It's not that cheap to fly these days, even budget airlines have had to increase their prices to keep up with rising taxes and other outgoings - but that's where driving comes in. You can cross the channel now, in your car, from as little as £23 pounds - making it even cheaper to get from Folkstone to Calais then it is to go from London to Birmingham! This works out great for everyone but especially families or groups of friends all travelling in one vehicle as the price is for the car only. The crossing is quick too - taking just 35 minutes - making it quicker than the average journey from Central London to travel zones 3+. There are usually around 3 services per hour so you can choose to cross at your convenience.
If you are hoping to take as much in as possible on your road trip, then you can call in at Dover on your way to Folkstone, where you'll find the historic Dover castle as well as a quaint village atmosphere and the incredible White Cliffs of Dover - ideal for a drive through before your trip kicks off in France. Once you hit Calais you'll find yourself greeted by rolling French countryside and the odd roadside cafe and pit stop to refuel and generally stock up on bits and pieces for the journey. The most frequented route from here would of course be to Paris, and there are a number of ways that you can get there. The quickest, though by far the least visually interesting is the toll route via the NI which costs approximately 15 Euros and takes around 1 1/2 hours, while the longer route takes a little under 3 hours and is a more scenic journey to France's capital.
Planning a trip like this can have its ups and downs but if you do it properly you'll find that the benefits of road travel to the Continent far outweigh the drawbacks. You can slug the entire luggage you want into your vehicle and not have to worry at all about weight restrictions and you can go at your own pace - which alone is worth its weight in gold when you start to think about last minute flight connections and late trains! If you're planning a trip like this but don't usually drive, then you'll need to get a good reliable, and preferably cheap car hire. You can even look at the Euro Tunnel website to see if there are discounts on certain car types before you hire yours and then use this knowledge to hire a car online with a comparison service such as Car Rentals Network, where you can browse hundreds of great car hire deals from all of the major service providers.