We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Last minute day trips to France

Which London hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
London, UK
Level Contributor
7,040 posts
209 reviews
Save Topic
Last minute day trips to France

I was recently reminded of the day-return tickets that are available from London to Calais including the P&O Ferry crossings. These used to be quite widely used in the days before Eurostar and the abolition of duty free. The cost is about £26 and the ticket can be used on the Highspeed SouthEastern service from St Pancras as well as the traditional ones from Victoria, Charing Cross and London Bridge. Leaving from St Pancras on the 7.10 train, I was in Calais with time for a 2-hour lunch and a bit of shopping and looking around. There can be a fair bit of hanging arround at the ferry terminal. Calais is not the most picturesque of French towns but it is not uninteresting and has plenty of restaurants. The great advantage of this option is that you do not need to plan it in advance - although getting the ticket the day before is a good idea to avoid possible hitches at the ticket office but after you have some idea of what the weather will be like (it can get nasty in the Straites of Dover).

Ipswich, United...
Destination Expert
for Ipswich
Level Contributor
7,400 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Last minute day trips to France

Thanks for this reminder, railtraveller. These trips could be useful for those who would like a taste of France, especially those who have left it too late to get the cheap Eurostar tickets to Paris.

London
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
18,084 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Last minute day trips to France

Is there a supplement for using High Speed from St Pancras, or doesn't that apply with these tickets?

UK
Level Contributor
49,561 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Last minute day trips to France

Railtraveller, how do you get from the ferry terminal ( a sea of concrete and car parks) into Calais itself? is there a bus?

FWIW there is also a similar priced Eurotunnel ticket as a day return (obviously you need a car for that one) but then a car gives you more flexibility for visiting the hypermarkets, though I presume the price difference has dropped a lot as I havent heard of anyone doing a "booze run" for years.

Rye, United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for Dover, Rye
Level Contributor
5,271 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Last minute day trips to France

I hope you don't mind my input. From the ferry terminal there is a bus from the ferry terminal to the town of Calais and it's costs under 2 euro, and I also believe there is a shuttle bus from there to Cite Europe. It's easier to have your own vehicle, but perfectly doable without one. We have in the past, left our vehicle in Dover, caught the ferry across, and than from the terminal caught the bus from the ferry terminal to the bus (you can walk it though but not the most intersting of walks) and than caught a train from Calais ville to Boulogne or St Omer for the day, and a had a good time.

I channel hop because I like to get out the country for a day. (I'm popping over soon). We also sometimes bring a crate of beer back (taking vehicle obviously)

Edited: 20 November 2011, 22:13
Islington
Level Contributor
1,922 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Last minute day trips to France

Now that cigarettes in France cost virtually the same as in the UK, and beer prices in UK supermarkets not much different either, the booze cruises we used to know have had the wind taken out of their sales. Some of the hypermarkets in the area do their best to offer as good prices as possible to keep at least some UK customers coming, but it just isn't what it was. Those with cars do sometimes take the ferry to Calais, then drive up the coast into Belgium where cigarettes remain comparatively cheap (for the time being).

Rye, United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for Dover, Rye
Level Contributor
5,271 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Last minute day trips to France

I don't go over there for alchohol (I don't smoke), we go over, well just to get out the country for the day as mad as that may sound. I go over 3 times a year or so. I guess things seems cheaper to me at times, as I'm from an costly area. When Tesco wines was open in Cite Europe the times we visited there was a few day trippers. (Ok, who pops to France to go into Tescos, not that I can talk, I was there because we happened to visit Cite Europe and we went in because it was there but anyway)

Wales
Level Contributor
155 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Last minute day trips to France

Carrefoure in the Cite d'Europe just 2 km from the Ferry Port offers fuel 20 p a litre cheaper than the U.K., and wine at less than half the U.K. price, particularly if bought in 3/5/ or 10 litre boxes. Day trips with the car are next to nothing, and it is well worth having the space available to carry your purchases.

Going over as a foot passenger hardly makes a booze cruise worthwhile.

warrensburg,MO
Level Contributor
7,685 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Last minute day trips to France

"Going over as a foot passenger hardly makes a booze cruise worthwhile"

If that's what floats your, er, ferry, so be it. Alot of folk use the trip as a day out, an experience, a chance to spend a bit of time in France with no desire to use it as a booze run.

PS, very pleasant surprise bumping into you on board the Pride of Britain on Friday morning, Railtraveller!!

London, England
Level Contributor
1,319 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Last minute day trips to France

Completely agree it's great to get out of the country just for the day.

For anyone planning on going across there is a fascinating place called Blockhaus close to Calais.

leblockhaus.com/modulosite2/welcome-gb.htm

It was the base of V1 and V2 rockets during WW2. Quite a spooky place.

Rye, United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for Dover, Rye
Level Contributor
5,271 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Last minute day trips to France

Thanks for that link, looks quite interesting. I've been to La Coupole, but not heard of that one.

Nice for you two to bump into each other, did you arrange it in advance? :)