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Channel tunnel day trip

Is there a Channel tunnel day trip that anyone can recommend?
I know it sounds crazy, but I'd like to go through it.

Posted by
8889 posts

There are no local trains through the Channel Tunnel (NOT "Chunnel"). Only a few trains stop at Ashford or Calais-Fréthun, and the latter is outside Calais, and not a good destination. Most trains run London-Paris are London-Brussels.
Lille is the first stop worth visiting, and some people do make day trips from London to Paris (or vice-versa). Only recommended if you absolutely have no more time available. These places need more time.

If you have your own car, you can take it on the shuttle trains from Folkestone to Calais (or vice-versa).

Actually going through the tunnel is nothing to see (literally). It is all dark.

Posted by
8293 posts

You do not need an organized day trip .... just buy early departure and late return tickets London/Paris or Paris/London. Spend the day sight seeing, have a nice lunch or dinner and back you go on the Eurostar (not Chunnel, please) to your starting point.

Posted by
3904 posts

"Chunnel" Arghhhhh!!! Just media nonsense such as Brexit, Staycation, Chillaxing!!!! Avoid referring to it as such....the Eurostar is what we all refer to.

You can buy a return ticket between the closest stations if all you're interested in is the ride itself. It isn't the most interesting rail journeys, a bit of boring landscape followed by even more boring darkness. The novelty of travelling in a train under The English Channel rapidly wears off. Personally I'd rather spend my money on the train from Kings Cross to York. Cheaper, better scenery and a fantastic destination to explore at the end.

Posted by
7153 posts

It’s just a long dark tunnel...nothing to see until you exit on the other side.

Posted by
2546 posts

If you just want to ride through the Channel Tunnel and not visit the city, just buy a roundtrip ticket and give yourself an hour or two for delays on your arriving train. I'm not sure what the attraction is for a trip through an underwater tunnel but it's your trip, so in the words of Retta "treat yourself." Go to https://www.eurostar.com/us-en for your tickets.

Posted by
3940 posts

“Is there a Chunnel day trip that anyone can recommend?” No. It’s the most boring train ride out of London that you can take. If you must go to France for the day, Lille is a pleasant place for lunch and a mooch around before you have to get back on the train. The train ride itself is rather tedious, across flat landscapes at both ends.

Allow an hour at each end to check in. France is an hour ahead, so a breakfast time departure from London will get you there for lunchtime.

Few people in the UK would understand you if you referred to the Channel Tunnel as the Chunnel.

Posted by
113 posts

Thank you for the corrections and Eurostar recommendations.
Very helpful.

Posted by
447 posts

Concur that it's a boring trip. We took the Paris to London between tours. Enjoyed the train from London to Edinburgh - some nice scenery that way.

Posted by
760 posts

How about London to Lille? I have not done this, but for a day trip, it appeals to me. See the Eurostar website.

I have connected London/Paris in both directions. The trips were pretty boring as such. The train goes fast and the scenery is a blur, but I still would be interested in Lille as a destination - just from reports I have read.

Posted by
20565 posts

Other than saying you have "Done it." There is no point to taking it just for the ride. We did London to Lille and picked up a car for the D-day beaches. The run from London to Lille is nothing since the train runs in a rail bed that is often below grade and covered with bushes -- nothing to see. The tunnel itself is just a long dark passage. Take it to go somewhere. Don't take it to ride through a dark tunnel.

Posted by
10673 posts

Hey Doc, the Chunnel Train stops in two great cities and only takes a few hours. Go for it. And I bet you will enjoy this from the Eurostar website (so you can use their terminology as suggested above)

What is the Chunnel?
The Channel Tunnel (often called the 'Chunnel' for short) is an undersea tunnel linking southern England and northern France. It is operated by the company Getlink, who also run a railway shuttle (Le Shuttle) between Folkestone and Calais, carrying passengers in cars, vans and other vehicles.

Eurostar is a totally separate company and is Getlink’s biggest customer, running high-speed passenger services through the Channel Tunnel between London and a number of other European cities on the continent, including Paris, Brussels, Lille, Lyon, Avignon and Marseille.

The Chunnel is actually comprised of three tunnels: two rail tunnels, used for freight and passenger trains, and a service tunnel.

How long is the Chunnel?
The Chunnel is 31.5 miles long or 50.45 km. That's the equivalent of 169 Eiffel Towers stacked on top of each other.

23.5 miles (37.9 km) of the Chunnel is under the English Channel, making it the world's longest undersea tunnel.

Posted by
3940 posts

James E is wrong! The Channel Tunnel is never called the Chunnel in Europe.

Posted by
552 posts

An alternative way of making a day trip is by car. When we have been staying in Kent, we have taken the car through the tunnel several times, and gone to places like Brugge, Gent, Ypres and the channel coast between Calais and Boulogne. All are practical destinations, and there is time for visiting a few sites, having lunch, and maybe a bit of shopping. You could do it from London, although it would mean an early start. I believe that coach trips to the First World War battlefields are available.

I accept that there may be insurance problems with a hire car, but it could be worth enquiring if the idea appeals. We made the trips in our own vehicle.

Posted by
3904 posts

What is the Chunnel?

It's a stupid name invented by the tabloid press and whilst regularly referred to as such in the early 90's it's now considered a bit cringeworthy, a bit like David "call me Dave" Cameron 'Chillaxing' or Ed Milliband eating a bacon sandwich.

Posted by
568 posts

James, where on the website is that, i cant find it? Weirdly if you search Eurostar Chunnel it appears but with the American flag in the top corner.....

Posted by
23253 posts

It is only on the US version of the website.

Posted by
4669 posts

Doc is long gone. But it would have been nice to know whether his OP was a version of:

"Can I see Paris without sleeping in a place where they don't speak English?"

or did he mean

"I'm interested in feats of engineering, and would like to "use" the tunnel under the channel".

because different advice would be called for.

Posted by
113 posts

Thank you everyone for your suggestions and advice.
The appeal of taking a high-speed train under the English Channel from one country to another, from an island to a continent, from English to French, using different currencies all in a day trip is tantalizing and not anything that can be done easily in USA.
The closest experience is going to Victoria on Vancouver Island, Canada by ferry from Seattle, WA. Fun trip, by the way.

Posted by
1097 posts

If it appeals to you then go for it. Perhaps it isn't everyone's cup of tea but, whisper this, we don't all have to plan our holidays around what the self-declared experts demand. What you plan is practical, so why not? We can't all spend time being arty farty types wandering around Continental galleries of samey Renaissance pictures. You can even call it the Chunnel if you want. It might only be used mostly in a jokey sense like referring to "Buck House", but it's hardly a confusing name in England.

Posted by
8889 posts

Doc, my original reply assumed you would be somewhere in Kent near the tunnel (Canterbury?) and just wanted to do a day trip to northern France. This is easy by car through the tunnel (car-on-train), but not easy as a pedestrian as there are no local trains.
Where will you actually be? If in London a day trip to Paris, Brussels or Lille is easy, if rushed.

The appeal of taking a high-speed train under the English Channel from one country to another, from an island to a continent, from English to French, using different currencies all in a day trip

What about Québec? Different currencies, different language?
Lots of tunnels to islands (Manhattan?)
And plenty of places in Europe where you can walk (or get a bus or train) across a border and within a few metres everybody speaks a different language and uses different currencies.

Posted by
113 posts

Thank you everyone. I had no idea my desire to visit and experience different countries would inspire such spirited debate.
I will continue my research about the advantages of Eurostar travel.

Posted by
10673 posts

For someone who likes to espouse the "experiencing places like locals
do" approach you seem to find it difficult to accept what the locals
are telling you!

JC, you have me confused with someone else. I wear my western boots and hat when I travel. I'm a freaking tourist. I do try and avoid tourist traps. When I am someplace I want to be the only tourist so I get all the attention. I Tried being a traveler once, just didnt work for me; how to get my hat and boots into a 7kg carryon? Not going to happen. Hell, my belt buckle weighs more than 7kg.

I thought Eurostar was local? I had no idea it was American. Oh well, live and learn. The only time "like locals do" comes to play in my life is that we both breath the same air. I stay in hotels, the nicest I can afford. I hire guides and I don't pretend to be anything less (or more?) than what I am. I also took the chunnel a few times.... I really don't care what you call it. I was just amused that a simple question got two words of needless criticism for every one word of help. But I do need to learn to start listening to you guys; after all you are the experts.

http://www.chunnel.org.uk/chunnelbooking.htm

Posted by
3904 posts

I thought Eurostar was local? Oh well, live and learn.

No. Just another faceless organisation that will ensure that its communication appeals to the wider audience. Therefore referring to The Chunnel to an American audience in an effort to make it more appealing than a somewhat bland "tunnel".

If you have no interest in what the locals refer to it as then that's fine but for someone claiming to have no interest in what the locals refer to it as your response doesn't quite correspond with that assertion.

Posted by
8889 posts

That Chunnel reference was in the US portion of the website. Note the "us-en" in the URL:
https://www.eurostar.com/us-en/travel-info/the-chunnel
For the benefit of transatlantic "travelers" who may have heard this archaic tabloid term in their media, not in the part of the website used by European travellers (count the l's to spot the difference).