Northern France with P&O and Hotel Du Parc


Happy baby

If you follow our family travel adventures on Instagram you may have already noticed that at the beginning of summer we spent a long weekend exploring the small village of Hardelot in Northern France as well as the fascinating sea centre Nausicaa in Boulogne-sur-Mer. 

We have done a fair few short European breaks taking either the Eurostar or Ferry although always as foot passengers so my eldest was extremely excited at the prospect of driving our car onto a ferry and driving off again in another country. The journey from South Wales to Dover  is just over 4hrs so we decided to stay at a Premier Inn on the way down from Cardiff to split up the journey. This meant we were only an hour away from the ferry terminal in the morning making for a far more relaxed start to what would be a long day.

Once we arrived into Dover, the check-in service for our P&O Ferry  was very quick and straight forward despite there being cues later in the season our experience was a positive one. After we had parked our car up before boarding we went for a little walk around the ferry terminal which has views of the ships as well as a cafe, bar and shop. 

channel crossing

Once on board we made a beeline to the open deck as my eldest wanted to wave goodbye to the White Cliffs of dover and I always find leaving port an exciting time. The crossing was a little windy but mainly smooth throughout and there is just enough to see and do on these medium sized ferries that young children don't get bored including a little play area, TV or if you want you can now connect to the wifi. There is also plenty of food options from more formal dining in the Brasserie to a more casual family affair in the food court or coffee shops. 

family travel

Once we arrived in Calais it didn't take long to get back on the road and on our way to Hardelot, a small French costal village around 45 minutes away and close to the northern city of Boulogne-sur-Mer. Finding our  hotel was surprisingly easy (okay so we used a SatNav) despite its wonderful rural location. Hotel Du Parc is the perfect spot for those who want some down time, relaxing with long walks as the hotel is surrounded by areas of forest, golf and horse riding facilities. 


stunning pool

The area is very French and therefore a lot of the hotel clientele is also French which is lovely and added a real authentic feel to the place, although this did causes a few interesting attempts at conversations with the reception staff who were very friendly and patient of our terrible attempts at French (at least we always try). The room was fantastic with a small balcony eating area and more than enough space for a family to be comfortable in for even extended stays. There is also plenty to do onsite including a stunning outdoor pool, sauna,  tennis courts and a small kids play park. The hotel also houses one of the best restaurants in the area although it was fairly formal and would be easier with slightly older children then our own although the bar area had plenty of seating and was a nice relaxing and family friendly space with a small bar menu. 

The small town of Hardelot is only a 2 kilometre walk or a matter of minutes in the car and has a variety of bakeries, cafes, creperies as well as a variety of restaurants and boutique shops and it had a really lovely atmosphere to it. This is certainly an area we would like to explore more in the future especially as we ran out of time to visit Chateau d'Hardelot, a local historical site. 

We only spent two nights at Hotel Du Parc but it was very relaxing and the perfect base for exploring the area including visiting one of the biggest attractions outside of Paris and leading marine centre in France, Nausicaa. I will be sharing our experience of Nausicaa very soon. 

Hotel Du Parc

We were guests at Hotel Du Parc in associating with Nausicaa


  1. I love popping over to France on the ferry -- I'm with your son, it's great fun to drive on in one country and drive off in another. The hotel looks wonderfully French too. Tres sympa!

  2. Hardelot sounds very interesting - hope you will be posting about it as I love a French town for browsing about in.

  3. Oh how lovely. I haven't been to France in many years, you have me wanting to return now.

  4. Looks like a fabulous short break - we live so close to a ferry terminal that we really should go more often

  5. Looks like you had a good time. I haven't been on a ferry in years x

  6. It has been so long since ive been on a P&O Ferry, I think I was 17 at the time and we went to Amsterdam, such a great experience x

  7. The hotel looks lovely! I haven't been on a ferry for years, I love going on them though, getting to venture around. Beats being stuck in a seat on a flight. x

  8. I'm not a big fan of travelling by boat - open water is a little scary to me! But I have to say, it looks absolutely beautiful in your photo! And the hotel looks wonderful too. I've been to France on a ferry before, but I was quite young and don't remember it very well. Must go again one day!

  9. I have not experienced a ferry crossing since being at school! I think my boys would love it though. I also love the idea of driving onto the ferry in one country and driving off in another! Look forward to reading more about your holiday. Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

  10. We found getting the ferry over to France a great way to travel with our baby. She loved the little play area. And we also timed our journey so that we could have breakfast on the boat. #GetGone


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