Welcome To Wessex

Three cross-channel ferry operators serve Wessex direct from Western France: Brittany Ferries, LD Lines and Condor. Brittany Ferries operates from both Brittany and Normandy. LD Lines operates from Le Havre. Condor links Normandy to Wessex but their services are mainly designed to link the intermediate Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey to France and England. Two operators, P&O and Brittany Ferries, also offer cruise-ferry service from northern Spain. All these operators are increasingly turning their attention to the growing market for inward travel from Europe to Wessex.

For visitors from southern or central Europe these operators offer the most convenient and comfortable sea travel to Wessex. Those coming from northern Europe generally prefer one of the many operators serving the short cross-channel routes further east.

Southampton is becoming an increasingly important port for the international cruise market. The growing number of cruise ships now visiting Southampton give many passengers, before or after their time aboard, an opportunity to visit Wessex. Cruise operators now offer a wide range of Wessex options from day trips to extended tours.

Brittany Ferries

Brittany Ferries is the major operator with a fleet of seven “cruise ferries” ranging from the 20,000-ton Barfleur (used on its shortest route, Cherbourg/Poole) to its majestic flag-ship, the 42,000-ton Pont Aven (used on its longest cross-channel St Malo/Portsmouth, and also on its twice weekly cruise-ferry between Santander and Plymouth).

Typical summer 2007 sailing programme for these conventional vessels is as follows:

Cherbourg/Poole: two per day; journey time four hours
Caen/Portsmouth: three per day; six hours
St Malo/Portsmouth: one per day; ten hours

Brittany Ferries also offers express service on its shorter routes using 5,000-ton high-speed catamarans. Typical high-speed schedules:

Cherbourg/Poole: one per day; journey time two hours
Cherbourg/Portsmouth: one or two per day; journey time three hours
Caen/Portsmouth: one per day weekends only; journey time four hours

To contact Brittany Ferries: phone 08705 360 360 or visit www.brittanyferries.com

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Condor Ferries

Condor’s high-speed catamarans operate between St Malo and two points in Wessex, Poole and Weymouth. St Malo/Poole is operated as a through service, two services a day, journey time five hours, with brief transit stops in the Channel Islands. St Malo/Weymouth is operated as a once daily service but can involve a change of vessel in either Jersey or Guernsey.

Using a conventional ferry, Condor also operates a once daily service between Cherbourg and Portsmouth on Sundays during peak summer months (mid July to mid September).

To contact Condor Ferries: phone 0845 345 2000 or visit www.condorferries.com

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LD Lines

This long-established French operator (the abbreviation LD is well-known in France for Louis Dreyfus) has only recently moved into the cross-channel market following the withdrawal from western France of P&O. Its current operation is restricted to a once daily service between Le Havre and Portsmouth in a conventional ferry (journey time seven hours). Its location on the Seine estuary makes this an attractive option for visitors from Paris.

To contact LD Lines: phone 0870 428 4335 or visit

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Cruise ships

An increasing number of cruise ships are calling at Southampton, led by the Queen Mary 2 which calls regularly throughout the summer. As Southampton is almost surrounded by Wessex, there are two easy options for cruise passengers to enjoy our beautiful countryside and outstanding heritage:

  • Passengers on a cruise trip. Excursions to Winchester, Salisbury, Portsmouth and the New Forest while the ship is in port.
  • Passengers on a fly-cruise trip. Continental Airlines service direct from New York to Bristol offers an opportunity to really get to know Wessex. Passengers travelling between Southampton and Bristol will cross right through the centre of Wessex. Take the opportunity to spend a few days here. Enjoy the countryside, the historic market towns and the charming villages on the way. Take time to explore Winchester, Salisbury, Stonehenge, Marlborough, Avebury, Bradford-on-Avon and Bath.

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