Getting to Europe from the UK can sometimes seem like a bit of a long trip. Because we’re separated by the channel it’s as though we’re travelling to another continent. However, in reality, it is possible to get to the mainland from London in less time than it takes to get to from London to Newcastle.
If this makes travelling to mainland Europe a bit more appealing, then the good news is that there are lots of options when it comes to getting across.
Getting the ferry across the channel is one of the most cost-effective ways to do it - as long as you don’t buy anything from the extremely overpriced cafeterias. There are ferries leaving everyday so it’s not vital to book in advance, however, advanced booking can reduce your ticket price even further. The most common route is from Dover to Calais, however, there are also routes from Hull, in the north of England, down to Holland and Belgium.
It’s easy to take the Channel Tunnel for granted these days, but it revolutionised travel to the continent. The shuttle system that runs in the tunnel makes it easy to drive to France, and get around Europe from there. There are shuttle running regularly, so driving yourself to the mainland can be one of the most convenient ways to get there.
The Eurostar is probably the quickest way to get to mainland Europe, it’s even quicker than flying when you factor in checking in and checking out. There are lots of different fares available depending on how much you treasure your comfort or your savings. If you book up to four months in advance, Paris trips can cost as little as £36.
It isn’t a quick way to get around, but as long as you don’t mind the long hours, then travelling by coach is a really good way to get to the continent- it’s comparatively cheap and on some services there is wi-fi and a place to plug in your laptop.
The main ports of call in Europe are on the west coast. In France, Calais is a lot more than just a thoroughfare, with art and culture. In Holland, the port City of Rotterdam offers the chance to see some stunning architecture and water management. While Zeebrugge in Belgium is home to vast, sandy beaches and is just a few miles from Brugge.
It is possible to get the Eurostar direct to Paris, where you’ll find some of the most famous monuments in the entire continent. However, wherever you arrive in mainland Europe, there are connections to the rest of the continent.