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 by train & ferry?

High-speed Eurostar trains link London & Paris in just 2h20 from just £44 one-way or £58 return.  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...

Which ferry route to choose?

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.  If you're heading for Boulogne's pretty old town, alight at Boulogne Tintelleries as this is closer than Boulogne Ville.

2nd class seats on an Intercité train   Intercité train at Paris Nord

Change at Boulogne Ville for an Intercité to Paris Nord.  This shows 2nd class seating on an Intercité train arrived at Paris Gare du Nord.

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 min 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 min 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.trainline.eu (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 more.

  • Step 3, now look for a London to Dover train at www.nationalrail.co.uk which arrives at Dover Priory at least 70 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...

Watch the video guide...

Sponsored links...

 

London-Paris via Newhaven

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 bus or 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.  You check in your big bags at the ferry terminal and get them back in the Dieppe terminal.

In Dieppe, there are taxis or (1 May- 30 September) there's a shuttle bus costing €2.50, or it's a 35-minute walk.  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.dfds.co.uk and French train times at www.loco2.com or www.trainline.eu.

 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...


London-Paris via Portsmouth

The comfortable overnight option!

This is the comfortable overnight option, where you can leave central London in the early evening, have a good night's sleep in a comfortable cabin with en suite shower & toilet on the overnight ferry, and arrive Paris just after midday next day.  Not the fastest option, but a time-effective and comfortable alternative to Eurostar if you need one.

The Man in Seat 61 says "Brittany Ferries ships are always floating hotels, with comfortable cabins, bars and restaurants.  Sailing out of Portsmouth past the naval dockyard and the historic HMS Victory and HMS warrior is always a real treat."  The ships on this route are the 'Brittany Ferries Economy Service'  Etretat and Baie de Seine (formerly DFDS Dana Sirena from the Harwich-Esbjerg route).  If you use this route, feedback or photos on ferries, cabins and transfers would be very welcome..."

London ► Le Havre & Paris

Paris & Le Havre ►London

A more leisurely cruise via St Malo...

The ferry to Spain:  Rack of lamb in La Flora restaurant on the Pont Aven   The ferry to Spain:  A standard 2-berth cabin on Brittany Ferries Pont Aven

Above:  Dinner in the restaurant and a comfy cabin for the night on a Brittany Ferries cruise ferry.  These were taken on the Pont Aven which operates some Portsmouth-St Malo sailings.  The Bretagne is of a similar high standard.

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...


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 either www.stanfords.co.uk or 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.  Buy it online for £14.50 + postage worldwide (UK addresses £2.80) at www.stanfords.co.uk/Continents/Europe-A-Travellers-Railway-Map_9789077899090.htm or (in the Netherlands) for €13 + €5.50 postage from www.treinreiswinkel.nl.


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 has been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site in the World Travel Awards and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel at a cheaper rate.

►► My recommended booking site:  www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site, and unless HotelsCombined throws up major price differences I prefer doing my bookings in one place here. 

You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a great feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.

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...

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.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld 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

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without proper travel insurance from a reliable insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash & belongings (up to a limit), and trip cancellation.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year - I have an annual policy myself.  However, don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, 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, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

        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 ww.nhs.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Carry a spare credit card, designed for 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.

 


Back to 'Rail travel to Europe' general page

Back to home page