I plan to drive from France to London and want to know the details on going through the Chunnel. Are reservations needed? What is the charge? Where do I get the tickets?
My employer loved that question. It woke me up.
The details you need are at www.eurotunnel.com/uk/home/. All the passport and security checks are done before you drive onto the Shuttle train, which is double deck. You stay in your car during the journey, which takes about 35 minutes, and then drive off the shuttle and directly onto a dual carriageway road.
Chunnel is not a term used commonly for the tunnel. The correct name is the Channel Tunnel and the company which operates the tunnel and the vehicle shuttle trains is Eurotunnel - link given in the prior post. Reservations are generally needed - Eurotunnel has experienced huge growth at the same time as reducing the number of shuttle trains. I am a regular on the route. Paying when you arrive will cost a fair bundle of dinero, buying in advance it can be as low as £55 or Euro equivalent one way. When you go to the website put in your desired day and time, answer some questions about your car and get a quote or a ticket. Tickets come in 2 basic flavours - Flexible for many moneys which allows you to get refunds and change times easily, and you can drive right past the queues onto the train; and standard which are time and date sensitive, and may or may not allow alterations or refunds. It is a very easy to use website which explains everything. My only concern is about the car you will be using. The reservation screen requires information about the car including the number plate. If you are contemplating taking a rental car I advise ensuring that it will have insurance beyond France that will not be void with a ferry crossing. Many car rental companies don't allow their cars on ferries, and the Eurotunnel, while under the water, may well be seen by the company as a ferry. You wouldn't want the insurance voided because you went on a forbidden route. Might not be the case in your circumstances but worth checking if that is your situation.
Thank you Bob and Nigel for your help!
You don't say if you will also be returning back to Paris. If not, expect HUGE drop off fees. Also, driving a left sided car on the right may be very difficult, especially if you are not used to right side driving. The reason most people don't have an issue driving in GB is because the cars are right sided and it's easy to always keep oncoming traffic next to you (the driver). If driving from the left, you increase the chance of forgetting to drive on the right or misjudging the location of oncoming traffic. Unless you've planned for or have experience with these things, I'd highly recommend reconsidering your plan. You can always do separate rental cars on each side of the channel.
Unless you have spent a lot of time driving on the left, you are setting yourself up for big time issues when yo get to the UK and find face driving a right handed car in a left handed world. If you don't plan on going back to the continent with the car the drop off charges for a wrong sided car will be staggering. Since it is only a rental, why not change cars?????
You could also ferry across.
Although I agree that having, for example, a LHD car on a right driving road is a bit more confusing, it is hardly as difficult as some make out. Over 2 million cars used Eurotunnel last year and most of them could work out how to drive. I am sure you will be able to do so too,
Jim, are you still there? Was this any help? Is there anything else you need?
Hello Nigel and all: I am back. Thank you and the others for their suggestions. Can anyone tell me what the cost is to ferry my rental car across and what the fare is? If I choose the ferry, I hope the crossing isn't as rough as it was the last time I took the ferry (approx. 55 years ago). The storm was so bad, even one of the Queen's yachts sank (but thankfully, she was not aboard).
The cost will depend on vehicle size, how far in advance you book, if the date and time you want are busy ones or not, and which carrier you use. Assuming your rental company allows it, between the several ferry companies and the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle figure on anywhere from £29 each way to several hundred.
Often there are cheaper fares on a 12 hour turnaround - the infamous "Booze Cruise" to collect cheaper booze - and on a 72 hour turnaround, often known as a short break. If going one way, the ferry cost will be small beer compared with the drop charge.
While 0oer 2 million cars may have used the Eurotunnel last year and worked it out to varying degrees of satisfaction, I would pointout that over 2 million people also had root canals. Do you want one?
What is the advantage of "driving" to London from Paris using the Eurotunnel? Or to taking the ferry? As others have said, the car you rent in France may be prohibited from going to England and/or on a ferry. Check with Gemut.com about all this. They, especially Andy, are the experts in European car rental.
Hi Jim, You can watch a Youtube video of how it is done. It's entitled "Driving into the Chunnel" ;-) There is another titled "Chunnel Loading" I love that the Eagles are playing on their radio while they are loading! Crash.