With October half term just around the corner, many families will be on the lookout for the perfect trip to spend quality time together – without breaking the bank.
A recent study by independent financial expert, Charlotte Burns, and Discover Ferries, the body representing ten UK ferry operators, found that a family of four could save more than 50% on their October half-term holiday travel – just by taking a ferry instead of flying!
In fact, savings of over 80% could be made on some no-fly routes – giving families a lot more spending money to enjoy their destination. Sounds like a plan to me! And with more than 70 routes from and around the UK, there are plenty of options to choose from,
With this in mind, Discover Ferries has brought together the best October half-term offers from its members. And here they are…
Enjoy the Emerald Isle:
Families can always be sure of a warm welcome in Ireland and getting there by ferry means that the fun starts on the journey there.
Irish Ferries Holidays is offering a five-night break at Aughrim Holiday Village in the heart of County Wicklow, including cottage rental and return ferry crossings for the car and all the family. It costs from just £454.
Set between the mountains and the sea, Aughrim Holiday Village is just a five-minute walk from the pretty village of Aughrim. Riverside Aughrim is well placed for days out: the beautiful lake at Glendalough is half an hour away, the seaside at Brittas Bay the same.
Nearby are horse-riding stables, walking trails and a Paul McGinley designed golf course, while fishing and Gaelic games are popular in Aughrim itself.
Aughrim is a 90-minute drive from each of Irish Ferries’ ports: Dublin (for ferries from Holyhead) and Rosslare (for ferries from Pembroke).
To book or find out more, visit www.irishferries.com
Families wanting to nip over to Ireland for the day can take advantage of Stena Line’s low cost day trip fares from as little as £5.50 per person return on foot.
Sail from Holyhead to Dublin or Fishguard to Rosslare and enjoy a fun-filled few hours on Irish soil. Alternatively, Stena Line offers a 36-hour return car ferry crossing for two adults and two children from £179. (Terms and Conditions apply).
Families booking with Stena line can also enjoy a range of discounts on top attractions including Dublin Zoo and the Guinness Storehouse.
To book or find out more visit www.stenaline.co.uk
Head over to Holland for a holiday that will appeal to little and big kids alike.
From the bustle of Rotterdam to the magic of Efteling theme park in Kaatsheuvel, Holland has much to offer the whole family – and they can travel there in style with Stena Line.
The ferry company is inviting families to relax on board and take 50% off cabin hire on its day sailings from Harwich to the Hook of Holland.
Hiring a cabin (which are available in varying sizes up to a five-berth) allows the whole family to take advantage of comfy beds, flat screen satellite televisions and en-suite bathrooms, ensuring everyone arrives feeling refreshed and ready for their break.
Bringing the very little ones? Kids under three travel for free on Stena Line’s Harwich to Hook of Holland route. Nice!
For details see www.stenaline.co.uk
Amsterdam offers a variety of world-class museums and attractions, making it a great spot for families looking for a cultural city break.
DFDS is currently offering a 2-4-1 deal on its Newcastle to Amsterdam mini cruises. Prices for a two-night mini cruise start from £45 per person for two people sharing an en suite cabin for two nights, with up to five hours to explore Amsterdam and return coach transfers to and from the city.
Families wanting to spend more time in the Dutch capital can book a three-night cruise and stay package from £45 per person. They can either book a hotel in the city separately, or take advantage of the full three-night hotel break package and receive 25% off the hotel, with travel, transfers and accommodation all included.
For more information see www.dfds.co.uk
Say bonjour to France!
Hope across the Channel for a fun-filled family day out en France.
From the ancient walled town of St Malo to Roscoff’s Océanopolis aquarium, an exciting exhibition of all things connected with the sea, France has much to offer and entertain the whole family.
Brittany Ferries is offering day trips to France from just £24 per person, meaning a family of four can pack up their car and set sail for less than £100 this half term.
Customers can sail from Portsmouth, Poole or Plymouth to the ports of Caen, Cherbourg, St Malo, Le Havre or Roscoff and enjoy up to 29 hours away.
See www.brittany-ferries.co.uk for more information.
Get on island time:
Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight makes for an action-packed break, with loads of activities and attractions for kids of all ages…
Families travelling to the Isle of Wight with Red Funnel can enjoy discounts on the island’s top family attractions, including up to 33% off a visit to Dinosaur Isle, Britain’s first purpose-built Dinosaur museum.
When booking attraction tickets through the Red Funnel website, passengers can also take advantage of 10% off ferry crossings.
The company operates services from Southampton to East Cowes and West Cowes.
Visit www.redfunnel.co.uk for details.
The Isle of Wight is home to the UK’s oldest amusement park, Blackgang Chine, where kids can let their imaginations run wild, fighting pirates, discovering dinosaurs, becoming a sheriff or being king or queen of the castle. During half term, the park becomes even more magical as it is illuminated at night.
Wightlink, which operates from Lymington and Portsmouth to Ryde, Fishbourne and Yarmouth, offers return car ferry crossing for families from £61.50.
To book or find out more visit www.wightlink.co.uk
Isle of Man – Isle of Man Steam Packet Company
Families are spoilt for choice when it comes to fun and exciting activities on the Isle of Man. From swinging through the trees at Ape Mann Adventure Park and meeting the animals at Curraghs Wildlife Park to riding historic steam railway trains, there really is something for everyone.
And us parents are also in with a treat with the island’s stunning natural beauty, picturesque villages and famous food offerings.
Sitting in the heart of the Irish Sea, this island of treasures is easy to reach with sailings from Heysham and Liverpool.
Plan your half term trip now with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s special offer – a car and two adults starts at just £85 each way for a five-day short break – and children travel from just £9.50 each way.
To book or find out more, visit www.steam-packet.com
Isles of Scilly – Isles of Scilly Steamship Company
The Isles of Scilly make for an ideal and picturesque day trip, and a family of five can now visit for just £79 return.
Sailing from Penzance Harbour on the Scillonian III, all the family will enjoy sprawling seascapes, views of the Minack Theatre and St Michael’s Mount. And it’s well worth keeping a close eye on the waves, as the ferry is occasionally joined by a pod of dolphins!
Arriving on Scilly around midday, families will have an afternoon to explore the islands before returning to the mainland at the end of the day.
The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company’s 2017 Family Day Trip Offer is valid throughout half term and saves families up to 75% on the standard brochure fare (Terms and conditions apply).
To book or find out more see www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk
So you see, if you're on a budget at this time of year (and who isn't?), then consider an alternative to fly-and-flop holidays by taking advantage of some great no-fly deals – there are plenty to be found!