Family Holiday in France – To Ferry or To Fly?


Here in the UK a trip to France is often one of the first trips families make together. Logically this makes sense, it’s the closest country to us, lots of us did this as kids with our parents (and have fond memories), the food, wine and weather is usually very good and you can get there quickly and easily! So when you head to France do you go on the ferry or do you fly?


Our first two holidays with our three children were to the Dordogne in France in 2012 and 2013.  We debated and debated and debated some more whether to fly or whether to take the ferry. We even discussed me flying with the kids and the Grandparents, and hubby driving with all the stuff!

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On balance and after much deliberation we all flew, but mainly because we had booked, and paid a premium, for a house full of everything we needed to take. (and I mean everything!).

Had we booked the other option the tent, the caravan or the not quite so family friendly house, the only real option would have been to take the ferry, and FILL the car.  Had we seen the infographic below (prepared by Brittany Ferries) on timings before we spent hours debating, I actually think we would have decided to drive and take the ferry.  We had a disaster at Bordeaux airport when we arrived to find Ryanair flew into a separate terminal with no toilets, not trollies, no food option and it was miles from the car hire.  After a stressful flight with 3 babies, this was not what we needed.  Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t bad enough to put me off travelling, or doing it again, but then I’m not sure much would put me off, but it was definitely not an ‘easy’ experience.

Thinking about simply driving the car on and off a ferry and not going through all the airport rigmarole really does appeal.

What would you do? Fly or get the ferry??? I would be interested to know how either has gone for you?

You can read a  review about Brittany Ferries here too:

Long Ferry or Short Ferry?

You’ve can find some Exotic Destinations in France in this great post by Dais Like These

Ferry to France vs Plane
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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

5 thoughts on “Family Holiday in France – To Ferry or To Fly?”

  1. We went to France in 2013 when my son was 6 months. We debated flying but because he was so young, we needed to take SO MUCH STUFF so we drove! The ferry is 2 mins from our house so that was easy, and it was only a few hours on the ferry which was fine. But it was then a 8 hour drive to our holiday home…8 long hours! To be fair, Elliot was good as gold and he pretty much slept for most of the journey, and then a full nights sleep after too. But if I did the same trip again I think I’d definitely fly!

  2. I love flying but I think I’d actually be tempted to take the ferry despite the long drive. I think I’m nostalgic for the school trips to France as a child. The ferry trip was always hugely entertaining. How the teachers coped, I’ll never know though.

  3. Chris and I used to nip to France on the ferry all the time when we lived in Essex, we would often go just for the day, I miss that in fact I quite fancy getting the ferry across to Amsterdam I would love to take the boys at Christmas x

  4. Would you believe we have never been to France. I never even went on the obligatory school trip there lol. As I don’t do boats (horrendous case of sea sickness on our honeymoon) we would have to fly. But I can definitely see the advantage of driving if you have small children. And think of all that French wine you can bring back in the boot x


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