Train and ferry from London to Paris:  Dover Eastern Docks
 

White Cliffs of Dover...  Returning from France the ferry approaches Dover Eastern Docks, with Dover Castle above the White Cliffs...

 

   

Why go train+ferry?

High-speed Eurostar trains now link London and Paris in just 2¼ hours with fares from £39.  But you can still travel from London to Paris by train-ferry-train if you want.  There are several reasons why you might do this:

First a reality check...

But on the plus side...

London to Paris via Dover-Calais

The route via Dover-Calais is the traditional route, with the fastest journey time, widest range of departures, and shortest sea crossing.  Click here for the slower but cheaper route via the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry

The days of travelling on a non-stop 'boat train' run exclusively for international passengers from London Victoria into Dover Western docks or Folkestone Harbour right alongside the ferries are long gone.  The stations at Dover Western Docks and Calais Maritime closed when Eurostar started in 1994.  You now need to use ordinary domestic trains on each side of the English Channel and make your own way by bus or taxi between town centre stations and the ferry terminals in both Dover and Calais.  But if you still want to travel from London to Paris by train and ferry, here's how:

Example timetable...

Here is an un-updated example timetable showing possible London-Paris connections, using the P&O ferries.  Please use them as a very rough guide, and check current times carefully for your date of travel before you go!

 London ► Dover / Calais ► Paris  (by train+ferry)

 Train: Mondays-Fridays Saturdays Sundays
 London Charing Cross depart 05:30 08:33 06:00 08:03 08:10 11:08
 Dover Priory arrive 07:32 10:31 08:01 10:01 10:01 13:02

 Ship:  (in Dover, take bus or taxi from station to Dover Eastern Docks)

 Dover Eastern Docks depart 09:25 12:05 09:25 12:05 12:05 14:45
 Calais port arrive 11:55 14:35 11:55 14:35 14:35 17:15

 Train:  (at Calais, take bus, taxi or 15 minutes walk from ferry terminal to station) 

 Calais Ville station depart 13:31 16:12 13:31 16:12 16:10 18:07
 Boulogne arrive 14:08 16:48 14:08 16:48 16:45 18:47

 Train:  (change trains in Boulogne)

 Boulogne depart 14:13 17:12 14:13 17:12 17:04 19:04
 Etaples / Le Touquet arrive 14:31 17:31 14:31 17:31 17:31 19:31
 Amiens arrive 15:36 18:36 15:36 18:36 18:36 20:36
 Paris Gare de Nord arrive 16:56 19:56 16:56 19:56 19:56 21:56

t = By direct high-speed TGV train from Paris to Calais, reservation obligatory, higher fare payable.

How to read these timetables     No UK trains run on these routes on 25 or 26 December.

How to check times for your date of travel.  Start by checking French train times from Calais to Paris as this is the least frequent part of the journey, using either uk.voyages-sncf.com or www.capitainetrain.com.  Then work backwards, looking for a ferry at www.poferries.com which arrives at Calais ferry terminal at least 1 hour before the train leaves Calais Ville.  Now look for a London to Dover train at www.nationalrail.co.uk which arrives at Dover Priory at least 1 hour before the ferry sails.  Unlike the integrated pre-Eurostar train+ferry services, this is not an organised service where ferries are held if trains run late, but completely separate trains and ferry.  If you have important connections in Paris, bear this in mind and perhaps take an earlier train from London.

About these times:   The times suggested here assume you want the cheapest route, and/or want to experience the 'traditional' route from London to Paris, using the classic London to Dover route from London Charing Cross built in the 19th century, and the classic route from Calais to Paris via Boulogne and Amiens.  If cost and history aren't your prime concern, you can save some time using the hourly trains from London St Pancras to Dover via the new high-speed line (but slightly higher fares will apply, use the journey planner at www.nationalrail.co.uk), and there are other Calais-Paris options with changes at Hazebrouck or Lille using the high-speed line to Paris (again, higher fares will apply especially if you pay full-price on the day instead of pre-booking).  Use either uk.voyages-sncf.com or www.capitainetrain.com to find all Calais-Paris options.  Please double-check all times carefully for your date of travel, these won't be updated with every tweak of the timetable, especially the French habit of running a slightly different timetable every day, or the British habit of digging up the track at weekends.

 Paris ► Calais / Dover ► London  (by train+ferry)

 Train: Monday-Friday Saturdays Sundays
 Paris Nord depart 07:01 09:46 t 10:04 14:04 07:04 09:46 t 10:04 14:04 10:04 14:04
 Amiens depart 08:23

|

11:21 15:21 08:24

|

11:21 15:21 11:21 15:21
 Etaples / Le Touquet depart 09:24 | 12:31 16:31 09:24 | 12:31 16:31 12:31 16:31
 Boulogne arrive 09:46 | 12:52 16:43 09:58 | 12:52 16:43 12:52 16:43

 Train:  (change trains in Boulogne)

 Boulogne depart 09:47 | 13:11 17:11 10:48 | 13:11 16:51 14:10 16:47
 Calais Ville station arrive 10:21 11:31 t 13:48 17:48 11:21 11:31 t 13:48 17:24 14:40 17:21

 Ship:  (in Calais, take bus, taxi or 15 minute walk from station to port)

 Calais port depart 11:35 12:35 15:20 18:50 12:35 12:35 15:20 18:50 16:05 18:50
 Dover Eastern Docks arrive 12:05 13:05 15:50 19:20 13:05 13:05 15:50 19:20 16:35 19:20

 Train:  (in Dover, take bus or taxi from Eastern Docks to Dover Priory station)

 Dover Priory depart 13:25 14:25 17:24 20:25 14:25 14:25 17:24 20:25 18:25 20:25
 London Charing Cross  arrive 15:22 16:24 19:21 22:22 16:24 16:24 19:21 22:22 20:22 22:22

You now need to buy separate tickets for the UK train, the ferry, and the French train.

 Train+ferry costs

 Fare: One-way: Return:
 London to Dover by train: £35.40 full fare, £33.20 off-peak. £70.80 full fare, off-peak £34.30 after 09:30.
 Dover to Calais by ferry: £29.50 at www.poferries.com, £40 at the port. £59 at www.poferries.com, £80 on the day
 Calais to Paris by train: €42.50 full fare or from €22 advance purchase €85 full fare or from €44 advance purchase

Slightly higher fares apply for the high-speed London-Dover trains from St Pancras, or Calais-Paris on a high-speed TGV.

Money-saving suggestionBuy a 'Day Trip' ticket from London to Calais, even for a one-way journey...  It's very poorly publicised (it's not even mentioned on their website!) but South Eastern Trains offer a day return day tripper ticket from London to Calais for £38.90 adult, £19.45 child, or £25.65 for Senior or Young person railcard holders (2014 prices, you can check the current price online at www.brfares.com by enquiring from London Charing Cross to Calais).  It's valid on any 'classic' (in other words, non-high-speed) train to Dover even in the morning peak and on any P&O ferry to Calais, no reservation necessary.  You can buy it at London's Charing Cross or Victoria stations on the day of travel.  It's intended for day trippers, but even for one-way trips from London to Calais it's is a lot cheaper than buying a one-way train ticket to Dover plus a foot passenger ferry fare to Calais.  There is no problem buying one of these day returns and not using the return leg, just throw the return half away!  However, it cannot be used for one-way trips in the 'inward' direction.  The ticket can also be bought starting in many other stations in Kent & South London such as Croydon, Guildford, Woking, Orpington, Canterbury or Ashford.  It doesn't cover the bus between Dover Priory and Eastern Docks.  You can confirm prices & details by calling South Eastern's customer services on 0845 000 2222.  Valid on the HS1 high-speed services only if you pay the HS supplement.

Option 1, buy all your tickets together as a package from Europeanrail.com...

Option 2, buy UK train, P&O Ferries & French train tickets yourself, separately...

The choice of trains between London & Dover...

South Eastern train to Dover at Charing Cross   Seats on the London to Dover train

Classic:  If you're trying to recreate the classic pre-Eurostar 'boat train' experience, take a train from Charing Cross or Victoria stations along one of the two classic 19th century railway lines to Dover.  The scenery is nicer along these classic normal-speed lines, too.  Above left, an express to Dover waits to leave Charing Cross.

Seats on the high-speed train from London to Dover   High-speed train from London St Pancras to Dover

High-speed:  If you're simply trying to avoid the Channel Tunnel, perhaps due to claustrophobia or because of some one-off short-term problem with it, then the fastest way to Dover is on the new high-speed 130mph service from London St Pancras.  It's significantly less scenic and a tad more expensive, but a lot faster, with minimal stops.

Sponsored links...

 

London-Paris via Newhaven-Dieppe

London to Paris for £73 one-way, even for immediate departure, no reservation necessary...

The slower Newhaven-Dieppe route has always been a second-best option compared to the faster Dover-Calais route shown above, but it's worth considering because it's significantly cheaper, and the train-ferry transfer at Newhaven is much easier than in Dover.

 London ► Newhaven-Dieppe ► Paris  (by train+ferry)

 Train... Mondays-Fridays Saturdays Sundays
 London Victoria depart 06:47 20:17 06:02 20:17 06:32 20:06
 Newhaven Town arrive  08:06e   21:36e   08:24b   21:36e   08:33b   21:33b

 Ferry...  In Newhaven it's a 300m walk from Newhaven Town station to the ferry

 Newhaven ferry terminal depart 10:00 23:00 10:00 23:00 10:00 23:00
 Dieppe ferry terminal arrive 15:00 04:00 15:00 04:00 15:00 04:00

 Train...  In Dieppe it's a 35-minute walk or 10-minute taxi ride to the station.

 Dieppe Ville station depart 15:59  05:32* 16:07 06:17 15:57 05:32
 Rouen arrive 16:47  06:16* 16:52 07:16 16:42 06:16
 Rouen depart 16:59  06:26* 17:09 08:09 16:59 06:26
 Paris St Lazare arrive 18:10  07:38* 18:43 09:43 18:10 07:38

* = On Saturday mornings, depart Dieppe 06:17, change Rouen, arrive Paris 09:43.

e = change trains at Lewes.   b = change at Brighton.  c = change at East Croydon & Brighton.   An underlined time means change trains. 

In Newhaven, get off at Newhaven Town station not Newhaven Harbour.  Walking route to station in Dieppe.

Important:  As with the Calais timetable, I wont keep this page 100% updated with every timetable change, and ferry times can vary due to tidal constraints.  So use it as a guide and check UK train times at www.nationalrail.co.uk, the ferry times at www.ldlines.co.uk and French train times at uk.voyages-sncf.com or www.voyages-sncf.com.

 Paris ► Dieppe-Newhaven ► London  (by train+ferry)

 Train... Monday-Friday Saturdays Sundays
 Paris St Lazare depart - 10:50 - 10:51 - 10:36
 Rouen arrive - 12:01 - 11:59 - 12:07
 Rouen depart - 12:13 - 12:16 - 12:25
 Dieppe Ville station arrive - 12:59 - 12:58 - 13:07

 Ferry...  In Dieppe it's a 30-minute walk or 10-min taxi ride to the ferry terminal

 Dieppe ferry terminal depart 05:30 18:00 05:30 18:00 05:30 18:00
 Newhaven ferry terminal arrive 08:30 21:00 08:30 21:00 08:30 21:00

 Train...  In Newhaven, it's a 300m walk from the ferry to Newhaven Town station

 Newhaven Town depart 09:32 22:25 09:32 22:25 09:34 22:34
 London Victoria  arrive   10:58e   23:52e   10:57e   23:52e   11:03b   00:39b

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...


The Thomas Cook European Timetable

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team have set up a private venture and published the first edition of a reborn European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online with worldwide shipping at www.europeanrailtimetable.euMore information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

A Traveller's Railway Map of Europe covers the whole of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  On the back are detailed maps of Switzerland, Benelux & Germany, plus city plans showing stations in major cities.  Scenic & high-speed routes highlighted.  Click to see sample.  Buy online for €13 + €5.50 postage worldwide at www.treinreiswinkel.nl/railway_map_of_europe.

 


Hotels in London, Paris & France...

 

◄◄ 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.

Hotels near the Gare du Nord & other Paris stations:

If you need to stay over in Paris between trains, here are some hotels that are both close to the station and get good reviews:

Hotels for that romantic break in Paris...

There's the famous Paris Ritz in the Place Vendôme of course (almost €500 a night) or the similarly-priced Le Meurice, but if you want a really special hotel for a luxury break or romantic weekend and can afford to splurge around €280 a night, try the small, sumptuous and intimate L'Hotel.  It's on the bohemian left bank a short distance from the Seine, the Ile de la Cité & Notre Dame.  Oscar Wilde spent his last days here in room 16, and the hotel has been used by many famous people from Sinatra to Mick Jagger.  Rooms are beautifully decorated and have character that other hotels lack.

Backpacker hostels...

www.hostelbookers.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelbookers offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in Paris and most other European cities at rock-bottom prices.


Travel insurance & health card...

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Get travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without insurance from a reliable travel insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash (up to a limit) & belongings, and cancellation. An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year (I have an annual policy myself).  Don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, though, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, and feedback from using insurance for rail & ferry travel is always welcome.

In the UK, use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get an EU health card, it's free...

If you're a UK citizen travelling in Europe, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.  The EHIC card is available from www.ehic.org.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Get a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low/no ATM fees

Taking out an extra credit card costs nothing, but if you keep it in a different part of your luggage you won't be left stranded if your wallet gets stolen.  In addition, some credit cards are better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card to save on mobile data and phone calls...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, and if you're not careful you can return home to find a huge bill.  Consider buying a global pre-paid SIM card for your mobile phone from www.Go-Sim.com, which can slash costs by up to 85%.  Go-Sim cuts call costs in 175 countries worldwide, and you can receive incoming calls and texts for free in 75 countries.  It's pay-as-you-go, so no nasty bills when you get home.  It also allows cheap data access for laptops & PDAs.  A Go-Sim account and any credit on it doesn't expire if it's not used between trips, unlike some others, so a Go-Sim phone number becomes your 'global phone number' for life.

 


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