Shopping trip to the UK
Linda likes to make her own slow fashion clothing and while she has always been knitting and crocheting, she recently also took up her past hobby of sewing.
Looking for nice fabrics and patterns on the internet, she stumbled on the website of Merchant & Mills in the UK.
When we saw an advert for ferry services to the UK, we checked out the price and we were surprised that it was only 25 euro per person for a oneway crossing, including the bicycle. The ferry to Dover goes from Dunkirk in France, which is only a good 30 km's from the nearest Belgian railway station.
End conclusion : The Merchant & Mills shop was only a 90 km bicycle ride away and it would cost us around 75 Euro's per person for the entire return trip, including ferry and train.
From the railway station in De Panne, there is a nice signposted bicycle path to Dunkirk. From Dunkirk, there is no direct cycle path to the ferry terminal but we followed bicycle friendly roads as displayed on the Pocket Earth app.
Once we were in Dover, we followed the signposted National cycle route 2 which links Dover in Kent to Austall in Cornwall.
While Rye is only a good 60 km's from Dover, just be aware that cycling paths in the UK can be steep, inclinations of 10 or 12% are not an exception. Rye is certainly worth a visit and is renowned for it's cobbled streets, old half-timbered houses and it's many vintage shops.
We first had the intention to continue cycling to Brighton but we met some people who recommended not to go there during the Easter holiday period as it would be overcrowded.
We opted to just go continue to Hastings with a day trip to Battle.
The battle of Hastings was fought in 1066 between the Norman-French army of William the Conqueror and the new Anglo-Saxon king Harold Godwinson. William won and claimed the English crown. Queen Elizabeth is a descendant of William who founded a monastery at the site of the battle.
You can find all UK cycle routes on the website of Sustrans (https://www.sustrans.org.uk).
When you book a ferry from Dunkerque to Dover with DFDS, remember that they do not take foot passengers. If you are by bicycle, you cannot book for 2 bicycles in 1 go, you need to make separate bookings per bicycle and add 1 person as passenger for the bicycle.
Check in at least 30 minutes before departure. While you need to make a reservation for a specific time, checking in for an earlier ferryservice does not seem to be a problem if you are by bicycle.
When boarding and while at sea, switch off your data roaming to avoid extra high international roaming charges.
When you are in Hastings, go for a nice cup of coffee or breakfast at Hanushka coffee house.
If you walk towards the old fishing port, just have a look and coffee at Flushed.
In Rye, go for breakfast or lunch at the White House. No reservations taken, if you can wait there's always a place for you.
For photos of the White House, Flushed and Hanushka :
Make a site trip to Battle and visit the Abbey with a walk around the historic battle field.