When in the UK, why not enjoy a visit to another part of Europe and experience a more rounded vacation, with many extra sights, sounds and  tastes to recall fondly when you return home?

If you are touring around the North of England and fancy a short break, what could be more relaxing than an overnight ferry, waking up pulling into port the next morning to start your mini-break?

DFDS Seaways operates from Newcastle-upon-Tyne (North Shields) to the Netherlands (Amsterdam-Ijmuiden). All booking information, as well as schedules and prices can be found at www.dfdsseaways.co.uk. The ferries to Norway and Sweden from Newcastle no longer operate.

P&O Ferries operate from Kingston-upon-Hull to Belgium (Zeebrugge) and the Netherlands (Rotterdam), more details are available at P&O Ferries. The same company also operates a service between Liverpool and Dublin, but the information is found at P&O Irish Sea.

Tips for travellers from Newcastle to Amsterdam

When you exit Central Station in Newcastle, turn left and walk around 50 metres. The 327 bus service (£3.00 adult single) to North Shields Ferry Terminal has its own dedicated stop at the far end of the rail station. Two bus services run for the Amsterdam departures, one leaves 2hrs 30 before setting sail and the other leaves around 1hr 15 before.

North Shields Ferry Terminal is bright and airy with plenty of seating, good toilet facilities, food courts and currency exchange bureaux - fairly standard except for the Geordie twang! The ship itself is large and has many restaurants, bars, shops and a children's play area (should you wish for some peace and quiet whilst sipping a couple of beverages on deck). The crossing itself is an overnight job and typically takes 14 hours.

The cabin for four is recommended by many frequent travellers on this service, it is comfortable and has a good-sized bathroom (for a ferry) with shower. Arrival times may vary according to tides and weather conditions, but the ship usually arrives before 10:00.  There are buses into Amsterdam, at a price of €7.50 each. The journey takes 30 minutes (the port is situated in the suburb of Ijmuiden). Drop-off & pick-up occurs across from the Centraal train station.