Cherbourg is a gorgeous little seaside town in France, just off the English Channel. It’s a great place to visit, especially by car and ferry, although most tourists tend to drive straight through on their way into France. However, next time you catch the ferry over, why not stop awhile in Cherbourg and sample a few of its delights?

Cherbourg sits between the incredible Roule Mountain (which is one-hundred and twenty metres in height) and an artificial harbour, so it’s quite picturesque. The walls of the harbour are a particularly impressive feat of architecture. They were built over the duration of both the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and finished in 1922. The harbour itself is a wonderful place to stroll around, especially the Bassins. This is a section of the harbour which has been kept how it was in the nineteenth century. The most interesting relics here are the ships that carried people immigrating to America. Other than this, there are a few signposted walks which will show you some of the town’s history.
Some popular buildings in the area are the local churches, including Saint Clement, Saint Trinity Basilica, and the Notre-Dame du Voeu. If you’re interested in architecture and old buildings, you should definitely take a trip to the Ravelet-Tourlaville Castle and its beautiful grounds, which date back to the sixteenth century.

If you’ve driven over on the ferry, Cherbourg is a great base to drive around the beautiful countryside of Normandy. Two places of particular interest within driving distance are The Hague and the Val de Saire. Normandy is also famous for its stunning old houses. Only six kilometres away are the Martinvaast château and the Domaine de Beurepaire. In Tourlaville, a town just a short drive away, you’ll find the national monument of Château Ravalet , a gorgeous Renaissance building, some parts of which date back to the sixteenth century. Another sixteenth century structure, this one with a traditional English garden, is the Château Nacquaville.

If you’re keen to visit, the best time of year to go is between June and September, when the weather is at its hottest (mid to high 20s most days). However, this is the main tourist season, so it may get busy. If you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet, visit between October and May.
You can reach Cherbourg by ferry from Portsmouth Harbour, either on a P&O ferry, or the Superstar express. The latter will get you to your destination in around three hours. Simply drive on and drive off for ease. You can also reach Cherbourg from Poole in Dorset, but the journey time is a little longer at four hours. Ferry services run a few times a day.

It’s a great place to start your onward journey. Driving to Paris from Cherbourg takes around three hours, via the RN13 and the A13. Driving distances onwards to Calais is about one-hundred and seventy-eight miles, and to Nice is about five-hundred and eighty-eight miles. You can be far into France from here within a day’s drive.