If flying isn't your thing or you're planning a driving holiday there are a couple of ferry options which can transport you directly from Britain to Spain. The journeys move between Plymouth and Santander and PortFsmouth and Bilbao and should take between 20 and 24 hours depending on weather conditions.
Direct ferries aren't a cheap option but they are convenient and comfortable if you're wanting to arrive in Spain's northern reaches. You're able to bring your own transport, and the ferries provided by both Brittany Ferries and P&O Portsmouth provide.
Ferrying directly to Santander is a good option due to the efficient network of roads which runs out of the city. This enables you access to roads towards the rest of Spain and Portugal.
Brittany Ferries are responsible for running the Plymouth to Santander service. The service runs twice a week which is extended to three times weekly in the high season. This route is the quickest way to reach Spain by ferry and the service runs year round. Plymouth also boasts the shortest ferry journey from England to south western France.
Accommodation of some sort is needed on a ferry journey which can take up to 24 hours and on Brittany Ferries this ranges from reclining deckchairs to luxury cabins with self-contained bathrooms and complimentary breakfast. You are able to select from two or four person berths with or without toilet and shower facilities.
Portsmouth is Britain's best connected ferry port with solid road links with the rest of the UK, making it an ideal place to depart by boat for northern Spain. Bilbao is a great gateway to Spain, south western France and Portugal, and the very comfortable ferry is run by P&O Portsmouth with two 29-hour crossings weekly. By travelling from Portsmouth to Bilbao you can avoid the long drive though France into northern Spain.
The P&O ferry which sails this route, The Pride of Bilbao, has the largest passenger capacity of any ferry operating out of the UK, and it boasts a selection of restaurants a gym and a cinema.