Honfleur’s route: Portsmouth to Caen
For over 30 years Brittany Ferries has linked the southerly shores of England to the sandy beaches of Normandy. Today, the route linking Portsmouth to Caen is the company’s most popular, carrying over 920,000 passengers a year.
After two years of painstaking preparation the route was launched with a nod to history on 6th June 1986. The ferry terminal at Caen’s port of Ouistreham was built on a former campsite alongside the beaches where the allied forces has disembarked some 42 years earlier. And fittingly, the first passenger ashore in 1986 was one Bill Millin, playing his bagpipes. Piper Bill, as he was known, was the man who famously walked the beaches of Normandy 42-years earlier playing while the invasion battle raged around him.
Portsmouth and Caen are now officially twinned, a sign of the strong links that have developed between the two cities since the ferry route opened thirty years ago - and something that will remain long after Brexit negotiations have concluded. The Portsmouth-Caen route connects the second busiest British cross-Channel port to the third busiest in France. With three sailings a day in each direction, it carries 922,000 passengers, 278,000 cars and 100,000 freight vehicles every year.