Boat travel and camping are 2 of the most budget-friendly ways to enjoy a break in Europe and never is this more popular than in the beautiful country of France.
With regular ferries running from England and campsites in French being plentiful, there are limitless combinations available to you if this sounds like your sort of summer holiday. Super for family adventures, trips with friends or just a chance to get away from it all, I’ve looked at all the different options you have in terms of catching the ferry and pitching your tent. And, I’m delighted to say I’ve found some real winners, so here are the 5 best destinations you should definitely check out when combining sailing on the ferry and camping in France. Catching the ferry to France, rather than flying, means the journey becomes part of the adventure in itself.
Indeed, sailing across the Channel has to be the perfect way to begin your next camping holiday in France – the wind whistling through your hair as you wave goodbye to the ever-smaller world of work and everyday life on the horizon! Catching the ferry from the UK to France is also a lot cheaper as you can take your vehicle, cram everyone and everything in, and not have to worry about public transport or baggage allowances!
But, of course, there is more than one ferry to choose from when sailing from the UK to France and many different routes open to you as well. The classic route, complete with white cliffs and faint renditions of Vera Lynn songs, is the quintessential way to set sail and leave dear old Blighty behind you! Dover to Calais is the fastest and cheapest ferry to France – just a 90-minute crossing time and you’ll be tucking into a croissant before you know it!
If you plan to catch the ferry and camp near the historic area of Dunkirk in Northern France, then you’re probably best to cross from Dover with DFDS Seaways. The ferry terminal in Dover is only about a 15 minute drive from the centre of town and the crossing will only take you around 2 hours. There’s no baggage restrictions on this one either and with 24 crossings a day, you have plenty to choose from! You must, however make this crossing with a vehicle as foot passengers are not permitted.
The best option if you are coming down from London, Portsmouth is just a 2 hour drive south of the capital, making this trip with Brittany Ferries one of the most convenient.
The Portsmouth to Le Harve channel crossing is also a no-frills service, which makes it perfect for budget travellers. In addition to this, the voyage takes you closer to Paris and eastern France than any other channel sailing and with both Portsmouth and Le Havre being busy port cities, there are plenty of amenities and excellent road network links from the two. And once you arrive in Normandy of course, you won’t be disappointed by the famous beaches and La Havre itself, which is also a great destination. Being only 2 hours away from Paris, if you want to couple catching the ferry and camping in France with a city break, Le Havre may be the perfect destination for you.
If you are sailing to Calais, this beautiful site is just over an hour’s drive away from the ferry port. In the grounds of a wonderful chateau, it has the requisite swimming pools and a beach within easy reach. There are bars, restaurants, and takeaways all within the complex, making it an ideal base for families to explore this historic area of France. The campsite is open from mid-April until mid-September.