The Celtic roots of Brittany and Cornwall can be well combined in one vacation. This is possible with the route of Brittany Ferries, which connects the ports of Roscoff and Plymouth daily in the western English Channel. The Armorique is one of seven ships operated by the company and entered service in 2009. It can carry 1,500 passengers and 470 cars. Up to 120 crew members can look after the welfare and safety of passengers on the ship.
Two regions for connoisseurs and explorers
So why not combine the southwest of England with Brittany on vacation? Both destinations have their own magic and are especially relaxing the more time you have available, especially since the relatively long journey from Germany is then worthwhile. We took a closer look at two destinations in each country.
The Endsleigh Hotel, located in Devon and separated from Cornwall only by the River Tamar, is wonderfully embedded in a park, as is the Tresanton Hotel on the south coast of Cornwall. In Brittany, we stopped in Roscoff at the Hotel Brittany & Spa and near St. Malo at the Fèrme du Vent run by 3-star chef Olivier Roellinger.
The crossing starts for us on the command bridge
At his command post on the bridge of the Armorique in the port of Plymouth, Captain Erwan Fournis tells us that today it is mainly British tourists who use the crossing. Brittany Ferries was founded in 1973 primarily to boost sales of agricultural products from Brittany to the British Isles. Today, Brittany Ferries is still predominantly owned by Brittany farmers, although trucks now account for only about 20 percent of transport volume.
Established 1973 – Europe grows together
The founding impulse was the entry of Great Britain into the EEC in 1973. Four decades later, we are facing the Brexit negotiations. In the meantime, Brittany Ferries has gained a good reputation among British vacationers as a tour operator for trips to the continent and has positioned itself so broadly, among other things through the ferry connections also to Spain and Ireland, that the exit of Great Britain from the EU is probably economically bearable for Brittany Ferries. The connection between England and France is also popular with bicycle tourists, because from Roscoff, Brittany can be developed very well in pleasant stages. In general, the passengers on board are mainly individual travelers who are hungry for adventure and want to bring back new experiences from their vacation.
While on the lower deck the vehicles are briefed, Captain Fournis checks the wind strength. “26 knots already in the harbor, that can then increase a bit during the night at sea and lead to noticeable rocking. But all still in the safe range.”
The crossing in the western English Channel is farther and takes longer than the connections from Dunkirk or Calais to Dover. The atmosphere is all the more relaxed for it. On the crossing in one direction (from France to England), you can let the Atlantic wind blow around your nose on the sun deck during the day.
Brittany Ferries: Making distance while you sleep
We made the crossing from England to France during the night. After a dinner of French cuisine from the buffet and a drink in the bar, we retired to one of the 247 air-conditioned cabins on the sleeping deck.
The next morning, a Breton plucked chord very discreetly alerts us to our imminent arrival over the cabin speakers. Daylight is already streaming into the cabin from the porthole. The gentle rocking of the ship, to which one had already become accustomed overnight, can still be sensed under the shower, with which each cabin is equipped.
Depending on the weather and personal preference, you can still watch the nautical maneuvers outside before arriving or slowly wake up in the cabin with a hot drink.
On the horizon, no sooner has the Breton coast come into view than a fast boat appears and approaches alongside the Armorique, which is still sailing full speed ahead. It turns out that a pilot is about to take command of the Armorique for the waters off Roscoff, which are interspersed with small rocky islands.
A few minutes later, the port of Roscoff comes into view, and fortunately, two hours later, the sun is out. Due to the optimal travel time of 10 p.m. to 8 a.m., one can get back into one’s own car rested and marvel at the scenic similarities between Cornwell and Brittany on the onward journey. The people are similarly laid back and foodies are pleased to find that oysters, lobsters and other sea creatures thrive on both coasts.
The cost of the cruise was not calculated