30 years of the Channel Tunnel

A dog sticking its head out of a vehicle window in the Channel Tunnel

One of the best things about owning a leisure vehicle is the freedom it offers, not just in the UK but also for exploring the continent.

Travelling to France with a caravan or campervan is incredibly convenient thanks to the Channel Tunnel, which opened 30 years ago this month.

The journey from Folkestone to Calais takes just 35 minutes and opens up the whole of Europe to those wishing to enjoy a touring trip.

To mark its 30th birthday, the train service that transports passengers and vehicles through the tunnel, which was rebranded as Le Shuttle last year, shared some interesting facts.


  • The Channel Tunnel is the longest undersea tunnel in the world. While it’s 32 miles from the terminal in Folkestone to the platform in Calais, the underwater section stretches for 25 miles.


  • More than 500 million people and 100 million vehicles have been transported via Le Shuttle in its 30-year history.


  • Since the year 2000, in excess of 3.5 million pets have travelled via Le Shuttle, making it easy to take your pet pooch on a caravan holiday in France.


  • Domesticated animals are not the only creatures to have been transported through the Channel Tunnel, with red pandas, jellyfish, sloths, orangutans, pythons, bears, wolves and even snow leopards all having made the journey.


  • The Channel Tunnel connects Great Britain with the European mainland by land for the first time since the Ice Age, which was over 8,000 years ago.


  • Travelling via Le Shuttle emits 73 times less CO2 than completing the journey by ferry, which is great for eco-conscious caravanners and motorhomers.


  • Two million passenger vehicles are transported by Le Shuttle on average annually.


  • The busiest day in 2023 was March 31st, when 7,858 passenger vehicles made the journey from Folkestone to Calais.


  • Le Shuttle travels at nearly 87mph, which is faster than your caravan or motorhome can manage.


  • At its deepest point, the Channel Tunnel is 75 metres below sea level.


Taking your leisure vehicle on Le Shuttle

With up to four crossings every hour, Le Shuttle represents a handy way to head across to France to embark on a touring adventure, but there are a number of things to bear in mind.

Weight restrictions for the Eurotunnel mean that vehicles over 3.5 tonnes are not permitted on Le Shuttle, so it’s important to know how heavy your motorhome or caravan is.

Vehicles over 1.85 metres high will be allocated a space in the single-deck train carriages, which feature wider entrances to accommodate leisure vehicles.

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanks, which are often used for utilities like cooking, refrigeration and heating in motorhomes, must be less than 80 per cent full for the crossing.

Travellers are required to remain inside their vehicle during the journey, enabling speedier disembarking upon arrival.Members of the Caravan and Motorhome Club get a ten per cent discount on Le Shuttle.