Portsmouth offers a wide choice of ferry crossings from its port to the Isle of Wight, the Channel Islands, France and Spain. There is a choice of Fastcat and car passenger ferry options with a range of services so you're bound to find something to suit your travel requirements. Whilst on board there is usually duty free shopping, cafes, restaurants and refreshment facilities as well as lounges and cabins so you can get some rest during the journey. The ferry terminals are all well signposted from the motorway as you're coming into Portsmouth.
Portsmouth is the one of the main terminals for ferries to Europe from the British mainland. Brittany Ferries run regular services from Portsmouth to Caen, St Malo, Cherbourg and Roscoff in France and Santander in Spain. P&O Ferries run a Portsmouth to Bilbao service too and LD Lines runs a Portsmouth to Le Havre service. All take foot passengers, cars and trucks. The Portsmouth Port website provides all relevant information and has links to all ferry operators including links to special offers so you can get a good overview of what's available. There is also additional information such as how to get to the port and more about the ships and services available.
Passenger ferries run from Portsmouth across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. There is a choice of Wightlink car and passenger ferry services which land at Fishbourne or the Fastcat service which takes foot passengers only, taking you to Ryde on the eastern side of the island. Wightlink Ferries run all year round to both Fishbourne and Ryde. The Portsmouth to Fishbourne journey takes 40 minutes and Portsmouth to Ryde is just 18 minutes. Services run very regularly throughout the day making it an easy hop across the Solent. Leaving the port you get some fantastic views of the Portsmouth Waterfront and Spinnaker Tower.
Condor Ferries operate ferry services to Jersey and Guernsey in the Channel Islands from Portsmouth. The car ferry service runs daily except Sundays. Condor Ferries also run a weekly Portsmouth to Cherbourg service which takes just five and a half hours.
You can easily take a day trip over to the Isle of Wight from Clarence Pier. The hovercraft takes foot passengers only, although you can take your bike over free of charge. Hovertravel run a regular service to Ryde on The Isle of Wight. Hovercrafts run at least every half hour and the journey only takes 10 minutes, making it the quickest crossing from the mainland to the Isle of Wight. If you're travelling to Southsea by car there is a mix of pay and display and street parking around Clarence Pier.
Not only does the Gosport Ferry run handy trips across Portsmouth Harbour to Gunwharf Quays but they also offer a wide range of boat trips around Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight, Southampton and the New Forest. The ferry service runs every day from 5.30am to midnight, weather permitting with the departure point on the Gosport side located on South Street adjacent to the bus station. On the Portsmouth side the ferry departure point is within the harbour adjacent to the train station. As you travel across the harbour you get excellent views of HMS Victory, Royal Naval ships and aircraft carriers and other larger ferries. The boat trips they offer include a Portsmouth Harbour Cruise, a day trip to Cowes on the Isle of Wight and river boat trips. For a spectacular boat trip take the Cowes Firework Night cruise which gives you sea views of the fantastic firework display that marks the finale of Cowes Week.
You can also pick up boat trips from Gunwharf Quays and Clarence Esplanade. These will give you a seaview of Portsmouth sights such as the historic forts, battleships and Spinnaker Tower. Solent and Wight Line Cruises offer tours of Portsmouth Harbour and Spitbank Fort, the Royal Naval Base as well as services across to Cowes on the Isle of Wight. A wide choice of boat trips are available around Portsmouth Harbour. From the water you'll get some fabulous views of the nineteenth century fortifications, ships moored at the Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf Quays. Private boat hire is also available and The Portsmouth Harbour Waterbus runs daily during the summer season linking four of the city's main attractions. Pick up waterbus tickets from a choice of outlets or pay for day tickets on-board.