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Dominatio

Short Stay north of Chunnel?

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Hi Folks - similar questions answered in other threads but not quite what I need.

 

I'll be travelling from NE UK with car and caravan (6-7 hours),  getting a 2-3 am Chunnel, in order to get a head start on the traffic in France. Target is La Rochelle that day so probably 8-9 hours including the train. 

 

I'll need to stop north of the Chunnel for probably 5 hours sleep in the van, but since I will be back on the road by 12 midnight a caravan site wouldn't be appropriate I think. So I'm looking for somewhere safe to stop for 5 -6 hours just north of the Chunnel (maybe a truck stop if that's allowed?)

 

I'm sure others have had similar scenarios so your experiences would be very much appreciated.

Ian

 

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Why don't  you change your crossing to your propossed arrival time,  crosss to France, and sleep the rest of the night at the Aire de la Baie de Somme about an hour and a half down the road on the A16 which is your route to La Rochelle.   It's free to stop overnight, you can get a lovely French breakfast in the services building and even have a shower.

We've done that for many years, with and without children, and now store our caravan in France but stop at Baie de la Somme during the day for refreshments and to wander amongst the canals and walkways around the buildng. 

Otherwise there is Stop24 - a services on the M20 where you can pay to stop for as many hours are you need.

 

 

 

Edited by ValA
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That sounds like an idea (Baie de Somme). Only snag is that we will be starting back in traffic the next day, I was hoping to get 75% of the route to La Rochelle done before the traffic starts to get heavy, arrive at site around 12 30 pm. But worth considering thanks. I'm assuming that Aire is considered safe?

 

Stop 24 looks like a plan too though!

 

Cheers

Ian

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I was going to suggest the same - I’d be much more inclined to get into France, rest at Baie de Somme.  In terms of timings in France that shouldn’t change really as I assume you can get a much earlier cross and arrive in France in the evening, get however much shut-eye you want then set off at 4am or something like that. 8-9 hours after 6-7 the day before sounds pretty tiring on not much sleep mind!

 

Traffic in France should be fine unless you are looking at doing driving on a Saturday in August (you wouldn’t catch me doing it!) or hitting Rouen at rush hour.

 

I am thinking of using the Tunnel next year (Portsmouth St Malo this year) as we live 2.5 hours from the Eurotunnel then getting somewhere between Rouen and Le Mans for a night time stop on the way down to the Vendée, I think 6 hours of driving a day is probably enough!

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Thanks Frank

 

We typically time the crossing to get to Rouen at about tea time and stop over there after driving down from NE but that's without the Caravan (and yes - experienced the rush hour more times than I'd like to count LOL). That's when we do multiple stops in France.

 

Last time with the van we stayed overnight in Cambridge and crossed and down to Chalons en Champagne the next day.

 

This time I want to stop as little as possible in France and get into Spain then across to Portugal. Planned route entails two long days (hence the need to break up the first days ride from NE UK) though most travel days I plan on max 250 miles or less each leg - which often works out around 4.5 hours in France and Spain (much slower in UK of course). 

 

I think the Aire idea would work though so I'll take a look at that as a plan.

 

Cheers 

Ian

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Aire de la Baie de Somme is safe - patrolled regularly by police and has a dedicated caravan cul-de-sac which can't be accessed by HGVs.   In the cul-de-sac each caravan parking bay has a picnic table and waste bin!   It's not directly adjacent to the service buildings, so is usually reasonably quiet - but no one will bother if you arrive late and depart early.    You can actually drive around it on 'Google Street View'  (hope that link works).

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So 750 miles towing from home to La  Rochelle, driving  through the night,  with just a few hours sleep in a truck stop.  Is that the plan? 

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Last time I was there I went to the car about 7am and hafar shock. This big bloke must have been 6foot 6 tall and seemed to be the same across the shoulders. Came towards me, I was a bit concerned but he went to the bin to empty it. He was security and the gendarmerie came down for a chat with him.  To me it is the safest aire that I have stayed at and would recommend it.

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2 hours ago, moorgate said:

So 750 miles towing from home to La  Rochelle, driving  through the night,  with just a few hours sleep in a truck stop.  Is that the plan? 

Bit snippy there?

 

No. I consider 5-6 hours sleep to be my average. Also a break every 3-4 hours is standard. 

 

So approx 465 miles after 5-6 hours sleep. Perhaps that would challenge you?

 

 

Thanks all for the feedback.

 

Ian

Edited by Dominatio

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The C&CC site at Folkestone is well used to caravans dissappearing in the middle of the night. I can't remember the name off the top of my head at the moment - I'm  sure someone will be long in a minute to tell you what it's called. They have a bunch of pitches just for tunnel users & you can stay for just a few hours or overnight, what ever suits. 

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1 hour ago, Woodie106 said:

The C&CC site at Folkestone is well used to caravans dissappearing in the middle of the night. I can't remember the name off the top of my head at the moment - I'm  sure someone will be long in a minute to tell you what it's called. They have a bunch of pitches just for tunnel users & you can stay for just a few hours or overnight, what ever suits. 

Nice - thanks Woodie I'll investigate. Though all Club sites were locked overnight!

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Have you ever been to France?  Just asking, as I was wondering about "getting a head start of the traffic".  What traffic? Its not like here, ie, no rush hour.  Personally, I've always gone over to France before stopping for the night, then getting an early start.  Just thinking of putting an hour on, so basically, you've lost an hour before you get started:blink:

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Would not suggest you stay at the Stop24 services on the M20, I personally avoid the place like the plague. If you have to stop this side then the Road Chef Maidstone services would be a better option.

 

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Back to the OP's first suggestion.  This is something we have done a number of times and it works well.  We have not left the site as early as he intends however.

 

The CMC black Horse has designated places to stay for an early exit.  But there are also CL's.  We will be on Page Farm this year but our train is not until 11:50 so definitely no problem.  From speaking to the owner I think he would be open to people stopping near to the gate, semi hitched, ready for a quick get away.  Capel Farm definitely allow you to do this and there used to be another in that area where I can remember 5 vans, semi hitched in a semi circle around the gate.  there was even an honesty box for the late arriver.  That site was under the TV mast.

 

John

 

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Capel Farm or Black Horse Farm have been our stopovers for some years,and on the way back sometimes.

 

geoff

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We usually stop at Thr Drum Inn Stanford,Ashford its a campsite at the rear of the pub its locked at night but you canleave any time as they give you the gate code for the lock.Its approx 1/2 mile from j11 on the M20.Thr tunnel is approx 3 miles away just google it if interested

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CMC CL Lenacre Court Farm at Whitfield just NE of Dover is easy access and has an area that will accommodate late arrivals/early leavers. All mains, very quiet site, very nice owner. About 30 mins drive to the Chunnel.

 

Note to the OP: if you are going after 29 March and we do BrExit you will need:

A UK Passport with a minimum of 6 months still active when you leave and will still be current when you return

A Green Card to ensure you have full insurance cover for your car

Two International Driving Permits, one for France (and Portugal I think) but a different one for Spain

As the EU will treat us as an outside country, you may also need a Bail Bond for Spain

 

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i travel from manchester area 280 miles and used stop 24 very close to tunnel  used it twice  it was £20  its not  quiet though as you can hear vehicles moving and door closing etc  but i got about 6 hours sleep   to me the only difference between Baie de Somme was it was free 

I was going to La rochelle  area but I find that I have had enough by Le mans so stopped  for 2 nights

Edited by Ashey

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3 hours ago, shipbroker said:

Capel Farm or Black Horse Farm have been our stopovers for some years,and on the way back sometimes.

 

geoff

We've used Capel Farm before.  It's convenient and has what you need for a short stop

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15 hours ago, Babstreefern said:

Have you ever been to France?  Just asking, as I was wondering about "getting a head start of the traffic".  What traffic? Its not like here, ie, no rush hour.  Personally, I've always gone over to France before stopping for the night, then getting an early start.  Just thinking of putting an hour on, so basically, you've lost an hour before you get started:blink:

I have a house in Spain and travel there 3 times a year - though usually not with the caravan. So yes pretty experienced with the roads and traffic in France thanks.

14 hours ago, Jacko1 said:

Would not suggest you stay at the Stop24 services on the M20, I personally avoid the place like the plague. If you have to stop this side then the Road Chef Maidstone services would be a better option.

 

Thanks for the tip.

14 hours ago, JCloughie said:

Back to the OP's first suggestion.  This is something we have done a number of times and it works well.  We have not left the site as early as he intends however.

 

The CMC black Horse has designated places to stay for an early exit.  But there are also CL's.  We will be on Page Farm this year but our train is not until 11:50 so definitely no problem.  From speaking to the owner I think he would be open to people stopping near to the gate, semi hitched, ready for a quick get away.  Capel Farm definitely allow you to do this and there used to be another in that area where I can remember 5 vans, semi hitched in a semi circle around the gate.  there was even an honesty box for the late arriver.  That site was under the TV mast.

 

John

 

Very good to know thanks.

11 hours ago, Ashey said:

i travel from manchester area 280 miles and used stop 24 very close to tunnel  used it twice  it was £20  its not  quiet though as you can hear vehicles moving and door closing etc  but i got about 6 hours sleep   to me the only difference between Baie de Somme was it was free 

I was going to La rochelle  area but I find that I have had enough by Le mans so stopped  for 2 nights

Both options look good - I'm thinking it will depend on the journey down from NE as to the best option! Thanks for the feedback.

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Borrowing the thread. Any recommended sites for a one night stay that's actually north of the tunnel and open this time of year? I'm going northeast towards Dunkirk and Ghent.

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59 minutes ago, AndersG said:

Borrowing the thread. Any recommended sites for a one night stay that's actually north of the tunnel and open this time of year? I'm going northeast towards Dunkirk and Ghent.

 

Four or five of the sites which have been named already are open all year.  Details, directions and prices on their own websites. 

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1 hour ago, AndersG said:

Borrowing the thread. Any recommended sites for a one night stay that's actually north of the tunnel and open this time of year? I'm going northeast towards Dunkirk and Ghent.

Do you mean in the UK or in France?  The campsite in Ypres in open from the 1st March.  Lovely town to visit too!  Otherwise, as has been said, the campsites mentioned should all be open for visitors.

 

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I mean in France somewhere close to A16/E40. I will be crossing after 4pm to avoid the peak charge in the frequent traveller and I also always prefer to cross the channel in the evening so that I can get on the road in the morning.

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The site at Ypres might suit you if you're heading towards Ghent!  If you haven't been to Ypres then it's worth more than an overnight stay, for the Menin Gate ceremony, the chocolate shops, and the museums and WW1 war graves! 

(And the nice beer in the bars!).

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