Hook of Holland via Hull on the Rotterdam ferry. (with P+O ferries – no other ferries are available for this route!)
We had booked a special exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and wanted to use the Bromptons for a bit of an adventure going over. (We returned on the Eurostar direct from Amsterdam to London).
We decided to cycle from Rotterdam Europoort, where the P+O ferry docks, up to Leiden for a night, via the Hook of Holland (the Dutch section of the LF Kustroute/Eurovelo route 12 or North Sea route) and then onwards on day 2 to stay in Haarlem, which we would use as a base, just travelling into Amsterdam on the 15 min train ride for the day. (£10 return) – this made for 2 comfortable 30ish mile days on the Bromptons (esp given the wind, and more wind – not in our favour on this run….)
Station to Ferry:
Our journey started in Sheffield around early/mid afternoon, travelling to Hull. Alighting from the train in Hull turn R off the platform and out of the South side of the station and mount up at the Pelican crossing on Anlaby Rd.
Follow the 1/2hr, 3.5 mile route to the ferry given on Cyclestreets – https://www.cyclestreets.net/journey/89005767/ – crossing the impressive Drypool bascule (Scherzer rolling lift bridge) bridge over the river Hull, the good cycle path using the old Hull to Barnsley trackbed to pass the amazing Siemens wind turbine blade factory on Alexandra dock, then turning down to terminal 1 of King George dock for the ferry.
(Historical layout of the docks here – pre King George dock which is to the right of the Alexandra dock.)
(comprehensive info from P+O re taking bikes on this ferry here )
We didn’t find a clear way of booking a bike on P+O’s online format, so we booked on as foot passengers and then rang the customer helpline 01304 44 88 88 and booked the bikes.
Note – we’ve since come across booking services such as https://www.directferries.co.uk/ which are a few pounds cheaper and purport to offer a bicycle option but we couldn’t get it to work, so I think option 1 above is best.
On arrival you now have to join the outside car queue, which feels a bit odd….I do wonder if you could equally just roll up at terminal 2 with the foot passengers, and if it was raining that’s maybe what i’d try.
(P+O say: “Top tip: bicycles count as vehicles, so make sure you’ve thought of this in advance when making your booking. Remember – only one bicycle is allowed per booking. If you are travelling without a vehicle you must check in via the car lanes, and not as a foot passenger. Cyclists will ride or walk up the ramp with their bicycle to deck 7 and all vehicles will be held until you reach the roof of the terminal and the ramp to the ship. Once you are on deck 7, a marshal will direct you were to go and secure your bicycle.”) Make sure you get to the Port of Hull with plenty of time to spare – check in closes 90 minutes before the ship is scheduled to depart, we recommend arriving plenty of time before this to prevent any hold-ups, as the ferry terminal can get busy.
It took about ½ hr to shuffle to the check in, so a brolly may be helpful at this point!
You may be invited into the custom shed for a random check.
You’ll then cycle up the ramp, and tie your bikes up to a bulkhead just inside the hold door (ropes provided).
NB We definitely recommend this ‘being a vehicle’ approach, rather than trying to take folding bikes on as a foot passenger, as there isn’t much room to manoeuvre/store a folder onboard!
Enjoy the cruise down the Humber past Immingham/Grimsby/Cleethorpes/Spurn Pt, and get some beer/jazz/films/shut eye ready for the 7.30 wake up announcement prior to the 9am docking.
Following the announcement for drivers to go to vehicles, go down and release your steed, and nose up to the hold ramp door ready to be invited to be first off when it opens! – whizz down through the passport hut and customs car port and you are free!
You now have various choices re crossing the Nieuwe Waterweg Ship canal northwards to get to the Hook of Holland.(Assuming you want to).
Between April 1st and October 1st you can cycle west through the Europoort for about an hour and a quarter to catch the little 11am https://www.hoeksveer.nl/EN/ ferry from Maasvlakte over to the Hook of Holland, more or less crossing the mouth of the huge canal as it meets the North sea. It goes from behind the imaginatively named ‘Future Land’ leisure facility and takes about an hour, costing 7.20 euros. It’s an interesting ride through the port and all its docks and ships. We enjoyed this, and it dropped nicely time wise being 2 hrs after docking, and it meant the minimum of cycling overall to get to the Hook.
NB: Note that it is only 7 days a week in July and August! – study the timetable carefully!
Out of season, on a day when the hoeksveer isnt’ operating or just by preference, you can cycle a similar distance eastwards parallel to the Canal to the – Rosenburg to Maassluis ferry
Or you can keep going towards Rotterdam proper to the cycle tunnel
Either way, assuming you want to get to the coast to then go North, you’ll need to then cycle back West a good way to the Hook – probably into the wind!!
Alternatively, if you aren’t too fussed about getting to the Hook to then follow the EV12/LF Kustroute along the coast, you can pick out a shorter more direct route to The Hague/Delft/Leiden/Utrecht/Amsterdam etc using the fabulous Fietsroutes (numbered nodal network) of cycle paths that covers much of the country.
We used the brilliantly simple https://routiq.com/app on our phones to plan and follow these routes – just pick a route, note the numbers of the junctions that when chained together form the route you want, and then follow the numbered arrows directing you to each successive numbered junction! (All in Green)
To be honest we preferred the shelter and interest to be found dodging around the urban settlements and wooded edgelands of the interior to ploughing along the often featureless coast path……
Additional side note regarding taking a Brompton on the Eurostar:
Well it’s great that you can, however we found the following when boarding in Amsterdam.
You need to fold and cover your bike as soon as you get to the queue to check in, using whatever ‘wheeled’ additions it has to then move it along. We used proper Brompton covers, but I suspect a large but sturdy bin bag may well suffice, as long as it’s strong enough to withstand being manhandled through the scanner etc.
Note – the £3 IKEA Dimpa storage bag is a great wheeze for totally bagging up your Brompton, BUT note that you won’t then be able to ‘wheel’ it along as you can with the open bottom Brompton bag or equivalent.
(It is also a fail safe option for UK buses and coaches who can turn open covers away!!)
A standard Brompton just fitted through the scanner with a bit of malarkey, but I had to remove my extended seatpost (just the extender bit) for it to fit through!
This suggests any other folder larger than a Brompton will be problematic….