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Getting to France from the UK: a holiday home owner’s guide

Travel Map To France

Holiday homes in France are more popular than ever. But while flying can be a hassle and you’ll need access to London if you want to take the train, driving to France gives you a chance to create your own itinerary and get off the beaten track.

Why drive when you can fly?

There are plenty of reasons why driving is better than flying when you want to enjoy a relaxing holiday in a mobile home in France. Here are five of them:

1. It’s the cheapest option, especially if you’re travelling with friends or family
2. It’s the most flexible – you can take your time getting to and from your destination
3. You can pack more, which is great if you intend to play golf or go surfing and don’t want to pay for excess baggage
4. You can plan a route that lets you explore the countryside
5. You can bring home more wine and other goodies from your trip!

Take the ferry

If you’ve decided to drive there are plenty of ferry options available:

The Channel ports

Extremely popular with holidaymakers and daytrippers, the Channel crossings take just 90 minutes and run throughout the day.


The Eurotunnel is one of the most convenient crossings, especially with animals as they stay with you in the car. Simply drive onto the train at Folkestone and drive off 35 minutes later in Calais, France.

Portsmouth, Plymouth and Poole

The ferry crossing from Portsmouth to Brittany takes a reasonable time of 5 and a half hours to 6 hours. If you decide to go from Plymouth to Roscoff this can take 5 and a half hours during the day or around 11 hours if you choose to travel overnight. The quickest route is usually from Poole to Cherbourg taking around 4 and a half hours during the day.

Normandy crossings

Also running from Plymouth and Portsmouth, ferries to the Normandy ports of Le Havre, Caen and Cherbourg are a great choice if you’re driving to holiday homes in the Charente or Dordogne in South-West France.

Hull to Zeebrugge

If you live in the north you might like to consider the Hull-Zeebrugge route. Zeebrugge is just a short hop from Calais and you can treat the overnight crossing as a floating hotel!

Tips for travelling by ferry

– Book early to get the best choice of crossings at the lowest prices
– If you’re offered an earlier ferry when you arrive at the port, take it and kickstart your holiday adventure quicker
– Ferry travel is great for kids so make sure you take the time to explore everything that’s on offer
– Consider the Eurotunnel if you or your family suffer from seasickness and you want the fastest route
– Take the ferry to Northern Spain if you’re keen to explore the South of France and the Basque Country

Driving in France checklist

Don’t get caught out when you’re driving in France. Apart from driving on the right, there are some legal requirements you need to comply with. Make sure you have the following in your car:

– Your full UK driving licence and insurance certificate
– A GB sticker
– A self-breathalyser test kit
– A warning triangle
– A hi-vis jacket for each passenger

You’ll also need a smartphone or Satnav if you’re unfamiliar with French roads.

We hope you consider driving to your holiday home. There’s really no better way to make the most of your trip!

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