Catching the overnight ferry to Holland

Stena Line Ferry with bar area, TV lounge and the view from my room

Last weekend I caught the overnight ferry to Holland and I have to say, I’m converted. It was easy, relaxing, stress free and, most importantly, it was fun.

My Trip

I caught the train from London Liverpool Street at 9pm (after a slight hiccup that involved a forgotten passport). It takes 1.5 hours to get to Harwich International, where the ferry leaves from, and I was tucking into some tasty food and an ice cold beer by 10.30pm.

There’s something really relaxing about the monotonous chug of a boat so after a few beers and a long, hot shower I was fast asleep in my cosy cabin.

The next morning at 6.30am everyone on the boat was woken by the chirpy yet chilled beat of ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ which was something that stayed with me for the rest of the day. I opened my blinds to see the sun rising over the sea and the calm waters surrounding the ferry and I knew it was going to be a good day. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world; this has to be the best view to wake up to.

After a brisk walk around the deck and a delicious buffet breakfast we had arrived in Holland and were greeted by clear fresh skies and a bright sun that was doing it’s very best to keep us warm. The train met us at the ferry and the train ride was like gliding through a postcard. Bright, colourful squares of tulips divided up the fields which were separated by canals and windmills. It was so stereotypically Dutch it was almost comical.

After a full day exploring Amsterdam by foot, canal and bicycle we then caught the train back to the boat at 6.30pm. I know that most people wouldn’t do so much in just one day but I think we’ve shown that it is possible; you can see Amsterdam in one day (but if you had two, it would be absolutely perfect). If you want to see a few photos from my trip, check out my photo essay from Amsterdam.

A lot of people still aren’t convinced that the ferry is a great way to travel so here are some reasons why I think it’s brilliant:

  • The ferry leaves first thing in the morning and leaves last thing at night so you have full days to explore. Flights might be quicker but they’re usually at really inconvenient times.
  • You get to wake up to views like these….
  • And eat food like this…
  • And sleep in a room like this…
  • It works out great value for money because you save yourself 2 night’s accommodation.
  • If you’re travelling with children it’s a great option. Kids have space to play, stretch out and relax and we saw loads of families on board.
  • Trains to and from the ferry are quick and efficient and included in your ferry ticket price so there’s no hassle with transfers. They’re also timed perfectly so there’s no waiting around for your connection.
  • If you work close to London you could easily get the Friday night boat out and the Sunday night boat back. You would have two full days in Holland and wouldn’t have to take a single day off work.

If you still aren’t convinced or want more info, check out the Stena Line site.

Btw, I’m not being paid for this. I genuinely do think the ferry is ace and partly wrote this to convince my mates to come with me next time!

Have you ever got the ferry somewhere rather than flying? If you have, tell me about it so I have more fuel for my argument.

  1. Wow…totally not what I pictured when you said you were taking the ferry to Holland. I would do that in a heartbeat!

  2. Matthew Karsten 9 years ago

    You’ve got me convinced! I love boat travel. The room looks pretty comfortable too.

  3. Zoë Dawes 9 years ago

    So agree with you – wasn’t it great! I had not expected the trip to be as enjoyable, the food so good and the cabins so comfortable 🙂 Definitely a great way to go – and loved the article. Fun to travel with you too!

    • TheTravelHack 9 years ago

      Thanks Zoe! Hopefully we’ll get chance to travel together again! I’m hoping to go back to Amsterdam soon and see a bit more of it – there’s just so much to see!

  4. […] Visit The Travel Hack’s ferry big day out in Amsterdam Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Categories: Amsterdam, Budget travel, Ferry good ideas, Fun facts | Leave a comment […]

  5. […] more from my time in Amsterdam, check out my Photo Essay: A Day in Amsterdam and my experience of Catching the Ferry to Holland.So what do you think about drugs and prostitution in Amsterdam?Do you think that it’s going to […]

  6. Michael 8 years ago

    Ferries are indeed a great way to view a new found place. It gives you time to ponder about the beauty of the calm seas, making a trip more worthwhile.

    • TheTravelHack 8 years ago

      That’s so true Michael. And it’s even better if you can travel overnight because you don’t waste any precious time.

  7. […] Have you ever had that sinking feeling when it feels like your insides have just fallen out of your stomach? It happens quite often when you’ve got to the airport and you think you’ve forgotten your passport, but 99% of the time it’s there, tucked inside a book or at the bottom of your bag. I have this virtually every time I go away but I had it for real when I caught the ferry to Amsterdam. […]

  8. […] option would be to take the ferry. I did this a few years ago as I took the overnight ferry from Harwich to Holland. I left on a Friday night arrived by 7am on Saturday and then hopped on the train to Amsterdam for […]

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