Porstmouth UK to Caen FR

Has anyone taken the ferry from Portsmouth, UK to LaHavre then the bus or perhaps a rental car to Caen or Bayeux? Looks relative easy taking the train from London to Portsmouth. It appears to be more economical than the EuroStar from London to Paris then to caen.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
13888 posts

no, I haven't taken that particular boat, so please bear with me for some unsolicited advice... time, in vacations, is money. what may start out looking like saving money may in fact cost more when all done, and take longer. You will need a train to Portsmouth, ferry, train to Caen. Car will be even more money. You will need feeding on all this long journey, and possibly sleep. Buy Eurostar tickets when they are first released and they can be quite cheap. Buy tickets to Caen or Bayeux (why Caen, when the museum and tours are better from Bayeux, and the town's nicer too?) from TGV when they are released and grab some cheap Prems. Easy connection in Paris and soon you are whisked straight to Caen or Bayeux. faster and probably not much more money././. just my idea, though

Posted by Herb
13 posts

Nigel: Thanks for the info. Thought about the time, etc and will probably do the TGV but go from Paris to London rather than the other way around. We will take the train from Paris to Bayaux for 4 days in Normandy.

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8700 posts

I haven't taken any ferry across the English Channel. If you book well in advance on Megatrain, you can travel London-Portsmouth for as little as £1.00. There is no need to go to Le Havre. You can travel Portsmouth-Caen on Brittany Ferries, either during the day or overnight. Fares can be as low as £25.00.

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
1751 posts

We just did this in OCt...took the ferry from Caen to Portsmouth - we were lucky as our sailing coincided with the strike/lockout, but our ticket was pre-booked, and our ferry was the 1st one to start up (phew)...we had rented a car, left it at Caen, luckily we stayed with someone who followed us in and drove us to the ferry terminal...but our main reason was because my sister lives in Portsmouth and we were going to stay with her...but unless you have a reason to go down that end of England...better off to do the train to Paris - you can pick up your car rental there as well (we used Autoeurope...the rental was with Europcar and we picked it up on our way out of Paris and heading north to Caen and area...and I will say it was our first car rental, I am now hooked as it made it so much easier to see the places not reachable by train...and in the end, I think it was cheaper as well..)

Posted by Matt
Kent, WA, USA
107 posts

I did a trip last year, where I rode the train from London down to the south coast of England and then took the ferry across from Poole to Cherbourg, and then the train from Cherbourg to Paris.
I enjoyed it! I was able to stay with relatives near Poole, so didn't have the lodging expense. I don't know the Portsmouth schedule but Poole to Cherbourgh there was a 7AM ferry which is what I took... The crossing was a little under 3 hours.. I had breakfast on the ferry, then lunch in Cherbourg, and was in Paris at my hotel by 6PM.. I don't remember the exact costs... I think the ferry was around $100 per person, the train Cherbourg to Paris about the same.. And the train London to Poole is around $40. If you add in the cost of a night of lodging, I'm not sure if its much cheaper than the Eurostar. But it depends on what you want to do and see.. I enjoyed the train rides and the ferry..

Posted by George
Independence, KS, USA
808 posts

We did just that a couple years ago. We were met at Heathrow by www.aquacars.co.uk and delivered by private car to our waterfront hotel in Portsmouth for less money than 2 train tickets and far less of a hassle. We spent two nights there to see the sights and naval history then took the ferry to Caen (Ouistreham actually). There is a bus from the port to the Caen railroad station where there are 3 or 4 rental car agencies right across the street. We picked up our reserved rental car, drove to Bayeux, about 20 miles, and spent the night at the Churchill Hotel. We then drove to our rural B&B outside Villers-Bocage, about 10 miles east of Bayeux. We spent 6 days exploring Normandy with our rental car, returned the car to Caen and took the train into Paris. We Eurostared back to London to fly back to the US. I'm not sure if the ferry is cheaper but it is surely not faster than the Eurostar. You can buy Eurostar tickets at least 120 days prior to travel and they are the cheapest Eurostar tickets you can get. We liked the relaxing ferry ride, about 6 hours I think, and it was an easy trip.

Posted by Herb
13 posts

Great info from everyone. We appreciate the input as to car rentals too!