Feribot from Dover

For millennia, the port of Dover has played an important role in sea crossings between England and mainland Europe. Currently, ferries from Dover link it to two ports in the north of France, at Calais and Dunkirk. On average there is a crossing every 30 minutes to one of these two destinations.

Ferries from Dover to Calais, France

The 90 minute feribot crossing from Dover – Calais is by far the fastest sea route between England and Europe. Two companies operate this ferry service from Dover: PO Ferries, at poferries.com and SeaFrance, at seafrance.com. Between the two there are very regular crossings around the clock. All of the ships provide a range of on-board facilities, including shops, restaurants, bars and entertainment. Up to nine passengers can travel in each vehicle, with no change in price. P&O allows foot passengers; SeaFrance does not, but cyclists are allowed to travel. Prices vary greatly depending on date and time of travel, but generally P&O is a bit cheaper, from around £30 one way, £40 return. SeaFrance is around £50 pounds, one way or return.

Ferries from Dover to Dunkirk, France

Despite a slightly longer crossing time – two hours – passage to Dunkirk is considerably cheaper, starting at £13 each way. DFDS Seaways, at norfolkline.com/ferry/ operates this route, with feribot crossings from Dover every two hours, 24 hours a day. Foot passengers are not permitted on board, but cyclists (or foot passengers with a bicycle) are no problem. Facilities on board the ships are similar to those for P&O and SeaFrance. For all ferry operators, the range of available facilities may be limited for night crossings.

Tips for Ferry Travel from Dover

  • Arrive early to clear immigration and customs. Check-in usually closes 45 minutes before departure for foot passengers, and 30 minutes before departure for vehicles. Don’t forget your passport!
  • If you easily get seasick, find the point closest to the centre of the boat on all three axes (front-back, top-bottom, side-to-side). This is the point on the ship where you will feel the least movement.
  • Bring snacks or a packed lunch. Ferry food can be overpriced for what it is. The money you save can go towards all the beautiful French food and top-notch wine you’ll be indulging in on the other side.
  • Check the UK customs duty-free allowance for alcohol and cigarettes before you go. This may vary depending on the duration of your trip.
  • Be sure to take a backward glance as you set out from port, to catch a stunning view of the famous white cliffs of Dover!

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