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Ferry / Campsites Normandy / Brittany

(18 Posts)
FusionChefGeoff Fri 14-Oct-16 11:16:38

We've usually flown to the south but want to take the car now plus kids are both 2+ so need their own seats plus one in school now which is whacking the price up.

We're looking at Portsmouth to St Malo and having a cabin both ways - is it a good idea?? DC are 5 and 2 so I think overnight on the ferry will be really exciting then we'll have a cabin for the day crossing but hope to use a lot of time exploring etc. Any experiences to share??

Or could do Portsmouth to Caen - both trips day ferries which I'm less keen on.

Also, any tricks to get cheap crossings?? They are coming out at £630 for St Malo and £416 for Caen - is that the best we can get do you think??

And any recommendations for campsites with lots for little ones to do and close to a town??

jenpetronus Fri 14-Oct-16 15:14:58

I would not consider the day crossing from St Malo - it is very long and boring, even if you have a nap after lunch everyone is still bored and cross before you get anywhere near home! (Or maybe that's just us!) I've lived in Brittany for 13 years and have done every possible crossing, but really it depends on you I guess. The overnight from the UK is great, would definitely recommend that, but I would always go to Caen or Cherbourg rather than a day crossing from St Malo. It's cheaper as well, but I have a discount code you can use too (you'll have to message me I think, it's frowned upon to post them publicly!) Can't really help with campsites as we have a gite here, but you'll probably get lots of recommendations if you ask on the camping board.

5OBalesofHay Fri 14-Oct-16 15:18:37

Plymouth to roscoff then mobile home at Camping Bel Air at Landudec (they have a website) worked brilliantly for us when kids were little

FusionChefGeoff Sat 15-Oct-16 07:42:41

Ah OK, I'll look into avoiding that day crossing then - what a shame they don't do an overnight both ways for St Malo!

Most of the campsites we like seem to be quite a way from Caen / Cherbourg though - I'll have another look now with that in mind.

Is Brittany Ferries the only company??

ANd thanks for the direction to the camping board - didn't even know there was one.

Alas, because of where we are in the UK, the Plymouth - Roscoff option is too far.

BombadierFritz Sat 15-Oct-16 07:45:45

portsmouth to caen overnight is good, and the fast ferry day ones are not too long either, poole to cherbourg I think we tried once. kids love the overnight ferry - its a big adventure.

Jenijena Sat 15-Oct-16 07:53:20

I disagree, have done the day crossing with a 3yo and a 4yo and a 3 month old, and it's been fine. If you get the 'cabin plus' or something, it's an extra fiver or so and has cbeebies. The food is good. You can spend ages watching out at sea (we saw Dolphins), limited spending money in the ship, play area - soft play. It's fine. The only problem with the daytime st malo crossing IMO is that as it leaves fairly early if you're in a southern Brittany campsite you have to leave really early to get there in time.

We've done Eurocamp and love La Grande Metairie at Carnac, which is a Castels campsite.

creamcheeseandlox Sat 15-Oct-16 07:54:58

Look on
European company that share sites with eurocamp but cheaper prices. We did ferry from Plymouth to roscoff then drove to a camp in Britanny. Really good and easy to get too.
We have also done train from Dover to Calais and drove to the Loire valley too.

Nyancat Sat 15-Oct-16 07:58:37

Weve crossed from Ireland to Cherbourg a few times. Can recommend chateau des ormes, we've stayed 3 times now and the site is fantastic, so much to do. And a lovely covered pool comple with properly heated pool for if it rains which can be fairly likely in Brittany. Last year we stayed with lifestyle holidays. Far cheaper than eurocamp and the couriers were older but really helpful. No kids club but there was a free on-site club that our two loved.

Sovain Tue 18-Oct-16 10:45:32

A few years ago we did our first holiday to France by ferry/car.

Portsmouth to Cherbourg ferry - was the 'fast' crossing. Was okay - no one was too bored or seasick. As this was the first trip I'd planned I didn't take into account the distance from Cherbourg to campsite - it was a longer drive than we thought - but still not so bad.

We stayed in a Keycamp mobile home on Le Ranolien campsite -which is in Perros Guirec in Brittany. It is/was a Yelloh site- so can book their own accommodation also, which looked a little higher quality than the Keycamp.

The site was nice - we didn't have much to compare it to,as it was our first time. It felt safe though - the DC (8,10,11) just went off on their own. The pool area was good - not too crowded. The bar etc was okay too. A short drive or 20 min clifftop stroll to the main beach and town.

We all really enjoyed it.

chantilly70 Tue 18-Oct-16 11:09:07

The way to get a cheaper crossing is to either book the ferry and accommodation through Brittany Ferries or to book accommodation through a Tour Operator that has a contract with Brittany Ferries and can access preferential rates.

If you are doing an overnight crossing you are best off doing the St Malo crossing as it will give your kids a proper nights sleep. If travelling by day Caen to Portsmouth is fine. They usually lay on children's entertainment in school holidays. It is also worth booking a day cabin so your children can have a rest and you have somewhere to leave your stuff.

Sovain Tue 18-Oct-16 11:51:18

Another tip is to book your crossings for Thursday/Monday - if you can avoid Friday and Saturday crossings the prices are much lower.

Campsite holidays can work well for this as many are not Sat-Sat stays. Failing that a cheap hotel en route is a good way to extend your holiday.

FusionChefGeoff Tue 18-Oct-16 11:58:12

Thanks some great advice here. I'm struggling with finding the time to dedicate to this! It feels a bit overwhelming as there are so many campsites and Eurocamp's website doesn't have any way to compare them so I'm building my own spreadsheet smile

OhNoNotMyBaby Tue 18-Oct-16 12:01:16

Poole to Cherbourg. We used to get the 7am ferry/cat, then drive down to the Vendee. We'd be onsite by 4-4.30pm, pouring out the 1st g&t. Bliss!
La Garangeoire

FusionChefGeoff Thu 20-Oct-16 21:04:49

Poole or Plymouth are too far for us on the UK side unfortunately as we're East Midlands

BombadierFritz Thu 20-Oct-16 21:52:26

is it much further to poole than portsmouth? it is the same for us and we are further north. I guess different motorways maybe?

airedailleurs Thu 20-Oct-16 22:01:41

highly recommend le camping cote de nacre in Saint Aubin sur Mer.

We stayed there twice when it was owned by Yelloh but has changed hands since.

Good facilities on site plus walking distance to the sea. Lots of interesting places to visit nearby, Arromanches for the Normandy Landings museum, Bayeux, Caen, other seaside towns...

We got the ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe and drove down from there.

OhNoNotMyBaby Fri 21-Oct-16 09:57:45

Op, as Bombadier says, Poole/Portsmouth shouldn't make that much difference if you're coming from the north/midlands, but you've got a quite a distance to go before you get to any port really.

FusionChefGeoff Sat 22-Oct-16 00:07:35

Well that's definitely worth pointing out as I was making assumptions possibly based on a slightly tenuous grasp of what happens past J16 of the M1!!!

We've set aside tomorrow night (rock n roll) to nail this bastard holiday so will look at that as an option. Thanks so much for your help everyone!

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