Can You Drive From the UK to France – Channel Tunnel & Eurotunnel

Can You Drive From the UK to France

Dreaming of crossing the English Channel for a grand French adventure? Want to cruise the autoroutes in your car on a road trip from the cliffs of Dover to the lavender fields of Provence? 

You can drive from the UK to France with a bit of preparation. Let’s hit the road and travel from England to France!

How Long Does It Take To Drive From England To France?

Here’s a look at projected drive times to France from major UK cities.

Fastest Route From Major UK Cities To France

  • London to Paris: Approximately 8 hours nonstop
  • Manchester to Lyon: Roughly 11 hours with minimal stops
  • Liverpool to Nice: Around 18 hours total over 2+ days

Reach France: UK to Calais Takes?

Can You Drive From the UK to France

The quickest channel crossing route is from Dover to Calais, only about 30 miles apart. This short distance translates to:

  • 90-120 minutes by ferry
  • Just 35 minutes via the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle train

You can be in France before you know it!

Things to Know About Driving From the UK To Paris

Here’s the key info for motorways linking London and Paris:

  • Route options: M20 to Eurotunnel or M2/A2 to Dover ferry
  • Total mileage: 325-340 miles
  • Estimated drive time: 7-8 hours nonstop
  • Expect tolls on French autoroutes

Leave early and avoid heavy Paris traffic upon arrival.

How Long To Drive Straight From South of France?


  • Dover to Nice: Roughly 940 miles, 15 hours
  • Dover to Bordeaux: Approximately 580 miles, 9 hours
  • Dover to Toulouse: Around 850 miles, 13 hours

Consider stopping overnight to divide the long journey from Calais.

Visiting France: Taking The Ferry vs. Driving

Ferry crossing the English Channel at sunset


  • More frequent crossings
  • Option to walk around onboard
  • Open deck for fresh air


  • Faster Channel Tunnel crossing
  • No need to leave your vehicle
  • Pets can stay in the car

For a short 2-hour trip, the ferry offers more flexibility. The Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is quickest for those in a hurry.

Using Channel Tunnel: Key Facts and Helpful Tips

How Long Does It Take To Drive From England To France?

Here’s the essential info you need for crossing the Channel via the Chunnel:

Using The Eurotunnel

The Eurotunnel Shuttle allows cars, coaches, and freight trucks to travel the Chunnel rapidly between Folkestone, UK, and Calais, France. Passenger and vehicle trains whisk you 35 miles underground in just 35 minutes!

What is Le Shuttle and How Can I Use It?

Le Shuttle is the passenger train service through the Channel Tunnel operated by Eurotunnel. You can reserve a ticket only for walk-on-foot passengers or book for a vehicle up to 1.85 meters tall and 2.2 meters wide.

Arrive at the terminal 45 minutes before departure to clear security and customs and load your car onto the shuttle.

Quickest Way From England to France Via Channel Tunnel

Thanks to the Chunnel, you can drive from London to Paris in around 8 hours instead of 10-12 hours by ferry. The time savings add up!

Crossing The Channel: What You Need To Prepare

Don’t get stopped at check-in – have the following:

  • Valid passport
  • Ticket reservation
  • Proof of vehicle insurance
  • Secure all loose items in your car

Is it Possible to Drive the Channel Tunnel: Know The Facts

How Long Does It Take To Drive From England To France?

While vehicles can use the Eurotunnel Shuttle, you cannot drive through the Channel Tunnel. Cars are loaded onto Le Shuttle trains for the 35-minute crossing. Sit back and relax until you arrive in France!

Taking The Drive to France: Tips for a Smooth Journey

Driving abroad takes extra preparation. Here are tips for a successful road trip to France:

The Importance of Knowing the French Motorway System

France’s well-developed autoroute system makes driving straightforward, but you’ll want to understand:

  • Peage = toll road, blue signs
  • Autoroutes = limited access highways
  • National roads (N routes) are free but slower

Having cash on hand for péage tolls is highly recommended.

Things To Consider When Taking a Road Trip From England to France

  • Inform your insurance provider
  • Have documents like driver’s license readily available
  • Allow extra time at the border
  • Pack an emergency kit

Crossing to France: Key Things You Should Know

Be aware of the following when crossing the Channel:

  • Pet passports required with up-to-date vaccinations
  • Duty-free alcohol limits – 42 units of beer, 18 units of wine
  • Certain food items prohibited from entry

Stopovers: Where to Stretch Your Legs on The Journey

Can You Drive From the UK to France

Some top spots to rest on the road to France:

  • Canterbury, Kent
  • Amiens, France
  • Dunkirk, France

Check for hotel availability in advance in busier tourist seasons.

What You Need to Know About French Toll Roads

France’s péage autoroutes charge:

  • Around €0.07-0.15 per km traveled
  • Pay with cash, debit card, or electronic toll pass
  • Video tolling if no booth is available

Having cash avoids hassles if cards aren’t accepted.

Ferry From Dover to Calais or The Eurotunnel?

Which is better for crossing the English Channel – the ferry or the Chunnel? Let’s compare the key considerations:

Ferry From Dover to Calais or The Eurotunnel?

Choosing the Ferry From Dover: What You Should Know

  • Multiple sailings daily; book in advance
  • Ticket options: foot passenger, car passage, cabins
  • The ferry takes 90-120 minutes

Allow ample connection time onward to your destination.

Take Your Car On The Ferry to France: Steps and Tips

  • Arrive at the port at least 45 minutes early
  • Queue up for loading instructions
  • Secure your vehicle and accompany it on the deck

Relax and enjoy the mini-cruise!

Dover to Calais: The Quickest Ferry Route

The Dover to Calais ships offer the shortest crossing to France at just over 30 miles, typically under 2 hours of transit time. This minimizes your time on the water.

Ferry To St Malo VS Le Shuttle: Which is Better?

  • St Malo ferry route takes 8-12 hours
  • Le Shuttle crosses in only 35 minutes
  • For time-efficiency, Le Shuttle can’t be beat

But if you have time, the St Malo ferry offers a more relaxed pace.

The Best Way To Cross the Channel: Evaluating Your Options

For speed and convenience, the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is tops. But ferries give you more freedom to move about during the crossing. Choose based on your priorities!

Driving In Northern France: Essential Tips and Guidance

Ready to cruise France’s countryside? Here are my best tips for driving in Northern France:

Get to Normandy: Navigating France’s Countryside

Can You Drive From the UK to France - Channel Tunnel & Eurotunnel

Don’t miss charming Normandy’s highlights:

  • Route du Cidre cider road
  • Stunning Mont St. Michel island abbey
  • D-Day landing beaches

Drive Your Car In France: Traffic Rules and Safety Guidelines

  • Stay right except to pass
  • Get a safety vest for roadside stops
  • Obey speed limits – highways 130 km/h, secondary roads 90 km/h

France by Car: Appreciating the Scenic Routes

Top scenic drives perfect for a leisurely road trip:

  • Paradiski Route through Chamonix
  • La Route des Cretes in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence
  • Route de la Châtaigne in the Ardèche countryside

How to Navigate Through Major French Cities

Tips for tackling busy French cities:

  • Use GPS and offline maps
  • Study routes to know exit numbers
  • Allow extra time to find parking

Everything You Need to Know About Driving in France

  • Auto insurance green card is strongly recommended
  • Have an International Driving Permit and IDP
  • Breakdowns? Use an orange safety vest when stopped.

Now you have all the tools for an epic UK-to-France road trip! Let me know if you have any other driving questions. Bon voyage!

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