Pros and Cons of Ferry Crossings

If there are many ways to get from England to France (plane, rail, boat), I have certainly done my fair share of channel ferry crossings. I spent many of my childhood summer holidays in France so have crossed umpteen times. But that was as a child where I was shepherded from place to place in a blissful bubble. As a fully fledged adult, I am now aware of my surroundings, and have to take responsibility and be in control of everything! Since I’ve been in charge, I have done two such crossings; Dover to Calais, and Poole to Cherbourg. So what are the Pros and Cons?


No pesky luggage restrictions. Pretty much as long as you can fit it in the car it’s ok. So you can take that extra pair of shoes or two, and the warm coat, and even the tennis rackets or snorkel just in case! You don’t have to worry about fitting it in a carry-on bag.

Easy Stress-Free Boarding Process. If you want a relaxing holiday this is a great way to start – you just drive up, wait a short time, and then straight onto the boat.

Space to move around. Once onboard you can walk around and stretch your legs, fall asleep, relax. You’re not stuck in a confined place.

Leisure facilities onboard. There is also a lot to do onboard – restaurant, shop, bar, i think the bigger ships have discos, casinos, and kids play areas. I normally spend the time on deck watching the sea, or in the restaurant which we found to have surprisingly affordable and delicious food.

Fresh Air – ferry is the only method of travel across the English Channel that enables you to get fresh air. On deck you can see for miles, catch some rays, watch ships going by, and best of all, not be trapped in a tin of recycled air (which always gives me a sore throat!). On our last crossing it was a glorious day and a flat sea, so we spent the crossing dosing off on top deck. It was like being on a cruise!

Not Flying – for someone who is scared to fly, the fact that I don’t have to fly is a massive bonus! It means i can enjoy the start of the holiday as opposed to being rigid with fear.


Driving onto the boat. I was worried about this but it was much better than I thought – you don’t have to drive up a plank or anything!! There is a large concrete bridge taking you on, which is no worse than driving across a normal bridge. However inside the boat I had to drive up a steep slope, and of course the car in front stopped so I had to do a hill-start. I stalled it twice!! I was starting to sweat and worry that I’d have to get a ferry man to come and drive my car for me, but luckily I did it!!

Possibility of Sea Sickness. This is always a risk with any form of transport but i am especially aware of it on the sea. Ironically it was worse on the short Dover-Calais crossing than the longer Poole-Cherbourg crossing. Luckily it was fine both times and I have got anti sea-sickness wrist bands to press on my pressure points. I also like to spend my time on top deck in the fresh air where you can watch the horizon to keep steady, if needed. See here for advice on how not to get sea sick if this is a problem for you!

Conclusion: Overall I love a ferry. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a go!

Next blog: Normandy, France

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48 hours in Stockholm

This was an extra cheeky trip as I went for a conference for work, and rather romantically my BF came out to meet me there!

We only had a short break, but as Stockholm is cute and compact (and expensive!), that worked out well!  Continue reading

Cooling off in Collioure

Collioure was a strange one. I had planned it as an off-the-beaten-track retreat on the coast before we flew home. Little did I know that half of the UK had had the same thought. Apparently Collioure is firmly ON the beaten track!

There is no doubt that Collioure is very pretty, with colourfully painted houses and a plethora of restaurants serving tourists. Continue reading

Carcassonne; Medieval Relic or Disneyland?

Carcassonne has been “on my list” for a while. It looks terribly romantic; a walled fortress and castle complete with turrets, archways etc. I had heard that it is also terribly touristy but that didn’t put me off.

We arrived at night and were thrilled to see the battlements all lit-up.  Continue reading

Is it a bike? Is it a train? …. No it’s a Rail Bike!

We were looking into booking a holiday in South Korea (until politics put paid to those plans!) and when researching we saw a rail bike – we both liked the idea of it. Cycling along on rails is a novel way of sightseeing. So when I noticed a Rail Bike on the map near to Millau and Roquefort, we were there like a shot! My BF was especially excited 🙂

The rail bike (velo rail du Larzac) place has lovely views over the surrounding countryside. There are 3 routes you can choose. Continue reading

Up close and personal with the Millau Viaduct

Millau was also somewhere that I have always wanted to go. The famous Millau viaduct is inspiring and beautiful, but also annoyingly far from everywhere I have ever been! So we made the determined trip there to finally see this wonder.

Having trekked all the way there, we also made the effort to see the bridge from all angles. We approached from the west and travelled underneath the bridge, seeing it at close quarters. Continue reading

Visiting the Cheese Caves at Roquefort

Roquefort cheese is amazing to me. The blue veins, the perfect blend of creamy and salty. Ummm.   I have eaten it since I was a toddler – by which i mean that our french family friend gave me some when I was a toddler and i enjoyed it, much to his amusement. It was not a staple of my toddler diet.

I explained to my BF that I really wanted to go and when he saw my eyes light up, he agreed that we had to go. He had a similar reaction to Disneyworld, which we went to for him… so this is my Disneyland! Continue reading

Touring the Noilly Prat Vermouth distillery in Marseillan

From our base in Cap D’Agde it was an easy drive to the small picturesque town of Marseillan, home to the Maison Noilly Prat.  Noilly Prat is a Vermouth sold all over the world, and I can confirm it is very tasty!

We arrived for the daily English tour in the afternoon and were taken into the barrel house where the giant vats of grapes are kept. These barrels are so big that an adult person used to go inside to clean them (they don’t do that any more due to health and safety as the fumes are probably extremely strong!). I hasten to add that Noilly Prat dates back to 1813 so things were different then! Continue reading

Being Prudes not Nudes in Cap D’Agde

We went to Cap D’Agde for some down-time at the start of the holiday – and we got what we needed; clear seas, several marinas with still water so clear you could watch the fish darting about, and some nice food!

After an easy drive from Perpignan airport and some amusement at the sat nav calling it “Cap De A-G-D-E” (spelling out the letters instead of pronouncing it as a word!) we arrived in Cap D’Agde. It was early evening and were pleased to find a warm climate, quiet marina, and some quiet cafes and restaurants waiting for us. Continue reading

Paying our respects at the National Memorial Arboretum

The National Memorial Arboretum is our national monument in the UK to those fallen in the wars since WW2. I always see it on the news – normally the Queen is there laying a wreath on poppy day – so I thought we should pay it a visit.

It feels very inappropriate to say, but we actually had a nice day out there. There is a large glossy visitors centre (which feels very american – the type of thing you get in the National Parks) so we had a lovely lunch in the cafe there first, before going for a stroll round the park. Continue reading