My feed
Premium

Please
or
to access all these features

AIBU?

Abroad holiday without flying

133 replies

newyrgrl · 05/01/2024 08:37

Really want to go abroad this year but ideally would like to avoid flying.

I had thought of a family cruise but the choices from Southampton seem a bit limited. Another option would be a ferry to France (southern) but not sure of logistics and never been to France so unsure of the best areas.

We have tween children and a toddler. Any tips or recommendations very much appreciated.

OP posts:
Turmerictolly · 05/01/2024 08:42

If you hit the ferry, would you be hiring a car at the other end? You can also get the Eurostar to Paris and connect to the South of France (or anywhere) from there. Or ferry across to Ireland

Turmerictolly · 05/01/2024 08:43

*get

Whataretheodds · 05/01/2024 08:43

Where are you in the UK?

Turmerictolly · 05/01/2024 08:44

Nice is a good place in France to start with - nice scenery and day trips, beach (pebble) with loads going on and great restaurants.

Turmerictolly · 05/01/2024 08:46

Or there is a Eurocamp place near Paris (can't remember the name of it) which is apparently easy to reach by public transport. The sites generally have mobile homes or lodges, swimming pools and cycling/other kids activities. If you call Eurocamp, they can let you know which of their sites are reachable without a car.

MojoMoon · 05/01/2024 08:46

Look at the Man On Seat 61 website - lots of options for train travel and the website shows you exactly what each type of cabin or carriage looks like and each step of the journey. European night trains mean you can get to Paris on Eurostar late afternoon, dinner in Paris, hop onto a night train and then be in Spain/Italy/southern France the next morning.

TypicalCoach · 05/01/2024 08:48

I use the eurostar, can travel directly, to France,Belguim, and the Netherlands

Also have done easy connections then to Germany and Italy.
Book well in advance as its alot cheaper.

I love the eurostar, usually on time, 1 hour check on, all but unlimited luggage at no extra cost and can take your own food and drink on-board

FawnFrenchieMum · 05/01/2024 08:49

What do you mean by cruises are limited? Where are you thinking? We are doing two week round Spain, France & Portugal in July with MSC but there were lots of options.

Join Need that cruise page on Facebook and you will see some fab deals / options.

iwantavuvezela · 05/01/2024 08:50

Use this website, put in your destination (e.g. Italy, Greece etc) and it will show you how to get the best to most scenic and budget friendly train journey

https://www.seat61.com/

The Man in Seat 61 | The train travel guide

How to travel by train in Europe & worldwide: Schedules, fares & how to buy tickets.

https://www.seat61.com/

mynameiscalypso · 05/01/2024 08:51

You can get to the South of France (Aix or Nice) very easily by train.

ZenNudist · 05/01/2024 08:58

Well it's ferry or eurostar then.

Ferry to rotterdam then can you drive/ train to dunreil?

I fancy lille first stop on the eurostar.

Belgium is easy to reach and very navigable by train. Try antwerp ghent bruges durbuy (great adventure play park there)

So many great rail journeys and fab places to see.

newyrgrl · 05/01/2024 08:59

FawnFrenchieMum · 05/01/2024 08:49

What do you mean by cruises are limited? Where are you thinking? We are doing two week round Spain, France & Portugal in July with MSC but there were lots of options.

Join Need that cruise page on Facebook and you will see some fab deals / options.

Is that a family cruise? Sorry I've never done one of those either.

I thought about the Eurostar but wasn't sure how easy it would be to get somewhere on the coast from there.

OP posts:
DoggerelBank · 05/01/2024 09:00

If you aren't bothered about reliably hot weather and don't want to go far, there's a seaside resort called Wimereux near Boulogne, a very short train ride from Calais, that has a wonderful beach. Boulogne has Nausicaa, a fantastic aquarium (largest in Europe).
Further afield, St Jean de Luz on the SW coast is wonderful - beaches, mountains, coastal walks, and you can pop over the border to Spain for the day too if you want.
Or if you're driving, the Dordogne has plenty to offer too - river rather than sea.
Everywhere nice in France you'll find fantastic campsites with lodges to sleep in, pools, playgrounds and endless other activities for kids. You don't need to spend a fortune on Eurocamp - plenty of better value options.

ZenNudist · 05/01/2024 09:02

Actually can't see that you are against driving. The world is your oyster (we'll Europe is). Look up hof van saksen in the Netherlands. Drivable from the ferry. Just need to find the right crossing.

I once holidayed in istria in Croatia and met a family who drive there from the UK.

We used to go to tuscany by ferry and car when I was a kid. Took about 2 days to get there from the North west with an early sailing from dover and another overnight in France. Fabulous holidays.

ACynicalDad · 05/01/2024 09:02

Ferries from England sail from Portsmouth and Plymouth to Spain and arrive at Bilbao and Santander if that's of interest?

fridaynight1 · 05/01/2024 09:05

You can get to most places by train. Have a look at the man in seat 61. We used to get Eurostar direct to Avignon, pick up a car hire at the station and head south. We had holidays in France and the Costa Brava.

We also used to take our car on the ferry to Santander or Bilbao and road trip down through Spain to Portugal.

https://www.seat61.com/index-mobile.htm

Don’t discount cruises. There are some great itineraries if you look hard enough. Don’t be put off by the port as a destination - excursions take you to some pretty fabulous places.

The Man in Seat 61 - the train travel site

The mobile home page of the Man in Seat 61, the guide to train travel in the UK, Europe & worldwide.

https://www.seat61.com/index-mobile.htm

TheTripThatWasnt · 05/01/2024 09:08

It's easy to get to the coast by train. Fast trains from Paris go to Bordeaux (as an example) and are a joy to travel on compared with trains in UK. You do have to cross Paris, and hope they're not striking though!

LifeofBrienne · 05/01/2024 09:11

We live in London so do Eurostar to Paris then train and pick up a hire car. Now the kids are older we’ve done a night train a couple of times to the South of France. We’ve done Eurocamp, although check out the Money Saving Expert page on cheaper alternatives.
But the main thing I wanted to say is that we’ve had great family holidays inland in France. As well as the campsite swimming pool we look for lakes where there is a family swimming area. The two big advantages over the sea is safety with little ones - no waves, shallow water in the kids swimming area so you can be a bit more relaxed, and shade, as there will be trees so you can stay for hours without roasting.

LifeofBrienne · 05/01/2024 09:12

TheTripThatWasnt · 05/01/2024 09:08

It's easy to get to the coast by train. Fast trains from Paris go to Bordeaux (as an example) and are a joy to travel on compared with trains in UK. You do have to cross Paris, and hope they're not striking though!

Allow more time than you think you will need for this just in case the Eurostar is delayed ((from experience!)

Pozz · 05/01/2024 09:12

Depends where you are going from

Maddy70 · 05/01/2024 09:13

You can get to barcelona by train eurostar to paris . Train to barcelina then yiu can get a train to all the coastal resorts. Its a nice trip

MissSookieStackhouse · 05/01/2024 09:14

You can get ferries to Belgium and Holland which opens up those areas too. Lots of Centre Parc type resorts in Benelux counties, plus every other type of hotel / self catering accommodation as well of course.

Seashor · 05/01/2024 09:18

I am a massive fan of Brittany Ferries. We regularly sail to Santander in Spain and then drive down or we sail to Roscoff in Brittany France.

We use the sail as a mini cruise upgrading ourselves to Commodore class.

Brittany Ferries offer whole packages with some great places to choose from.

I promise that I don’t work for them!

Muchof · 05/01/2024 09:20

newyrgrl · 05/01/2024 08:59

Is that a family cruise? Sorry I've never done one of those either.

I thought about the Eurostar but wasn't sure how easy it would be to get somewhere on the coast from there.

Most cruises are “family cruises”, adult only are not typical at all.

Flappingaround · 05/01/2024 09:26

There is a ferry to Iceland from Denmark. Also can get a ferry to Finland from Stockholm. Can drive to Sweden via bridge from Denmark. I can't remember if the ferry to Denmark still exists from the uk.

We did the ferry to Finland years ago. There were beautiful islands on the Stockholm archipelago. There was a children's play area on the ferry. Also we got the train across Finland and there was a children's play area on the train. Supervising children on trains is nicer than a car especially if there is a table seat. Take games, downloaded films and TV stories and writing drawing equipment. Great for quality time with them

From more recent experience trains in northern European mainland are often late so either leave very long change times or expect to miss connections as you won't be able to run with young children

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.