Portsmouth is located on England’s south coast just 100 kilometres from London, making it the closest port to the capital city. Thanks to Brittany Ferries, Portsmouth offers a wide choice of destinations in France. You can take a day trip to Cherbourg or relax on an overnight cruise to St. Malo, arriving refreshed and ready to drive to your final destination in northern France.
There are four places you can visit with a ferry from Portsmouth to France. Below we’ve reviewed the four ferry connections so you can cruise comfortably across the English Channel:
Portsmouth to Caen
From £109/ vehicle
The town of Caen is located in France’s Normandy region on the River Orne. While the town is a nice stop for a coffee and croissant, it’s also a great base to learn more about the Normandy landings and visit other World War II heritage sites. The ferry terminal is approximately 15 km from Caen and there is a day time shuttle bus service for foot passengers. The ferry operates up to 21 times per week, with crossing times of up to 7 hours with comfortable cabins and fine dining. Sailings are made on their cruise ferries, the Mont St Michel and Normandie. Both vessels feature comfortable facilities, French-influenced restaurants, and excellent service. You have the choice of two or four berth cabins, DJ and children’s entertainment during the high season, cinemas, shops, games rooms, and sun decks, as well as a la carte and self-service restaurants.
Brittany Ferries offers a no-frills ferry service from Portsmouth to Le Havre. Overnight sailings on their economy service are available until November. The routes are offered up to 7 times per week and the crossing takes around 8 hours. You’ll arrive in Le Havre, a 16th-century port city that was recently recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Le Havre is also the closest crossing to Paris, just a two-hour drive away from the capital with easy access to eastern France, the Alps, and Normandy. The route is shared with économie ferries, the Etretat and the Baie de Seine, designed for people who want cheap ferry tickets from Portsmouth to Le Havre. On board the vessels are good quality French catering, movie lounge, free Wi-Fi, and a small shop for alcohol, perfume, and confectionery purchases.
Cherbourg is located in La Manche, on the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy. The town is closely linked to France’s naval and maritime history, and its position makes it one of the most important among the country’s Channel ports. Brittany Ferries offers one crossing per day on the Normandie Express, a high-speed catamaran that travels at a speed of up to 78 km/h carrying up to 850 passengers and 235 cars. The Portsmouth to Cherbourg crossings only take 3 hours, but you’ll still have time to enjoy the comfortable lounge and panoramic views, French wine at the bar, and light meals or snacks from the onboard cafe.
St. Malo is a historic city lined with cobblestone stone streets and surrounded by old ramparts. While the city itself is beloved for the Chateau St. Malo and its lovely sandy beaches, St. Malo is typically used as a starting point for exploring Mont Saint Michel and the surrounding area. Brittany Ferries offers convenient overnight ferries most days with a sailing duration of up to 11 hours. You’ll travel aboard the Bretagne or Pont-Aven vessels, which offer two or four berth cabins and car decks so you can drive on board and enjoy a restful night’s sleep before arriving in France in time for breakfast. During the crossing, you’ll have access to an evening cabaret with live music, access to children’s entertainment, the latest films in two cinemas, and free Wi-Fi. Board in time to sample delicious French food at various restaurants or sip wine at the bar. If you’re travelling on the Pont-Aven, you’ll have the opportunity to swim and relax in the pool and leisure area.