How to take your motorhome from the UK to Europe

ferry uk france

Can I take my motorhome on the ferry from UK to France?

France, as Britain’s favourite holiday destination is becoming increasingly popular for road trips. For residents in the UK, the Channel Tunnel ferry crossing has long been the gateway to France and to the rest of the continent, but with the rise of budget airlines, this method of transport has been forgotten, and more and more road trips begin first after a plane ride to Paris.

An alternative way to compliment your road trip in France, this historical channel tunnel crossing is more than just a way of getting to your starting destination; it’s an experience in itself and a good way to take a break from driving and enjoy the summer sea. By taking a motorhome to France, you’ll also have the added advantage of being able to take as much luggage as you want and your accommodation is already sorted.

Can you take a caravan on a ferry?

Yes! Taking Your motorhome on a ferry is very similar to taking a regular car. We’ve summed up some useful information for you, to help you take to the seas:

There are 4 main companies that cover the Channel Tunnel crossing: Brittany Ferries, P&O Ferries, DFDS Seaways and Condor Ferries Book online – this will guarantee that there is enough space for your larger vehicle, and you don’t have to wait for the next ferry. For most carriers, if your vehicle is over 9m in length/ 4m in height, you won’t be able to book a space online and you’ll need to call them directly. Specify the correct dimensions for your motorhome or campervan in your booking – This is the most important difference when taking a larger vehicle like a motorhome. Dimension restrictions can vary depending on the carrier you use, so make sure you check in advance and make sure you include any tow bars or bike racks, roof boxes in your measurements.

Boarding the ‘Chunnel’ is easy, especially if you have booked in advance. There are many signs to the ferry terminal from the motorway, where you’ll drive through passport control and customs, then follow the signs of your ferry operator and show your booking at the check-in points. They will direct you to a numbered lane, and you just park at the front of it. The ferry officials will help you to manoeuvre your vehicle, so you don’t need to worry if you don’t have much experience here.

Ferry routes from the UK to Europe

There are many different ferries from the UK to Europe and several different ports UK you can leave from. The main ports are Dover and Portsmouth. A good travellers’ tip is to return from a different port to where you arrived, allowing you to see more of France without having to return to the same place. Most operators offer this type of return ticket, and those who don’t offer cheap one way tickets if you buy advance.

Ferries to France from Dover

Around 70 miles southeast of London, the port of Dover is the quickest and cheapest way for most Brits from the South to take a road trip to the continent. The M20 will provide the quickest and most direct route to the port, particularly if coming from the West. The ferry routes here are:

Dover to Calais

Dover to Calais

Dover to Dunkirk

Ferries to France from Portsmouth

Around 64 miles southwest of London, Portsmouth is the best port if arriving from the North and the Midlands with the links to the M25 and the M3. Plymouth is the best port to use for anyone coming from the West Country or Wales, however there are fewer journeys and destinations offered. The ferry routes from Portsmouth are:

Portsmouth to Caen

Portsmouth to Le Havre

Portsmouth to St Malo

Portsmouth to Cherbourg

Is it possible to take the ferry to Spain?

Taking your motorhome on a ferry to Spain is a great way to do a road trip of the sunny peninsula without first crossing France, as well as giving you a much longer and more adventurous experience at sea.  Winter road trips to Spain are also highly popular, allowing an escape from our wet british winter (It can still rain in the winter on the northern coast, but not nearly as much as the UK!). What’s more, you’ll be able to enjoy the spectacular views of the ‘Costa Verde’; Spain’s infamous northern coastline which completely differs from its Mediterranean coastlines, with vegetation similar to what you’d find hiking in Ireland with fewer rainclouds!

Ferries to Spain

Portsmouth to Bilbao

Portsmouth to Santander

Plymouth to Santander

Can I take my motorhome on the Eurotunnel to France?

The Eurotunnel is the quickest and most convenient way to get your motorohome from the UK to France, for a simple start to your road trip. It’s a freight train which cars are foot passengers are loaded onto and takes just 35 minutes to reach the platform on the other side. Vehicles must be turned off during the journey, and on the other side you’ll simply drive directly out onto the French motorway (on the right). The Eurotunnel departs from Folkstone to Calais and is clearly signposted from the M20. This may not be suited to all motorhomes as there are restrictions on the amount of LPG tanks you can take. For the most up-to-date information, make sure to visit their website before you book.

Extra tips for driving on the continent

Remember to drive on the right. This may sound obvious if you’ve previously driven in Europe, but it can easily be forgotten. The motorways (autoroutes) are called ‘A’ roads (not to be confused with A roads in the UK). National roads (routes nationales) are ‘N’ roads and minor roads are ‘D’ roads.

You must have a GB sticker or Euro number plate.

Make sure you have a warning triangle, reflective jacket and breathalyser in your motorhome before heading to France, as it’s a legal obligation.

Rent a motorhome from the UK to Europe for an alternative way to discover France and Spain. With Yescapa.com, you don’t need to worry about arranging extra insurance,  every rental is covered for driving all over Europe!

This unique way of travel was once deeply rooted in British culture as the main way to see the European continent and has been forgotten by many. Wherever you plan to go on you road trip, we really recommend you take a trip with your motorhome or campervan on the ‘Chunnel’, to awaken your sense of adventure and add an extra experience to your adventure on the road.

Take a look at our destination pages for France and Spain for inspiration for your next road trip

Joseph T

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