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, 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, as 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): the journey time is 4 hours.
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Our Journey Specifics
Our crossing on the Dieppe to Newhaven ferry took place on a cloudy day in early May, 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 3 crossing daily in each direction, and we choose the convenient 12:30pm departure (arriving in Newhaven at 3:30pm, allowing for the time difference).
Arriving at the Ferry Port
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.
As we were travelling with a dog and relying on trains, we made sure to arrive well before the check-in closed (normally 45 minutes before departure). The formalities for checking in a dog are more strict heading into the UK. Schnitzel’s dog passport was carefully checked, both for his rabies vaccine and the tapeworm treatment that is specially required by the UK. (Click here for the rules provided by the UK government. We went to an English-speaking vet in Paris.)
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 them in one of the 2 or 3 kennels. On our crossing, Schnitzel was the only dog – it didn’t seem like it was common for foot passengers to have dogs.
On Board the Ferry
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.
Arriving in the UK
Heading 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! It’s also worth noting that the costs for trains at either end aren’t included in your ferry fare and can add up (£57 in France, £17 in the UK, more if purchased on the day, adding up for us to a total of £133 for 2 adults and a dog, plus metros at either end).