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. The most economic route for the UK is Newcastle, Stavanger, Bergen. If a route from Scotland is subsidised then Rosyth and Aberdeen are favoured I think. I can’t see it happening for some years – the Brexit process will stall such things.

  2. Let’s hope they can sort something out. Used to go back home 3-4 times a year when Newcastle was up and running. Now I get 1500 miles one way if I go trough Europe

  3. A much better option would be for a Hull to Copenhagen service. Hull has always being the best port for accessing Scandinavia from the UK, and vice versa, hence why all the immigrants from Scandinavia to the USA used to come through Hull on the way to Liverpool to connect with liner services to the states. If you go to Hull Paragon Station, you can still see the old immigration platforms, and waiting rooms, which are now used as carriage sidings, and a club respectively. While Hull doesn’t have an immigrant trade anymore, Hull is still geographically perfectly positioned to handle a Scandinavian ferry service, being roughly equidistant from northern Scotland, south west england, and all areas in between. Hul has excellent transport links with the A63 connecting the national motorway network directly to the ferry terminal. A dedicated bus services link Hull Ferry terminal with Hull Paragon Station for connection with direct train services to London King’s Cross, Doncaster, Sheffield, Leeds, York, Manchester, Manchester Airport,, and York. Connecting trains services to Scotland, the north west, north east, the midlands, Birmingham, and the south west of England, can be made at nearby York, and Leeds. Coach services are also available form Hull with direct services to London, Birmingham, Cardiff, and Swansea, among others. Hull is simply the perfect port from the introduction of a Scandinavian ferry service, and with P&O Ferries already operating from Hull to Zeebrugge, and Rotterdam from Hull has the facilities, and experience to handle such a service. Hull is open for business, and ready to welcome travellers to, and from beautiful Scandinavia.

  4. Really need a realistic ferry route from UK to Norway. Newcastle to Stavanger seems such a good and simple option – complete madness to be driving all the way down to Dover and crossing through Europe.
    The sooner the better.

  5. I would love to see this happen-A Copenhagen to England crossing would be great. My friend can’t spend Christmas with me and my family in England as she cannot bring her cat across any other way (unless she spends about 24 hours by train, going via Dortmund, Germany to get to London!). No English Christmas for her this year! Hopefully, if it comes in the future she can come and enjoy a roast dinner in 2019/2020!

  6. We used the Newcastle to Bergen ferry not long before it closed. There was hardly anyone on board, about a dozen cars and a couple of lorries. Easy to see why it closed.

  7. Sorry to disappoint you, Michael. As it stands there’s no crossing between Scandinavia and the UK. You could go from Holland to the UK, but how much time and effort you would save depends on your final destination in the UK. x

  8. Hi Peter. As far as I know there’s no news, but bad news. No one is willing to start a crossing between the UK and Scandinavia at the moment. Shame, but we need to face reality. x

  9. I agree with all you write. This is the most practical ferry route for the UK (good for Scots and the rest of the UK) – Newcastle to Norway – as it used to stop at Stavanger and then went up to Bergen (very pretty through the skerries). Used it for years. Those heading for Oslo and Sweden could get off at Stavanger. Just had the nightmare journey from hell going with the Chunnel, across Northern Europe (yugh) to Denmark (sigh of relief when I got there at least) and then Frederikshavn to Gothenburg. An expensive and carbon-rich experience . Got charged double at the chunnel on the way back as horrific snarl ups in Germany made it take 11 hours to get across (yugh) – so in total nearly £300 for the inconvenience and pain. Nightmare. I could not believe it when I found out the Newcastle-Bergen Ferry was stopped – only just found out as we had only intended to test out the practicality and comfort of driving and wanted to visit Denmark as a one-off. Not doing that again for sure … I’d rather eat glass. I hope the ferry companies will see sense and go with a compromise (Newcastle) as opposed to a southern (Harwich) or Scottish route only. I also do not want to see a UK-Denmark trip only either – as the Frederickshavn to Gothenburg route is NOT cheap and two ferry trips is largely unsustainable for folk from the UK (extra distance to Denmark when you don’t want to go there anyway). In fact bring them all back as I know there are Denmarkophiles who want the Harwich-Esberg route re-instated … !! I can’t believe that there is even discussion about this … no Scandinavian ferries – what next?

  10. I have been asking northing ferries to reinstate the summer run to Norway that P&O used to do from Lerwick to Bergan for 3 years no and no real response, P&O used to run on a saturday during to summer months, we have loads of family all over Norway and used to travel every summer. living in Shetland means driving to Norway is almost impossible for a Holliday as it takes 2 days just to get to the south of England.
    Please please bring a direct route back to Norway.

  11. Any progress on this project? I’m in the USA (unfortunately) … in the 1970s I flew to Scotland, and then took a train to Newcastle, and from there the ferry to Bergen. Then I used the bus and train system to get around in Norway. Sure wish there was a way to do that again.

  12. I live in Bergen and have sorely missed the Newcastle ferry. I get that shopping in London may be more attractive for Norwegians than time spent on a ferry but there are many people who would use the link. I have to be in Northern Ireland 3 or four times a year and I would also consider travelling to see friends In Northern England and maybe playing in some folk clubs as well. Please open it.

  13. Can i please ask where this rumour started? P&O know nothing about it and neither do people in trnsport office in Edinburgh.

  14. What is the latest news? Anything from P&O that indicates that they will start a UK-Scandinavia ferry line?


  15. Having sailed on the Harwich to Esbjerg route to Denmark on a previous trip, I would love to see options to travel by ferry to Scandinavia. I live in Derbyshire so Newcastle would be ideal. My partner, son and myself love to travel by long distance ferry and view it has part of the adventure. We are currently returning from a Brittany Ferries trip to France travelling from Portsmouth to Bilbao and back from Roscoff to Plymouth. We would love to do a similar trip through Norway and Sweden. Sooner the better I say.

  16. As an Aussie planning a 2019 Scandinavian holiday terminating in Denmark, I would also be interested in a ferry that could take us from eg Frederikshavn onto the UK

  17. Yes please, it would be great to have a service on the seaway, I’m totally dissolutiioned and tired of the uncertainty of air travel, also the way we are treated from A. to B.

  18. Please reopen this route. Having just returned from a 2 week holiday touring Holland, Germany and southern Denmark, we would love to tour the rest of Denmark and visit Sweden and Norway, but it’s too far for a time constrained holiday.
    I’d rather not wait until I’m retired to be able to complete a trip that involves at least a 1000 mile drive to get into Scandinavia, it’s exhausting!!!

  19. We have been unable to visit our close friends in Western Norway for many years. We have used ferries from Newcastle to Bergen, Harwich to Oslo, Harwich to Gothenburg in the past – all now stopped. Please reconsider Harwich to Esbjerg route again. At least we could then get to Bergen via Hirstals ferry. In our 70’s now, we do not wish to drive from UK to Hirstals. There are lots of people in the UK who do not fly. The train is not an option as it takes too long to get to Bergen from the UK. Does this mean we will never see our Norwegian friends again who we have known over 55 years?

  20. Does anyone know whether there has been any further news concerning the Scottish proposal to open talks with P&O ferries since the initial news report in January? We so hope that a new ferry will link the UK with Norway again. We would travel up to Scotland to travel by ferry, no matter which port it may sail from or where the link might be in Norway. We used to visit Scandinavia regularly and would love to do so again.

  21. With the cost of flights from UK- Oulu and the car hire , I would seriously consider driving. I struggle to comprehend that the levels of trade between Scandinavia and the Nordics is not enough to support a ferry once or twice a week. Personally and rather selfishly would like to see Hull re open, its central to Scotland and the south of the UK. Fingers crossed.

  22. We are a family that loves to travel & are currently planning a trip to Norway. However with 4 grown up Children & their partners & a 3 year old planes, trains & hire of a couple of vehicles is not viable money wise. We really need to take our own vehicles so we can carry everything we need for an adventure holiday away in Norway. Please hurry & reopen the Ferry crossing from the UK direct to Scandinavia.

  23. We have family in Oslo & Christiansand so have been forced on to flying and hiring a car to reach them all.

    The last time we were able to use the ferry from Newcastle the boat was absolutely packed. So surely there is a market for such a service. Notably the direct freight service is now refusing to take cars, I wonder if they were getting so many cars, that it was getting in the freight companies way?

    Any company opening up the route would have a USP for the Brits and Norwegians, they really like the UK and it’s people.

  24. Yes please.. immediately prior to the demise of the Fjord Line service we had three wonderful spring holidays on the Hardanger and nearby fjords, they remain our most memorable holidays.
    The trip from Ipswich to Newcastle was rarely a problem and the A1 is much better nowadays so we would rather cross directly to Bergen than have to take an additional ferry or road journey from Denmark.
    I have made the road trip from Via the Netherlands when we had a fast Stena ferry from Parkestone but that too is a distant memory.
    Flying to the Nordic countries for business is fine (barely) but for a truly relaxing holiday you need to arrive by ship, that’s why we have been staying on Shetland ever since…

  25. I am amazed that there are no ferries from UK to Norway or Denmark.. I plan to tour Denmark Norway and Sweden by motorcycle in 2918 I have been planning this trip for years and my initial route was from Aberdeen to Lerwick and then Lerwick to Bergen the ferries could brew used at night and save me over a thousand miles on my outgoing journey. Now it aaooeats that this is no longer available neither is Harwich to Esbjerg . To say that I am gutted is an understatement, I wonder how much Scandinavian GDP is being impacted it is so much easier to head towards Southern Europe and spend my money in Euro’s.Robert Rendle

  26. A group of about 6-8 of us in 3-4 cars, travel to Sweden every February for various winter sports (about 250 miles north of Oslo)
    A ferry service from the Uk to Scandinavia would give us an extra 2days on our holiday as it would save so much driving, fingers crossed something is sorted for our 2019 trip

  27. I emigrated from Germany to the UK 25 years ago, taking the (long discontinued) ferry from Hamburg to Harwich! It seemed almost a romantic choice then, but now, with a family of four and regular visits to the North of Germany and Denmark, a ferry from the UK to Hamburg or Esbjerg would take soo much effort out of the long drive through Europe. We even took the sleeper train from Paris to Hamburg once (although we didn’t get much sleep if I’m honest) – that route has now been closed too. 🙁

  28. “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… ”

    Useful article thank you, but again (as previous article mentioned above we do exist) not just “living in England” – half the population in Scotland is closer to Newcastle than London is and might find this route helpful, so do reflect on the terms you use if you are not just referring to your own experience.

  29. In 2005 I flew with my bicycle from Stansted to Trondheim and then cycled from there up to Bodo and across to the Lofoten Islands, before returning to Trondheim on the Hurtigruten. This was my most memorable bike trip ever (and I have cycled in 26 different countries including India and Australia). I was shocked to find that there are no ferries from the UK to Scandinavia. Now I am retiring, I want to take my wife by car and explore the same route. I will definitely sign the petition to reinstate any car / passenger ferry to Denmark or Norway.

  30. Most motorcyclists would love a direct ferry from UK to Norway. The alternatives are a huge detour from the preferred route and destination via Rotterdam or Channel. I’m looking to visit Norway again this year on my bike and I hope a ferry is available otherwise it’s a long slog through the EU again.

  31. Yes yes yes! I sincerely hope this does happen. The convoluted way to do things now just doesn’t suit us, and it’s not quite the same flying and hiring a car there. Our Denmark-Norway road trip was quite possibly one of my fave trips ever but there’s so much more to see. Plus I feel the need to head to Sweden and see beyond Stockholm.

  32. I hope if this really happens that p&o consider a second east coast pick up lower down i.e Hull or Harwich

  33. I much prefer taking the car too, if I’m staying 10 days or longer. And I agree with you that flying is stressful. It takes up at least half a day and with the airport security. Combined with the horrendous boarding arrangements (we tend to fly budget) where you are treated like cattle you’ll need at least a day to recover. Bring back the ferry I say! x

  34. from edinburgh halfway down scotland to tromso in norway is a 6000 mil round trip
    a ferry from aberdeen or rosyth would be amazing and we scots could then travek forth to scandinavia and vis versa
    can only be good for tourism and trade
    flying limits you to where you go and car hire makes for expensive holiday if you want to trip about .having the luxury of taking your own is much better .also flying is a faff trying to get to airport on time re traffic then getting dropped of or parking then all the other rituals beofre actually getting on the plane is exhusting lets go back to viking times and cross the north sea once again ……….

  35. I travel from Ireland (south) and don’t want to have to drive to Scotland to get the ferry!
    Please consider the Harwich to Esbjerg route again!

  36. Ever since the beginning of the1970s we have spent some summer weeks on the east coast of Yorkshire. We have needed our car for transport of various items we can’t be without i.e violin, painting gear, computer, books as well as what’s needed for a complete holiday. These trips came to an abrupt halt in 2014 when the ferries stopped running from Scandinavia. As I have no wish to undergo the hassle of plane, train and bus to get to our place I welcome with open arms any plan for a car ferry from the UK to Scandinavia. I’m 83 so please don’t wait too long to gel the plans!!

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