If you’re planning a trip to the Island and are unsure about how to get here, the options are ferry, ferry or ferry. With no commercial airport, fixed link or tunnel, the only way on or off the Island is by boat, which for some residents and visitors is part of the appeal.
Wight Locations have trade accounts with both Wightlink and Red Funnel and can offer very competitive rates. The Island team can help with booking your ferry, just give them a call on 01983 617322; option 2.
All the ferries that service the Isle of Wight are modern, comfortable and pet friendly, and are an enjoyable part of the Island experience. If you’ve never travelled to the Island before, below is some useful local knowledge we’d like to share.
Portsmouth Car Ferry – This is probably the busiest and most popular route to the Island, with crossings every half hour during the summer months. This crossing takes approx. 45 minutes and docks at Fishbourne on the Island, about 15 minutes’ drive from our office in Seaview. All ferries take dogs, who have their own pet friendly area onboard. The ferries have snack bars and the newer vessels have a Greggs bakery and Costa Coffee on the upper deck.
Lymington Car Ferry – The quietest route to the Island, but with a more limited timetable, particularly in the winter. The crossing takes approx. 40 minutes, and the majority of this time is spent navigating in or out of Lymington Harbour, but it’s very pretty! The Ferry docks in Yarmouth on the west of the Island, where we have several cottages. Both ferries on this route have a small shop and coffee bar onboard, they are the smallest of all the car ferries. Pets are allowed onboard and again have their own area.
Portsmouth Passenger Ferry (no cars)– This is a high-speed catamaran which departs from Portsmouth Harbour train station every 30 minutes (daytime) The terminal is can be found at the end of the train platform. This is very useful for anyone travelling by train from London. This crossing takes approx. 20 minutes. The ferry docks at the end of Ryde Pier, which is a ¼ mile long Victorian pier with a small train that links all the way to Shanklin. Most foot passengers opt to walk the pier to the bus station at the dry end, however there are always taxis waiting outside the terminal building if you’re in a hurry. Pets are again welcome onboard and this route is popular with cyclists as bikes can also be bought onboard (small charge).
Red Funnel operate one car ferry and one foot passenger ferry, both from Southampton, a short hop from the city centre and shops. The car ferry terminal and high speed terminal are in different parts of Town Quay, but only a 2-minute walk apart. Although both ferries depart from the same port, they dock in separate parts of Cowes. For anyone unfamiliar with Cowes, the town is split in two by the River Medina, so anyone travelling on these ferries needs to be aware that they are arriving in the correct (East car ferry or West foot passenger) part of Cowes.
Southampton Car Ferry – The largest of the car ferries to the Island. This crossing takes one hour, but the new larger ferries have a large café area, bar, coffee bar and a 2nd upper deck with two additional large cafes, one of which is the pet friendly café. Wifi is also available onboard. These ferries run hourly.
High Speed Passenger Ferry – The ‘Red Jet’ runs from Southampton every 30 minutes and is a popular commuter route. The small ferry holds about 200 walk on passengers and takes about 25 minutes to reach West Cowes. Although the terminal is nowhere near the train station, Red Funnel does operate a free bus from the port to the train station, the other side of the city centre. Travel time is approx. 15 minutes across Southampton. Pets are welcome onboard.
Hover Travel - The only place you'll find a passenger ferry hovercraft in the world is here. Running between Southsea and Ryde this service has been operating for over 50 years and is the quickest route across the Solent. The hovercraft is for foot passengers only (dogs welcome), and takes only ten minutes.
Classic Cottages guests receive a 20% discount on hovercraft travel. Simply show your booking confirmation when purchasing your tickets. The hovercraft departs every 30 minutes from the seafront at Southsea and lands on Ryde beach, right next to the bus station.