Thinking of a trip to the Isle of Wight?
Most visitors travel across The Solent on a passenger/vehicle ferry or a hovercraft. Red Funnel and Wight Link are the two main operators of ferry services. The journey from Southampton to East Cowes is catered for by Red Funnel while Wight Link manages the route between Lymington and Yarmouth as well as the Portsmouth to Fishbourne crossing. For those keen to experience a trip in a hovercraft, this service travels between Portsmouth (Southsea) and Ryde.
From the early hours of the morning until late at night all these ports have regular crossings so you can take your time when visiting the Isle of Wight.
Two ferry providers operate across all three routes to the Isle of Wight. The Lymington to Yarmouth and Portsmouth to Fishbourne crossings are serviced by Wight Link, while the third route operating between Southampton and Cowes is managed by Red Funnel.
To the island
Halfway along the north coast, on the mouth of the Medina River, is East Cowes where you will disembark from the Red Funnel ferry. It’s a useful place to dock if you are staying anywhere along the east coast or in the centre of the Isle of Wight. At the heart of the island’s road network is Newport, and there is a direct road link from East Cowes to this historical city.
Yarmouth at the western end of the island is served by Wight Link. Anyone planning a self-catering holiday near Freshwater or Alum Bay will find this a useful place to dock. This route across The Solent is a great way to avoid traffic jams that build up during big events and festivals like the famous Isle of Wight Festival and Cowes Week.
Route 1 - Lymington - Yarmouth
Leaving every half an hour to make the trip, this service is most accessible to those travelling to the Isle of Wight from the New Forest, Bournemouth, Poole and southern Dorset. Passengers are advised to be at the port 30 minutes prior to departure and the crossing time is around 35 minutes.
Route 2 - Portsmouth - Fishbourne
This ferry runs every half an hour at peak times. It’s particularly popular among travellers from the east and north of England due to its proximity to London. Passengers are advised to be at the port 30 minutes prior to departure and the crossing time is 40 minutes.
Route 3 - Southampton - Cowes
Anyone travelling from the West and North of England will find this ferry the most accessible. It runs every hour on the hour and the journey time is around 55 minutes. Passengers are advised to be at the port 30 minutes prior to departure.
Travelling light? This option is a unique experience and a great way to start your holiday. Travelling from Southsea Beach in Portsmouth, this option is great for those that wish to get around the island on foot, by train, bus, taxi or for hiring a bike.
It’s by far the quickest way to reach the island, taking only ten minutes to travel over The Solent, and connects to the Wight Link, the train service that runs between Ryde and Shanklin.
Please note that advertised discount for ferries does not apply to the hovercraft service.
All information is correct at the time of writing. Please check the details when you book and again before you travel with your travel provider’s website.
Wight Link Ferries | Red Funnel Ferries