Eurolines bus has a number of buses serving the ferry to Calais. The majority of the Channel crossings nowadays will be done with the Eurostar train to Lille for the transfer to their bus connections on the European continent.
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P&O ferries is the best-known ferry company that maintains the connection to Calais.
The five ferries (Spirit of France, Spirit of Britain, Pride of Burgundy, Pride of Canterbury and Pride of Kent) bring big trucks, cars and foot passengers across the Channel.
Departures during day time are about one per hour.
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Calais – Dover – Calais Ferries
It took us about an hour and a half in waiting for a ferry and 1 hour and 30 minutes to get to Dover from Calais by ferry. It was rather convenient and pleasant trip.
P&O Ferries is a British Company that operates ferries from the United Kingdom to Continental Europe (France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain). These were previously operated at different times as separate subsidiaries of P&O under the names Pandoro Ltd, P&O European Ferries, P&O Portsmouth, P&O North Sea Ferries, P&O Irish Sea and the joint venture P&O Stena Line.
The ferry lines using the port are (number of daily sailings in parentheses): to Calais: P&O Ferries (25) and DFDS Seaways (10).
You can watch my 3 min 52 sec Video Dover-Calais Ferry out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
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Ferry from Calais to Dover
Whether you are coming to Dover or heading out from Dover, the port of Dover is your likely port of call. The trip across the channel takes about 1 1/2 hours and is really more exciting then the quicker but more expensive chunnel crossing.
Cost for the crossing is about GBP 15.50.
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A Ferry Across The Channel
To get from England to France I went on the P & O Ferry from Dover to Calais. The main reason I wanted to get the ferry was because I wanted to see the White Cliffs of Dover from the sea, and believe me they look amazing!
On board the ferry there is plenty to do if you're not interested in the cliffs or the sea. There are many restaurants, duty free shopping, video arcade and Bureau de Change to change your £ into €.
It takes about 75mins to cross the Channel and check in time is 30mins before departure.
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Victoria (for the continent)
Dover Priory, Dover's train station, is situated to the west of the town some way from the docks. The spur that carried the railway from Folkestone right to a pier and the boat for Calais is long gone, (although the staion building remains) and you now have to get a bus to the ferry. You will be glad to know that the buses have low-floor technology
Trains to London take between 1hr 40 & two hours if running into Victoria or London Bridge, Waterloo (East) & Charing Cross. Or, for a bit more money, you can get a service via Ashford International to St Pancras which cuts the journey time down to about an hour and ten minutes.
An Easy Daytrip
The easiest way to get to Dover is by BritRail. Its an easy 90 minute trip and make for an rewarding excursion from London. Tickets can either be purchased in advance or at the station. Check with British Rail for most current fares and schedules.
Train Dover to London
The rail company has started doing a bargain fare where there are significant reductions if four of you travel together as long as travel is started after 10.00.
Trains run twice an hour throughout the day from London Charing Cross which go via Ashford, and also there is a London Victoria service running via Faversham twice an hour.
Sometimes the trains split in half at Ashford or Faversham half then goes to Dover and the other half to Margate/Ramsgate so just check when you get on that you are in the correct part of the train.
Other ways of reducing the fare are Network card which costs £20 or used to which will reduce the fare by a third for yourself and up to 4 friends.
Just looking quickly on the website below it looks like 4 people to Dover is £94. With a Network card this will reduce to £64 (£84 total). However, and I am not sure if they will mail tickets if you book cheap day return tickets from Dover to London for 4 people this will only be £68, simply don't use the outbound portion.
Seats by the way are not reservable, travel after 4pm and you will struggle to get a seat until 8 pm but through the day there will be no problem.
Have a nice trip.
Helpful Service at the train station
After my run in with incompetent shuttle drivers and useless taxi drivers in Calais, it was refreshing to walk into the train station and be greeted by a group of young friendly faces who were eager to help travelers find their train. I have no idea if they are their permanently or only during specific times, but it was refreshing. I wasn’t there to catch a train but they were very helpful with the questions I asked about the city and were we could find various sites. I was VERY impressed.
Ships to the continent
There are few companies now that operate in Dover offering ferry and catamaran crossings to France. P & O and Sea France being the 2 largest. We recently travelled on Norfok Line and although they were cheaper i felt the service offered could have been better. They are not as slick as their rivals but lets give them time!! Also new to Dover in the last couple of years is Speedferries. They are not too popular as they have let people down and we have long memories when things like that happen.!!!! Buck your ideas up guys!
There are many sailings throughout the day but prices can vary. Look for bargains on the internet. One compny I use a lot is The Ferry company in over. They find you the cheapest fare for the time yu want to go.
Dover is very easy to reach from London, with fast rail links from Victoria station. For road users the M2 motorway is a direct and fast link from London, as is the M20, via Folkestone, for visitors travelling from south of London
From Calis, France to Dover, England
Crossing the English Channel from Calis, France, was a most memorable experience. The food aboard the vessel was very good. I was able to drivee my car onboard the ferry and the trip only took about 1 hour. it is 21 miles from Calis, France to the most southern point in England.
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Dover's Ferry Boats
The Ferry Boats between Dover and Calais are run by a number of services. Here are some of their phone numbers:
P&O Ferries - 08705 202020
SeaFrance - 08705 711711
Hoverspeed (Seacat) - 08705 240241
Norfolk Line - 08708 701020
Dover Harbour Board - 01304 240400
Speed Ferries to France
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)
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Day trips to Calais
It is definitely worth taking a day trip over to France if you are staying in Dover. Calais is just over an hour away.
We travelled there for just £1 per person in September 2004, as we had collected a voucher from a national newspaper. We had to book in advance, but there were no restrictions on when we travelled. These vouchers are also available sometimes in local newspapers, so it is worth picking one up when you arrive in town to see what is available.
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