Summer Holiday - Dorset to Brittany - how would you do it?

(22 Posts)
jodee Sat 30-Mar-13 15:19:40

Hi, am looking at a campsites in Brittany, third week of Aug for 1 week (mobile home or pre-pitched tent, hope I'm not leaving it too late already). We live in Bournemouth, so wondered what you thought the best option was re. travelling time/cost. I've priced up ferries etc. as follows:

Poole-Cherbourg Ferry £378 return (blardy hell!) This would be on my doorstep. 4.5 hr crossing time. 4hr drive to destination.

Dover-Calais Ferry £70-90 return. 3 hr drive to Dover. 1hr 30 min crossing time. 6 1/2 hr drive to destination.

Folkestone-Calais Eurotunnel £152 return. 3hr drive to Tunnel. 35 min crossing time. 6 1/2 hr drive to destination.

I can see the cheapest crossing fare, what I can't really work out myself (maths sad ) is the fuel cost and toll cost. Any advice much appreciated, thank you!!

dreamingofsun Sat 30-Mar-13 15:28:13

we've always done portsmouth/st malo as less driving in france - but that will probably make your eyes water even more price wise. availability at some sites will be a problem - we booked one august for following year and 2 of the 3 mobiles on the site we wanted had already gone. but you should still be ok. if cost is an issue go mid week. if you do the overnight one then book a cabin.

i think there are cheaper ferries that go across from portsmouth to france - one was advertising on the local radio recently. have you tried googling.

for us the stress was more of an issue than cost.

just off out now - i can advise on campsites in brittany if you want?

jodee Sat 30-Mar-13 15:33:37

Hi dreaming, yes would love some campsite ideas please! Don't need kids clubs, DS is 13. There may be two other older teens and their parents coming too. My eyes are boggling looking at the all the sites, tbh! Waterparks on site/nearby would be good.
Hadn't thought of Portsmouth as an option, will look into that too, thank you.

northender Sat 30-Mar-13 15:39:38

We've found the cheapest option is to book the whole holiday through Brittany ferries as we sail from Plymouth. The price of the accommodation and the ferry crossing was not much more than the ferry crossing alone. That would give you the option of Portsmouth-St Malo or Plymouth - Roscoff. That gives you much shorter drives on the French side (depending on where you go over there).
We did the 3rd week of Aug last year and the prices dropped quite a bit compared to the week before.
What area are you looking to go to?

northender Sat 30-Mar-13 15:44:26

We've been to L'Atlantique near Beg Meil and Village la Plage near Guilvinec. Both good sites, we preferred the second one and have rebooked for this year. We love that area and love that we don't have a long drive when we arrive in France.
1 week (3rd week of August) last year was £1100 but that was for a 6 berth static caravan (including the ferry crossing)

Lizzylou Sat 30-Mar-13 15:51:23

Have done l'atlantique twice, then vendee with britanny pit stop for a week at Ty nadan first.
First two times we did Plymouth to roscoff, last time overnight Portsmouth to st malo. We drive from lancashire so the overnight crossing worked well. I'd look at packages as northender says. Seems mad to be driving so far in UK and crisscrossing your way.

jodee Sat 30-Mar-13 16:37:15

Thanks northender and lyzzylou - I was thinking further south, hoping more chance of sun/warmer weather? IKWYM about zigzagging, esp when just going for a week, haven't been to france since 2003 when DS was a toddler and we did tunnel and drive to Cannes area, but we were living in SE London then. northender, when you say prices dropped for 3rd week, do you mean you waited til last minute or they were cheaper brochure prices? am looking at packages now with Brittany Ferriese, not thought of that.

chicaguapa Sat 30-Mar-13 16:49:30

Have a look at www.mappy.fr as they can calculate the fuel costs for you. We live in Southampton and so far have always driven to Dover because we would rather be in a car than on a ferry for 4.5hrs.

northender Sat 30-Mar-13 17:07:34

We booked in Dec for the following August and yes, the brochure price for that week dropped significantly.
I have to disagree with chicaguapa, we'd much rather be on the ferry than in the car (except if really rough of course!).

BrunellaPommelhorse Sat 30-Mar-13 17:13:37

poole 7 am to cherbourg

dreamingofsun Sat 30-Mar-13 18:10:43

ukcampsites.co.uk have reviews. our favourite area was carnac - south brittany as weather was slightly better. we've been to grand metairie a lot....its a big/busy site. there are smaller ones around if thats what you prefer. i also liked les deux fontaines as you can walk to the beach. atlantigue you can do the same - though weather was awful there. try and spot the pitch size as that makes a big difference. dol de bretagne - north brittany - we also enjoyed - further from beach but our kids are football mad and they loved the astro.

its a great hol with kids

get a detailed map - you will find loads of lovely beaches off beaten track. men du in carnac is one of our favourites

dreamingofsun Sat 30-Mar-13 18:11:22

ps - we always took a badminton net and put up on our pitch and take tabletennis bats with you

Toasttoppers Sat 30-Mar-13 18:16:34

I have been on a very early crossing from Portsmouth it was much cheaper going very early. We stayed in a premier inn the night before.

Google "fuel costs calculator" work out how many miles you have to drive it will give you a decent estimate of the fuel costs.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 31-Mar-13 07:50:04

We did Dorset to Brittany via theTunnel. Never again, much too much driving. I'd definitely do ferry and get as far over as possible. Or if you do go the driving route split it over a couple of hours route.

The Tunnel is great if on time but we came over to Holland on Friday and it was chaos. We got there at about 9.30 and it took us till 2.15 (French time ) to get through. If I then had to drive all the way to Brittany I'd have been sobbing into my Thermos.

BrunellaPommelhorse Sun 31-Mar-13 08:42:49

although rather 30 min on chunnel (grin) than hours on an overpriced vomit comet.

we travel east to Dover ( 2 hours) to use it then drive to south west france and wouldnt go back to Ferry shit ever ever again

BrunellaPommelhorse Sun 31-Mar-13 08:45:01

mates of mine do the late night tunnel which at 11pm is almost free, then stay in Calais overnight so they are up to get cracking really early, missing all the bottlenecks that everyone else gets stuck in

BarbieDahl Sun 31-Mar-13 09:04:06

I live in brittany so have done this journey many times.
Don't underestimate the journey time from Calais. To me it seems to take forever and last time I said never again.
Have you looked at LD lines? They do crossings from Portsmouth to Le Havre and are much cheaper than Brittany Ferries, although the ferries are much more basic. It's about a 4 hour drive from Le Havre to Vannes.

jodee Sun 31-Mar-13 15:27:09

Hi, all your replies are much appreciated, plenty to think about, am still perusing sites and Brittany Ferries' packages ... I think I looked last night at LD lines?? It was Portsmouth/Le Havre anyway, seemed they only left at 2300hrs and arrived at 8am, might be too long journey for my boys! xx

dreamingofsun Sun 31-Mar-13 16:57:42

if you have a cabin it would be fine. we did the longer portsmouth/st malo crossing from 2 months to 14 years no problem

Mutley77 Wed 03-Apr-13 14:50:28

When going to Brittany we have always done the longer ferry route. I am sure the petrol costs of the alternative would be expensive - not to mention the waste of time (IMO).

We also find the ferry a nice break as a start to the holiday - having a meal (from the cafe on board or take a picnic) is quite relaxing and means that you are fully prepared and rested for any further driving.

jodee Tue 09-Apr-13 00:00:50

Hi all, have decided to go Poole-Cherbourg, and go to Vendee, hoping to book tomorrow a campsite called Le Chaponnet at Brem-sur-mer, or La Loubine at Olonne-sur-mer. Anyone been there? Dreaming thanks for the tip about a badminton net, that a great idea! x

KatzRichardson Mon 22-Apr-13 15:00:32

Hello, did you know that you can use Tesco Clubcard vouchers on the EuroTunnel? You can also convert them to Avios points which you can then use with various ferry companies.

We have a place in Finistere, Brittany and I've written about the various options for getting from the UK to Brittany on my website - hope you find it of some help: www.lostinfinistere.com/location.html :-)

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