Whilst all of our destinations are easily reached by flights from the UK, a growing number of holidaymakers are considering the alternative of traveling by rail. Compared against flights, the train has many advantages. Options from the UK are:-
1. Eurotunnel - take your own car on the train to travel between Folkestone and Calais.
2. Eurostar's passenger-only train service takes you speedily into Europe from London St. Pancras.
Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais
Eurotunnel's fast, smooth and frequent service operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. With up to three departures an hour at peak times from Folkestone and a crossing time of just 35 minutes platform to platform (45 minutes at night), it's the quickest way to cross the Channel.
Folkestone is easily accessed from the M20 at Junction 11a and on arrival in France, drive straight onto the A16 Autoroute with connections to all parts of Europe. Boarding is straightforward - just follow directions and drive on then you can relax in your vehicle or stretch your legs.
Eurotunnel's Standard Fare gives the best value when booking well in advance, or for travel at less busy times. Whilst only valid for the booked departure time you can, at no extra charge, transfer to a space on the next available shuttle if you arrive at check-in within 2 hours of your booked departure time.
Eurostar trains from London St. Pancras
- 30 minute check-in for Eurostar's London departures. Board the Eurostar at London St. Pancras for direct travel to Paris or Brussels, and onward by high speed train to the south of France, Spain or Italy.
- Depart from and arrive in a city centre (not an airport miles away).
- Comfortable, spacious railway carriages that you can move around in, or couchettes when you travel overnight.
- Unrestricted luggage allowances (but remember you have to carry it!) and no risk of your suitcase ending up somewhere else without you.
- Choice of first or second class; fares generally compare well with flight costs, children under 4 years of age go free.
- On-board café / bar for snacks and drinks.
- Enjoy the passing scenery as you travel (or sleep your way through France overnight in a comfortable couchette compartment)
- Reduced carbon footprint.
Like airline tickets, the best prices are to be had as soon as they go on sale, usually 90 days before the date of travel. There may be several different combinations of route (for example, via Paris or via Madrid) and it can be worthwhile comparing fares for both the combined route and for each sector separately.
If you wish to travel by train, Vintage Travel recommends the following websites:
- www.seat61.com - is a good general guide to routes, train times, how to get the best fares
- www.renfe.es (rail travel in Spain) / www.spanish-rail.co.uk (the UK booking agent for Renfe.)
Please note: These websites usually have an English language section.
Don't forget to book your hire car, which we can arrange for you to collect at the appropriate railway station or ferry port.