Do you prefer to travel with your own transport? Taking a city trip to London with your own car is pretty easy. We will answer some questions you may have. Which ferry route do you take? How long does it take to drive from the ferry to central London? What about the Congestion Charge Zones in London? And where is the best place to park?
A road trip to London and the English countryside
The advantage of a road trip to London – besides the joy of driving your own car – is the possibility of exploring the charming English surroundings. After a few days of vibrant London, it is nice to visit Windsor Castle, Leeds Castle or Canterbury Cathedral. You can easily get here by car. Just make a detour on the way back to the ferry terminal.
So load up the trunk (there are no luggage limits on the ferry) and head to the ferry terminal!
Ferry crossings from Mainland Europe to London, UK
Travelling from mainland Europe? Most people opt for a crossing from France or the Netherlands.
1. From France: Dieppe – Newhaven – London
The crossing Dieppe to Newhaven take about 4 hours and is sailed by shipping company DFDS.
Autoroute from Newhaven to London:
Take the A23 / M23 to the heart of London. Check traffic in advance for your optimal route, the motorways to London can be very busy.
2. From France: Dunkirk or Calais – Dover – London
Would you rather stay on the boat for as short a time as possible? The crossing of the Channel is the shortest between Dunkirk – Dover and Calais – Dover. The ferry companies P&O Ferries and DFDS will take you to Dover in two hours.
Autoroute from Dover to London:
When you leave the boat in Dover, take the M2 or M20 and drive to the heart of London within two hours (1 hour and 50 minutes).
3. From the Netherlands: Hook of Holland – Harwich – London
Do you want to travel from the Netherlands to London? Then you take the ferry from Hook of Holland to Harwich. This cruise ferry from Stena Line takes you to England in 6.5 hours.
Autoroute from Harwich to London:
Once moored in the port of Harwich you get in the car for the last part of the journey to London. The travel time by car from Harwich to London is 2 hours. The fastest route is via the A12 highway. Along the way you will enjoy the typical English landscape!
Tolls and Congestion Charge zones in London
You pay tolls for many bridges and on some highways. So it depends on which route in England you take whether you have to pay tolls. The British government website shows where the toll rates apply.
You also pay fees to drive in London. Three charging zones have been created for this purpose: the Congestion Charge zone (CCZ), Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
The amount you have to pay depends on your destination in London, how long you stay there and the type of car you drive. Find out carefully before you leave, because you must register and pay for this in advance. Read all information from the British government about: London’s Congestion Charge Zones.
1. As soon as you drive off the boat: please keep to the left
2. Set your car headlights to drive on the left or cover them with special stickers; this way you don't blind oncoming traffic
3. The speed limit on the British Motorway (M-roads) is 70 miles per hour (112 kilometres per hour)
Where to park in London? Park & Ride
Parking in London is pretty expensive. The closer to the centre, the more expensive parking becomes. The best option is therefore a parking garage a little further away, outside the Congestion Charge Zone. Check if there is a subway nearby. You can then reach the heart of the city very quickly: the London Underground is the easiest and cheapest way to travel in central London.
Or book a hotel (with parking!) outside the city. Then you can park comfortably outside the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Then travel by public transport to all London highlights.