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Mit dem Eurotunnel-Zug nach England, Bild: J. Roll / Reisemagazin Online

By car to England – What to consider

Is one of the ferries or the famous Channel Tunnel preferable for a road trip to England? What else should be considered when driving on the left in the Kingdom? And: How do car travelers get to the capital London easily? Ultimately: How do they easily get from A to B within the City of London?

The following article offers detailed information and practical advice on these and similar tourism issues.

Dunkirk or Calais? – which is better suited as a stepping stone to the island?

No matter where the car trip to England starts from, two leading shipping companies on the north coast of France come into question. They are called DFDS Seaways and P&O Ferries respectively.

Ratigative booking dates and ferry costs

It is advisable to book a car ferry to England in good time from one of the two continental ports of Calais or Dunkirk. If you do this preferably online a quarter of a year before arrival, you are playing it safe.

The ferry fee due depends on the number of people, the type of vehicle and the selected time frame. During rush hour periods, the crossing is definitely more expensive than early in the morning or later in the evening. For a car occupied by four people, about 250 euros must be calculated for the return journey.

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The low-cost Economy Class has the disadvantage of not being cancellable and tied to fixed departure times. A rebooking here – in contrast to the more expensive Premium Class – is ultimately subject to a fee.

The duration of the journey from Calais and Dunkirk

In terms of travel speed, it is rather inconsequential to book a ferry from Dunkirk or Calais. The crossing from the port of Dunkirk takes about 30 minutes longer than that from the more westerly starting point in Calais. Instead, car tourists save the 40-kilometer drive between the two cities.

Overall, the travel time from the French Channel coast to the English ferry port of Dover is between one and a half and two hours.

The modern Channel Tunnel from Calais to Folkestone in England

An alternative with significant time savings is a trip from Calais through the 50-kilometre-long Channel Tunnel to Folkestone near Dover.

The tunnel passage is more expensive than the usual ferry crossings. The unbeatable advantage: The journey on the railway line deep below the seabed is as fast as possible. Together with the car transport, it takes a good half hour.

It is advisable to book online early from Germany . Here you can book Eurotunnel tickets in German . The total cost of using the world’s longest underwater tunnel is 300 euros there and back.

Note: As a detrimental effect of Brexit, traveling to England is no longer as uncomplicated as it used to be. For example, lengthy passport controls are to be expected at the Channel Tunnel in Calais, France, or at both EU ferry ports. Entry with an identity card has not been allowed since October 1, 2021 anyway.

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What do car travellers have to consider when driving on the left hand on English soil?

The British Isles prove to be quite busy. In addition, there are the frequent, multi-lane regulations for roundabouts as a pitfall. There is no binding left-before-right regulation as in Germany or other EU countries. Fortunately, a “Give way” traffic sign often regulates the right of way at the English road intersections.

One thing is clear: In principle, overtaking must be done from the right in island left-hand traffic. Last but not least, good news: British road users are more likely to be polite and considerate on every journey.

How do car travellers get to and through the capital London easily?

Almost every patch of earth within the metropolis is divided into U-L-E-Z areas (“ultra-low-emission zones”). For this reason, congestion charges are due in the giant city. These cash revenues serve the purpose of raising the environmental quality in the city to a higher level. The additional costs are incurred – except for Christmas Day – over the entire calendar year.

All toll prices range between 10.00 and 15.00 GBP (British find) for 24 hours. Electric cars, meanwhile, drive free of charge through central London every day.

A tip: Timely registration for the ULEZ toll (and possibly for the additional inner-city toll) is strongly recommended for German car tourists. This is because web-based activation usually takes up to ten days.

More importantly: Anyone who travels to England and is caught driving a car in London without a toll clearance risks sensitively high fines of up to 1,000 euros. The ubiquitous video cameras, which are used to record all license plates in the event of a violation of the rules, should also be considered.

The Bottom Line

A road trip to England with your own vehicle requires thorough preparation for the planned travel event. To be considered here are: continuous left-hand traffic, frequent roundabouts and a car toll due for the City of London.