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 link London & Paris in just 2h20 from just £39.  But you can still travel from London to Paris by train-ferry-train, and there are several reasons why you might want to:

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, the widest range of departures, and the shortest sea crossing.  Buying tickets on the day, the whole trip will cost around £80 one-way if you use a Calais Day Tripper ticket, or £115 if you use separate train, ferry & train tickets.  You may be able to reduce those prices to £70 & £95 if you buy the French train ticket in advance online.  Click here for the slower but slightly cheaper route via the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry.  I describe a London to Paris journey here, just reverse the steps for a northbound trip from Paris to London.  Watch the video guide.

Step 1:  Take a train from London to Dover...

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

The classic option:  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

The high-speed option:  A train from London St Pancras to Dover.

Step 2, transfer from station to ferry terminal in Dover...

Dover Priory station   Foot passenger entrance at Dover Eastern Docks ferry terminal

Dover Priory station.  There are usually plenty of taxis waiting outside...

 

Foot passenger departures, cleverly marked 'arrivals'...

P&O Ferries foot passenger check-in   P&O courtesy bus from terminal to ferry

P&O foot passenger check-in...

 

Courtesy bus from terminal to ferry...

Step 3:  Sail from Dover to Calais by P&O ferries (www.poferries.com). 

A nice day for a Channel crossing!   The White Cliffs of Dover

A nice day for a Channel crossing...

 

Dover's famous White Cliffs...

A meal on board P&O's Pride of Kent as it leaves Dover   The ferry arrived at Calais

Lunch in the brasserie on board P&O's ferry Pride of Kent...

 

Arrival at Calais.  A courtesy bus shuttles you to the terminal building at the entrance to the port area.

Step 4, transfer from ferry terminal to station in Calais...

Calais Ferry Terminal   The walkway from the ferry terminal towards Calais town centre

Calais ferry terminal.  Buses to the town centre & Calais Ville station leave from the forecourt.

 

Walk out of the terminal building and turn right for this walkway to the town centre.

Step 3:  Take a train from Calais to Boulogne, Etaples & Paris....

TER regional train from Calais Ville to Boulogne   Inside the TER train from Calais to Boulogne

A comfortable air-conditioned TER regional train about to leave Calais Ville for Boulogne.  Change at Boulogne Ville for an Intercité to Paris Nord.  If you're heading for Boulogne's pretty old town, alight at Boulogne Tintelleries as this is closer than Boulogne Ville.

Example timetable...

Here is an un-updated example timetable showing typical London-Paris connections, using the classic train route from London to Dover, P&O ferries from Dover to Calais, and the classic (and cheapest) route from Calais to Paris via Boulogne & Amiens.  Please use these times as a very rough guide, then work out actual train, ferry & train times for your specific date of travel as explained below.  Slightly faster journeys may be possible using the high-speed route from London St Pancras to Dover, and alternative TGV services between Calais and Paris with a change at Hazebrouck or Lille, for example.

 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

 Ferry:  (in Dover, take a taxi from station to Dover Eastern Docks)

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

 Train:  (in Calais, take bus, taxi or 35 minutes walk from ferry terminal to station) 

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

 Train:  (change trains in Boulogne)

 Boulogne Ville depart 14:12 17:12 14:12 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.   Watch the video guide.

 Paris ► Calais / Dover ► London  by train+ferry

 Train: Monday-Friday Saturdays Sundays
 Paris Nord depart 06:58 09:46 t 10:04 14:04 06:58 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 Ville arrive 09:46 | 12:52 16:43 09:58 | 12:52 16:43 12:52 16:43

 Train:  (change trains in Boulogne)

 Boulogne Ville depart 11:48 | 13:11 17:11 10:48 | 13:11 16:51 14:10 16:47
 Calais Ville station arrive 12:21 11:31 t 13:48 17:48 11:21 11:31 t 13:48 17:24 14:40 17:21

 Ferry:  (in Calais, take bus, taxi or 35 minute walk from station to ferry terminal)

 Calais Ferry Terminal depart 14:20 12:35 15:20 18:50 12:35 12:35 15:20 18:50 16:05 18:50
 Dover Eastern Docks arrive 14:50 13:05 15:50 19:20 13:05 13:05 15:50 19:20 16:35 19:20

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

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

How to check times for your specific date of travel. 

  • Step 1, start by checking French train times from Calais to Paris as this is the least frequent part of the journey, using either www.loco2.com or www.capitainetrain.com (use www.loco2.com, click 'add via/stopover' and enter Amiens as a 'via' if you want the classic and cheapest route).

  • Step 2, 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, preferably a bit more.

  • Step 3, now look for a London to Dover train at www.nationalrail.co.uk which arrives at Dover Priory at least 65 minutes 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 take an earlier train from London.

The Calais Day Tripper Ticket...

  • What is it?   South Eastern Trains offer a cheap Day Tripper ticket from London to Calais, also available from selected stations in Kent & south of London such as Croydon, Guildford, Woking, Orpington, Canterbury or Ashford.  It's very poorly publicised, it's not even mentioned on their website, but it definitely exists.  A Calais Day Tripper ticket is a same-day return ticket from London to Calais and back, covering both the train and ferry, valid on any classic (non-high-speed) train from London Charing Cross or London Victoria to Dover and on any P&O ferry sailing from Dover to Calais, no prior reservation necessary.

  • Using it for one-way journeys:  Although it's round trip one-day ticket intended for day trippers, it is significantly cheaper than buying a one-way train ticket to Dover plus a one-way foot passenger ferry fare to Calais.  There is no problem simply using the outward part from London to Calais then throwing the return part away, this is perfectly legitimate even if it's not how they intend these tickets to be used.  If you buy one in advance in the UK for the date on which you intend to return from Calais to London, you can probably use one for a one-way inward journey from Calais to London too, although I have not heard from anyone who has done this.  The inward sailing coupon can be exchanged for a boarding card in Calais, and the train part of the ticket will certainly be valid on any train back from Dover to London.

  • How much does it cost?  A Calais Day Tripper ticket costs £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 running an enquiry from London Charing Cross to Calais.  You can also confirm prices & details by calling South Eastern's customer services on 0845 000 2222.

  • Where to buy it:  You can easily buy it at London's Charing Cross or Victoria stations on the day of travel.  A Calais Day Tripper ticket can also be bought starting in many other stations in Kent & South London such as Croydon, Guildford, Woking, Orpington, Canterbury or Ashford.  However, only selected stations are allowed to sell it.

Watch the video guide...

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 European Rail 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 calls & mobile data...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, so consider getting a global pre-paid SIM card for your mobile phone which can cut call & data costs by up to 90%.  At the time of writing, www.roamsure.com claims a definite 25% saving within the EU and up to 90% saving in the rest of the world.  Incoming calls are free in 73 countries, including all of the EU, the USA, Australia & South Africa.  There's no contract or commitment, and at time I write this Roamsure is offering a global SIM card for free when you buy £20 of call credit.  Seat61 gets some commission to support the site if you buy airtime from Roamsure.

 


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