Cross early to give you a whole day to explore the area around Calais, taking in some sights and allowing time for shopping in one of the large supermarkets either at the beginning or end of the day. Obviously your itinerary needs to be geared around the time of year you are travelling and the weather conditions at the time (as we found out to our cost on a recent winter trip!).
Leaving Calais (either port or tunnel) head for the coast road (D940), and enjoy a pleasant drive southwards following signs for Boulogne-sur-Mer. En route allow time to stop at either Cap Blanc-Nez (right) or Cap Gris-Nez, park your car and go for an invigorating walk along the cliffs. This is wonderful walking country with a GR (Grande Randonneé) – the French equivalent of English long distance paths – all along the coast. On clear days you will be rewarded with fantastic views back across to England. Near to Cap Gris-Nez (at the junction of the D191 and D940) is a World War 2 musuem – the Musée du Mur de l’Atlantique. Here you will find lots of wartime artefacts housed in a former German bunker. (Open all year from 1st February to 30th November).
Head on towards Wimereux where you might like to stop in one of the carparks just before Wimereux town and explore the sand dunes and beach – this is a great place for kite flying! Pre-book somewhere in Wimereux for lunch or take a picnic to eat on the beach (time of year dependant!). There is an excellent choice of restaurants in the town. Wimereux itself is a very pleasant town to stroll around with a car free promenade and wonderful beach which in warmer weather will keep children entertained for hours.
After lunch carry on to Boulogne (still on the D940) where Nausicaa Aquarium awaits (see right). Just before the town, a poignant reminder of the last war can be visited in a War Cemetery at Terlincthun (take a left at the first roundabout after Wimereux and you will find the cemetery after ½ mile on your right), otherwise carry on to the aquarium which will keep the whole family happy for the afternoon – allow at least 3 hours.
Find out more about Day Trips in France: