Holidaying as a family inevitably raises the question of affordability, from the where, to the what, to the how. Families need not despair though; a holiday by ferry offers multiple opportunities to save money such as a single vehicle fare for all passengers, no baggage costs and partnerships with accommodation providers and resorts that result in great discounts.
With more than 75 routes from and around the UK, a family holiday by car and ferry makes a pleasant alternative to the stress of flying, from the excitement of the open road to the diverse array of destinations and affordable holidays.
Brittany Ferries has a sail, stay and save offer of up to 20% on cottage and villa holidays in 2017 with deals as low as £103pp for a week in a cottage in France over Easter. One example is a wonderful detached cottage called La Houssaye in the heart of a forest in Normandy. The location is perfect for families to explore the natural surroundings and with the beach only 45 minutes away a day trip to the coast is a great option. The cottage sleeps four and costs £123pp including travel and accommodation. www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/holidays/2017-sale/cottage-villas
P&O Ferries currently has a five-day short break offer on travel between Dover and Calais for only £80 for up to nine passengers – a great way to see France during the February half term and top up the children’s French skills. The offer must be booked by 28 February for travel up until 16 March 2017. www.poferries.com/en/dover-calais/offers/short-break-5-day?promotion=5DAYSB
For thrill seeking families DFDS has a brilliant family getaway to Efteling theme park in Holland. Efteling is a fantasy-themed amusement park in Kaatsheuvel in Holland where the attractions are based on elements from ancient myths and legends, fairy tales and folklore. A five-night break costs from £184pp and includes the ferry crossing from Newcastle to Holland together with tickets and accommodation at Efteling’s Bosrijk Village’s self-catering lakeside cabins, located just outside the park. www.dfdsseaways.co.uk/holidays/family-favourites/efteling
Families can also make savings of 20% on a holiday to a Center Parcs in Holland with Stena Line by booking their ferry and accommodation in one go. Center Parcs Zandvoort has been very popular with families booking with Stena due to its comprehensive child-friendly facilities. Located on one of the finest parts of the Dutch coast, families can stay in cottages amongst the North Sea dunes and the village is also handily located for outings to nearby Amsterdam, Bloemendaal and Haarlem. A week’s accommodation and ferry travel between Harwich to Hook of Holland is from £180pp when booking through Stena Line. www.stenaline.co.uk/ferry-to-holland/book-hotels/center-parcs
Isle of Wight
For Isle of Wight family fun, Wightlink is offering families of five who are travelling by foot the chance to travel as a group on a day return for £38.60. With great transport links into Portsmouth and Lymington before getting the ferry, a day trip to the Isle of Wight is a great affordable day out. Once on the island families can explore Blackgang Chine, the UK’s oldest amusement park or for those feeling brave, a visit to The National Poo Museum, which opened in April 2016 is always an option! www.wightlink.co.uk
On the Isle of Wight, a family of four can enjoy a week’s stay self-catering at Waverley Park Caravan Park with Red Funnel for £330.50, which includes a 25% discount off ferry travel and accommodation. Located in East Cowes, the caravan park is only two minutes away from the Red Funnel Ferry Terminal and has stunning views over Cowes Harbour and the Solent. The Cowes Yacht Haven, shops, pubs and restaurants are within walking distance and Osborne House, the summer residence of Queen Victoria, is only a short drive away. With lots of open space, the holiday park is ideal for kids and pets. The price is based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing a caravan during 11-18 February half-term. Book online at www.redfunnel.co.uk
Irish Ferries has some fantastic joint ferry and accommodation offers for families including handpicked hotels offering a third night stay for free, cottage holidays offering a second week for free and over 1,400 B&B’s ranging from country manor houses to working farmhouses to choose from. All of which offer free child places when booking through Irish Ferries. One example is the charming Woodstock Demsne cottage in the beautiful County Wicklow, close to a famous golf course the deal also includes access to the Marriott hotel’s 5-star facilities. Seven nights cost from £583 for a family of five and include return cruise ferry travel from the UK. www.irishferries.com/uk-en/holidays/holidays-in-ireland
Jump on the Ferry with Stena Line and visit attractions such as Fota Wildlife Park, Dublin Zoo, Tayto Park or Guinness Storehouse plus for those of who love to drive there is the Wild Atlantic Way and Ancient East.
Stena Line have a great value two-night deal to the historic city of Waterford from only £80 per adult per night including return ferry crossing with a car from Fishguard to Rosslare and 2 nights at the 4 star Fitzwilton Hotel. This modern hotel located in the heart of the city ideal for exploring on foot or just a short drive from the many local sights of this beautiful part of Ireland. See www.stenaline.co.uk/ireland
If it’s a Belfast City Break you are after, Stena Line have a great value two-night deal from only £90 per adult per night including return ferry crossing with a car from Cairnryan to Belfast and two nights at the 4 star Malone Lodge Hotel. Within walking distance of the city centre, Malone Lodge offers a great location from which to explore the city and its many attractions, shops and nightlife. See www.stenaline.co.uk/ireland
West Coast of Scotland
With fares lower than ever and new legislation meaning reductions of up to 65% on some routes, families can enjoy a huge range of great days out and short breaks on Scotland’s beautiful west coast with fares from just £3.20 adult return. From great beaches, to exploring ancient castles, spotting iconic wildlife including whales, puffins, eagles and dolphins or getting active with great walks, cycling on quiet roads, stargazing, kayaking and other exhilarating outdoor activities as well as great family friendly festivals and cultural events, particularly during summer months. Enjoy great local food & drink including child friendly options on board.
CalMac Ferries offer great value day trips, combined rail and sail options and multi destination Hopscotch tickets with plenty of options for a hassle free, great value family break. Visit www.calmac.co.uk and book your own west coast experience now.
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man is a perfect spot for a summer family holiday. In addition to splashing in the sea children can meet the animals at Curraghs Wildlife Park, swing in the trees at Ape Mann Adventure Park or ride on the historic steam railway trains. Parents can enjoy the food the island is renowned for and can imagine they are in the TT by driving on the actual TT motorcycle race course. Families can plan their summer trip to the Isle now with Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s Kid’s Go Free offer for summer 2017. The offer is valid for travel between 4 July and 31 August. www.steam-packet.com/offers/KidsCanGoFree
Isles of Scilly
Look out for dolphins as the mainland slips away from the deck of your ferry and head to one of the five islands that make up the Isles of Scilly. These tiny islands pack a large and friendly welcome and children will enjoy the beautiful beaches, wildlife walks and glorious fresh local food. The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group always has families in mind with discounted tickets for children. 2017 fares will see adults pay from £45 while child fares cost from £23.50. www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk/scillonian-iii/
For more information about travelling by ferry see www.www.discoverferries.com