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mandy hall

Tunnel or Ferry from Calais

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mandy hall

I am off to France soon and I am wondering, if anyone has any experience of travelling back from France recently.  I have seen a few horror stories of delays returning through customs at the tunnel recently.  Are the same problems affecting ferries travelling from Calais?

 

Mandy

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Interested

It's a while back now, but when we "Chunnelled" last September the Customs clearance took only minutes.

I'd like to think the reports in the media are greatly exaggerated; just try not to look suspicious!

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GreyC
3 minutes ago, Interested said:

just try not to look suspicious!

Wouldn´ t that make you exactly that-suspicious?  ;-)

GreyC

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stu

I used the tunnel in early March, it took nearly 3 hours to go through customs at Calais as every vehicle was checked !

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chaz

We used the tunnel in March, got to Folkestone 3 hours early, paid £20 extra and were at home before we were due to leave our original time.... Not a bad thing as we then had time to call the gendarmes about the burglary . On the way back, checked dog in, called into duty free , rest break, she must have her burger ( the dog expects it now and sulks if not had one) onto train at booked time....

no problems. This has been my experiences of 28 crossings apart from one, returning mid way last year when there was an hour hold up.  Back over end of next week.

on the way over we were swiped on 4 occasions , just sectioned off and guards wipe gloves and sticks.

on the way back we were checked on two occasions, one in the shed and once by a soldier before check in, a couple of questions, lift the boot..' Did you pack this' and off we went. 

Pour normal travel times over first in the morning on Sunday, or 6pm on Friday, returning always 1.30pm on Tuesday's. We travel on frequent traveller buying 10 tickets at a time and pick the ones where we don't have to pay extra.( apart from last time) 😰

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chaz

Normally check website for reports at shuttle ends before and on way, the big problem for us is M20 road works. So have decided to travel day time to avoid night working and closures.

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mandy hall
7 hours ago, stu said:

I used the tunnel in early March, it took nearly 3 hours to go through customs at Calais as every vehicle was checked !

That’s my worry, over the weekend people where waiting 4 hours.  I shouldn’t read twitter then I wouldn’t know.

 

7 hours ago, chaz said:

We used the tunnel in March, got to Folkestone 3 hours early, paid £20 extra and were at home before we were due to leave our original time.... Not a bad thing as we then had time to call the gendarmes about the burglary . On the way back, checked dog in, called into duty free , rest break, she must have her burger ( the dog expects it now and sulks if not had one) onto train at booked time....

no problems. This has been my experiences of 28 crossings apart from one, returning mid way last year when there was an hour hold up.  Back over end of next week.

on the way over we were swiped on 4 occasions , just sectioned off and guards wipe gloves and sticks.

on the way back we were checked on two occasions, one in the shed and once by a soldier before check in, a couple of questions, lift the boot..' Did you pack this' and off we went. 

Pour normal travel times over first in the morning on Sunday, or 6pm on Friday, returning always 1.30pm on Tuesday's. We travel on frequent traveller buying 10 tickets at a time and pick the ones where we don't have to pay extra.( apart from last time) 😰

That’s one of the reasons, I like the tunnel, it’s fast and the flexibility even with a standard ticket.  We got a train 24 hours early last year with no extra cost.  

I am wondering whether to go over on the tunnel and come back on a ferry.

Does anyone have recent experience of french customs at the ferry terminals?

 

Mandy

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George Rayner

We did the tunnel 11th out and 13th back to UK. At Folkestone every vehicle was being swiped which slowed things a bit but not too much. On way back French checks very quick UK being thorough as usual which was slow but still visited terminal, coffee and onto shuttle one earlier than booked.

M20 appeared to have been prepared as a lorry park on way out so considerable distance at 50mph and two lanes.

 

Much prefer the Tunnel no matter what-so far!

 

George

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Gareth Davies

I did 24 cross channel trips last year, 16 in the tunnel, 7 on ferries, 1 on Eurostar.  I would choose the tunnel every time if taking a car.  

Edited by Gareth Davies

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Michelle Young

Got over fine yesterday, got an earlier train, no hold ups. No problems on the M 20 either. 

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sassenach

I'm puzzled that everybody seems to go by car. I use Eurostar, and get around in Flanders by a combination of local buses, walking and the occasional taxi. I accept this would not be feasible in other areas, of course.

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seaJane

Eurostar and a hire car to Lille/Tournai last November. Worked a treat.

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chaz

with the dog, shopping needed, diy shops and trips to the decheterie has to be by car.... nothing puzzling with that.

 

also helps with visiting many cemeteries and churchyards off the main routes

Edited by chaz

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sassenach

Whatever works for you. I'm simply suggesting that for some people, who don't travel with a dog and have limited needs for rubbish tips and diy shops, the train can be a more sensible option than driving. 

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keithfazzani

I am a ferry man. The ferries are pretty speedy these days and it is a chance to grab a bite to eat and relax. Once in France I can motor off to my destination without needing to stop. On the way back there is still little that beats the White Cliffs of Dover. 

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mandy hall

Thanks for all your thoughts.  I have booked the tunnel, both ways.

 

Mandy

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chaz

Got to Folkestone 4 hours early, paid the £20 extra , the train was only half full. Got home easy, a bit more traffic on roads in France but don't norMally travel this time of day. A few diversions, one a cycle race around Burbere, another roadworks. The Aire's on the motorway show closed but only on the way back. Expect to find diesel at €1.45 supermarkets upto €1.65 motorway and somewhere in the middle in town and villages. 

Food prices have risen again since March, our favourite wine up 17%. St Omer Stubbies beer 25 for €8.80 was 7.50. Now probably dearer than duty free. Our food shop has decreased, not buying as many treats. 8 croissants €2.70, e, Leclerc seems cheaper than Carrefour with as much choice, lido and aldi usual cut price with not as much selection.

not many gendarmes around, more and more shops and eateries closed. Road from Frevent to Gommecourt closed at Couin turn off making a longer diversion, probabLy extension of work further down the road. Seems to be a fair bit of phone or cabling work going on, pity internet signal not improved in our area.

fun part, now we have 1st, 5th and 8th may holidays all coming up. Can't get heating oil delivered until 2nd now. Our normal supplier not been open this week or back in March so don't know why. €474 for 500 litres .

not seen any Brit cars whilst driving this week, normally we see 10-20 around the area.

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Don Regiano

Excellent run through, both in the UK and France via the tunnel.  Motorways quiet and train quite empty (we use the section for high vehicles because of our roof box).  Not had chance to check local prices as didn't arrive until 8.30pm local and it's a public holiday today.  First job tomorrow - cutting the grass which has grown enormously over the last 5 weeks.  God knows what I will come across.   Then on with the job of sorting out a new fosse septique.  Did someone say there was something around here to do with the Great War?  If only I had the time ...

 

Reg

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chaz

getting back to the original question.

returned saturday, there are a lot more red and white barriers before the first check in, we had no trouble getting to pet check in but coming out its a bit daunting as you have to look to see which lane you should be in as might cross other users. but normal approach seems ok. couple of armed soldiers mainly questioning van drivers and checking inside,( a quick look), but not us..passed through both gates and into duty free. they didnt have the required wine so, straight out and joined the line. easy.

 

have now returned and checked bank account, fuel, Aldi, Carrefour and heating oil all paid for on my NatWest card and all got exchange rate of €1.16+ to £1, better rate than cash in our local banks here.

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Ken Lees

I travel backwards and forwards frequently using the tunnel. To the UK and back to France last week, same again this week. No delays of any kind. Same checks as usual with the addition of a new scanner at Calais operated by the French Douane. They seem to be selecting a few cars to put through it but it takes only 2-3 minutes extra. 

 

In general, no more delays than there have ever been and I have done well over a hundred crossings with the car, using the Tunnel. 

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Gunner Bailey
Posted (edited)

All you need is a small inflatable, get half way across and the Border Force will pick you up in no time. Cheaper than the tunnel to. :ph34r:

 

But seriously..... I've been crossing the channel regularly for over 20 years, and the only problems seem to be when the French (customs) want to get even more unpopular with the British or there is mechanical trouble with a train.

 

I've reverted to using P&O in the last year or so. A bit slower, much cheaper and you can have a hot meal and coffee whilst traveling.

 

 

Edited by Gunner Bailey

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Gunner Bailey
Posted (edited)
On 18/04/2019 at 14:59, keithfazzani said:

 On the way back there is still little that beats the White Cliffs of Dover. 

 

Can't beat that at all. It stirs the heart.

 

On my last return trip I was talking to some Americans who had just visited the D Day beaches and they simply loved the sight of the White Cliffs as we neared Dover. You don't get that on the tunnel.

Edited by Gunner Bailey

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chaz

also, on the train you dont get the pleasure of bobbing up and down on a force 9 or 10 gale being sick and thinking of the dog stuck down below with the fumes from the engines...been there done that, now we get to sit in the car, eat our snack and recline seat for a 20 min nap.

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Ken Lees
6 hours ago, chaz said:

also, on the train you dont get the pleasure of bobbing up and down on a force 9 or 10 gale being sick and thinking of the dog stuck down below with the fumes from the engines...been there done that, now we get to sit in the car, eat our snack and recline seat for a 20 min nap.

 

Exactly this. Flask, sandwich, read a chapter of the current book and drive off.

 

If crossing the Channel was a novelty I'd go for the ferry now and then, but it's a chore, so sooner done the better. And with a 'frequent user' discount it's cheaper than the ferry, too.

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Gunner Bailey
13 hours ago, Ken Lees said:

 

Exactly this. Flask, sandwich, read a chapter of the current book and drive off.

 

If crossing the Channel was a novelty I'd go for the ferry now and then, but it's a chore, so sooner done the better. And with a 'frequent user' discount it's cheaper than the ferry, too.

 

I had a Frequent User ticket for over 15 years but still found the service less than perfect.

 

On my last FQ ticket in 2017 I had 8 out of the 10 crossings with delays of between 15 minutes and 2 and a half hours. The total delays in the 10 crossings was just over 10 hours. Tunnel communication has always been awful. They will call your departure, you go through passport / customs and then when lining up to go tell you there is another 50 minutes delay. Time you could have spent having a coffee or some food at the terminal.

 

I now find there are almost no delays with the ferries, they are half the price (even of a FQ ticket) if you commit to a non flexi ticket and they are all much smoother rides than the ferries of 15 years ago. I was seasick twice in 20 years, both times on the Speedferry service in force 8 winds with 20 ft waves.

 

 

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