Isle of Wight ferry guide
The vast majority of visitors to the island travel across The Solent on a passenger/vehicle ferry or a hovercraft.
The two main operators of the ferry services are Red Funnel and Wight Link. The former manages the route between Southampton and East Cowes and the latter services the route between Lymington and Yarmouth as well as the Portsmouth to Fishbourne crossing. A hovercraft service operates between Portsmouth (Southsea) and Ryde.
All ports are serviced regularly from early morning to late at night. All Isle of Wight ferry crossings are available at preferential prices to those booking an island break with holidaycottages.co.uk. This discount doesn’t apply to the hovercraft service.
The three car and ferry passenger routes to the Isle of Wight are operated by two providers. The crossings between Lymington to Yarmouth and Portsmouth to Fishbourne are managed by Wight Link. The third route is operated by Red Funnel between Southampton and Cowes.
To the island
Red Funnel docks at East Cowes which is situated halfway along the north coast, at the mouth of the Medina River. Disembarking at East Cowes is helpful if you are staying anywhere on the east coast or the centre of the Isle of Wight. There is a direct road link to Newport which is at the heart of the island’s road network.
Wight Link serves Yarmouth which is at the western end of the island. If you are taking a self-catering holiday near Freshwater or Alum Bay, Yarmouth is particularly useful. If your holiday coincides with the Isle of Wight Festival, Cowes Week or one of the other large-scale local events you could avoid the traffic jams the build up around Newport and Cowes by using this route over the Solent.
Route 1: Lymington - Yarmouth
The ferry makes the crossing every half an hour and is most accessible to those travelling to the Isle of Wight from the New Forest region, Bournemouth, Poole and southern Dorset. The crossing time is around 35 minutes and passengers are advised to be at the port 30 minutes prior to departure.
Route 2: Portsmouth - Fishbourne
This ferry runs every half hour at peak times. The service is popular with travellers coming from the east and north of England but also from London. The crossing time is approximately 40 minutes. Passengers are advised to be at the port 30 minutes prior to departure.
Route 3: Southampton - Cowes
This ferry runs every hour on the hour and is most accessible from the West and North of England. The journey time is around 55 minutes and passengers are advised to be at the port 30 minutes prior to departure.
If you travel light you can reach the island via hovercraft 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 hire a bike. The crossing takes just ten minutes. It 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 details when you book and again before you travel with your travel provider’s website.
Wight Link Ferries | Red Funnel Ferries