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Old 27.11.2006, 17:21
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Driving to/from UK: Routes, advice, discussion

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Old 27.11.2006, 17:33
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Re: driving to UK

9hrs to Calais, 8 if you're quick. I stayed in Calais at IBIS/ETAP by the ferry terminal. Much easier to approach London in morning, so get 7am ferry. Don't forget toll costs (expensive).

I would recommend stopping in Lille or even better Bruges if you can find a hotel for an evening.

I was thinking of doing this journey also on boxing day BUT..... French fuel automats do not always take foreign credit cards or any cash. This means you could potentially be left without fuel if the filling station is closed. As my car drinks lots of fuel, I can't take the risk the journey unless someone can assure me that the filling stations will be open 24/7 over Christmas...

dave


Quote:
In dec, my husband and I are thinking of driving from zurich (where we live) to the UK (more specifically, near London)
We haven't done this before but know of many people and friends who have.
Any tips advice on how to do it ? which route is best?
also did you stay overnight somewhere or do it all in one day? (i heard it's at least 8 hrs to Calais?)
how is the ferry, how much is it? and how often does it run?
thanks in advance
ellen
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Old 27.11.2006, 17:47
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Re: driving to UK

There is a Holiday inn express at Coquelles 10 mins from the Eurotunnel terminal.

We prefer the tunnel to the ferry and get an early one.

Route:
www.viamichelin.com is good for driving through France.
Gives you toll and speed camera info.
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Old 27.11.2006, 18:21
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Re: driving to UK

I would set off at 8am from Zurich and get to Calais around 5pm and take EuroTunnel train and get to London 7pm local time - at least you get the journey over in a day and in time for dinner

the Tunnel is more expensive but at this time of year is more predictable than the ferries in case of storms which can easily run several hours late with large queques
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Old 27.11.2006, 19:51
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Re: driving to UK

best route I find is Basel, cross German side, go across into France at il Napoleon, carry on north to Thionville.

Head into Luxembourg and fuel up.

Carry on north into Belgium (very bad drivers alert) and at Namur head towards France (Dunquerque). Arrive at Calais a few € richer having saved on Péage...
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Old 27.11.2006, 20:00
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Re: driving to UK

Before we moved here me and the Mrs drove (in a Smart car) all the way from Barnet North London, it takes about 2 days, you can do it in a day but I wouldnt recommend it as it's a very long and tireing drive.

We set off from Barnet at around 6, got the ferry at 9 which takes an hour to cross the channel, remember the time difference, but that should work in your favour going to the UK. Then we drove all the way thru france to Strasbourg, this is a really boring drive but very straight forward, all one road, then we stayed in a hotel for the evening, got there about 8 ish.

Then in the morning drove all the way to Lugano, we did stop off on the way to see our little Pug Puppy that we got 3 weeks ago, he was only 5 weeks old then.

I really enjoyed the drive, make sure you have lots of CD's to listen to and take regular stops, but I found driving way much more relaxing and enjoyable than flying, cuz you can stop whenever you want and take a rests from all the travelling.
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Old 27.11.2006, 21:19
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Re: driving to UK

Quote:
best route I find is Basel, cross German side, go across into France at il Napoleon, carry on north to Thionville.

Head into Luxembourg and fuel up.

Carry on north into Belgium (very bad drivers alert) and at Namur head towards France (Dunquerque). Arrive at Calais a few € richer having saved on Péage...
Viamichelin shows that 10km longer but 29 Eurines less in tolls.
It looks longer on a map though...

Thanks Lob, I take back all I've ever said about you
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Old 27.11.2006, 21:54
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Re: driving to UK

I normally drive to Sussex at least twice a year because we take the dog. I have tried it 2 times in the day light and for my personal reasons would not do it again. This year I have the tunnel booked for 8:30am I will leave Zürich about 21:00 and cross the border at Basel, this time I will cross into Germany because of the road works going to the French border. After crossing the border I cross straight away in to France and take the A35 road to Strasbourg (German Autobahn is not in a good condition) then A4 head towards Metz where I gas up and take a break, then head to Riems and up to Calais. I have tried cutting the corner through Nancy but the road over that pass is very long winded and you cant get going. But if you like ploding along ejoying the view then several people I work with normally stop over night in Riems that is a very nice city and over half way to Calais. Its 850Ks and if you keep a 100 click average then 8 1/2 hours is quite easy, ive known people in company cars to do it in 7 1/2.

Cost about 30 euro toll charges, Look out for speed cameras in the 100k zones at Strasbourg and Riems also there is one near the Loupershouse toll bothe between Strasbourg and Metz.

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Last edited by DC_in_Hombi; 27.11.2006 at 22:06.
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Old 27.11.2006, 21:59
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Re: driving to UK

Quote:
I normally drive to Sussex at least twice a year because we take the dog. I have tried it 2 times in the day light and for my personal reasons would not do it again. This year I have the tunnel booked for 8:30am I will leave Zürich about 21:00 and cross the border at Basel, this time I will cross into Germany because of the road works going to the French border. After crossing the border I cross straight away in to France and take the A35 road to Strasbourg (German Autobahn is not in a good condition) then A4 head towards Metz where I gas up and take a break, then head to Riems and up to Calais. I have tried cutting the corner through Nancy but the road over that pass is very long winded and you cant get going. But if you like ploding along ejoying the view then several people I work with normally stop over night in Riems that is a very nice city and over half way to Calais. Its 850Ks and if you keep a 100 click average then 8 1/2 hours is quite easy, ive known people in company cars to do it in 7 1/2.

DC
That's my route as well, but I'll try Lob's route next time.
The drive from Metz to Calais is pleasant though
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Old 27.11.2006, 22:11
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Re: driving to UK

Sorry gbn I edited while you posted.
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Old 27.11.2006, 22:15
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Re: driving to UK

We drive to and from Mill Hill NW7, London regularly at the moment because are trying to sort out move to Zug. London to Zug we stop at Metz, Hotel du Theatre, nice 3*, nothing exotic, lovely staff. Coming back we do the same route and try to stop nearer Reims but haven't yet found anything better than IBIS. We stop because we have 2 kids, aged 3 and 4, so we are constantly knackered. The drive in a day is OK, boring.
I would never use the ferry, tunnel is so much easier - and the kids like it.
Does anyone have any hotel recommendations near Reims?
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Old 27.11.2006, 23:16
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Re: driving to UK

thanks for all your advice, seems more complicated than i had thought...
now i am confused whether to take the tunnel or ferry?
which is faster? (now you have informed me that the tunnel is more expensive...)
we are thinking of driving a few days before xmas so maybe the traffic there is ok?

Last edited by swissotter; 18.10.2008 at 01:26.
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Old 27.11.2006, 23:54
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Re: driving to UK

www.aferry.to www.aferryto.de www.aferryto.fr find your deal.

I usually do a chunnel deal or Hoverspeed. Or Rotterdam-Hull.....The Northern Monkey I am

All routes to Calais close on 880km from Zurich IIRC
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Old 28.11.2006, 09:07
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Re: driving to UK

Seems like everyone has a different route...

I actually drive to Basel and then up the A5 until I can head out towards Saarland. From there straight on to Luxembourg where of course I fill up and on to Belgium then France. It is motorway all the way and my best time is 6 hours 20 minutes. Usually it is 7.5 though. I tend to set off either at 9pm and then am at the ferry/rail terminal for 5am or 4am when I am there for the lunch time crossing. I find the traffic congestion points are fairly consistent and plan around them. For example I would never think of setting off on a Sunday or Friday lunch time... Also getting over to the UK can be the start of the problems if I hit the M25 at 5pm although it has improved recently. I also always need to carry on for 4 to 5 hours in the UK heading north so that does take a bit of planning. When I am lazy I use north sea ferries from Rotterdam which is most enjoyable but that damned Casino table um...
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Old 28.11.2006, 10:33
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Re: driving to UK

Quote:
thanks for all your advice, seems more complicated than i had thought...
now i am confused whether to take the tunnel or ferry?
which is faster? (now you have informed me that the tunnel is more expensive...)
we are thinking of driving a few days before xmas so maybe the traffic there is ok?
ellen
I use the tunnel because its Quicker. Speed ferries http://www.speedferries.com/ from Bolougne is cheeper if you have a standard car under 1.8 meters and no animals as this more than doubles the price, speed ferries is about 50min crossing and the tunnel is 35 min plus there is no custom in Folkstone its all done in Calais, the other advantage is the exit from the tunnel at Folkstone is a lot nearer to London than Dover.
DC
PS I will travel overnight 22nd 23rd Dec
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Old 28.11.2006, 10:42
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Re: driving to UK

This thread is making me sick! Made me realise how close to home you ex-pat Brits are

I get thrilled if Zurich to Perth, door to door travel time is less than 24 hours. Flying
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Old 28.11.2006, 11:01
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Re: driving to UK

How would suggest I get to Blackburn with a car ? Would Rotterdam be the best route ?
dave


Quote:
When I am lazy I use north sea ferries from Rotterdam which is most enjoyable but that damned Casino table um...
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Old 28.11.2006, 11:47
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Re: driving to UK

Quote:
How would suggest I get to Blackburn with a car ? Would Rotterdam be the best route ?
dave
I'd say so. Consider hotel, extra driving, etc and Europoort - Hull is a good option for anyone north of Birmingham
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Old 28.11.2006, 14:06
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Re: driving to UK

Quote:
This thread is making me sick! Made me realise how close to home you ex-pat Brits are

I get thrilled if Zurich to Perth, door to door travel time is less than 24 hours. Flying
What about Earls Court , from Zurich you can make it in 12hours in your car, a home from home!
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Old 07.12.2006, 21:54
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Re: driving to UK

Hello, I would like to say at this time of year, book the Train / Shuttle and not the ferry.The delays are quite long in case of bad weather. If you are caught up in the traffic on the road to Calais, you have no chance for refreshments.(or even toilet facilities).So make sure you pack a drink /snack.
I use the Pay /Toll roads from Metz to calais (via Reims) as there is never major traffic congestion, and the roads are in good condition. Point to note though,in France, between the toll points, your time is measured and if you have been speeding,you will get a fine. (or at least a warning).
Safe Journey to you all,
Outerpalli
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