There are two or three ferries a day, taking four hours plus one hour time change.
In general they leave Newhaven at 10am arriving Dieppe 3pm or at 11pm arriving 4am. These
times can vary a bit - in some cases due to the tide. HOWEVER, AS OF
SUMMER 2015, AN ADDITIONAL DEPARTURE AT 530PM ARRIVING 1030 SEEMS TO BE
RUNNING AT LEAST SOME OF THE TIME.
you're trying to get to Paris as quickly as possible, one of the daytime ones
is much more civilised: you'll not get much sleep on the night one, and
the route out of Dieppe and on the Avenue Verte is very dark at 4am -
no street lighting. Of the two daytime ferries, you could choose:
a) To stay overnight in Newhaven and take the morning ferry. Arriving at 3pm may seem to knock out most of a day's cycling, but especially in the summer it is perfectly practical to continue for up to 5 or 6 hours (or even 7 in June), reaching Forges (35 miles), Dampierre (45), Gournay (49), St Germer (55) or even Lalandelle (61), nearly halfway to Paris, before dark. Don't forget it gets dark an hour later in France. Think in terms of substituting the enforced rest time that you get on the ferry for the time you'd otherwise be resting in the evening. And by getting a substantial lunch on the ferry you can prepare for eating dinner late, French style! BUT PLEASE LET BED AND BREAKFAST OWNERS KNOW WHEN YOU EXPECT TO ARRIVE, AND UPDATE THEM IF THIS CHANGES
b) If the afternoon ferry's running, stay overnight in Dieppe, arriving late. This would make it easier to do say 50 or 60 miles the next day, as above, even with a lie-in! But a signficant drawback is at the UK end. If you're trying to set out from London and catch the 530 the same day, and thus arrive in Newhaven around 430, you'll need to leave London quite early. It creates a dilemma between leaving loads of extra time for contingencies or creating additional stress (you don't want to be racing against the clock and have a puncture 10 miles short of the terminal). My experience has been that even with reasonable contingency, a day's cycle ride is less relaxing if you're cycling to an unmissable deadline.
Book ferry from this website. You generally have to make a separate booking for each bike
Bikes follow the signs for cars, not pedestrians when boarding the ferry.
if you're taking the night ferry:
- to maximise sleeping time: you can take a shower in the freight drivers lounge, across the lorry park, right opposite the ticket office.
- WARNING: make sure you have lights on your bike even if you don't need them, since you may not be let on the night ferry without them!!
In Newhaven, there are reasonable places to stay, mentioned in my accommodation guide, which also mentions a campsite close by.
Eating in Newhaven: It's not easy to find somewhere suitable to eat in Newhaven, especially if you arrive late in the evening either for the night ferry or to stay over to take the next morning's one. Here are two good options:
This "very accommodating small Italian Restaurant - very close to the ferry with space for bikes at back" has been recommended. Closed Sunday and Monday.
The Ark Pub, 3/4 of a mile from the ferry, overlooking the river facing the marina , likes to welcome cyclists and serves fresh food (seafood specialities: recommended by riders). If you are arriving late, they would be happy to make arrangements to keep food for you, but PLEASE RING THEM TO LET THEM KNOW YOU ARE COMING (01273 517808 or firstname.lastname@example.org - Jayne Whitfield). The owners of this pub are keen to be as helpful as possible in this respect, and are very friendly.