Ferry to France

If you are planning a trip to France or beyond then we can save you time and money. Get a discount quote here directly from DFDS.

Get a Ferry Quote

Dover to Dunkirk
Dover to Calais
Newhaven to Dieppe
Dover to Calais Ferry

Ferry to France tips

Regardless of whether this is your first trip by ferry, or you are an experienced campaigner then I'm confident you will find some useful information in this section of the website.

Before you leave home

Make sure you have the documentation you need for all passengers such as passport or ID card and of course if you are driving in France you will need the vehicle documents, such as Log Book (V5), MOT, and Insurance documents.

See our driving in France checklist for more details.

Each ferry company has its own rules for boarding, but typically its three quarters of an hour to an hour as an absolute minimum for check-in prior to the ferry departing. I like to be there two hours before the ferry is due to leave just to avoid the queues.*

When you book you will get check-in details via email from the ferry company so read them carefully and let them know if you have any special travel needs that they should be aware of. 

*I never go during peak periods, like school holidays, but if you must then please allow extra time. Post Brexit the queues at passport control have increased dramatically. So allow as much as 4 hours during the main summer holidays. 

Top ferry tip

I know it’s a boat not a plane but I always take a small hand luggage type bag with me. This is so I can leave my big suitcase in the boot of the car and just take what I need with me to my seat.
Dover to Calais Ferry

Check-in process

All the ferry companies have things well sign posted but just make things quicker and easier for everyone by making sure you have your booking reference and passports to hand.

Port staff will direct you through the security checks and guide you into car lanes where you must remain with your car.

They will then issue you a boarding card that you must hang on your interior mirror so the harbour staff can easily identify you.

Size of vehicle

If you are driving a standard car there won't be a problem but just be careful to check with the ferry company if you are driving something huge.

When onboard

LPG cars/vans must have the tanks turned off whilst on-board.

The clocks on the ships are always quoted in local time to the port you are leaving so UK when you are going out and French time when coming back.

All the ferry companies have a variety of things for you to do and spend your money on whilst on board.
You will be directed through the security checks and will enter the departure car lanes where you must remain with your car.

The staff will guide you on board and they carefully position all the vehicles according to size and weight. Always remember to put the handbrake on and I usually leave it in gear to make sure.

When you disembark

Check out these other useful pages for for more information you need.

Are you aware of the French road signs?

UK stickers required, GB stickers no longer legal. 

Possible speed camera issues, and the need to display a "Low Emission  Zone sticker" on your vehicle.


If you are also considering the Channel Tunnel as an option, then you can also use our comparison tool to get a price on Eurotunnel. Why not read this excellent article on the Eurotunnel here.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram