View from going towards Dartford Tunnel
We'll be driving from Dover to Cambridge. The last time we did this we got stuck in the longest traffic jam I can remember. I had to phone our B&B and ask them not to give up our room.
Is there any way around this? Other than going all the way around London, which I don't think will save any time?
The Tilbury - Gravesend ferry seems to be for foot passengers only, from what I can see on my map.
I'm hoping that it was so bad the last time because it was Easter weekend and won't be quite so bad this time.
Does anybody have any tips? Thanks in advance.
The bank holiday weekend will have made a substantial difference....but there can be congestion at any time. It only takes an accident or roadworks for everything to snarl up.
The AA site:
notes the Dartford Tunnel as a traffic blackspot.
The time of day you are travelling will make a difference too. Best to avoid 4-7 if you can.
It's difficult to know what to suggest really, because if there is a jam then everyone else will be trying to avoid it as well so alternatives will also get snarled up very quickly. You could perhaps go into London itself but I really don't know the best route or which bridge would be best to cross the Thames. Hopefully, someone else can advise in detail.
You're right about the ferry, by the way. :-(
It certainly can be bad but if you can avoid those peak times such as Bank Holidays and say between 7.00am and 9.30am and 4pm to 7pm then it can be plain sailing. Well perhaps not plain sailing but at least a slow crawl to the tunnel tolls.
Jams are bearable as long as one is slowly moving forward, I find......it's the total standstills which are really dispiriting.
Unfortunately it's a very fragile bit of road in the sense that, yes, it takes only one minor accident or something big going on at Bluewater or Lakeside shopping malls and everything quickly grinds to a halt.
The next way to cross the river, going west from Dartford is the Woolwich Free Ferry about ten miles along.
Then a bit further along is the Blackwall Tunnel which I always seem to hear about on the traffic bulletins. But the further you head west the more you will become mired into London's general traffic jams, which might not be much fun.
Yes the Gravesend to Tilbury Ferry is for foot passengers only.
Thank you all. I very much hope it won't be so bad this time, there is no bank holiday in July, is there?
We'll be at there at about three pm, so maybe it'll be better. I don't mind crawling along, but the last time we simply sat still in what seemed like thousands of cars.
The Woolwich Ferry is the one close to London City Airport, isn't it? I saw traffic news being shown on a screen in a service area, so we can check there before we get to Dartford and may continue west to the ferry.
It probably was thousands of cars, Christine!
No bank hols in July, no. The only iffy thing is that many schools will end on 16th, so that weekend is likely to see heavy traffic.
Remember if you see the signs everyone else will too so you may find just as much congestion if you choose the Woolwich Ferry option.
That's the UK, I'm afraid. :-(
Thank you, Jane, just in case I'll make sure to pack some books and a big crossword puzzle. Getting stuck in traffic is the same everywhere. The last time we invented stupid songs about traffic, maybe we'll sing them again.
leave nice and early- when i leave wales to visit near london ill often leave about 4 am-- same 4 the return trip-birmingham area is the trouble spot with traffic normally between 7 am/7 pm--on the m25 ive often seen it at a virtual standstill at 6 am
The time we arrive at the Crossing depends on the ferry's arrival in Dover, so "nice and early" unfortunately isn't possible.I suppose it'll be 3, 3:30 maybe.
thats fine-- u get get to the dartford tunel probally in an hour or so-- just wiss round to the a10 after that:)ive done it loads of times
Christine, I usualy take A2 from Dover to Datford via Rochester & Midway area... Now there is an new extension of the road and new widen surface that is now A2M, Unfortunately around Datford crossing nothing you can do, before you go to the tunel.. It is ALWAYS crowded. NOTE: the crossing in now 1.50GBP gone up for 0.50p. The widening of east part of M25 causes delays..specially about 4miles before you join M11. mind the road, lots of roadworks...Once you get on m11 is plain sailing to Cambers...
I would take exit off the M11 and join A11 towards Norwich, once on A11 get out at the second exit to Babraham village & Cambridge. You will arrive in south Cambridge on the big round abound near Adembrookes hospital..
This way you will hopefully minimise traffic jams
Another alternative is to get out from M25 after Datford on A127 to Dunton & Billarickey, and from there follow the road A131 via Chelmsford to Grat Danmow and Haverhill & Cambridge.
You will be driving on B roads and country lanes, if you like but is about 20min more driving time, BUT no cues and traffic jams...
P.S book ferry with Norfolk Lines, they go via Dunkirk, so it is about 60km less to drive AND they are very cheap. I got crossing for 3 week time (hubby is going0 for 37 EUros return for car & 5 passengers...Crossing take little bit longer around 2 hrs and goes every 2 hrs. midnight, than 2am,4am,6am,8am and so on....
I found it very convinient...
Thanks for all the tips, I've printed them out and so we'll at least know of alternative routes if we get stuck again.
Valentina, I've already booked our ferry, as soon as I knew our dates. Most probably this is the last time we'll go by car, as we're helping moving. The next time it will be flight and train again, much easier.
Please note that as well as any problems with the Dartford tunnel, there are extensive roadworks leading from around the Chelmsford exit of the M25 to the M11 turn.
You need to keep in the left 2 lanes of the M25 for the M11 turn-off quite a bit in advance of leaving the M25.
Thank you,John.So to avoid this roadwork we could go east on exit 28 or before on exit 29, and then north again, and then either go on the M11 further north near Stansted Airport, or continue on B roads through Haverhill as Valentina suggested.
It's good to have several alternatives.
Try this. Come off the A2 at Bluewater and go North along the B255 past Bluewater. At Greenhithe link on to the A206 west. This will bring you to Junction 1a on the M25 much closer to the Dartford Tunnel thus avoiding most of the queues.
Thanks for the tip. I've just found it on the map, I didn't know we get this close to Bluewater.
LOL - I just need to know now how to get from Southend to the M1 North without encountering all that M25 traffic!
Good luck to the OP's on their travels!
Well, we're back. This time we were really lucky, hardly any waiting time at the Dartford Crossing and smooth traffic to and from Cambridge.
I had all my print-outs with your suggestions with me,which is probably why we didn't need them.
So I'll do the same thing next time. Thanks again for all your help.
I was in Cambridge till yesterday. If I know you were there, we could meet up for pint or cake & coffe. Never mind next time :D
Valentina, talk about coincidence! We may have passed each other in the street.
It was only a whirlwind visit this time, just to help with moving, so we only had one full day in Cambridge.
Next time, hopefully.
Glad the traffic was ok, Christine. :-)
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