We booked our trip to Boulogne with Impact coach tours .Our coach took us from London to Dover then onto the ferry and from Calais we drove the short distance to Boulogne. Impact tours are based in Ealing-West London and our trip cost only £31pp.
In June/July 2006 we had a 9 day driving holiday in France. We caught a car ferry from Dover to Calais, drove down through Normandy, popped into Brittany and then caught the ferry back to Dover from Boulogne-sur-Mer.
We chose to take our own car over, as the cost of the ferry and petrol was significantly cheaper than flying from London and hiring a car in France. I also feel a lot more comfortable travelling in our own car as opposed to a hire car.
The only negative thing about driving our car in France is that it is a right hand drive car, and French cars are left hand drive, which means that tolls/tickets machines etc are on the wrong side of the car for the driver to operate…luckily I was able to assist in these duties from the passenger seat, but I do feel sorry for the solo traveller in these situations.
Driving in France is great. The roads are good and the sign posting is excellent. You can hoon along on the wide tollways/freeways, or travel along pretty coastal roads, soaking up the atmosphere of the French countryside. Just remember which side of the road you have to drive on if you come over from the UK.
PLEASE NOTE: SPEEDFERRIES HAVE NOW GONE OUT OF BUSINESS (April 2009). THE ROUTE HAS BEEN TAKEN OVER BY LD LINES.
I booked about 3 weeks in advance of our trip and was pleasantly suprised at the cost of only £28 for four passengers and a car on a day trip basis.
The boarding process was smooth and efficient although they did say that day trippers should report for check in at least 45 minutes prior to departure. Other passengers have a shorter minimum check in of 30 minutes.
On board there was a very comfortable choice of seating and bars. There is an outside viewing area which we enjoyed at least on our departure from Dover and arrival in Boulogne - see the photo.
The trip itself only took 45 minutes. The Ferry is a huge Hydrofoil which explains why it can go so fast. The Dover-Calais route on the standard Ferry boats used to take 75 minutes. Disembarkation was very quick.
Unfortunately our return was not quite so comfortable. We were delayed for about 2 hours mainly because the ferry services had been severely afffected by the sudden closure of the Channel Tunnel due to a Lorry fire. All traffic that would have gone underground was forced onto the sea routes and consequently the ferries were suddenly having to cope with a much larger traffic than expected.
It didn't really matter. We sat and chatted with a drink in the terminal area but just got home much later than expected.
We hadn’t had a holiday in a while, so decided to pop over to France for the weekend. This trip we chose to take our car, and caught the ferry from Dover.
We used Speed Ferries, which run between Dover & Boulogne sur Mer several times a day, taking around 50 minutes to cross the channel.
We caught the first ferry of the day on Saturday, leaving Dover at 7.45am (meaning we left London at 5am), with a check-in time no later than 7.15am. There is a passport check at this stage.
We caught the ferry back to England at 2pm on the Sunday. At the French side there was 3 passport checks.
The ferry has a few levels of cars all crammed in - it looks a bit chaotic, but seems to work. Once you have parked as instructed, you must leave your car and go to one of the 2 upper decks, where there is plenty of seating, a couple of food shops, duty free shopping and toilets.
You can also stand out on deck at the rear….watch out for spray though! We chose to stand outside on the way back into Dover as there was a fabulous view of the White Cliffs.
It was a very stress free way to travel to France….just remember which side of the road you have to drive on if you come over from the UK.
The cost of the ferry was £35.00 each way per car (with up to 5 passengers)
We took the cross channel ferry taking about 100 mins from Dover to Calais.We had a good walk around to see all the facilities on offer from restaurants ,shops and video arcades.