Le Havre, Caen, St Malo, Cherbourg and Roscoff).
One other route which we really like is the DFDS Seaways route from Newhaven to Dieppe. This ferry is often a real bargain price and these smaller ports are rarely crowded so it's easy to board and disembark.
One final thing to note is that not all crossings and all routes allow foot passengers so if you are going without a vehicle be sure which routes are suitable for you.
Ferry comparison sites
Both of these sites are similar and offer searches for ferries all over the world searching by route, country or port.
DFDS Seaways - Dover, Hull and Harwich to Calais and Northern European ports.
P&O Ferries - France, Belgium, Holland, Ireland, England and Northern Ireland
Sardinia & Corsica Ferries - Mainland Italy & France to Sardinia, Corsica and Elba.
Grimaldi Ferries - Greece, Sicily, Spain, Morocco, Malta, Tunisia and Sardinia.
Moby - Italy to Sardinia, Corsica and Elba
Anek Ferries - Greece and Italy and mainland Greece and Create
Brittany Ferries - UK to France and Northern Spain
Stena Line -UK, Ireland, Holland, France, Scandinavia and in the Baltic sea.
Jadrolinija - Italy to Croatia and around Croatia
Condor Ferries - England and France to Jersey and Guernsey
Irish Ferries - UK and Ireland, UK and France
Trasmediterranea - Mainland Spain to the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Morocco and Algeria
Balearia - Mianland Spain to Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera
Wightlink Ferries - Mainland England to the Isle of Wight.
Tallink Silja - Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Sweden and the Aland Islands.
Viking Line - Finland, the Aland Islands and Sweden, and between Helsinki and Estonia.
Minoan Lines - Around Greece and between Greece and Italy
Eurotunnel - Le Shuttle is the car service linking Folkestone with Calais by train via the channel tunnel. It's the fastest method of travelling between the UK and France with your car, taking just 35 minutes..