Taking the ferry to France

There's plenty of reasons to travel by ferry when holidaying in France – from the ease and the low cost to the life-long family memories that you'll make. Mumsnetters share their best experiences and all-important advice

The journey is half of the fun

“One of my best trips to France was getting the overnight Portsmouth-Caen ferry, it just felt magical somehow. Then we disembarked and drove for an hour or so along the coast to Honfleur for breakfast.”

Give yourself a break – you’re on holiday after all

“We recently went to Languedoc Roussillon and had a lovely time. So easy on the ferry too – even waiting at the port is fun because there's other ferries to watch. On board there's space for the children to run round and entertainment to keep them busy.”

You can pack just about everything (including the kitchen sink)

“The best thing is having your car; you can take as much as you want and drive wherever you like. We have stayed near Roscoff, which allowed some lovely drives up and down the coast as well as a trip to Brest – the kids loved the castle.”

Take a little piece of France home with you

“We have done several ferry trips overnight with our son and have learnt a few things along the way: Bring onesies for kids so they are warm, comfortable and can sleep easily, arrive at your boat as early as you can so you have longer to relax, and don’t forget to bring some lovely wine or cheese home.”

The whole family means the whole family

“We usually sail to Santander or Bilbao. Taking the ferry means that the whole family – including our dog – can come on holiday with us.”

Indulge your inner francophile

“My first holiday abroad was on a Brittany ferry when I was 15. It was possibly the most exciting thing ever – I remember how sophisticated and French everything felt, especially the little kiosk selling croissants as we were docking the next morning.”

Cherish the memories, and pass them on

“My favourite holiday to France was two weeks camping in Beg Meil. The sun shone continuously, the beach was like a little paradise cove and we ate moules-frites almost every day. I so look forward to taking my children one day.”

Feel the fear (and do it anyway)

“As a teenager I took my bike across from Portsmouth to Cherbourg. It was slightly hair-raising to cycle on to the ferry alongside all the lorries and cars, but a great experience. I remember lashing my bike to a pole on the ferry!”

Savour every single moment

“We love an overnight crossing. It’s so easy to eat dinner on board, go to bed and wake up refreshed and ready to go. We have had lots of lovely holidays in France staying in static caravans by the sea – ready made friends for the kids, good food and glorious sunshine. You just can't beat it.”