Cherbourg is a famous port town in Lower Normandy, on the northern French coast. It is said to be the world’s largest artificial harbour in the world. From the UK, there are ferries from Poole and Portsmouth to Cherbourg. Cherbourg is situated at the tip of the Cotentin (also called the Cherbourg) Peninsula, thus making it a shorter distance for ferry crossings from England (about 80 miles from Portsmouth, as the crow flies).


Journey Time
Portsmouth to Cherbourg2 per day3 hoursBrittanyBrittany Ferries
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Portsmouth to Cherbourgonly occasionally5.5 hoursCondorCondor Ferries


How long is the ferry crossing from Portsmouth to Cherbourg?
The Brittany Ferries crossing takes around 3 hours. This is a very fast crossing indeed, and sometimes called the “Fast Cat” (fast catamaran) crossing, since the vessel used is the Normandie Express, which can travel at speeds up to 78kmh. The Condor ferry service is more seasonal and takes around 5 hours.

How many crossings per day?
There are around 2 per day from Brittany ferries, and around 1 per week by Condor, although please note that this service is seasonal.

What is it like on-board the Fast Cat?
The Normadie Express is a super modern vessel, with capacity for over 800 people and over 200 cars, plus motorbikes and some vans. Please note that vehicles over 1.83m will need to be reversed onto the ship. There’s comfortable seating, plus cafes, bars and shops to help you enjoy tour journey.

If this is a catamaran, can I still take my caravan?
Sadly, caravans cannot be taken onto the Normadie Express ferry. Other larger vehicles might also be limited – the maximum vehicle dimensions are 3m high and 6.5m long.

Moving on from Cherbourg

Cherbourg, as mentioned above, is situated at the tip of the Cotentin Peninsula. In other words, perfectly placed for a harbour port for ferries to England, but not quite so well placed for quick access to elsewhere in France. For example, it’s 1 hour 30 minute drive to Caen, which also offers a ferry crossing from Portsmouth. However, the E3 and E46 motorways are about a 30 or 40 miles drive from Cherbourg, and once you’re on the motorway network, it’s easy to cover longer distances faster. On the other hand, why venture too far from Cherbourg. The Cotentin Peninsula offers a huge amount for visitors. For example, there are some fabulous (and quiet) wide, sandy beaches, plus plenty of seaside reports and fishing ports. The countryside is beautiful too, with peaceful, winding roads. The area is particularly attractive for walkers an cyclists, plus it has bags of history, from ancient cathedrals to World War Two and the D-Day Landings.