April 22, 2013 in Our Travels
Read on for a look at some of the ways you can get to the continent from the UK without flying.
Maybe you are worried about flying, or perhaps you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint… there are plenty of reasons you might not be too keen on taking a plane to Europe but that shouldn’t stop you having a brilliant trip to the continent.
If you want to enjoy a great getaway but avoid the runway, there are two main options available to you. We’ve written up a short guide to these, and also included a few more unusual options that some people have used to negotiate the distance between Britain and Europe.
Ever since the land bridge between the UK and Europe disappeared around eight and a half thousand years ago, boat has been the favoured mode of transport for travellers. Nowadays the ferry industry is big business.
Up and down Britain’s easternt and southern coast, from Rosyth in Scotland all the way down to the UK’s premier ferry hub in Dover, an enormous number of services depart on a daily basis carrying people and cars across the sea. The destinations that they travel to are just as varied, and some of the longer journeys are more akin to mini-cruises than ferry journeys.
Taking the train.
When the channel tunnel opened in 1994 the UK’s links with Europe were revolutionised. Transport between Britain and the continent was no longer affected by the changeable weather conditions that can cause problems for sea travel. Since those first services ran there have been numerous improvements to the route and now Eurostar deals carry travellers from London and the south east to France quickly and efficiently.
Rail connections in both the UK and Europe mean that from virtually anywhere you are never far away from a suitable station where you can start your continental journey. Convenience is only part of the attraction though. The environmentally conscious traveller can enjoy relatively guilt-free travel on Eurostar services, as in the trains vs planes debate, it looks like rail is the much more eco-friendly option.
For something a little different.
Just 21 miles separate the coastlines of Britain and France at the narrowest section of the English Channel and for well over a hundred years people have been thinking up new and interesting ways to cross the water. Here are a few of the more unusual:
- In 1875 Matthew Webb became the first man to swim the channel without the use of artificial aids and since then many have taken up the challenge. Recently the swim has been done by many in aid of charity, such as comedian David Walliam’s crossing in 2006.
- Sir Sydney Christopher Cockerell invented the hovercraft as we know it today and in 1959 he proved the worth of his invention by piloting a journey across the channel. That early vehicle could carry four people and took 2hrs 3mins to make the journey across the water.
- As in the case of many cross-channel swims, charity was the driving force behind one of the most unusual journeys from the UK to Europe. In May 2007 Tim FitzHigham raised £10,000 for Comic Relief by rowing across the channel in a bathtub!
How will you get to Europe from the UK?