Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better! Registration's totally free, of course, and makes snowHeads easier to use and to understand, gives better searching, filtering etc. as well as access to 'members only' forums, discounts and deals that U don't even know exist as a 'guest' user. (btw. 50,000+ snowHeads already know all this, making snowHeads the biggest, most active community of snow-heads in the UK, so you'll be in good company)..... When you register, you get our free weekly(-ish) snow report by email. It's rather good and not made up by tourist offices (or people that love the tourist office and want to marry it either)... We don't share your email address with anyone and we never send out any of those cheesy 'message from our partners' emails either. Anyway, snowHeads really is MUCH better when you're logged in - not least because you get to post your own messages complaining about things that annoy you like perhaps this banner which, incidentally, disappears when you log in :-)
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
👁 durr, I forgot...
Or: Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

Channel crossing post-brexit query

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all,

Looking at doing a self drive this winter, and considering crossing using the Eurotunnel - something I've not done before.

My question is regarding any delays related to Brexit and the whole lorry M20 parking fiasco - if I book a particular timeslot, do I need to allow extra time to get to Folkstone due to tailbacks or anything?

I'm from the Northeast, so not sure how disruptive the lorries are/were, or if most of it was blown up by the media.

Any advice/feedback appreciated.
latest report
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Even pre-Brexit there could be horrendous problems on the M20 for various reasons, including of course the weather and the reluctance of Brits to fit proper winter tyres.

Eurotunnel post fairly frequent updates regarding the current situation, and there are webcams on the M-ways so you can see for yourself, but it's not possible generally to know very far in advance what the situation will be on the day.

The media being what they are in the UK one suspects that the general tone of reportage would be to de-emphasise the effects of Brexit - any major problems will undoubtedly be caused by the French, the Argentinians or the Martians as far as they are concerned Toofy Grin
snow report
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
We crossed over on Saturday there were no queues at all but due to having to collect an Animal Health certificate for our dogs from the vets in Folkestone, we did not travel down from Durham on Sat am. I doubt we've had a normally busy weekend yet either. We've only occasionally had delays and they were mainly due to weather and peak tourist season, not lorries.
ski holidays
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Eurotunnel tend to be pretty understanding of delays.
If you arrive within 2 hours of your allotted crossing slot, they usually put you on the next available train. Not that there's always space available on the very next train. Outside the 2 hrs you may have a tougher discussion.
I've used the crossing a lot and only once had a significant inconvenience. A large stretch of The M20 shut for maintenance just before we got to it, so Google maps hadn't allowed for it. Our rambling diversion in a traffic convoy through the Kent countryside put us about 60mins behind schedule so, as we were already on quite a late train, we ended up in the night-time quiet time and had to wait 4-6 hrs for a train.

They ask you to arrive 30 mins before your departure and, coming from N London, I usually aim to get there 30mins before that. Sometimes minor delays result in us getting there just in time, sometimes we get bumped up to the previous train and get away early, and sometimes we sit about for 30 mins. All in all though, it's pretty low stress.
ski holidays
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@admin, was that delay feb 2020?, i had this problem and even though we only just missed our slot, we were charged for a new crossing for about 3 hours later, even though the person i was speaking to was sympathetic that Eurotunnel had not put any notifications on their website about planned closures.

generally i have tended to arrive a lot earlier than the original crossing, and only a couple of times been charged any price difference (if any), though to be fair this has always been on the french side.

lesson learnt is to always book the crossing at least a couple of hours later that expecting to arrive, and be willing to pay any difference, or hope that they are happy to fill up any available spaces earlier!!!
ski holidays
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
We've recently taken to arriving 2½-3½ hours early and have always got loaded onto an earlier train, if not the next one. So I'm +1 for the idea of booking a couple of hours at least after you expect to arrive and this then leaves the worst case scenario as just having to wait. As opposed to completely missing your slot.

You face a similar issue on the way back if you are wanting to do a shop for cheap stuff (coffee, wine, beer, cheese, coffee filters etc.) as to how far away is safe to take the 60-90 minutes out to do a shop. We usually leave it 'till the Auchan at St. Quinten Nord on the Autoroute des Anglais (A25 Jct.17), which is near enough to Calais (180 kms) that unless you're very unlucky, the remainder of the route should be OK. The somewhat easier excursion is at the massive Leclerc, visible form the Autoroute, at Reims-Champfleury (A4 Jct.17) where you can also refuel cheaply, but that's a more distant 270 Kms away.


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Mon 13-09-21 10:02; edited 1 time in total
latest report
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
In general it's the same as travelling anywhere else on UK roads - so long as nothing 'odd' happens it's all fine, but only takes 1 or 2 incidents and everything goes pot. But that could as easilly be on the M1 or M25 as the M20.

Again in general Eurotunnel aren't gits about people turning up late and will usually put you on the next train with space. If it's just an individual car and your late arrival moves you into a more expensive crossing window you might get asked to pay the difference between your booked and actual crossing time but even that doesn't tend to happen if it's happening to everyone due to local gridlock around Folkstone/Coquelles. And one final in general, that should see you on a train in 30min/1hr of arrival.

The expection to all these 'in generals' are things like school holidays and other peak times. Yes, you'll still get on a train but the number of spaces on each train is much lower, people with FlexiPlus tickets get 'first dibbs' on them, and you're probably not the only late arrival looking for a gap. That's where you can be looking 6hr delays.

In summary:
If you're not travelling on a busy (school holiday) weekend I'd just book a normal crossing and accept you might have a little delay if things go wrong.
If you ARE travelling on a busy weekend though I'd be tempted to book a FlexiPlus ticket, as part of the extra cost is the right to just arrive and get on the next train.
latest report
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I'd agree with @Mjit that whether it's peak periods or off-peak makes a big difference. Also, whether you're staying somewhere overnight or not.

We always stop on the way down, even 'though we're only 90 minutes (in theory) away from Ashford, and make the overnight hotel part of the holiday and leave ourselves only 5 hours drive (incl. breaks) the next morning to get to the Alps. But I understand that individual preferences vary. There are loads of threads that discuss recommendations of where to stay at length.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Mon 13-09-21 16:06; edited 1 time in total
snow report
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
giddyman, we use Eurotunnel at least 5x a year for some years now.
We have never had a problem with queues on the approach to Folkestone Terminal.
We do not travel at peak holiday times.
We have travelled early morning (5-6am), mid morning, and evening rush hour (after work).
The nearest to a problem was Sept last year when there was a long lorry queue on the inside lane for a mile or so, but it was still clear for cars to get to Check-in, and we were not delayed.
snow report
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Thanks for everyones responses. All reassuring.

Quote:

make the overnight hotel part of the holiday and leave ourselves only 5 hours drive (incl. breaks) the next morning to get to the Alps.

This is what i was planning to do - late afternoon crossing, few more hours driving under the belt before a hotel stop and then a gentle drive up to resort the next day.
snow report
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@giddyman, don't forget the one hour time difference. A late afternoon crossing can make a real difference to you in winter if you're driving from Newcastle, and French hotels often stop serving dinner around 8.30. Book a room in a hotel in a town would limit that though I guess it depends what you want from your overnight stop. Some would be happy with a MacDo's. We prefer a slightly earlier start and crossing by 2pm. That way we always seem to be refreshed and ready to go the following morning, and it minimises the effect of any delays. On our only real delay in 20 years of driving, we ended up on a ferry instead of Eurotunnel due to problems with snow. A 2.30 ferry became 4pm and we ended up at or hotel in Reims around 9.30. A late afternoon crossing with similar delays would have got us there around midnight.
ski holidays
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
We took the tunnel for the first time last month, having previously always flown or used the ferry from Hull. Our approach was to avoid the stress of travelling for a specific time by booking to stay in a cheap chain hotel near the tunnel so we could take an early crossing next morning. Our experience is that with the M25, which seems completely unavoidable, there is about a 50% chance of getting delayed by slow or stationary traffic.
latest report
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Hmm, "ticking" this thread as we're planning to drive down for the first time this year...
snow conditions
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Hells Bells wrote:
@giddyman, don't forget the one hour time difference. A late afternoon crossing can make a real difference to you in winter if you're driving from Newcastle, and French hotels often stop serving dinner around 8.30. Book a room in a hotel in a town wit late opening restaurants would solve that though I guess it depends what you want from your overnight stop. Some would be happy with a MacDo's. We prefer a slightly earlier start and crossing by 2pm. That way we always seem to be refreshed and ready to go the following morning, and it minimises the effect of any delays. On our only real delay in 20 years of driving, we ended up on a ferry instead of Eurotunnel due to problems with snow. A 12.30 eurotunnel became 4pm ferry and we ended up at or hotel in Reims around 9.30. A late afternoon crossing with similar delays would have got us there around midnight.
latest report
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

@giddyman, don't forget the one hour time difference. A late afternoon crossing can make a real difference to you in winter if you're driving from Newcastle

Yeah, really good point actually, and I can just imagine how getting off the train in the dark would make the next few hours drive a slog..

On further reflection, I'm now thinking a super early departure from home, to cross just after midday is probably the way to go.
latest report
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@giddyman, it really is the best one. Have done it many times now. Usually book 13.00 ish and often make an earlier train. You hit rush hour in Lincolnshire, so no real problems there and M25 mid morning.
snow conditions



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy