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 other ports, 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 week2.5 hoursBrittanyBrittany Ferries
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How far is it from Poole to Cherbourg?How long does the ferry crossing take?
The crossing takes only takes 2.5 hours. This is particularly fast, considering Dover to Calais is 1 and a half hours, and Dover to Dunkirk 2 hours. The crossing is quick because the operator, Brittany Ferries, use their Condor Express Fast Cat ferry (a catamaran), which cuts travel time enormously.

Can I take a caravan on the Fast-Cat ferry?
Sadly, no. The maximum vehicle dimensions for this ship are 3m high and 6.5m long. There are also limitations on trailer size (under 1.83m high and 4m long). Also, please note that vehicles over 1.83m high have to be reversed on board.

Does the ferry sail overnight?
Currently the ferry departs Poole fairly early in the morning, arriving mid-morning in France. So no, it doesn’t travel overnight.

Should I book a cabin?
The crossing is very fast, so there are no cabins requitred, and therefore none available. But there is a very comfortable lounge, with reclining seats, plus a cafe and bar.

Can I travel in Winter?
Currently the service is seasonal, and operates from May to September.

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.