Although the summer holidays are quickly approaching, you can still book great value trips and reach your favourite destinations for less than other modes of transport. Travelling by ferry also eliminates the extra costs that can really add up including car hire, airport parking, transfers and luggage fees.
To bag the cheapest fares, we always advise travelling at off-peak times such as late night or early morning sailings and outside of busy weekend periods.
Get away without stress
Spacious ships provide plenty of leg room, lounges to sit together and the option to enjoy tranquillity in the fresh air on deck making the journey more relaxed and enjoyable. UK ports have put lots of measures in place to ensure travellers check in quickly and smoothly.
The Port of Dover, ferry operators, coach companies and border officials are working together to efficiently check in coach travel, which can affect traffic flow in the port. During the weekends of the busy summer getaway, coaches will use a designated processing facility at the Port of Dover, which will ensure a comfortable transit for coach passengers and keep roads free for other passengers and freight – meaning a smooth journey all round. Some ferry operators have launched coach passenger apps, which enable travel documents to be uploaded beforehand, speeding up border checks.
Getting to the airport or station on time for your departure can leave you stressed before you start the journey. With over 80 ferry routes from the UK, there is a wide choice of ports to depart from. The time between check in and boarding is much shorter for ferry passengers and, unlike flights and time-stamped train tickets, if you miss the crossing time you booked, you can often just hop on the next available ferry.
Ferries take travellers to some of the most relaxing destinations in the British Isles. The Isle of Man has just launched a Mindful Map, highlighting the most calming and restorative activities on the island – most of them can be enjoyed for free. Sail away with Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.
Boasting the most hours of sunshine and – seemingly – the most spa hotels per head, the Channel Islands can also reward holidaymakers with relaxation. Sail to Jersey or Guernsey with Condor Ferries, from £65 per person each way for a family of four and a car. The savings on flights and car hire can pay for the extra spa treatments!
Vive La France
It’s the world’s most popular tourist destination for a reason but travelling by ferry offers huge savings. If you’re heading to Disneyland, Paris or beyond, a car and up to 9 passengers can sail from Dover to Calais at £68 each way with Irish Ferries, a huge saving compared to Eurostar tickets to Paris, which can cost £274 for a family of four. P&O Ferries has just launched its newest ship, the hybrid P&O Pioneer, to service its Dover Calais route. All P&O Ferries’ Dover-Calais crossings start from £76 each way for a car and up to 9 passengers.
Visitors can also enjoy duty-free on favourite drinks, confectionery and cosmetic brands saving up to 50% on High Street prices. When travelling between Dover and France with DFDS, it’s worth visiting the Duty Free Shops at Calais and Dunkirk ports – parking outside and no baggage limitations make it even easier to load up the car before heading home!
With Bastille Day on 14th July and a summer programme of food, music and cultural events along the French coast it’s easy to see the allure of French summers. A highlight is La Gacilly Photo Festival in Brittany – which transforms the pretty village into an open air gallery from June to October – the theme Nature in Heritage spotlights environmental protection. Travel through Dover, with DFDS, Irish Ferries or P&O Ferries, or sail into western France with Brittany Ferries or DFDS.
Short breaks that won’t leave you short changed
One of the best priced and most enjoyable ways to reach the Dutch capital is by mini cruise. The two-night experience includes overnight sailings, time to enjoy the restaurants, bars and entertainment on board, as well as a shuttle bus service between the port and Amsterdam centre. This saves on flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Depart from Newcastle from just £85 per person1 with DFDS (plus £10 for the bus transfer), or from £95 per person2 with P&O Ferries from Hull.
Until 12th July, Irish Ferries is also offering up to five-day return trips for just £98, which covers travel for a car and up to 9 passengers, making it possible to get from Dover to Calais for just over £10 per person!
Save on accommodation
Discover Ferries’ partners, Caravan and Motorhome Club and The Camping and Caravanning Club have a range of pocket-friendly pitches3 for campers, caravanners and motorhomers – and the ferry enables them to travel further afield.
This includes the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s Southland Club Campsite on popular staycation destination, the Isle of Wight. Pitches are from £31 per night. The Camping and Caravanning Club also still have availability at its Adgestone site and is offering up to 35% off summer stays at 15 sites across the UK with the code SUMUK353. Sail to the Isle of Wight with Hovertravel, Red Funnel or Wightlink.
Risle-Seine les Etangs near Le Havre is available from just £18.10 per night in late August and Des Abers, near Brest, is offering pitches from £23.28 per night throughout July and August, both available through Caravan and Motorhome Club. The Camping and Caravanning Club is offering up to 40% off stays at Eurocamp throughout Europe. Ferry crossings available from just £87 one way between Newhaven and Dieppe with DFDS, which includes a car with two adults and two children, or from £159 each way between Portsmouth and Le Havre for a car and four passengers with Brittany Ferries.
Get closer to nature and enjoy the Emerald Isle from £30.17 per night throughout July and August at the Blarney Caravan and Camping Park and from £37.93 at Glenross with Caravan and Motorhome Club. Over the border, the The Camping and Caravanning Club has availability at Delamont Country Park, with up to 35% off July and August stays with the code SUMUK353. Sail to Ireland and Northern Ireland with Irish Ferries, P&O Ferries or Stena Line.
“Sea” more in a day
With a Family River Roamer ticket for Uber Boat by Thames Clippers costing £42.40 when bought online, you can see more of the capital than ever before. The hop-on-hop-off river bus service enables sightseers to easily get from Greenwich through to Battersea Power Station and beyond, saving on train fares and taxis whilst enjoying the view of London from the river. Day trippers can also bring their bikes on board at no extra cost, helping them to rack up the miles while saving weary feet.
Within easy reach of the south coast, the Isle of Wight offers a change of scenery suitable for beach-bums, nature lovers and fossil hunters. Day return is from £21.80 per adult and £10.90 per child with Wightlink with bicycles travelling free of charge. Red Funnel is offering discounts on tickets to popular attractions, so day trippers can save up to 25% on entry to sites including Monkey Haven and 15% off ferry travel when purchased together. For a unique journey, take the world’s only commercial hovercraft from Southsea to Ryde with Hovertravel; families can save on the standard fare when purchasing online in advance, Family Tickets cost £60 and cover 2 adults and up to 3 children. The flight takes just 10 mins, but the memory will last a lifetime!
Stretch your staycation further
If you’re already in Cornwall and looking to venture away from the crowds, head across to St Mary’s with Isles of Scilly Travel. For just £35 per person for a day return, experience a destination fit for royals – the islands are part of the Duchy of Cornwall and are one of the Prince and Princess of Wales’ favourite holiday spots.
Visitors to the North West or Scotland can pack more into their trip with a visit to take in the landscapes of the Isle of Arran. Caledonian MacBrayne is less than £10 return per foot passenger and, cyclists will be happy to hear that bikes go free.
1 Prices based on two sharing an inside cabin
2 Prices are based on two adults sharing
3 SUMUK35 is available for both members and non-members of The Camping and Caravanning Club. Terms and conditions apply