The No-Fly Zone... Air-conditioned electric train from London to Poole, then fast Condor Ferries SeaCat from Poole to Jersey & Guernsey...
►► Click to buy tickets ◄◄
Take train & ferry to the Channel Islands...
...and avoid the pain of the plane.
There's absolutely no need to fly. It's easy to reach Jersey or Guernsey by train & ferry, a more civilised, less stressful & more environmentally-friendly way to go. Just book a ferry from Portsmouth or Poole and add a train ticket. This page will explain train & ferry schedules, prices and how to buy tickets.
The Channel Islands are a great place to spend a holiday or short break, with sandy beaches, castles, history and lots to explore. "Great Britain is our oldest possession" is a long-standing Channel Islanders' joke. The Channel Islands, lying a few miles from the coast of France but over 70 miles from the UK, were part of Normandy when William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, invaded and captured England in 1066. When the French king later invaded and captured Normandy in 1204, the Islanders chose to stay subject to the Crown of England. In return for their loyalty, the Islands were allowed to retain their own government (called the 'States') and even today they are not legally part of the UK or even the EU. The resulting favourable tax laws have made the Channel Islands a major financial centre and home to many wealthy Brits. It's also the reason you'll find 'duty-free' goods sold on the ferry to the Channel Islands, but not on the ferry to France!
Information on this page...
How to buy tickets - by phone or in person...
By train + ferry to Jersey & Guernsey...
Mont Orgeuil Castle, Jersey
Option 1, by fast SeaCat from Poole...
Take a train from your local station to Poole on the south coast. Condor Ferries operate a comfortable SeaCat fast ferry from Poole to Jersey (St Helier) & Guernsey (St Peter Port) taking just 2-4 hours, all year round. It's a very relaxed and comfortable way to travel. Ferry times vary by day of the week and time of year, but on many days you'll find train & ferry times looking something like the times shown below.
London ► Jersey & Guernsey
Here's a typical example, but you'll need to check times for your date of travel. Take the 07:35 train from London Waterloo to Poole, it's a taxi ride or walk to the ferry terminal, then take a 12:00 fast ferry from Poole arriving St Peter port (Guernsey) at 15:00 and St Helier ( Jersey) at 16:30. On other dates, you might find a 13:30 or 14:00 fast ferry from Poole rather than a 12:00, so take the 08:35 or 09:05 train from London Waterloo to connect.
Jersey & Guernsey ► London
Sail from Jersey by fast ferry around 15:00 and from Guernsey around 16:30 (times vary significantly by date), arriving Poole at 19:30. Take a taxi or walk to Poole station. A train will get you to London Waterloo by about 23:24, trains run regularly through the day. This is a typical example, you need to check times for your date of travel.
Option 2, by all-weather conventional ferry from Portsmouth...
The fast catamarans can occasionally be cancelled if the weather is very bad, especially in winter. Condor Ferries operate a daily all-year, all-weather sailing by conventional ship from Portsmouth to Jersey & Guernsey taking 9-10 hours.
London ► Jersey & Guernsey
In this direction the ferry sails by day, leaving Portsmouth Continental Ferry Port at 09:00 and arriving in St Peter Port (Guernsey) at 16:30 & St Helier (Jersey) at 19:30. Private cabins & reclining seats are available. To catch this ship, you'll need to leave London Waterloo at 05:00 (Mon-Sat only, check times and buy tickets at any train operator site such as www.virgintrains.co.uk), or travel down to Portsmouth the night before. Get off at Portsmouth & Southsea station (not Portsmouth Harbour station) and take a taxi to the Continental Ferry Port. You'll get great views of the naval port and all the modern warships, as well as historic HMS Victory and HMS Warrior, as the ferry sails out of Portsmouth.
Jersey & Guernsey ► London
In this direction the ferry sails overnight, leaving Guernsey at 17:30, Jersey at 21:30, and arriving Portsmouth at 06:30. Cabins and reclining seats are available. A train connection from Portsmouth & Southsea station will get you to London Waterloo at about 09:30, you can check times at any train operator site such as www.virgintrains.co.uk.
Start with the ferry. First, check ferry sailing times & dates between Poole or Portsmouth and the Channel Islands at www.condorferries.co.uk. Then check train times & fares from London or any station in Britain to Poole or Portsmouth using any train operator website such as www.virgintrains.co.uk. Remember to allow for the minimum 40-minute ferry check-in at the port, plus at least half an hour to get from the station to the ferry terminal on foot or by taxi.
How much does it cost? Central London to Jersey or Guernsey from £45 one-way, £60 return...
London Waterloo to Portsmouth & Southsea costs around £35 one-way with an Anytime ticket. A return ticket costs £39.80 Off-Peak Return valid for a month, or £70.60 return if you need to travel in the Monday-Friday morning peak hours. No advance reservation is necessary for these fares or for the London-Portsmouth trains.
Travel tip: If you use the slightly slower Southern Railway route from London Victoria to Portsmouth & Southsea there are advance-purchase fares from just £5 each way. Just specify 'London Victoria' as your starting point when booking online. Naturally, these fares mean no refunds, and are valid only on the specific train you book. When added to the cheapest ferry one-way or return fare, you can get from central London to the Channel Islands from as little as £41 one-way or £62 for a 5-day short break return.
London to Poole starts at just £11 one-way with a pre-booked Advance ticket, or around £56.10 one-way with an open Anytime ticket bought on the day, see www.southwesttrains.co.uk. A return journey starts at £22 with a pre-booked Advance ticket, or around £59.60 Off-Peak Return valid for a month, or £112.20 return if you need to travel in the Monday-Friday morning peak hours.
Ferry fares from Portsmouth or Poole to Jersey or Guernsey vary, but typically cost between £40 & £46 one-way, you can check online at www.condorferries.co.uk. Return trips usually cost twice the one-way fare, but if you are spending 4 nights or less at your destination there are short break return fares of around £50-£63 return.
- Select 'UK' as your place of departure if your journey starts on the mainland.
- It then doesn't matter which route you select, as long as you select a route to your chosen Channel Island, Jersey or Guernsey. In the search results you'll see all departures from any of the two mainland ports to your chosen Channel Island.
- After booking the ferry, buy a train ticket from any British station to Portsmouth or Poole at www.virgintrains.co.uk.
Step 1, book the ferry...
Book your ferry from Portsmouth or Poole to Jersey or Guernsey at the seat61 ferry shop (just use the form on the right!) or at www.condorferries.co.uk. This is easy, you book online and print out your booking reference. When you get to the ferry terminal, you simply quote your booking reference, there is no ticket involved.
Step 2: Book the trains...
Buy a train ticket from your starting station to Portsmouth or Poole at www.virgintrains.co.uk or any other train operator site, with no booking fees. You usually collect your tickets from the self-service machines installed at most National Rail stations. Remember to allow at least half an hour to get from the station to the ferry terminal on foot or by taxi, and for the minimum 40-minute check-in for the ferry.
Integrated train & ferry tickets from any British station to the Channel Islands have been available for over a century, but were not advertised, weren't made available online, and unsurprisingly were discontinued in early 2014. So you now need to buy separate tickets as explained here.
Children under 16 travel for half the adult fare on both trains & Condor Ferries. Children under 5 go free on all trains, under 3 go free on Condor Ferries.
Luggage: Up to 15Kg of luggage travels free on Condor Ferries, you can take more but they may make an additional charge. Left luggage at London Waterloo.
Bicycles go free on the ferry, and free or for a small charge on trains.
Dogs & pets go on the ferry for £10 one-way, £20 return.
Railcard holders: There's no discount for railcard holders with these special fares, so separate train & ferry tickets could be cheaper.
1. London to Poole or Portsmouth by train...
2. Poole to Jersey or Guernsey by Condor fast ferry...
The vessels have plenty of seating, a self-service cafe-restaurant, a bar and open observations decks from which to enjoy the sea views both leaving the UK and arriving in Guernsey and Jersey. You'll be treated to a departure past all the small boats in Poole Harbour, a call at St Peter Port in Guernsey, then a trip right along the south-west coast of Jersey past Corbière lighthouse, St Brelade's Bay and Portlet Bay, then an entrance to St Helier Harbour passing right by Elizabeth Castle. Club Class seats in an exclusive lounge are available for a supplement, with complimentary tea, coffee and pastries, and a stewardess service of wine, spirits, snacks and meals. Condor Ferries' Ocean Club Class is easily the most comfortable and civilised way to reach the Channel Islands!
The fast ferry Condor Express arriving in St Helier, Jersey...
Stewardess service in the exclusive Club Class lounge...
On board the Condor Express...
Condor Ferries' Condor Express at St Helier, Jersey.
In March 2015 Condor are introducing a brand new SeaCat, the Condor Liberation. Bigger, faster, and less likely to be affected by the weather.
...or Portsmouth to Jersey & Guernsey on Condor Ferries ship Commodore Clipper...
The Commodore Clipper is designed to carry passengers, cars & freight, so her passenger accommodation isn't as extensive as on some ships, but it's clean, very comfortable and well-run. Cabins are available, and there's a self-service café-restaurant, a bar with panoramic views, a duty free shop, and Club class seating available for a supplement. You'll be treated to a departure from Portsmouth Continental Ferry port past the Royal Navy frigates and even the odd aircraft carrier in the naval dockyard, past Nelson's 'Victory' and ironclad HMS Warrior in the dockyard museum, a call at Guernsey, then a trip along the coast of Jersey from Corbière lighthouse, past St Brelade's Bay, then an entrance to St Helier Harbour with great views passing right by Elizabeth Castle.
|The all-weather Commodore Clipper...||A cabin on the Commodore Clipper.|
There are good bus services between all major points on Jersey and Guernsey.
Bicycles are also a great way to see the Islands, with well-marked low-traffic cycle routes across the Islands and several bike hire agencies available. Jersey is only 10 miles across, so bikes are an easy way to get around.
Jersey - Guernsey
www.condorferries.co.uk offer fast ferries between St Helier (Jersey) and St Peter Port (Guernsey) in about 55 minutes, with day trips possible, plus a daily sailing by ship. www.manche-iles-express.com and www.hdferries.co.uk also offer sailings by fast ferry.
Jersey - Sark
www.manche-iles-express.com provides occasional sailings to Sark ('Serq' in French) by fast ferry.
Guernsey - Sark
The Isle of Sark Shipping Co provides 1 to 5 sailings daily between St Peter Port (Guernsey) and Sark, taking 45 minutes. See www.sarkshippingcompany.com.
Guernsey - Alderney
www.manche-iles-express.com provides occasional sailings to Alderney ('Aurigny' in French) by fast ferry. Also see www.alderneygiftbox.com/index.php?p=1_5_Lady-Maris
Jersey & Guernsey ► St Malo
www.condorferries.co.uk operates fast ferries from Jersey to St Malo. www.hdferries.co.uk also started running this route in March 2007, twice daily in summer, 3 times a week in winter, but are suspended again for winter 2008/9. Emeraude Lines (www.emeraudelines.com) also used to run from Jersey to St Malo, but the company ceased operating in 2006.
Jersey & Guernsey ► Normandy
Alderney ► Cherbourg
See www.manche-iles-express.com for fast ferries from Jersey/Guernsey to Diélette, Barneville-Carteret and Granville in Normandy.
Find a hotel in Jersey or Guernsey...
◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.
www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller. It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!
www.booking.com is my favourite booking site. It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.
Other hotel sites worth trying...
www.tripadvisor.com is the place to find independent travellers' reviews of all the main hotels.
www.booking.com is my own preferred hotel booking system (Hotels Combined being a search/comparison system). It has a simple interface, a good selection in most countries worldwide, useful online customer reviews of each hotel, and decent prices, usually shown inclusive of unavoidable extras such as taxes (a pet hate of mine is systems that show one price, then charge you another!).