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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:
cakeorwine · 07/01/2024 19:41

We've always done a ferry. We love the drive and the journey is part of the holiday.

We've done Norway, Spain, France and Italy. So many options for camping or apartments - we had a lovely apartment in Spain last year.

Craycraycatbaby · 07/01/2024 19:43

There are plenty of cruises that go from Southampton to Spain, canary islands, Greece... Either that or get the ferry from Plymouth to Santander or Roscoff although France weather is very much like English weather so rain is likely. Spain is more what you're looking for much longer travel time.

MoreDollies · 07/01/2024 19:46

Craycraycatbaby · 07/01/2024 19:43

There are plenty of cruises that go from Southampton to Spain, canary islands, Greece... Either that or get the ferry from Plymouth to Santander or Roscoff although France weather is very much like English weather so rain is likely. Spain is more what you're looking for much longer travel time.

Sure at some times of year, but with France it really depends on where you're going. North coast - Brittany and Normandy - yes is like British weather, but go further south to Loire valley and it gets about 5 degrees warmer and usually sunnier, but head down to Dordogne or Rhone valley and it's much more Mediterranean a climate - we had 38 degrees at the end of August in Avignon 2019.

MoreDollies · 07/01/2024 20:02

Frosty1000 · 05/01/2024 13:07

You don't have to go south of France for heat - highly recommend the Vendée on the West coast of France - sandy beaches, really hot, beautiful area, loads of kids stuff to do. We did eurocamp, stayed a couple of nights nr Nantes to do planet sauvage which is an excellent safari park then down to st jean de monts.

Agreed on Vendée, we stayed in Tranche sur Mer and the weather was so hot we had to ask to be moved to mobile home in the shade and couldn't put out feet on the beach until 5 when it cooled down a bit. But a beautiful coastline with lovely seaside resorts

Mumaway · 07/01/2024 20:03

Ferry to northern France then drive to Eurocamp in Carnac. Great activities and pools for kids, lovely town.

NotManyDaysTilChristmas · 07/01/2024 21:16

Eurocamp in the Netherlands. We did it three times when kids were younger, look up Duinrell and Beekse Bergen - we used to do a week in each. Ferry from Hull to Rotterdam, or Harwich to Hook of Holland.

GrannyMcK · 08/01/2024 07:12

Why not take the ferry from Portsmouth to France and stay in Brittany?

IbizaToTheNorfolkBroads · 08/01/2024 07:23
SkaterGrrrrl · 08/01/2024 07:55

gemma19846 · 07/01/2024 18:59

Why do you not want to fly OP? I was terrified and cried getting on but it honestly wasnt as bad as i thought it would be. It look us 10 hours to get to DLP because i wouldnt fly. Now i think thats crazy when it would have been cheaper and quicker to fly. If you go to Spain its less than a 2hr flight

Environmental catastrophe leading to societal collapse? Our children are going to be living in a horror movie?

Just off the top of my head.

MrsWystan · 08/01/2024 09:05

If you’re close to Southampton, I can highly recommend going with Brittany ferries from Portsmouth across to Brittany. If you use a car there are so many delightful places accessible from that point, pretty towns such as St Malo, Josselin or Honfleur to country areas such as Lac de Guerledan and Vallée des Saints to Quimper and the amazing Aquarium at Brest.

Victoria3010 · 08/01/2024 13:49

This summer I'd avoid France during the Olympics, it'll be end of July and start of August, it'll probably be busy and expensive particularly where there are venues. We loved the European center parcs, not expensive, easy to navigate and lots to do. Or eurocamp have some lovely sites with facilities to suit those ages....

MamNala · 08/01/2024 14:47

We went to Ireland this summer - took our own car Holyhead to Dublin ferry.
Had a lovely time, loads to do & see over there
Also easier with the driving because they drive on the same side of the road as us, and no language barrier!

AnotherJaffaCakePlease · 08/01/2024 15:10

Last summer we used Brittany ferries Portsmouth to Caen and stayed at a Yelloh holiday village. We travelled in a motorhome but you could also travel by car and stay at a Yelloh park or similar in a chalet. We had about an hour's drive after arriving in France. Ferry was really straightforward and the park was great for kids. Not south of France but I think the parks are all over.

DdraigGoch · 08/01/2024 20:00

Ginmonkeyagain · 05/01/2024 12:54

Also with non fly holidays you have to treat the journey as part of the holiday.

We have got the train to Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Netherlands. All doable and good fun.

This. My brother and I will go Interrailing to Romania this year. The journey takes two nights each way, but that will include time spent sightseeing in a number of cities en route

WinterWonder · 09/01/2024 09:42

Last year we did Eurocamp. We drove from the northeast to Bristol & stayed a night with my sister. Next day drove to Poole and got the ferry. We stayed a night in St Malo then drove to the Dordogne.
The holiday site was lovely, we were glad for the access to our car for trips out and shopping.
our kids are 12 & 14 and with phones they managed the drive no problem. Oddly they really loved the ferries.
you can look at the RAC website to see what you need in your car to drive in France, and if you are going to certain cities you need an emissions card, so apply well in advance.

suwatts · 09/01/2024 12:44

Ferry from either Portsmouth or Plymouth to Santander or Bilbao. Easy drive to southern Spain where there are plenty of eurocamp or similar camp sites. Alternatively to Caen and find campsites in France.

MrsPoppadopoulus · 09/01/2024 19:02

Cruises from Southampton seem limited? Limited which way? Lots of different companies, different itineraries and lengths are available. Some companies leave from Dover too (Disney, Carnival). Cruises are great for families, I started cruising at 2yrs of age and now in my 40s and managed to convert hubby too. Think you should speak to great cruise specialist travel agent to see if what you want exists.. :) I would recommend my contact but not sure we can ‘advertise’. Cruises are full board, have excellent entertainment options, kids clubs, some are AI including drink (though packages can be added to those that are FB). But you could also take the Eurostar to Paris and another service to Barcelona if you wanted to go on a megaship like Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. If your avoidance of flights is due to fear of flying, my SIL did two hypnotherapy sessions and has now flown short haul loads and is planning her first transatlantic:) Something worth considering, if fear is an issue.

LilySLE · 09/01/2024 22:14

Channel Islands. Loads to do on Jersey and accessible by ferry.

or a Disney cruise out of Southampton.

Silverblue1985 · 10/01/2024 03:37

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?

Was going to suggest this, too.
You may be able to take a ferry connection on to Portugal from Spain but not certain on that.

Manyandyoucanwalkover · 10/01/2024 04:27

We’ve driven to France many times. We do Dover to Calais or the tunnel from Folkestone. I recommend the Euro type campsites where everything is set up for you, so you don’t need to haul a load of stuff. Many of the French sites are brilliant with so much to do, including pools, bike hire, games rooms etc. Alternatively, you can get a ferry to Bilbao or Santander in Spain, from Poole or Portsmouth, although they are much more expensive than Dover to Calais.


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MrsHughesPinny · 10/01/2024 04:54

Portsmouth to Santander is doable by ferry and northern Spain is gorgeous.

Lalalalala555 · 10/01/2024 09:11

You can get ferry to France or Spain or Netherlands or Belgium.
Or eurostar with car.

Usually my way of travelling is looking for places I can do outdoor sports.

I went to Brittany when I was a kid, it has beaches it's quite close to where ferries go, there's Mont st. Michael.

Fav place would be the alps. You cant really go wrong. I'd go there and camp.

Some gorges in France. I know Verdon for climbing but can't remember if there's a different one. My sister went there on a family holiday and they went canoeing. Looks very flat for canoeing.

Lalalalala555 · 10/01/2024 09:14

Saw this post about Romania and thought I'd offer some tips as I've been a lot.
Would recommend brasov area out of anywhere. And the carpathians. The train line cuts through the mountains in one place and there's a station. I'd get off there and do some sight seeing. I think there's a cable car and something called the spinx rock. The carpathians are so beautiful!

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