Taking your caravan on a ferry

blog / holiday / safety

If you’ve never ventured ‘overseas’ with your caravan, you could be missing a trick! There are many places local to England that could be enjoyed if you are happy to brave a short ferry journey!

Read on to discover where you could go and the top things to consider before setting sail...

Caravan FerryWhere could you go?

There are many places you can explore via a short ferry ride from the UK. From where we are in Hampshire the most obvious one is the Isle of Wight. Just a 45-minute journey from Portsmouth to Fishbourne, the Isle of Wight offers that real holiday feeling! Once there you’ll be spoilt for choice - you can explore an array of beautiful sandy beaches, enjoy fun family days out to places such as Black Gang Chine, Robin Hill and Tapnell Farm Park, or embark on trips to The Needles, Carisbrooke Castle and Osborne House.

From Liverpool you can get a ferry to the Isle of Man, which will take around 2 hours 45 minutes. Once there you can enjoy the 100 miles of beautiful coastline with glorious sandy beaches and rugged cliffs. Inland you’ll find moorland, heath and plenty of pretty woodland. For those looking for a little more action, the island’s capital Douglas is not to be missed. 

Ireland is another option - Holyhead to Dublin is a 2 hour 15 minute ferry ride. The Emerald Isle has plenty to offer, whether you want to enjoy the scenery on the Wild Atlantic Way, which passes through nine counties and three provinces on the west coast, or check out the cities of Dublin and Belfast to soak up the Irish history and culture.

Jersey and Guernsey are other great destinations accessible by ferry, though the trip will take a little longer. On a conventional ferry from Portsmouth, Guernsey will take around 7 hours to reach, whilst Jersey will take 10 hours 20 minutes. It will be worth it once you’re there though as they both offer a balmy climate, beautiful beaches, spectacular scenery and many interesting historical sites too.

The Isle of Skye is situated off the Scottish west coast and the ferry from Mallaig to Armadale takes 35-45 minutes. Once there, there is plenty to do, from the breath-taking scenery to the wonderful wildlife, historical sites to delicious meals out. Top activities include a visit to Dunvegan Castle, a boat trip to Loch Coruisk and a walk around the Quiraing.

Before you travel

  • When making your booking, be sure to select the right option for your vehicle, including the exact length and height of your caravan.
  • Check your insurance policies before you go - that’s car, caravan and travel to ensure that you’re covered to drive where you’re headed and that your caravan is protected against damage and theft. Travel insurance will cover any mishaps such as if anything valuable gets lost or stolen.
  • Ensure your car and van are in tip top condition prior to travel. Make sure your service and MOT is up to date and that any outstanding repairs have been taken care of - you don’t want a niggly little problem to blow up when you’re far from home as getting things sorted won’t be as straightforward as they are at home.
  • If your ferry crossing is booked for early morning and you live far away from the ferry port, consider staying somewhere local the night before. This will take the pressure off you in the morning and save you having to rush or get up at silly o’clock.

On the day

  • Leave plenty of time to get to the port on the day, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the port. You don’t want to be rushing and getting stressed at the start of your holiday! Make sure you double check how long you have to be there before the sailing time to ensure you are not cutting it fine. Often, those towing caravans have to be there earlier than other travellers so it’s something to keep in mind.
  • When you arrive at the port, make sure you go to the caravan lane; there will be a dedicated area/line for towing vehicles and that’s where you’ll need to be.
  • Boarding a ferry whilst towing a caravan for the first time might make you a little anxious, but stay calm, take it slowly and follow any guidance from the port staff and you’ll be fine. 
  • Once parked, make a note of your location before you go up on deck - usually a colour and a number - to ensure you can find your way back easily when it's time to disembark.
  • A few days before you travel, plan your route for when you get to the other side - this will give you peace of mind that you know where you’re going once you get off the ferry, rather than frantically entering postcodes into the satnav as you roll down the ramp!

Keeping your food fresh whilst on board

The point at which the ferry crossing takes place during your trip will determine how much thought you’ll have to give to your fridge and freezer contents. If the crossing is at the beginning of your trip, it might be best to wait until you reach the other side before stocking up on fresh and frozen produce.

That said, if the crossing is mid-way through your trip, you may well have items in your fridge and freezer. If the crossing is only a couple of hours, as long as you keep the doors closed, the food should be fine until you are able to plug in again. If the trip is longer, you may want to consider freezing any items that you can, then place them in the fridge, keeping it tightly packed and the door closed at all times. This will keep the items cool for many hours, meaning they’ll be defrosted but still cool when you reach your destination.

If you’d like some further advice about taking your ferry on a caravan, our friendly team are always happy to help - simply pop in and see us or give us a call on 01962 714 844. Ensure you have all you need for your trip - check out our online shop and our range of awnings or drop in for a browse around our showroom and on-site accessory shop before you go!

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