|CHANNEL FERRY TICKETS, TIMETABLES AND TOURIST INFORMATION|
How to Book Online
Booking your ferry ticket or just obtaining a price quote online is simple, safe and secure with Channel Ferries.
To book securely online all you need do is select your outward and return routes using the menu below, enter the number of passengers and click 'Get Price'.
To make a commercial vehicle, coach party or group booking please click
Note: The lowest available fare for your selected journey is automatically selected when booking online.
When booking your ferry online a booking reference will be sent to you by email. On arrival at the port of departure present the booking reference number together with a photo ID and you will be given your ferry tickets.
Save money by booking your ferry ticket online. Lowest ferry fares on all ferries to all destinations guaranteed.
First car ferries
The traditional cross-channel traveller had always been a foot passenger, arriving at the port by first horse-drawn stage-coach, then steam-train - and embarking on the ferry with all their luggage.
With the growing popularity of motoring, Captain Townsend bought and converted an old minesweeper to cater for the new market of people who wanted to take their car with them on a Continental motoring holiday . Like other cross-channel travel, most of the demand was from the UK side.
Cars were loaded onto the Dover-Calais car ferry by crane: 6,000 in the first year, rising to 31,000 in 1939 before the Second World War interupted services.
After the war, new "drive on" ferry terminals were built in Dover and Calais. Opened in 1953,they had moveable loading bridges, so cars could drive on whatever the state of the tide.
Bilbao Ferries and HarwichTrain Ferry
In 1936, the Southern Railway company and the new SNCF invested in new train ferry docks at Dover and Dunkerque. These ships had rails on the cargo deck to carry railway carriages and wagons. At each end, the ship ran into a dock where the water level could be adjusted so that the trains could run off the ship onto the tracks. The famous "Golden Arrow" luxury express used this route between London and Paris.
In 1959, a one-man hovercraft successfully crossed the channel, landing on the beach inside Dover harbour. This experimental British invention promised to revolutionise cross-channel travel - offering a speedy crossing without the huge initial investment in building a tunnel which would be required for high-speed trains.
The craft were successfully scaled up so they could carry hundreds of passengers and cars - though they could not cope with rough weather. "Hoverpads" were built at Calais, Boulogne, Pegwell Bay near Ramsgate, and in Dover harbour. British Rail, SNCF, and Hoverspeed a private company all competed to develop the new craft.
Unfortunately, they were made less economic by the rise in fuel prices in the 1970's, because they used fuel heavily just to stay up as well as to move. The last services were withdrawn in 2000.
The Channel Tunnel
Schemes were talked about as early as the 18th century, and serious construction work started on both sides in 1881 - only to be halted by political rather than engineering difficulties. Work re-commenced in earnest a century later in the 1980s, and the Channel Tunnel was finally opened in 1994. The train ferry was ended at this time.
Crossing the channel by sailing ship
Crossing the channel by sailing ship was at the mercy of tides and weather. Until the late 19th century, landing was often a problem - ferry ports and harbours on both sides were rather shallow and not well protected against storms.Ships often had to wait offshore at Dublin or Liverpool until the tide was high enough to enter the harbour - or else cross to the beach in a small rowing boat. Travel to the coast was equally perilous. On an 18th century horse-drawn stagecoach, you could travel from Paris to Calais or Hook of Holland to Amsterdam within a long, dusty day - highwaymen and the state of the roads permitting.
Long haul ferry services to Italy were introduced by P&O in 1990.
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