Tips for booking ferries from Southampton to France

If you're thinking of travelling to France this summer, consider taking the ferry. You can take your car or bicycle with you and have all the comforts of your own mode of transport while on holiday. There are no luggage restrictions and you don't have the hassle of airport security. Ferry travel can be a cost-effective, fast and pleasant alternative to flying.

For those of you already familiar with the pleasures of ferry travel, you will be aware that there are no direct ferries from Southampton to France. However, there are plenty of other choices if you are departing from Southampton.

Portsmouth is less than 20 miles away and is easily accessible by public transport or by car. There are trains from Southampton to Portsmouth twice hourly, taking between 45 and 55 minutes. There are also regular daily buses to Portsmouth, which take about 40-50 minutes.

From Portsmouth, Brittany Ferries run overnight services to St-Malo (journey time: 10 and 3/4 hours). It also has services to Caen (5 and 1/2 hours) and Cherbourg (3 hours). LD Lines runs daily overnight ferries to Le Harve, taking 8 and 1/2 hours, and Condor Ferries runs weekly ferry services to Cherbourg, taking 5 and 1/2 hours.

If you don't find a suitable ferry from Portsmouth to France, do not despair! The port of Poole is easily accessible from Southampton, located only 37 miles south-west of the city. From Poole, Brittany Ferries have 2 to 3 ferries to Cherbourg daily, taking 4 and 1/2 hours.

When booking ferries from Southampton to France, always remember that prices vary dramatically depending on the season. Ferries are most expensive during the peak summer season (July and August) and are also costlier at peak times, such as Friday evenings. Look out for special promotional offers and always remember to shop around to make sure you get value for money.

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