British fans are flocking from the UK to Le Mans in 2024 for one of the biggest motoring spectacles on Earth - here's how to make the journey

The French city of Le Mans is something of a pilgrimage for motorsport fans. Immortalised on the silver screen on several occasions, the 2019 film Ford vs Ferrari, starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, is the latest adaptation of the legendary 1966 race. Thousands make the trip to France each year to see one of the most incredible tests of endurance in motorsport.

The Le Mans 24h is seen as something of a bucket list race among drivers, and this year former F1 drivers Mick Schumacher, Romain Grosjean and Nyck de Vries will be taking part, as well as MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi.

British driver James Calado, after winning the historic centenary edition in 2023, will return with Ferrari to try and retain the Prancing Horse’s title. Since the release of the Le Mans 2024 entry list by the FIA, interest is peaking and the final Le Mans tickets for 2024 are being snapped up.

Le Mans fever has certainly made it across the Channel to the UK, and an increasing amount make the trip to see the jewel in the WEC crown each year. If you will be among them in 2024, this is how to get from the UK to Le Mans.

Where is the Le Mans racetrack in France?

The Circuit de la Sarthe is located in the city of Le Mans in Northwest France, a few hours west of Paris. The circuit itself sits south of the city of Le Mans, with the track taking in a number of smaller villages. Some of these villages give their names to the iconic corners of the circuit, including Arnage and Mulsanne.

Image: Google Maps

How to get to Le Mans from the UK

The main section of the article. Summarise the main ways to get to Le Mans from the UK – promoting Channel Crossings first as per the MTD packages, then air and Eurostar.

There are multiple ways to get to Le Mans from the UK. If you’ve booked your package through Motorsport Travel Destinations, we then we suggest travelling by Le Shuttle or Ferry. Le Shuttle (Eurotunnel) is the most accessible as it has round-the-clock crossings. The channel crossing itself only takes half an hour, with and onward journey from Calais to Le Mans taking about five hours by car, dependent on traffic conditions.

Getting to France by ferry also offers several routes, the main being Dover/Calais. Ferries generally are the slower choice but offer the option of overnight crossings or landing slightly closer to Le Mans, and a shorter drive on the other side; Caen is only 2.5 hours from Le Mans. Depending on where your starting location is, there may be more convenient, such as Portsmouth/Caen or Poole/Cherbourg. Travellers coming from the north of the UK may even opt for the Hull/Rotterdam crossing.

Poole to Cherbourg
Poole to Cherbourg
Portsmouth to Caen
Portsmouth to Caen
Hull to Rotterdam
Hull to Rotterdam

International travellers or those not wanting to drive may decide to fly to France. Le Mans does have a small airfield but this will be occupied during the event so it would be best to fly into Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and catch the train down to the circuit. The Eurostar is another option to avoid the long drive down to the circuit. Starting at St Pancras in London, the Eurostar will get you to Paris in just 2h16m, then after a short transfer by metro or taxi to Paris Mont Parnasse station, the France cross country rail links Paris with Le Mans in just over an hour.

Driving to Le Mans from the UK

Consider adding ‘insider tips’ to demonstrate experience and authority, i.e. quickest route vs most scenic route, times to avoid due to traffic, places to stop along the way for a bite to eat, etc. If applicable, highlight any public holidays / major events that fall on the same weekend which might impact traffic volume on the road.

Gold Flexotel at Le Mans 24h
The majority of Travel Destinations customers drive from he UK

The majority of our customers and attendees of Le Mans will be driving to Le Mans from the UK. Naturally, an increase in traffic during this period will see congestion build up on the major routes. Travelling to Dover, whether it be via ferry or Eurotunnel, is the route we recommend to customers. Regardless of how you choose to travel, it is advised that you pre-plan your journey well in advance.

  • To cross the Channel you will need your ferry/Eurotunnel booking information as well as your passport.
  • From Calais it can take between five and six hours to Le Mans, sometimes even longer, depending on the day and how close to race weekend you travel
  • Other journeys from different ports can vary – Caen is probably the closest and the drive from Caen port can be between two and three hours.
  • If you are travelling with us, upon arrival you will be provided with maps/QR codes for maps that should take you directly to your campsite.
  • It is best to avoid driving through Rouen unless you have pre-paid for the specified exemption to drive through the city (clean air ruling)

Best way to get to Le Mans from the UK: Folkestone to Calais via Le Shuttle

We recommend taking the Le Shuttle (Eurotunnel) due to speed and accessibility. From Folkestone to Le Mans it should only take around six hours dependent on traffic – the crossing itself only lasts about half an hour. However, it is the 24-hour crossings that allow flexibility with travelling as well as the option to travel using a Flexiplus ticket which allows you to travel on any crossing throughout the day.

Taking the ferry to Le Mans

Our main ferry offering is Dover/Calais. This is the most common option but other crossings we offer include: Portsmouth/Caen, Portsmouth/Cherbourg, Poole/Cherbourg, Portsmouth/St Malo, Plymouth/Roscoff and Hull/Rotterdam.

Check out the package options here.

Flights to Le Mans from UK

Flying to Le Mans is also an option, favoured particularly by people who don’t live close to a ferry terminal or don’t drive. While we don’t offer flights as part of our packages, flying into Paris and renting a car or taking the train to the circuit is very much a viable plan. This can help avoid taking a vehicle on the long journey to Le Mans.

The easiest option is definitely flying to Paris and then taking a train southeast to Le Mans. There are plenty of flights to Paris each day and most UK airports offer direct flights to the French capital.

What is the nearest airport to Le Mans?

Le Mans Arnage Airport (LFRM) is technically the nearest airport to Le Mans but it does not provide commercial flights.

The nearest international airport to Le Mans is Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG). You can fly direct to Paris from most UK airports, including London (Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and Southend), Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Belfast. There are no flights to CDG from Cardiff, however you can fly direct to Paris Orly Airport (ORY) from the Welsh capital.

Travelling from Charles de Gaulle airport to Le Mans

Fans attending the Le Mans 24h race will be pleased to know that there is a direct train to Le Mans from CDG airport. The journey takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes on the TGV INOUI service.

Some travellers may wish to break up the journey with a pitstop or even a night or two in Paris. If that is the case, you can catch the train from the Gare Montparnasse station, which only takes around 55 minutes.

If you choose to rent a car from Charles de Gaulle and drive to Le Mans, the journey takes just under three hours – not factoring in race week traffic.

Reserve your spot for the 2024 Le Mans 24h race

The Le Mans 24h is one of the most the most popular motorsport events in the calendar. In 2023 the Circuit de la Sarthe welcomed 325,000 fans to the small town of Le Mans.

This year is proving just as popular, as the circuit itself has already sold out of tickets.

Three of our five types of accommodation packages have already fully sold out and the remaining Gold (previously known as Flexotel) and Silver (Glamping) are selling fast.

Don’t miss the final opportunity to be at the 2024 Le Mans 24h race – book now!