Cherbourg is becoming a very popular option for travellers from both Poole and Portsmouth, heading to France but wanting to avoid the super busy port areas of Calais and Dunkirk. It might not be so well placed for getting onto the major road network as the other ports further north, but Cherbourg is in a beautiful location on the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy. If it’s a more leisurely holiday experience you are after, then Cherbourg as your starting point is well worth considering.


Journey Time
Poole to Cherbourg7 per week4.25 hoursBrittanyBrittany Ferries
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How long is the ferry crossing from Poole to Cherbourg?

The crossing from Poole to Cherbourg takes around 4 hours 15 minutes. The crossing operates up to 7 times each week.

Does the crossing use the Fast-Cat ferry?

The crossing from Poole to Cherbourg now uses the wonderfully equipped Barfleur ferry, built in 1992. The Barfleur is named after a picturesque, small fishing village in Normandy, only 25 kilometres from Cherbourg.

Previously the crossing was done using the Condor Express Fast Cat ferry (a catamaran) making crossing times a very fast 2.5 hours.

Although not lightning-fast like the Fast Cat, crossings with the Barfleur are extremely comfortable and take a respectable 4 and a quarter hours, which is excellent if Poole or Cherbourg convenient are convenient for your journey.

Plus there is plenty to do on board, with the self-service Turquoise restaurant, the Les Aliz├ęs bar, a gift shop, children’s playroom, Wi-Fi and plenty of deck space to enjoy the fresh air and sea view.

Can I take a caravan?

Yes. Now the crossing is done on the Barfleur ferry rather than the smaller Fast Cat catamaran, there is plenty of room for vans, motorhomes minibuses and caravans.

Should I book a cabin?

There are 72 cabins on-board. Some of the cabins have wheelchair access (please contact the ferry operator direct regarding specific requirements).

Typically the crossing departs Poole in the morning or early evening. And with a duration of just over 4 hours, a cabin is not an absolute necessity. But a cabin (and bed!) can make your journey more relaxing, especially if you have a long drive ahead. Often the ferry operator offers cabins for daytime travel at a reduced rate.

Should you prefer not to book a cabin, there are almost 300 lounge seats available to reserve. Please note that reserved seats (or cabins) are not compulsory on day sailings.

For added comfort, you can purchase a sleep pack with blanket, pillow, eye mask, ear plugs and a shower pack with soap and shampoo gel plus disposable towel.

What is the Barfleur Club Lounge?

From 2017, you can add a little extra luxury to your Poole to Cherbourg crossing and enjoy exclusive (around 20 seats only) access to the stylish Barfleur Club Lounge. He you can find with free Wi-Fi and large, comfortable seats with footrest, complimentary coffee, tea and mineral water, newspaper and USB charging point.

Moving on from Cherbourg

Cherbourg is a great place to start explore the beautiful countryside and coastline of Normandy and the Cotentin Peninsula in particular. But becasue it’s on the tip of the peninsula, driving times to elsewhere in France can be a little longer, but by no means impossible. For example, driving to Paris from Cherbourg takes around three hours, and is about 220 miles.