Getting to the Isle of Wight is made easy by the choice of ferry, catamaran and hover travel services available. Car ferries run from Southampton, Portsmouth and Lymington on the Hampshire mainland. Alternatively you can pick up fast hovercraft and catamaran services at Southsea, Portsmouth or Southampton. Services run throughout the year and you don’t even need to book on the faster foot passengers services. Ferries cross the Solent to Isle of Wight landing at East Cowes, West Cowes, Fishbourne, Ryde and Yarmouth.
Southampton to Cowes – Car Ferry & Catamaran
Red Funnel Ferries run the Red Jet Hi-Speed passenger catamarans service to West Cowes. It’s a foot passenger ferry service only and you don’t need to book – just turn up and travel. The journey takes just 25 minutes and runs throughout the year, seven days a week. Red Funnel also run a car passenger ferry service from Southampton to East Cowes. Crossings depart hourly and take just under an hour. These are the largest ferries to the Isle of Wight and not only take foot passengers but all sizes of vehicles. Facilities on-board are extensive ranging from cafes and bars to a games area and outdoor deck. Pets and bikes travel free.
Portsmouth to Fishbourne & Ryde – Car Ferry & Catamaran
Wightlink operate year round car ferry and catamaran foot passenger services from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight. The modern catamaran service runs between Portsmouth and Ryde Pier Head with a journey time of just 20 minutes, and there are frequent crossing throughout the day. Wightlink’s car ferry service between Portsmouth and Fishbourne takes just 45 minutes and operates round the clock, all year round. Car ferries are spacious which passenger lounges, an observation deck and cafe bar.
Lymington to Yarmouth Car Ferry
Wighlink operate the car ferry service between Lymington on the southern edge of the New Forest to Yarmouth on the west side of the Isle of Wight. This scenic crossing takes only 40 minutes, making it the fastest car ferry service across to the island. Frequent crossings run all year round from early morning to late into the evening.
Southsea, Portsmouth Hovertravel to Ryde
Hovertravel run a regular service between Southsea, Portsmouth and Ryde on the Isle of Wight. Hovercraft run at least every half hour and this is the fastest route from the mainland to the island with a journey time of just 10 minutes – ideal for a day trip. It takes foot passengers only, although you can take your bike over free of charge. Southsea Hoverport is located along Clarence Esplanade, Postcode PO5 3AD. Pay and display parking is directly opposite the Hoverport with facilities for long and short stay parking. Additional public parking is also situated around nearby Clarence Pier funfair.
Cowes Chain Link Ferry
The little Cowes Ferry connects East Cowes to West Cowes, and is a chain link ferry also known as the Floating Bridge. It operates every day of the year from 5am on Monday to Saturday, and 6.35am on Sundays. The ferry takes foot passengers, cars, lorries and motorcycles until around midnight. You cannot pre-book but just turn up and board. Crossings are free to foot passengers and cyclists. Tolls are applicable for vehicles and are collected on board.