London to Normandy Beaches

Bonjour- going to France in a few weeks and we'll be taking the Eurostar to London for a few days. Thinking about taking Eurostar or ferry to return. We were going to go back into Paris then take a train to Bayeau as the town looks charming and centrally located to the WWII attractions. However, wondering if there is a smarter way to plan our return from London. Any ideas? Ferry from Portsmouth- is it worth the train travel from London? Is there a high speed ferry that would be advantageous? Thank you for your insight!

Posted by George
Independence, KS, USA
532 posts

We've done it both ways. Check out www.brittany-ferries.co.uk for the ferry Portsmouth to Caen, Quistreham actually, then a bus to Caen railroad station. We used aquacars.co.uk to fetch us from London and drive us to Portsmouth cheaper than two train tickets plus it was door to door, but the ferries leave early, not sure about the fast hydrofoil. We've done the train Paris to Caen and picked up our rental car and drove to Bayeux, about 15 miles. Having a car there is a must IMHO. There is very little transportation available and a car sets you free.

Posted by Tom
Oak Brook, IL
160 posts

Hi Julie, My wife and I made the trip from London to Bayeux this past June. We took a train from London to Portsmouth (about £27 each. We left about 6pm and arrived at 8pm for a 10pm ferry to Ouistreham. I'm not familiar with George's suggestion to use aquacars but it sounds like a good one. The bus to Caen was easy and inexpensive (maybe €3 each). Buses are waiting for you at the ferry terminal and go direct to the train station. Our ferry arrived at 6:45am. With the bus plus the train we were in Bayeux just before 9am. We actually walked to our hotel, checked in and went to see the Bayeux Tapestry. We had a mice lunch and took a prearranged tour (small group) of the Normandy Beaches from 1:30 to 6pm. We then had a wonderful French dinner in Bayeux that evening. In the morning after breakfast we took a shuttle from Bayeux to Mont St Michel (arranged through our hotel, again a small group. Ninety minutes drive through the French countryside and we were left alone to tour Mont St Michel as we pleased (which was nice for us). After a short lunch, we were back in Bayeux by 2;30 which allowed plenty of time to tour the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Bayeux before catching our train to Paris at 4:30pm. During my planning efforts, I went back and forth on whether or not to rent a car. Cars are expensive as are tolls in France. If you are planning to do a quick overview of the Normandy Beaches and Mont St Michel before heading to Paris, you might want to consider our plan. If you plan on spending several day truly "exploring" Normandy on your own, then renting a car would make sense. As I reflect back, what we did was just perfect (for us. Have a great trip! Tom

Posted by Julie
Des Moines, Wa, USA
2 posts

Thank you both so much for your replies- great information to help us make some decisions! Merci Beaucoup! Julie