P&O Ferries to reopen ferry service from the UK to Scandinavia?

The last ferry link between the UK and Scandinavia ended in 2014. News is that the Scottish Government has called for a summit with ferry operators to explore the potential for a new service between Scotland and Scandinavia. And apparently P&O Ferries are willing to consider it.

P&O Ferries is a British-based company that operates ferries from the United Kingdom to Ireland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Throughout its history since the late 60s, P&O Ferries has operated in five main areas, centred around Dover, Portsmouth, Southampton, the Irish Sea and the North Sea.

The company has, as many other ferry companies, closed several of its services due to a strong competition with cheap air fares and the Channel tunnel. But the company has announced they’d like to consider the Scottish Government’s initiative.

“We are always looking for new opportunities and would be happy to sit down with the relevant parties to discuss a route between Scotland and Scandinavia.” said a spokesperson from P&O Ferries.

It will be interesting to follow the development from this discussion. Our previous post on how to travel from the UK to Scandinavia by car and ferry is one of the most read posts on this blog. We believe it’s beyond doubt that there’s a great demand on both sides of the North Sea for a direct passenger ferry link.

To open talks about a new service between the UK and Scandinavia is a smart move by Scotland. It could be significant post-brexit for the country’s economy if the ferry service is being brought back.

Why it matters to us

You might wonder what it means to us, having the ferry service brought back. Many would wonder why we wouldn’t choose to fly. As I’ve read in your comments we all have our reasons to prefer the ferry. It could be the convenience of bringing your own car or the less hassle associated with a ferry vs driving for endless hours. Anyway, aren’t road trips back in vogue?

We travel several times a year to our Norwegian house renovation project. For us, the best route is to get to Fredrikshavn where we can jump on the ferry to Gothenburg and drive straight north, to Trysil in Norway.

London to Fredrikshavn is a 900+ miles drive through France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany before we reach Fredrikshavn in Denmark. If P&O Ferries decide to open a new service between, let’s say Aberdeen and Esbjerg, this means we’ll be saving 200 miles on our drive.

But imagine how many miles would be saved on our journey to Scandinavia, for all of us living in England, if only P&O Ferries would consider reopening the passenger ferry Newcastle or Harwich to Esbjerg…

You might also like:

How to travel from the UK to Scandinavia by car and ferry.
Sign the petition – Reopen the Harwich to Esbjerg ferry!

You might also like:

This is how we travel from the UK to Scandinavia by car and ferry
Sign the petition – Reopen Harwich to Esbjerg!

91 thoughts on “P&O Ferries to reopen ferry service from the UK to Scandinavia?

  1. June 2021 and still not one ferry route to any Scandinavia country or Northern Germany from the UK for passengers with there cars, maybe the shipping companies think there is not enough customers or profit into days market place, it will be coming up near seven years since the last passenger /car service. To be truth full it is disgraceful that non of the ferry companies will take a chance to reopen a service once the covid restrictions are over. The ships today have better fuel consumption and are leaner on emissions and with duty free is back where they acknowledge they made a good profit from this before. Lets hope we get a ferry service for 2022 ?

  2. Why doesn’t it exist any direct from Scandinavia to the UK? If it’s so high demand for a ferry then why not reopen a ferry again? It would make sense. It would be better if you want to take your car from Scandinavia to the UK because you dont have to drive through Denmark ,Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France or taking a ferry from the Netherlands. I hope DFDS or any other ferry company will create a new ferry route from Scandinavia to the UK.

  3. Desperate to ride my motorcycle in Norway . So went to see if i could book a ferry shocked to find out that there was none. Not even allowed on the freight ferries anymore. The ride up through the Netherlands and Germany just doesn’t fill me with excitment. Even a ferry to Denmark or Sweden would be amazing. Lets hope we can get something sorted soon .

  4. There are still no Passenger ferries from uk to Scandinavia or northern Germany in August 2020. DFDS bought out all the routes out over the years and then decided there was no profit in any of them and shut them all down what a company ? they even shut down the original uk Harwich route in 2014.
    The management of the company runs on big profit margins I think and now only once to concentrate on freight only from uk to northern Europe. People have written to DFDS and they reply not interested in reopening the routes not one of them. Why another ferry company does not take it on is beyond me.

  5. Please Please Please we need Ferry services from the UK back to Scandinavia.
    Harwich to Kristiansand .
    Harwich to Esbjerg .
    In this day & age with technology surely there is a eco related solution to ship operations/ engines .
    And the uk government not taxing the SHIT out of everything , & the EU actually cease arguing with the uk about costings .
    There must be a halfway house . I can’t see the difference between driving through europe & sailing the sea with your car about pollution areas .

  6. We travelled to Norway from Newcastle many years ago before flying became considered so environmentally unsound. Cant believe the route no longer exists. Norway has a reputation of being expensive but the Fjordline holiday was great value: 4 in a car, cabin on the ferry each way plus breakfast and 2 full weeks in log cabins -first week in Hafslo second week in over-Eidfjord, internal cross fjord ferry sailings for about £1,200. We were self catering so the eyewatering dining out and alcohol prices didn’t really impact on us. Fruit and veg, bread and milk, chicken, bacon and sausages etc were not that much dearer (although there were over 11 Kroner to the pound at the time). Red meat was very expensive but you coud pick up a six pack of Swing beer from off licence for equivalent of price you would pay per litre in a British pub. Factor in the duty free scotch bought on the ferry and you could have a convivial time on your balcony overlooking the lake at Hafslo! We also paid for a brilliant day out from the Nigardsbreen Glacier centre worked out about £50 each for (after a fair drive tailing our guide) a two hour canoe across a glacial lake followed by a 1 hour hike to the foot of a glacier followed by an hour or two on the glacier roped together and then the whole thing in reverse back to where the car was parked. We hiked up Fannaraki another day – costs nothing apart from the price of the well deserved coffee and cake from the hut at the top over 6,000ft up! Would love to be able to return and drive our car over the snow road again!

  7. Just got back from Belgium cruise from Hull. Going online to book a ferry to Norway for our next adventure only to find they DON’T exist. This is appalling, I cannot believe that there are no ferry routes. Jesus – This country is hanging on by the skin of its teeth. Always about money, money, money. Think i’ll move to mainland Europe and start enjoying a proper life like the rest of my European comrades and actually be able to travel between countries with ease.

  8. My little brother lives in Gothenberg and I would love to take my boys over from Sheffield to visit their uncle. A ferry from Hull or Newcastle would be perfect. We are trying to cut down on the amount of flights we take (as I’m sure many people are) and the only alternative is Ryanair from London airports.

  9. In the late 60’s/70’s there were several ferries to Sweden, Norway and Denmark operated by Your Line, Ellermans Wilson Line, Saga Line, Svea Line, DFDS etc. We used to spend holidays in Scandinavia with the car packed full including food and drinks as they were quite expensive there.
    Scandinavians used to flock to Newcastle on shopping trips for household goods including large white items, clothes, food – sausages in particular. The Newcastle traders used to love them coming and they lived to come.
    A replacement ferry service by say Stena, P and O or Fred send should be introduced.

  10. I am still recovering (as is the car!) from the same journey, Anne-Line. I couldn’t have agreed more! x

  11. In our opinion it’s totally unacceptable that there is no ferry connection between Scandinavia and England. It’s our close neighbour and it’s an island!
    With all the talk about flying, the is not a lot of alternatives to get to each other. I have just been driving through England, France, Belgium, Germany and Sweden to get home to Norway and it was an horrendous journey. Give us back the ferries! Kristiansand – Hull would be a good solution too. Whatever destination, anything is better than driving through Europe!

  12. Really, what is the problem with a U.K. to Norway route re-opening?

    The cost of driving to the south coast to get the tunnel or channel ferry, then drive through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark then get a ferry between Denmark, Sweden and Norway is just so astronomical – the sensible way IS to re-open the old ferry routes up.

    Within reason, I’d expect most (if not all) will pay any reasonable ferry price, because the saving this will allow, rather than the ‘Euro tour’ to get to Scandinavia is just totally backwards, adds more pollution because of the mileage you need to incur.
    Plus, tourism and (as eluded to), the currently in vogue roadtrips would surge !

    Really, can anyone please give a sensible, succinct answer as to why ALL the routes were shut in the first place….

    Because I can’t !

  13. Back in the 1980s before Sweden joined the EU, there were several ferry routes between Scandinavia and the UK.
    Now… they are ALL gone.
    My theory is that this is a direct result of (A) crippling red tape/”new regulations” (B) loss of taxfree booze sales and (C) increased taxation in other fields.

    This complete loss of transport is then called “Free Movement”.

  14. I am amazed that the discussion here is still going on one year after the article.
    Yes, many in Scandinavia also wants a connection, from either Norway or Denmark.

    Personally, as a camper, I would like to take a round trip in the UK, and the ferry is needed I arrive in Scotland and leave England – I get to see it all. Driving all the way south and back does not make sense.
    Say Bergen / Stavanger / Kristianssand – Aberdeen / Edingburg

    There are many in Scandinavia who want to do see new places, and this has an interest of many.

    Denmark or Norway – you need a ferry to go from one to the other. If I could go from Norway, it would be best, and it is easily accesible to everybody up north. Denmark – then you need to go to Denmark, and the trip get too long and I will not do it.
    Then again, people in Denmark will complain that they have to go to Norway first.

    Where do campers from the UK want to go to?

  15. In point 4 (above) it is stated you cannot hire a car in Scotland when aged over 70. I am not sure this is always true, I am over 70 and have no difficulty renting cars in the UK from Europcar, Avis. Hertz, Budget or Sixt. If you are over 75 and wish to rent a car in Ireland I understand you need a certificate from your doctor confirming your fitness to drive but car hire is generally available – so do not let your age dissuade you from coming to the UK!

  16. All British car clubs in Scandinavia would love a reopening of a new ferry line from Gothenburg or Bergen to uk.

  17. It would be great if there was a ferry service again but I understand there are economic constraints on this. Firstly I now believe people understand this and will be willing to pay a reasonable premium for taking their own car therefore not necessary to compete with cheap flights Also if there was just a single route possibly from Newcastle to Denmark this would attract all of the business and would be more commercially viable

  18. Thank you for sharing this information, Tor! I am sure others will find it useful! Best, Bianca

  19. I’ve just got a quote from Euro Marine Logistics for shipping of my precious MGB between the terminals at Drammen and Tyne. EUR 165 Drammen->Tyne and EUR 190 Tyne->Drammen.
    They only deal with companies. Drammen is one hour from Oslo Airport Gardermoen (express train) and Oslo Airport Torp (bus). The terminals are not open in weekends, so keep that in mind when booking.
    Since our Highlands and Orkney trip starts and ends in weekends (everything booked before I checked this service), we have to book transport of the MG between Tyne and Edinburgh. It’s still less than the boring rental car.

  20. My husband and I were medical students in Glasgow in the late fifties/ sixteis . We always went back to Oslo by boat from Newcastle and enjoyed the two nights on board. We are often in Scotland ( I am Scottish) but must take the plane from Oslo to Edinburgh. We,d love to see a new car ferry opening up between Oslo and preferably, Scotland. An important point is that one is not able to rent a car in Scotland after 70 years, so it would be great to be able to take our own car. PLEASE bring back the ferries!!!

  21. We took the last ferry from Newcastle to Bergen – a very sad day for everyone – and really miss it as the drive from the South of England to the ‘Fjordland’ is impractical and expensive. Flying and car hire kills any camping plans and if I have to spend one more day walking the length of Oslo airport between connecting flights I will lose the will to live!! DFDS killed off the Newcastle Bergen route and then made the Harwich Esbjerg so expensive that they killed off demand – and then killed the route. Be great if someone other than DFDS could get either of those routes up and running again.

  22. Please re-open a ferry route to Scandinavia from the UK. I hate flying and used to travel from Newcastle to Bergen regularly . Its so sad that there is no way to get to our close neighbours by sea anymore. Bring back the boat !!

  23. When my son married a Swede in 2005, then moved there to live , we thought itcwas great as we could fat a ferry from the Tyne to Gothenburg . It would make sense to me to re-open that route as we stopped off in Norway en route. Gothenburg gives easy access to all of Sweden and Denmark. Come on ferry operators!

  24. I am a British citizen living in central southern Norway and would love to drive over to the UK to visit my family. As it is at the moment there are no ferries from Scandinavia to the UK, this means a very long drive. My wife and I have often discussed why there are so few British car’s on the Norwegian roads, now we know why. I hope the ferry company’s can find a solution especially in the sommer months.

  25. I have family in Estonia, and my first ever visit after independence was by car per the Harwich-Gothenburg ferry, short stay with friends in Sweden, easy drive to Stockholm, ferry to Tallinn, then the freedom to tour and visit scattered family, with no luggage constraints. It was a doddle. Similarly, to northern Germany via the Harwich-Esbjerg connection. It seems almost beyond belief that there are no direct ferries as surely there must be a huge potential market, including caravanners (both ways), motor homes, tourers, etc, and it cries out for a subsidised and heavily promoted reinstatement of at least one route, if only for a provisional initial season, as a social, political and economic necessity. I am currently researching my next Estonian visit by rail, which is surprisingly viable, but doesn’t have the car plus ferry flexibility of ease of luggage and onward internal travel. Please add my voice to your lobby for at least one ferry route reinstatement!

  26. I’d go to Scandinavia at least once a year if only the Newcastle-Bergen ferry was reinstated!! Driving from Northumberland just isn’t an option as it’s too far And costly to drive!! Since a no deal Brexit is looming we surely could do with alternatives to flying. So please please make it happen! Has anyone considered a petition via 38 degrees?

  27. Please Please..Re-instate the Newcastle to Bergen route. Every year I check online and read that shipping company’s are under discussion to open the route but without success.
    My father was Norwegian and I have a large family in Norway. Sadly my father passed away and is buried on a beautiful island with my grandmother.
    Since a child, I and my family have crossed the North sea. There were Three crossings per week. and the ferry was packed with many students, Visitors,families, cars, bikes, camping vans, trucks of all sizes. My sister and I were returning to the UK following a wonderful visit with our family. When the radio in the car informed us that the ferry was no more.. Finished. We were shocked. We did travel to Norwich crossed over to Denmark which took us 3 days In all and very costly. shortly following, that Ferry crossing was finished. Again the Ferry was packed. Why ?

  28. I am disappointed to find there are no ferries to Scandinavia as Iam planning a trip there but no way am I going to drive from N. England to cross at Dover and then drive north from there. Please open up the ferry links again.

  29. The route that would get most traffic would be east cost England to Gothenburg. This would serve Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo i.e. all of Denmark, and the most densely populated parts of Sweden and Norway.

  30. I come from Shetland and have been living in Norway for more than 10 years now and currently for me to drive home it is a 4000 km round trip, and it would take 5 days travel each way and cost around £2000.
    We have a van that we travel and camp in and camping is a huge thing here, I have met people from all over and so many share the opinion that they would love to visit the UK but it is just too far and to expensive when you add up all the miles and multiple ferries it takes to get there. I look at the map and find it so frustrating when I see how short the distance is from say Bergen to Shetland or the mainland UK. Please someone restart a link to Skandinavia even just for the summer months.

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