Boat tours from England

Travel Q&A


I will be in England in July and wish to go to St.-Malo in Brittany by boat. Can you tell me about service from Plymouth or Poole to St.-Malo?

Brittany Ferries, at (44-990) 360360, operates several services: The service to St.-Malo runs from Portsmouth and Poole, and the service from Plymouth goes to Roscoff, which is 112 miles, or a 2 1/2 -hour drive, from St.-Malo.

The trip from Plymouth to Roscoff is the shortest, and the service the most frequent: It's a six-hour journey, and there are a dozen crossings a week in July. But Plymouth is farther from London than the others, and you may be a little farther west in France than you want to be. Ferries leave as early as 8 a.m. and as late as 11: 30 p.m., depending on the day. The one-way fare is $38 to $47. A two-berth cabin, overnight, costs from $51.55 to $103.10.

In Plymouth, you can visit the Dome, a museum covering the history of the city from which Sir Francis Drake in the 16th century and Captain Cook in the 18th century departed. And it was from Plymouth that the Mayflower sailed in 1620, carrying the Pilgrims to America. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5: 30 p.m. in winter and to 7: 30 p.m. in summer. Admission: $6.15; children, $3.90.

From Poole (113 miles from London) ferries leave in July at 8 a.m. Friday through Monday. The crossing takes about eight hours. One-way fare: $45 to $48.

You might want to visit the Poole Pottery, established in 1873, where you can watch skilled artisans and try your own hand at throwing a pot. A factory shop sells seconds at bargain prices. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. plus evenings in summer. Admission: $3.90; $2.35 for children.

While the trip from Portsmouth to St.-Malo is the longest of the three options (8.7 hours), Portsmouth is the handiest to London (73 miles away). Boats leave daily at 8: 30 p.m. One-way fare: $47 to $50. Two-berth cabin accommodations, overnight: $43 to $75.

The attractions in Portsmouth reflect the port's naval history. You can visit historic ships, including Henry VIII's favorite warship, the Mary Rose, which sank in 1545 and was not recovered until 1982. The ship is on view along with exhibits that explain the recovery of the wreck. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with longer hours in summer. Admission: $8.05; $5.10 for children.

Pub Date: 4/28/96

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