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Long Queues at Dover: the solutions

The volume of traffic that travels during the start of the holidays from Dover to Calais has reached a peek which the French border controls couldn't control in a timely manner because of personnel shortage and brexit: resulting in queue's up to 5 hours for tourists who want to travel to France from the UK.

Update 29-7-2022: This weekend there are again long traffic jams for the ferries to France. The hashtag #doverchaos speaks for itself. But what alternatives are there? Postponing your trip is a realistic alternative, but you can also rebook and try to travel via the ports of Portsmouth or Plymouth to try to avoid the biggest crowds.

Below an overview of the alternative crossings you can consider when travelling by ferry from the UK to France.

How do the ferry companies in Dover deal with this?

It's not the first problem they deal with last few years, so the ferry companies will probably deal with this in a good way.

DFDS about the recent Dover Calais congestion

Meaning that you can safely assume you can hop on a ferry quite fast as soon as you pass the border control. Also because DFDS has a lot of daily sailings from Dover to Calais.

Also P&O Ferries has a solution:

Also with P&O Ferries you can leave on the first available sailing.

It might be better today though then yesterday as it especially seemed to be a slow start from the French border control on the Dover side. Follow the above twitter accounts to know more though.

Irish ferries has the same rules:

Are there alternatives?

There are, you can drive towards Newhaven (best alternative) or Portsmouth as you can see on our map with all routes leading from the Uk to France. These routes however are a bit more expensive and are longer , however here you will find NO traffic congestion whatsoever.

Portsmouth Alternative

Newhaven Dieppe Alternative:

You can see if there are still tickets available from Newhaven to Dieppe here. This trip takes about 4 hours and has similar pricing as the Dover – Calais options. The connection is operated by DFDS.

Important: travel with enough water and food

If you decide to travel towards Dover anyway: Be sure to bring enough food, entertainment and water with you. There are not many options to buy food and drinks while travelling towards Dover.

Update from the port of Dover:

Can I hop on the next ferry after the border control?

All operators on the connection from Dover to Calais have said that you will be able to travel by ferry on the next available sailing when you reach the harbor. Even if you miss your timetable you can travel on the next one.

How can we speed things up?

Make sure you have all your documents ready before the passport control, this way everything goes as smooth as possible. But also choosing another ferry crossing and rebook could help avoid losing precious time. We would recommend with these kind of traffic jams and long queues to travel via either Newhaven or Portsmouth to France.

Are there alternatives to Dover-Calais?

As we've explained on our website many times, you can also travel by Newhaven Dieppe or take the ferries from Brittany ferries who depart from Portsmouth. There are no known delays in the other harbors when travelling from the UK to France.

Use our ferry guides and maps


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