Travel to Brittany

(22 Posts)
hemel07 Thu 14-Jan-16 21:30:26

Please could someone advise on the best way to get to Brittany, driving to a port from Yorkshire. Would it be easier to get a ferry to Calais and drive? Or overnight ferry to which port?? Do the overnight ferries have 5 berth cabins (2 adults, 3 kids)?
If anyone could recommend a gite or a cottage as well that would be fab!

Hippee Fri 15-Jan-16 03:27:27

Hi, we have done both Chunnel and Ferry from Yorkshire. Problem with Chunnel/Ferry to Calais is that it's a really long journey unless you stop somewhere on the way (and as you probably know, getting a family room for 5 is quite hard). I don't know if we were really unlucky, but our "5 hour journey" from Calais to Brittany took 10 hours, as we hit queues at every toll point - perhaps we picked the one Saturday in August that everyone else chose to travel on. Coming back on a Friday was much quieter and quicker. Last year we did Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth and absolutely loved it. The ferry is pretty expensive compared to the Calais/Chunnel option, but we loved the fact that you got straight there. They do cabins for 2/4 (book early, as they go really fast). We managed to get 5 in because our children are still small but you could book a sleeping seat in the boat for one of the adults. On the way back it was like being on a cruise - entertainment all day for the children, including a pantomime! We specifically wanted to be in Pleneuf-Val-Andre because we were visiting friends and stayed at 2 different cabins (which both slept 5 - one double room and one triple) - very compact and a bit rough and ready (and you have to clean them for an inspection at the end), but they worked for us - Camping du Minihy is in walking distance of the beach and has a bar with live music once a week, Parc du Preto further from the sea but with a small swimming pool. I have always fancied the gites at Les Petites Maisons dans la Prairie - they look amazing and have always been booked up. I don't know the South of Brittany at all - it's supposed to have better weather, but it also is further from the ferry for the return trip, so you would have to get up early.

treaclesoda Fri 15-Jan-16 03:42:56

We've driven to Brittany from Calais and although it was the cheaper option, I don't think I'd do it again. It took us around 8 hours. It's fine on the way there, it's all a novelty, we were enjoying looking round us, taking in the changing scenery etc but it was torture on the way back when we were fed up because our lovely holiday was over.

If I was doing it again, I'd pay more and take the longer boat journey and the shorter drive.

wallywobbles Fri 15-Jan-16 05:15:56

Ferry to brittany is your best option. Overnight preferably. The ferry is better than the car because you can move, eat and sleep while still moving. Calais is the wrong side of France and definitely the worst of all possible options.

hemel07 Fri 15-Jan-16 12:17:47

Thankyou all. Kids are 10, 8 and 6 so I guess too big to squeeze into a 4berth cabin. Seen quite a few nice places to stay, now just need to get the time off work!

dreamingofsun Fri 15-Jan-16 12:18:42

we did the portsmouth/st malo crossing for many years with our 3 kids. we booked a 4 bed cabin and 2 kids had to top and tail and i think one eventually slept on a camping mat on the floor (once very big). all the coastal areas we stayed at were nice. we especially liked south brittany around carnac as the weather was more reliable. can't help on gites as we only used one the first year (our kids got bored) and thereafter we stayed in mobiles.

its like cornwall with better weather and less tat and fewer people. buy a detailed map and you can find lovely beaches with hardly anyone on, even in peak season

jenpetronus Sat 16-Jan-16 11:20:50

I used to live in Yorkshire & my family are still there (Bingley) I've lived in Brittany near Vannes and run our gite for ten years so have done the trip quite a few times in different ways!

I would recommend the ferry to the western channel every time. If cost is an issue, look at the crossings from Portsmouth to Cherbourg or Caen. Depending where you end up in Brittany it'll add an hour or two to your journey (to us it's an hour and a half from St Malo, 3 from Caen, 3 & 3/4 from Cherbourg) the advantage you have is you don't need to pay extra for a cabin. There is an economy service to Le Havre, but you are still quite a long way north, so I don't think it's worth it. I would never use Calais or recommend it. Apart from the current...problems, you still have extra tolls there and back (about €50) as well as meals and stops en route and potentially an overnight, as well as fuel and time. I really don't think it's worth it, unless you live near Dover or something.

I've also flown Leeds/Bradford to Dinard a few times, which is quick and easy and you can get good prices at times, but you still have to hire a car this end and you can't take any wine home

If you have any questions or want to use our discount code for the ferry let me know.

hemel07 Sat 16-Jan-16 22:26:29

I hadn't thought about maybe not needing a cabin. That's a good idea. Does your gite have a pool jenpetronus?

jenpetronus Sun 17-Jan-16 08:20:14

We took the decision to have other things instead of a pool (table tennis, help yourself to veg, better play area etc) as there is a great new pool with slides, rapids etc 5 minutes down the road - when we asked previous guests what they thought, most seemed to agree they would prefer to pay to go there rather than increase our weekly prices. tbh most people go to the beach and swim in the sea anyway.

wannabestressfree Sun 17-Jan-16 08:24:10

Jen your gite looks Amazing smile

Bin85 Sun 17-Jan-16 08:30:23

I would recommend overnight Brittany Ferries, Portsmouth to St Malo, drive to S Brittany only about 2-3 hours so with coffee and breakfast and walk round St Malo you can be there easily by lunchtime.

jenpetronus Sun 17-Jan-16 08:30:28

[flowere] wannabe

jenpetronus Sun 17-Jan-16 08:30:52

that would be flowers then!

wannabestressfree Sun 17-Jan-16 08:44:14

I have book marked you and plotting where I can squeeze in another holiday smile we are nearer though!

hemel07 Sun 17-Jan-16 10:02:53

I start a new job tomorrow so unable to book anything at the moment, will definitely be in touch though jenpetronus. What is the local area like? Kids will be 11, 9 and 6. Is there lots to do for children?

jenpetronus Sun 17-Jan-16 10:15:46

My two are 7 & 14 (today!) so we've tried loads of stuff - I can pm you our info sheet if it helps, the one we leave in the gite for guests?
Good luck tomorrow!

hemel07 Sun 17-Jan-16 12:04:19

Thankyou! And happy birthday to your eldest x

AgathaF Mon 18-Jan-16 17:01:37

We have a gite in central Brittany so regularly go over on the ferry. Our preferred route is Portsmouth - St Malo on the overnight ferry, although Portsmouth - Caen is also a reasonable crossing, just a slightly longer journey on the french side.

Flying into Dinard might work well too, although car hire bumps the price up quite a lot, and obviously you can't take so much stuff with you if you're flying.

I definitely wouldn't recommend the tunnel (or ferry) to Calais. Just a long and boring drive into Brittany, plus toll roads too.

Cleo81 Thu 28-Jan-16 15:16:23

Sorry to jump on another thread but wondered if people had recommendations for accommodation in Brittany/Normandy ? We are looking for a villa within or close to a hotel complex with a private or communal pool and within easy walking distance from a beach and town. Does such a thing exist?

StompyFreckles Thu 28-Jan-16 15:21:07

The best way we have travelled to Brittany is Plymouth. - roscoff or Portsmouth - St Malo. Daytime travel is cheaper, but it's still quite expensive. Got to be better then a looooong drive from calais though.

StompyFreckles Thu 28-Jan-16 15:21:43

Look at Pierre Et Vacances for accommodation ideas.

Cleo81 Thu 28-Jan-16 15:55:47

Thanks so much really struggling. Note taken on ferries too

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