Skip to content

What Crossing the Channel is Like on a Coach Holiday

Does your coach holiday involve crossing the channel?

With over 21 million people just using the Channel Tunnel in 2019 there’s a lot of traffic across this busy route.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about the differences in crossing the channel on a coach. It’s a very different experience than going as an individual either as a foot passenger or in a car.

Links You Might Find Helpful:
Huge Selection of Escorted Tours from Tour Radar
10 Must Know Things Before Booking a Coach Holiday
Coach Holidays – Everything You Need to Know

Crossing the Channel by Ferry

The cross-channel ferry from Dover takes 1.5 hours across the English Channel.

The cross-channel ferries are large with plenty of facilities on board for guests.

Here is what happens when you cross the channel on a coach holiday.

  1. Firstly you will arrive at the coach boarding area in Dover. There is a security and border check.
  2. Once you have passed through the checks you proceed to a boarding lane. The coach will then be driven onto the ferry with all the passengers on board.
  3. Once on board the ferry you will disembark the coach and take the stairs to the passenger areas. You will not be allowed back down onto the vehicle deck during the crossing so make sure you have everything you need for the crossing with you.
  4. There is a large duty free shop and a self service restaurant on board.
  5. Free WIFI is available for all guests. There is plenty of seating and you can also access the outer deck areas.
  6. Your coach driver and guide will eat in the commercial driver’s restaurant.
  7. During the ferry crossing your coach driver will be classed as having a driving break. This means that once you get travelling again in France he/she will not have to stop for another 4.5 hours if they choose to.
  8. At the end of the ferry channel crossing there will be an announcement over the loudspeaker system when you can go down to the vehicle deck and board the coach again.

Professional Traveller Note

One of the biggest issues for guests taking a coach on the ferry is finding their way back to the coach. The vehicle deck can look very different when it is full of vehicles. Always take a note of which stairs you used when leaving the vehicle deck to make sure you make it back to the coach easily.

crossing the channel post picture

Crossing the Channel by Eurotunnel (Le Shuttle)

Do You Stay On the Coach in the Eurotunnel?

Coach passengers are supposed to be given the opportunity to get off the coach during the crossing and stand in the train carriage. The coach can get quite hot in transit due to the engine not being on which means no air conditioning. At busy times cars may be placed in the carriage alongwith the coach which can restrict the room for passengers to stand.

Crossing the channel using Eurotunnel may seem like a quicker option as the train only takes 35 minutes compared to 1.5 hours on the ferry.

However, it can work out a slower option because the coach driver doesn’t get a longer break while the coach is travelling on the train.

This means that he/she will have to stop in France to take a driving break.

Here’s what happens when you take the shuttle as a coach passenger.

  1. You will go to the reception building. This has shops, cafes and toilets inside.
  2. It is a good idea to use the toilets here as there are very limited toilets available on the Eurotunnel.
  3. After leaving the reception building you will head through a security and passport check.
  4. Your coach will then be boarded onto the train carriage.
  5. The coach is not allowed to have its engine running while it is on the train. This means the coach can become quite hot quite quickly.
  6. There can also be quite a bit of movement on the coach when travelling in the train carriage – this can make some people feel travel sick.
  7. You can get off the coach and stand in the train carriage. There are two small windows in the train carriage because there isn’t much to see in the tunnel itself!
  8. Generally, there are toilets at the front and the rear of the train. This can mean if you need to use the toilet on the Eurotunnel you may have to walk through several carriages to reach it, all while the train is moving.
  9. Once you reach France you will reboard the coach and the coach will drive off the train.

Crossing the Channel

Summary and Points to Consider

There are pluses and minuses for each type of crossing. It might also be worth checking which crossing your coach holiday is going to use rather than assuming.

  • The ferry crossing can be a bit choppy so if you suffer from travel sickness you might want to be prepared. Check out my post on Travel Sickness for all the things that help me.
  • The Eurotunnel can feel claustrophobic for some people as there are no windows in the train so you are just sitting inside a closed carriage for 35 minutes.
  • Some people feel sick staying on the coach on Le Shuttle because of the heat and the movement
  • The Shuttle may seem quicker but it can work out longer overall because of the need for the driver to take a break either before or after the crossing

Links You Might Find Helpful:
Huge Selection of Escorted Tours from Tour Radar
10 Must Know Things Before Booking a Coach Holiday
Coach Holidays – Everything You Need to Know

Itinerary Review Service

  • I’ve spent 36 years working as a coach holiday Tour Manager for Travelsphere, Titan, Saga and Newmarket Holidays
  • Let me do a review of the holiday you are interested in, giving you much more detail on what to expect alongwith things you might want to check before booking
  • Don’t risk spending all that money on a holiday that might not be right for you.
  • Want to see an example? Check out my review of a Douro River Cruise, Lake Garda Holiday, Highlands of Scotland Railway Tour, Azores Holiday
itinerary review

You Might Also Like

If you have found this post on crossing the channel by coach helpful you might also like;

10 Things to Know About Coach Holidays – essential things to know before you book

11 Coach Holiday Hacks – for an even better holiday

Which is the best seat on the coach if you get travel sickness?

You can find lots more information and resources on my Coach Holidays page

Further Reading

error: Content is protected !!