I am planning to have a Scandinavian trip (preferably it would include Copenhagen, Malmö, Gothenburg, maybe also Oslo or the southern parts of Norway) from London by car. As I'll be the only one able to drive I want to try to minimize the amount to drive outside of Scandinavia. The Harwich - Esbjerg ferry route seemed to be perfect, but unfortunately after 29 September it will be shut down. The page only mentions alternative routes that go to Calais first, from which I have to drive all the way through to Denmark (around 1200 km).

Google also suggest taking the Harwich - Hoek van Holland ferry to the Netherlands first, and continue my trip from that. I could gain around 250 kms, which is not much, but still better than going through Calais or Dunkerque.

I was wondering whether I could still decrease the amount to drive, e.g. by taking another ferry from the Netherlands or by using some kind of car transport by train (I don't know whether there are any though).

I've also considered flying to Copenhagen first and then getting a hire car, but we'd probably have a lot of luggage both way that would prohibit the air travel.

  • 1
    The bad news is that Seat 61 doesn't suggest any alternatives, which was my first thought of where to chek
    – Gagravarr
    Aug 28, 2014 at 15:40
  • 2
    Oh, and one advantage of the Harwich-Hoek ferry is you could leave London after work, drive to Harwich, get a decent night's sleep on the boat, then set off fresh from Hoek the next morning closer to your destination
    – Gagravarr
    Aug 28, 2014 at 15:42
  • There are some Motorail services in Europe, but sadly the wikipedia list suggests none suitable for your planned route
    – Gagravarr
    Aug 28, 2014 at 15:45
  • I edited "route" to include "ferry". When I first read the title, not knowing being familiar with the cities in question, I assumed you were asking about road routes. (Of course, after looking at a map and seeing they are on opposite sides of the North Sea, I realize that is ridiculous to someone who knows the area.) Aug 28, 2014 at 16:08
  • Hi. I deleted my answer as the info in it was out of date. I may have a suggestion but want to check something first Aug 28, 2014 at 17:48

2 Answers 2


There are several freight ferries across the North Sea, operated by DFDS, including between the UK and Scandinavia.

Routes include Immingham (near Hull) to Ejsberg (Denmark), Brevik (Norway), or Gothenburg (Sweden), and from Tilbury (near London) to Gothenburg. Note there is currently a freight ferry from Harwich to Ejsberg, but this is due to end in September, along with the passenger ferry.

These freight services have some spaces for passengers, including cars. See this document for passenger information (including prices). It seems there is no online booking system, you have to phone or email the office to book.

Note these are long distances and the ferries are not particularly fast, most journeys take over 24 hours, up to 37 hours from Gothenburg to Tilbury. And as these are primarily freight ferries, the departure or arrival times may be inconvenient for passengers, some are late at night.

Update: As of February 2018, the DFDS website states:

Due to UKBF port approval private passengers are not permitted to be carried through Immingham, this means that we can no longer accept leisure fare paying passengers on the freight routes through Immingham.

The Tilbury-Gothenburg route is no longer listed.


As you have discovered the ferries from uk to Scandinavia are an endangered species, and as I discovered when I tried to answer this question earlier, that personal knowledge can also go out of date, and even when you back it up with info from a supposedly trustworthy link, and then that info is also out of date!

As you detailed in your question there seems to only be the options of ferry to holland or Belgium, and then drive.

In your question you also indicated that you were prepared to hire a car in Copenhagen, but that luggage might be an issue if travelling by air. Depending on how much time you have for this trip, could I suggest a different option.

The excellent seat61 website shows several options for travelling to Scandinavia by train. And whilst there is no auto train option, you might thing about travelling by Eurostar to Brussels, followed by sleeper train to Sweden


This would solve your luggage problem to some extent, although you still have to carry it!

I hope you enjoy your trip, Scandinavia is super and I can't wait to return.

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