Compared to travelling around the rest of Europe, it’s a lot harder to travel to the UK with a dog. With pet dogs not allowed on the Eurostar train or to fly in the cabins of planes, pu there’s not many options available to people travelling to the UK with a dog.
Additionally, many ferries only allow passengers with a vehicle to take pets with them, making it even harder for foot passengers. However, there are a couple of ferries that allow foot passengers to travel to the UK with a dog, including the DFDS Seaways ferry between Dieppe and Newhaven.
When we headed from Paris to the UK with our dog Schnitzel, it made sense to take the DFDS Seaways ferry leaving Dieppe. It’s the only ferry option between France and England that allows foot passengers to take dogs, and Dieppe is only a few hours on the train from Paris. Additionally, the crossing is fairly quick (although not as quick as some channel ferries), at just 4 hours.
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Booking the DFDS Seaways Ferry
Our crossing on the Dieppe to Newhaven ferry took place on a cloudy day in early May of 2017, costing us £59 for 2 adults and a dog. (The ferry fare fluctuates depending on the day and time, but the cost for a dog is always £18.)
During summer time there are three crossings daily of this ferry in each direction. We choose the convenient 12:30pm departure, that arrived in Newhaven at 3:30pm, once you allowed for the 1-hour time difference.
We were able to book our trip online, however, this option is no longer available for passengers travelling with a pet but no vehicle. Instead, call up to make a booking (0800 917 12 01).
Arriving at the Ferry Port in Dieppe
After catching a train at Paris St-Lazare just before 8am and changing once, we arrived at Dieppe train station at 10am. From there it was a short taxi ride to the ferry terminal, which we shared with a friendly gentleman who was familiar with the route.
The check-in time normally closes 45 minutes before departure. We made sure to arrive well before the cut-off time, as we were relying on trains and also travelling with a dog.
Additionally, we had to allow time for the formalities for checking in our dog. These are more strict when heading to the UK than when travelling in the opposite direction. Schnitzel’s pet passport, which he had just gotten at an English-speaking vet in Paris, was carefully checked. They checked both his rabies vaccine (standard for crossing borders in Europe), plus the worming treatment that is specially required by the UK.
Boarding the DFDS Ferry
During embarkation, all the foot passengers took a bus to the ship’s ramp and entered through the car deck. It’s a requirement to have a travelling case for your dog for this stage.
Then at the car deck, it’s time to leave your dog in one of the two or three kennels provided. On our crossing, Schnitzel was the only dog – it didn’t seem like it was common for foot passengers to have dogs.
It was sad to leave Schnitzel behind by himself in the kennel area (and we couldn’t access it during the trip), but at least it was just a 4 hour journey ahead of us. For us, it went quite fast, between having lunch at the onboard restaurant and using our laptops in the lounge area.
The facilities are quite comfortable, with either regular seats, tables or reclining seats, and food and beverage prices are reasonable. It’s also possible to book a cabin, but we felt it wasn’t necessary for a 4 hour journey.
Disembarkation at Newhaven
When we headed downstairs once we reached Newhaven in England, it was a bit confusing. The foot passengers were disembarking from a different deck, and no-one directed us to the kennel area. Upon reaching Schnitzel, we put him back into his carry-bag and then we were taken by ourselves in a mini-bus to the arrival area.
Once we had passed through immigration, it was then a short walk to Newhaven Town station. The train with 1 change to London’s Victoria Station isn’t too long, at 1 1/2 hours. Although once you took into account our metro trips in both Paris and London at either end, it was about 13 hours of travel time for both of us and our dog!
Overall Cost of Our Journey
It’s also worth noting that the costs for trains at either end aren’t included in your ferry fare and can add up. Our trains cost up a total of £57 in France and £17 in the UK, and would have cost more if purchased on the day. As I noted above, our ferry fare was £59, including the £18 charge for Schnitzel.
The grand total for our journey between Paris and London for two adults and one dog was £133, plus a small amount extra for metros at either end.
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