f you’re looking for something different this Father’s Day, then why not treat Dad to a day trip to France with DFDS?
Take a ferry to France for less than the price of a train ticket to London and explore just how much there is to do across the Channel. To lend a hand, DFDS has selected a few of the best activities to make it a Father’s Day to remember.
Start your trip in the exclusive Premium Lounge onboard, where you can sail in style with a complimentary glass of Prosecco, relax in the peace and comfort of the attended lounge, and enjoy the views across the Channel. Fresh pastries and macarons, as well as fruit, snacks, and hot and cold drinks are all included in your Premium Lounge experience.
Les Deux Caps
A short journey from Calais are Cap Gris-Nez and Cap Blanc-Nez, two headlands that have been classified as a Grand Site de France on account of their magnificent views and stunning scenery.
Cap Gris-Nez is the closest point between France and England, and on a clear day you can easily see all the way over to the White Cliffs of Dover. It has been a historically and strategically important site for hundreds of years – Henry VIII had a fortress built here, the ruins of which can still be seen, and during the Nazi occupation of France the German army built numerous fortifications on the cliffs as part of the Atlantic Wall defences.
Cap Blanc-Nez is the higher of the two capes at 134m, and atop the cliff is an obelisk built to commemorate the Dover patrol, whose efforts kept the Channel free of German U-boats in the First World War. The clifftops are also dotted with bunkers and pockmarked by craters from heavy bombing during the Second World War.
The beaches below are a haven for fossil hunters, so look out for ammonites, fossilised wood and even shark teeth. It is a great location for bird watchers too, as millions of birds use the capes to navigate during their migrations.
Espace Tourville, Gravelines
This interactive living museum is a real hidden gem in northern France, where an historic ship is being faithfully reconstructed by expert marine carpenters and blacksmiths. Following the discovery of six shipwrecks off the Cherbourg peninsula in 1982, the Association Tourville was set up with the aim of rebuilding a replica of a first-class ship in Louis XIV’s navy from scratch using traditional 17th century methods. The ship, named Le Jean Bart after the famous 17th century Dunkirk corsair, features as the centre of a historic craft village.
There are opportunities to take part in shipbuilding activities, with informative guides to answer questions and immerse you in the history of the corsairs, sailors, and shipbuilders of the 1600s. The site also hosts events throughout the year and features a shop selling locally produced food and drink, including products made in the on-site artisanal saurisserie (smokehouse), as well as books, jewellery, and souvenirs. You can even purchase the offcuts of the locally sourced wood they are using to build the ship and get expert advice on your own woodworking projects from the carpenters at the site.
Entry is €7 for adults, €3.5 for children aged 6 to 12, and free for children under six.
Musée Dunkerque 1940 Operation Dynamo, Dunkirk
The recently renovated Musee Dunkerque 1940 tells the story of the Battle of Dunkirk and Operation Dynamo, which took place between 26 May and 4 June 1940 – the largest military evacuation in history. Installed in the curtain walls of Bastion 32, the museum site was the headquarters of the defence of Dunkirk during the Second World War.
You begin the experience with a short piece of archival footage that sets the scene and guides you into the rest of the museum, which features photos, displays, and a huge range of artefacts, including weapons, vehicles, and uniforms.
The museum arranges the exhibits in a chronological order to help visitors understand the events leading up to, during, and after the evacuation. It not only tells the stories of the Allied soldiers during the evacuation, but those of the civilians and the Nazi occupiers involved, giving a more rounded and in-depth account of those few days in a way many museums do not.
Entry is €8 for adults, €5 for children aged 12-18, and free for children under 12.
While you’re waiting to board your ferry back to the UK, look around DFDS’ port Duty Free shops in Calais and Dunkirk – they’re located right in front of the car lanes so you can’t miss them! With more than 1700m² of retail space combined and an enviable selection of gift ideas, including designer aftershave, top shelf alcohol and LEGO, you can pick up a last-minute present for Dad at up to 50% off UK high street prices.
At Duty Free you will find an extensive range of high-quality whiskies from some of the best distilleries in the UK and Ireland. Many of the whiskies available at DFDS Duty Free are offered at 2 for £89, 2 for £69, or 2 for £49, and included are some of the finest whiskies from the numerous distilleries across Scotland’s Highlands and Islands. Pick up Jura The Bay 12 Year Old for £52.99, Gentleman Jack 1L for £27.99, or Johnny Walker Black Label 1L for £24.99.
One of the most popular gins in the duty-free collection is The Botanist. Distilled on the Isle of Islay in Scotland, this has proved to be a firm favourite in the shop – and makes for an incredible martini! At just £19.99 for one litre, you save a huge £27.86 compared to the UK high street.
The DFDS Duty Free shop at Calais has the added benefit of a fantastic team of dedicated and knowledgeable experts. Julian and his team at the Calais shop are passionate about wine and will be more than happy to help you learn more about the wine on sale and even discover something new. Sample some of the wines available at duty free and enjoy plenty of incredible deals by the bottle and by the case – the perfect way to round off an unforgettable Father’s Day!
Don’t forget to visit the recently opened café at the Calais, where you can watch the ships coming into port with a coffee and a bite to eat while you wait for your return sailing.