Normandy is one of the closest overseas places to the UK and as such it’s a really popular destination for Brits. If you’re wondering how to get to Normandy from the UK then this post is for you as I’ll be detailing the options.
We’ve travelled a number of different ways when visiting Normandy and the North of France so I feel like I can give you a good run down of the choices available!
Whether you’re visiting the wondrous Mont St Michel, the historic city of Bayeaux with its tapestry, or making a pilgrimage to the D-Day beaches, Normandy promises and delivers a LOT!
You might also like: 3 day self drive tour of Normandy beaches
When thinking about your trip to Normandy and how to travel there from the UK it will likely be determined by your starting point. Having grown up in Scotland, lived in the North of England and currently way down in the South West – I know it’s a bit different when it can take a lot longer for you to reach the south coast of England than for others!
I’ve also added in some options for flying to France and getting public transport as well which may well be of use to those who don’t relish a ferry trip or the long drive south to the ports!
How to get to Normandy by Ferry or Channel Tunnel
Ferry is probably the most popular way to get to Normandy from the south of England because it can get you right in the heart of the region straight away.
I’ve also included the channel tunnel crossing here as it’s similar in where it departs and arrives from to the short ferry trips.
The following ferry ports are used to get to the Normandy region (distance and driving time to Caen in centre of Normandy in brackets):
- Cherbourg (130km / 1 hour 30 mins)
- Saint Malo (170km / 2 hours) closer to Mont St Michel though!
- Caen/Ouistreham (16km / 20 mins)
- Le Havre (95km / 1 hour 15 mins)
- Dieppe (190km/ 2 hours)
- Calais (350km / 3 hours 40 mins)
- Roscoff (340km / 3 hours 45 mins)
Check the map above to see where they are and how close they might be to your destination.
Some ferries are overnight and some are a good 4 hour sailing time. If you don’t fancy a long sea trip you can also head to the short Dover-Calais route and drive from there (which is what we’ve done in the past).
A note about travelling with pets:
Many people will be wanting to take their pets on their Normandy trip. It’s worth checking what is available, especially if like us you have a nervous dog, before committing to a route.
Some ferries only allow dogs to stay in the car for the crossing, some have pet cabins. Some ferries also expect your dog to be muzzled when on board and outside of your vehicle.
The channel tunnel is my preferred option with a dog (like I say, mine is nervous and would hate to be left in a car on a deck) as you stay in the vehicle for the duration. It does have a longer drive on the other side to get to Normandy mind you!
Good for travellers from London and the South West, or from the North. Well linked by public transport.
Portsmouth has the most options for ferries to Normandy from the UK and you have options to set sail every day to a number of ports. No matter what you’re doing in Normandy, you can arrive at a few different places along the coastline.
While you have a couple of options of destinations, it’s only one operator that sails from Portsmouth – Brittany Ferries.
- Ferry time – 8 hours (overnight)
- 2 sailings a week
- check their website for more info
Ouistreham / Caen
- Ferry travel time – 6 hours
- Up to three sailings per day
- Daytime or overnight sailings
- Check website for more info
- Ferry travel time – 11 hours
- Travels most days through the year
- Overnight sailings
- Check website for more info
A good option if you want a nice quick ferry trip that will get you in to the heart of Normandy coast.
- Poole – Cherbourg (Brittany Ferries)
- Ferry travel time – 4 hours 30 mins
- Daily morning sailings
- Check for more details here
Good for travellers in the South West and from Wales or those travelling down the M5 in the west.
If, like me, you’re living in the South West you might want to arrive in France in the west and explore from there. Plymouth does a sailing to Roscoff in Brittany which, is a little way from Normandy, but might be preferable to driving through the UK to a different port.
- Plymouth – Roscoff
- day time and overnight crossings
- up to 2 per day
- sailing time – 5 hours 30 mins (day), 11 hours (night)
- See more info here
Dover / Folkestone
Good for travellers in the South East or those who want the quickest crossing times.
There’s a lot to recommend travelling to Normandy via Calais. It’s a popular route, there’s a lot of options and cheap ferries and it’s quick. If you’re not keen on sailing then it’s a must! Although you might prefer the tunnel!
The downside is that it’s a good distance to Normandy so you’ll need to be prepared for a decent drive on the other side.
- P&O – Dover to Calais
- DFDS – Dover to Calais (and also Dunkirk which is a little more east)
- Euro Tunnel – Folkestone – Calais
Good for travellers on the South East coast.
DFDS has a ferry to Dieppe from Newhaven. Its a short trip and gets you very close to the east of Normandy and Paris if that’s also a destination for you.
- Newhaven – Dieppe
- 4 hours sailing time
- up to 3 daily sailings in high season
- See here for more details.
How to get to Normandy from London
If you’re travelling from the city of London to Normandy you have a number of options. Of course, you could drive down to any of the ports listed above but you also have flight options (see below) and public transport options.
Whatever you choose you’ll be arriving in France in Paris and will need to make your way to Normandy from there.
Eurostar / Train
The Eurostar train is great way to get some distance under your belt quickly and without having to get on a ferry. It’ll get you into Gare du Nord and from there you can get the metro to Gare St Lazare for trains to Bayeux or Caen and many other places in Normandy.
The train from London to Paris is around 2 hours 40 mins and from Paris to Caen it takes another 2 hours.
I recommend having a look at Trainline where you can book the Eurostar but also trains in France as well. Train can be a good option from elsewhere in the UK too – we travelled it from Sheffield a couple of years ago.
Another option is to take a coach from London to Paris and from there either train or coach to Normandy.
Coaches to Paris from London normally go on the Dover-Calais ferry and onwards from there. Flixbus travels from Paris to Caen and takes around 3 hours.
Flying from the UK to Normandy
If you really don’t want to waste time on ferries or travelling the length of the UK to get there then it’s worth exploring the idea of flying there.
There’s no direct flights to Normandy from the UK, but Paris is very close and has plenty of options.
It’s recommended to rent a car from the airport to explore Normandy to the fullest – check out discover cars which will check out all options and compare them for you.
The following cities all have direct flights to Paris and from there you can make your way to Normandy:
I like to check out Skyscanner when planning flights to get the best options – always check which airport it will land at as Paris has a couple.
If you’re driving to Normandy it’ll take you from 2.5 – 3 hours to get to Caen, depending on which airport you start from.
If you’re looking to take public transport onwards to Normandy then train gives you the best options. You’ll need to travel into Paris first and then to the departing train station.