Where to go on a cycling holiday via ferry

By 12/04/2018News

Sailing to over 75 destinations, Discover Ferries’ members serve London, Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, Isles of Scilly, Scottish Islands, Ireland, Spain, France, Belgium and Holland. Whether you are a leisurely rider, road cyclist, or thrill seeking mountain biker there are plenty of options to entertain families, professionals and novices alike.

Sam Jones, Cycling UK’s Senior Campaigns Officer and frequent cycle tourer said:

“When it comes to travelling with your bike, there are few methods more convenient than going by ferry. In most cases, it’s simply a case of rolling into the port, walking on board pushing your wheels and then heading to the passenger deck. It’s that simple.

“Unlike arriving by plane, your journey begins as soon as you disembark at your destination. You’re immersed right into your destination from the start – surely a major reason for anyone’s reason to travel. Many of my most memorable cycling adventures have begun and ended with a ferry. The only thing I’ve ever needed to worry about is making sure I’m riding on the correct side of the road when landing!”

France

A cycling holiday is a great way to explore France at your leisure. Uncover sleepy, unspoilt villages of the French countryside on bike or take your adventure into the urban streets of cities both modern and medieval. Take the ferry to Calais and jump straight into the Loire à Vélo, a popular route through northern France passing winding rivers, elegant vineyards and glittering châteaux, with segments suited to riders of all ages and experience in the beautiful Loire Valley. Alternatively, travel 170km from the Breton capital, Rennes, to St Malo as you follow the green way along the canal. Stop off at iconic sites such as Hédé’s 11 locks, medieval Dinan and the seaside resort of Dinard. To find out more, visit www.brittanyferries.co.uk/guides/cycling/st-malo-cycle-tour-route

Whilst travelling, watch out for the Accueil Vélo (Cyclists Welcome) signs dotted around the nation. National marks of quality, these signs guarantee a warm welcome for cyclists and promise accommodation, rental and repairs, and advice on finding the best routes. For more information, and extensive guides on the best cycling routes in France, visit en.francevelotourisme.com/

Routes to France are available from Brittany Ferries, DFDS Seaways, Irish Ferries, P&O Ferries and Stena Line. Visit their websites for more information, or call 0330 159 7000 for Brittany Ferries, 0871 574 7235 for DFDS Seaways, +353 818 300 400 for Irish Ferries, +44 (0) 1304 44 88 88 for P&O Ferries, or 0844 770 7070 for Stena Line.

Spain

Spain is home to a variety of different routes, including the new EuroVelo 8, which strikes out from Tarifa on the south coast and runs all the way to Athens for the ultimate touring experience. Along the way, you can stop in one of a wide range of Bike Hotels, which offer specialist services for cyclists, including luggage transportation and recommended routes. For more information, as well as advice and recommendations on the best areas and times to visit, go to www.spain.info/en

Sail to Spain with Brittany Ferries if you are in search of dramatic scenery, sunshine and tranquil empty roads. If you are a thrill seeker, looking to experience lush green valleys, jagged limestone peaks and spectacular gorges head to the Picos de Europa mountain range, 127km from Santander Port and 208km from Bilbao Port.

For ferry timetables and fares, visit www.brittany-ferries.co.uk or call 0330 159 7000.

Holland

Cycling is a way of life in the Netherlands. Holland is the most bike-friendly country in the world, so the road network, towns and cities either have dedicated cycleways or well-marked cycle lanes. From the port in IJmuiden you can cycle to Amsterdam in around two hours. Alternatively, cyclists can enjoy a leisurely journey from the Hook of Holland port to destinations such as The Hague, which is just over an hour, and Rotterdam which is 90 minutes’ away –  both of which offer routes along the coast, past sand dunes and capturing beautiful coastal views. Unsurprisingly for a country that calls itself ‘the cycling nation’, Holland has an extensive network of cycle routes, including over 32,000km of safe cycle paths, separated from motorised traffic, and a 4,500 kilometre-long National Long Distance network linking together regional routes. For more information, tips and tours visit www.holland.com

Routes to Holland are available from DFDS Seaways, P&O Ferries and Stena Line. Visit their websites for information, or call 0871 574 7235 for DFDS Seaways, +44 (0) 1304 44 88 88 for P&O Ferries, or 0844 770 7070 for Stena Line

Isle of Wight

The Lonely Planet has recently named the Isle of Wight as one of the 10 best cycling destinations in the world. With both Red Funnel and Wightlink sailing to the Island, the diverse terrain offers a great variety of road cycling, touring and mountain biking. Explore the Red Squirrel Trail to see the real Isle of Wight, one of the few places in the UK where you can still catch sight of a red squirrel, whilst passing through areas of outstanding natural beauty.

With over 200 miles of cycle routes within an area of just 147 square miles, the Isle of Wight has long been a magnet for cycling enthusiasts. There are a variety of services available to cyclists, from simple bike repairs to full guided tours, led by passionate staff who live and breathe cycling. For more information and tour recommendations, go to www.visitisleofwight.co.uk

For more information and booking, visit www.redfunnel.co.uk or call them on 02380 248500, or visit www.wightlink.co.uk or call them on 0333 999 7333.
West Coast of Scotland

Scotland’s National Cycle Network makes it easy to get around on quiet roads and traffic-free paths, and there are a range of routes available regardless of your age or ability. For the full experience, the Cyclists Welcome scheme recognises hotels and other establishments which go the extra mile to help your trip run smoothly. For more tips and advice, go to www.visitscotland.com

Cycling is a great way to explore Scotland’s beautiful West Coast islands and peninsulas. Travel to the highlands and islands with Caledonian MacBrayne to explore stunning views, with minimal traffic. Hop across to the island of Great Cumbrae, just off the Clyde Coast, for a gentle ten-mile route around the scenic coastline, where your quieter mode of travel will give you an advantage when it comes to spotting the polecats, kestrels and sea eagles that make the island their home. To find out more, visit www.calmac.co.uk/destinations/cumbrae

For those looking for a challenge, the 5 Ferries Cycle tour, which covers several routes in the Clyde and Argyll region, should fit the bill. This 65 mile or so round trip takes in some of the most scenic (and sometimes hilly) terrain across Arran, Bute and the local mainland. To find out more, visit www.calmac.co.uk/things-to-do/day-adventures

For more information and booking, visit www.calmac.co.uk or call 0800 066 5000.

London

 

Whether you’re a fair-weather cyclist or a serious rider, saddle up and discover the London’s best bits by bike on board MBNA Thames Clippers. Enjoy a scenic ride along the South Bank, passing iconic sights like the London Eye and Tate Modern, or, for a more adrenaline-fuelled adventure, climb on top of an icon with Up at The O2 by the MBNA Thames Clippers port at North Greenwich Pier.

Even better, thanks to the citywide network of Santander Cycles – more commonly known as Boris Bikes– you don’t even have to bring your bike for the perfect cycling holiday. These can be hired from as little as £2, and are available at automated collection points all across the city; simply grab, one, ride it, and return it when you’re done. For more information on cycling in London visit tfl.gov.uk/modes/cycling/

For more information and booking, visit www.thamesclippers.com, or call 020 7001 2200

Ireland

Ireland’s varied landscapes and fresh, crisp air make the island an ideal cycling destination. Visitors to Dublin can jump straight in the saddle for the Rathdrum Wicklow Gap, which starts right in the city centre and climbs 85km to Rathdrum via the beautiful Blessington Lake and through the Wicklow Mountains. For a less challenging coastal ride, take the Clifden road out of Galway City to Spiddal. This 40kms road route offers mountain and sea views: on a clear day the Cliffs of Moher or even the Aran Islands come into view. For more tours and travel ideas, visit www.ireland.com

Routes to Ireland are available from Brittany Ferries, Irish Ferries, Isle of Man SteamPacket, P&O Ferries, and Stena Line. Visit their websites for information, or call 0330 159 7000 for Brittany Ferries, +353 818 300 400 for Irish Ferries, +44 (0) 1304 44 88 88 for P&O Ferries, 08722 992 992 for Isle of Man SteamPacket, or 0844 770 7070 for Stena Line.

 

Isles of Scilly

The Isles of Scilly, just off the Cornish coast, are served exclusively by The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group. St. Mary’, the largest island, has 10 miles of roads that are just waiting to be explored. To find out more about cycling there, visit www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk/2015/07/travel-scilly-gear-up-the-family-and-explore-st-marys-by-bike

Tresco, just a 15-minute ferry ride across the bay from St Mary’s, is also a great place to visit on your bike. Spend a day exploring its shoreline in all its subtropical glory – and don’t forget to stop off for a picnic and a swim. Visit www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk for more information, or call +44 (0)1736 334220.

Isle of Man 

 

The Isle of Man, famous for its TT motorcycle racing, also has plenty to offer for those legs putting in the hard graft themselves. There’s a variety of routes encompassing picturesque winding country roads, mountain climbs, and breath-taking descents. There are also plenty of options which showcase the beautiful Manx countryside with coastal paths and forest trails. With routes like these, it’s no surprise the Isle has a long tradition of producing fine cyclists, including star riders such as Mark Cavendish and Peter Kennaugh. For tips, tricks, and a roundup of the best routes for all abilities, visit www.visitisleofman.com/dbimgs/Cycle_Guide_Web.pdf

The Isle of Man hosts some great cycling events throughout the year, and is also great spot for mountain-bikers. Put your bike on the back of a car, or travel as a foot passenger on board the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. For more inspiration for a cycling break to the Isle of Man visit: www.steam-packet.com/Douglas/Cycling or call 08722 992 992.
Northern Ireland

 

Sail to Northern Ireland to experience stunning cycle trails which span mountain ranges, national parks and woodlands. Alight at Belfast and take the Causeway Coastal Route along 130km of rugged and spectacular coast all the way to Derry, or visit Co. Down and take on the challenge of the Mourne Mountains. The Giro d’Italia Big Start route is another great option. Visit Cycle NI to find out more about the many cycle routes that can be enjoyed throughout Northern Ireland.

 

For more information and booking, visit www.stenaline.co.uk or call 0844 770 7070, or visit www.poferries.com or call +44 (0) 1304 44 88 88

 

For more information about travelling by ferry, visit www.discoverferries.com

ENDS

Editors’ Notes

Discover Ferries is an industry body representing 11 ferry operators in the UK and Ireland operating more than 75 routes. Its role is to promote ferry travel and holidays. The carriage of freight vehicles is also a very important part of the Discover Ferries’ members’ business.

 

Discover Ferries members are: Brittany Ferries, Caledonian MacBrayne, DFDS, Irish Ferries, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, MBNA Thames Clippers, P&O Ferries, Red Funnel, Stena Line and Wightlink. Discover Ferries members serve London, Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, Isles of Scilly, Scottish Islands, Ireland, Spain, France, Belgium and Holland.

 

Discover Ferries confirmed that 2016 saw 39 million passenger journeys by ferry, 8.6m car journeys as well as 162,000 coaches.

 

Discover Ferries press office, Four Travel

Contact:  Tess Murray / Zoe Poulton / Debbie Hindle

Email: discoverferries@fourcommunications.com   | Tel: 0203 697 4200

 

Taking bikes on a car

Red Funnel offers return crossings between Southampton and East Cowes from £46 for an average size car. Bikes attached to overhead bike rack can be carried for £11 each way if over 2.7m in height or are free of charge if under this height measurement or attached to the bike rack on the back of the car. For more information visit www.redfunnel.co.uk or call 0844 844 2688

Stena Line offers return crossings on Harwich to Hook of Holland from £150 for two adults and a car with a bike rack (attached at the back of the car) for departures throughout summer. Bikes can also be taken with cars on Stena Line’s Irish Sea routes, with fares for one car and one passenger starting from £79 from Holyhead to Dublin and Fishguard to Rosslare, and from £89 from Cairnryan to Belfast and Liverpool to Belfast. For more information visit: www.stenaline.co.uk or call 0844 770 7070

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company offers crossings to the Isle of Man from Heysham and Liverpool (Birkenhead during winter) and seasonal sailings from Belfast and Dublin from £100 each way for a car with a bike rack attached and two people for departures between 13/06/18 to 03/09/18 this summer. For more information visit www.steampacket.com or call 08722 992 992

Wightlink offers return crossings on its Portsmouth – Fishbourne route from £57.50 for an average size car this summer. Vehicles carrying bicycles will be charged an additional cost if the bicycles add additional height or length to your vehicle – see Vehicle size guide for details. For more information visit www.wightlink.co.uk or call 0333 999 7333

Brittany Ferries offers return crossings on its Portsmouth/Caen route from £238 for a standard size car (up to 5m long and 1.83m high) with rear-mounted bicycle rack for departures between 1 July to 31 August. For more information visit www.brittanyferries.com or call 0330 159 7000;

DFDS offers crossings on the Dover-Calais route from £39 for an average size car with a bike rack attached for departures this summer. For more information visit: www.dfdsseaways.co.uk/ or call 0871 574 7235

Irish Ferries offers return crossings on both its UK to Ireland routes from £189 for an average size car and driver, with a bike rack attached, for departures in May, June or September this summer. For more information visit www.irishferries.com or call 08717 300 400

P&O Ferries offers return crossings on its Dover to Calais route from £150 for an average size car this summer. For more information visit www.poferries.com or call +44 (0) 1304 44 88 88

Caledonian MacBrayne offers return crossings on its  Wemyss Bay  (a short car or train journey from the centre of Glasgow)  to Rothesay (Isle of Bute)  route from £35.20  for an average size car* and two adult passengers  with a bike rack attached free of charge for departures between 30 March and  21 October this year. For more information visit www.calmac.co.uk/calmac-summer-timetables or call 0800 066 5000

 

Taking bikes as a foot passenger

Red Funnel offers return crossings between Southampton and East Cowes from £17.80 this summer for foot passengers. Bikes go free when in possession of a valid foot passenger ticket. For more information visit www.redfunnel.co.uk or call 0844 844 2688

Stena Line offers twice-daily Dutchflyer rail-and-sail crossings from £178 for two foot passengers with a bicycle.   Stena Line’s Dutchflyer rail and sail allows customers to take any Greater Anglia service to Harwich, and then on to any Dutch city of their choice. All foot passengers can bring a bike for an additional £10 per single journey. For more information visit: www.stenaline.co.uk/ferry-to-holland or call 0844 770 7070

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company offers crossings to the Isle of Man from Heysham and Liverpool (Birkenhead during winter) and seasonal sailings from Belfast and Dublin from £19 Adults/£10 Child each way this summer for foot passengers. Bikes go free. For more information visit: www.steampacket.com or call 08722 992 992

Wightlink offers return crossings on its Lymington – Yarmouth route from £16.20 this summer for foot passengers. Bikes go free. To book crossings, visit www.wightlink.co.uk or call 0333 999 7333

Brittany Ferries offers return crossings on its Portsmouth/Caen route from £70 this summer (July and August) for foot passengers. Bikes can usually be carried for a small extra charge. For more information visit www.brittanyferries.com or call 0330 159 7000

DFDS offers crossings from Newcastle to Amsterdam and from Dover to Calais/Dunkirk with a bike for £20 per person. For more information visit www.dfdsseaways.co.uk  or call 0871 574 7235

MBNA Thames Clippers offers return All Zone crossings in London from £19.80 for foot passengers.  Each ferry has space for up to 10 cycles on a first come, first-served basis at no extra charge. For more information visit www.mbnathamesclippers.com or call 020 7001 2200

Isles of Scilly Travel offers crossings on the Penzance to Isles of Scilly route from £49.50 (one way) this summer for foot passengers, bikes cost £26 return. For more information visit: www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk  or call 01736 334220

Irish Ferries offers return crossings on both its UK to Ireland routes from £64 this summer for foot passengers, with bicycles charged at £20 return. For more information visit www.irishferries.com or call 08717 300 400

P&O Ferries offer return crossings on the Dover to Calais route from £50 per person this summer for passengers with bikes. For more information visit www.poferries.com or call +44 (0) 1304 44 88 88

Caledonian MacBrayne offers return crossings on its Wemyss Bay (a short car of train journey from the centre of Glasgow) to Rothesay (Isle of Bute) route from £6.30 this summer for foot passengers. Bikes go free. For more information visit www.calmac.co.uk/calmac-summer-timetables or call 0800 066 5000