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Ferry St. Malo (France) – Jersey – Guernsey – Poole (England)

On Friday, July 28, I plan to take the early Condor Ferry from St. Malo, France, to Jersey, Channel Islands. I expect to spend 2 or 3 days on Jersey and 2 or 3 days on Guernsey before moving on to England between July 1 and July 3 (all possibilities being weekdays).

I don’t suppose anyone here has experience with those ferry trips? There are a few things I’m curious about, especially the first two questions below:

  • Are the fares stable for any given departure? I’ve spot-checked, and there is definitely day-of-week and week-to-week variation, with the St. Malo-Jersey fare ranging from 26 to 32.50 GBP. But I don’t see any sign of the sort of rapidly-escalating prices we observe for rail and airline tickets as the departure date approaches. I self-insure for trip-cancellation (and also like to be able to react to weather) and don’t want to buy the ferry tickets earlier than I need to, but I also don’t want to watch the fare double or triple.

  • I will be a foot passenger. Need I be concerned about a sell-out? Can that even happen on this ferry?

  • I see no signs of a money-saving offer that would allow me to buy all three ferry legs for less than the (rather substantial) sum of the parts. As I missing something?

  • Is there a bank ATM that dispenses GBP either at the St. Malo ferry port or at the Jersey port?

  • Once in England I will head west toward Cornwall, but with the late arrival of the ferry (even assuming it is on time), I need to stay near Poole on that first night. My guidebooks do not cover Poole or Bournemouth, which is close enough to be an option. Opinions? There are more hotels, at lower (current) prices in Bournemouth, but Poole would be more convenient.

Thanks for any thoughts you may have.

Posted by
1838 posts

You might like to consider going straight from France to Cornwall with Brittany Ferries who operate between Roscoff & St.Malo. Go on the France forum to find out what the transport links are between S.Malo/ Dinan & Roscoff. The transport links between Poole & Cornwall are not that good - you would probably have to go NE to Southampton to catch a train to Salisbury (well worth a visit) and change for a train to Exeter (St.David’s) from where direct trains go west into Cornwall. The alternative would be to use buses going W from Poole into Dorset (which is also worth a visit).
http://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/ferry-routes/ferries-france/plymouth-roscoff

Posted by
4536 posts

There are cash machines at both terminals of Jersey Harbour; don't over withdraw cash though as it may be in Jersey bank notes that will not be any use in the UK.

Posted by
19203 posts

Thank you both for that useful information.

My intention is to visit the Channel Islands, but I do like to have back-up plans in case the weather goes wacko (though I believe the C.I. are know for having pretty good weather) or there is a transportation disruption. My trip is a long one, so I'm not too worried about having to take a somewhat roundabout route, but on the other hand, I plan to exit France on Schengen Day 89 and can't afford to get marooned somewhere. I do not want to be the first RS forum member to be banned from the Schengen Zone for overstaying the 90-day limit!

Posted by
2774 posts

In Poole we stayed in the Hotel du Vin -- basically because our overnight ferry from Caen to Portsmouth was canceled and we rushed onto an afternoon Cherbourg-Poole ferry at the last minute. Logging onto Booking.com before we got out of WiFi range, Hotel du Vin was the first hotel near the Poole ferry dock where a room was available.

It's a very nice hotel, pricey but with incredibly helpful desk staff. I mean, they totally went out of their way to take care of two shell-shocked American "mature" travelers who had stepped off the boat from Cherbourg wondering "Where the hell are we?" and having to cancel and rebook our rental car, etc.

It was about 5 min by taxi from the ferry dock. We probably could have walked, even. There are several other hotels and B&Bs right along that same seaside street, The Quay.

Posted by
4950 posts

Acraven, I haven't been to the C I but I can tell you the climate in St Malo and Dinard is identical to England. St. Malo will be very busy in July (did you mean June 28?) Do you get seasick easily?

Posted by
1838 posts

You can also fly (with Flybe) from Jersey or Guernsey to Exeter - which has excellent train connection to Cornwall. (Direct flights also operate to many places on the British mainland with various airlines). http://www.flybe.com/timetable/

The weather in the Channel Islands tends to be similar to Cornwall.

Posted by
19203 posts

I'm an avoider of US commuter flights, so I won't be taking that puddle jumper! I like my planes as large as possible with pilots who have decades of experience.

Yes, I am subject to motion sickness, but I remember my previous experience on a Channel ferry and will take Dramamine well in advance.

Unfortunately, I did mean July 28. I know that's a busy time for the coastal cities everywhere (indeed, for all of Europe's popular destinations), but unfortunately I have to be somewhere at that time. Since I'm heading toward the C.I. and England, the north coast is sort of the logical place to end up. I'm not looking for beach time per se, so I hope I can mostly stay in inland cities where lodgings won't be so hard to find. I do already have two nights booked in St. Malo (in a hotel without a/c--fingers crossed on that score).

Is there anything I need to worry about with respect to late July, other than hotel availability and rates?

I hope not to end up with a "pricey" hotel room in Poole or anywhere else, but at least I now know the Du Vin is a good place! I had a similar experience on my last trip to that area--a canceled ferry leading to a scramble for a place to stay. I ended up on the other end of the economic scale, in a partitioned-off section of a corridor in a small St. Malo hotel. That's why I'm planning to take the early rather than the late ferry on July 28. Surely they won't both be canceled.