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Isle of Wight ferry information

Isle of Wight Ferry: Key Service Providers

When it comes to key ferry service providers to and from the Isle of Wight, three stand out from the crowd: Red Funnel, Wightlink, and Hovertravel.


Wightlink offers widespread routes and caters primarily to those needing vehicle services. The primary routes include ferries from Portsmouth to Fishbourne and from Lymington to Yarmouth, with both taking around 40 minutes. There’s also a fast catamaran service from Portsmouth to Ryde, which takes about 20 minutes. An ideal route if you’re not taking a vehicle. Wightlink’s online booking system conveniently allows for the selection of time slots and other additional services.

Red Funnel

Red Funnel, the original Isle of Wight ferry service, has been in operation since 1861. This carrier has two routes: the vehicle ferry from Southampton to East Cowes and the Red Jet High-speed service from Southampton to West Cowes. Both routes run multiple times per day, with the High-speed service taking just under an hour. The online booking process is straightforward and user-friendly. You’ll find a range of ticket options catering to cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists.


Last but certainly not least, there’s Hovertravel, the only commercial hovercraft operator in Europe. Supplying the fastest route to the Isle of Wight from Southsea to Ryde in just 10 minutes, it’s perfect for those in a time crunch or seeking an unusual journey. It’s worth noting this service is passenger-only, with no cars or cycles included. Their booking system is straightforward and offers flexibility with bookings, enabling amendments or cancellations.

Popular Ferry Routes

When talking about the ferry routes to the Isle of Wight, it’s worth mentioning that this isn’t a linear, one-track voyage. Instead, you have an array of routes to choose from, each offering its own unique perspective of the island’s beauty.

Portsmouth to Isle of Wight Ferry

Arguably the most travelled route from mainland UK, the Portsmouth to Isle of Wight ferry offers a scenic journey of approximately 40 minutes. With multiple crossings each day, it’s certainly an adaptable choice whether you’re an early riser or an afternoon explorer. On the journey, don’t forget to look out for the historic Portsmouth Harbour, Fort Blockhouse, and maybe even a Royal Navy frigate if you’re fortunate.

Other Ferries to the Isle of Wight

If Portsmouth isn’t on your list, don’t worry, there are other links to the island.

You could choose the Southampton to East Cowes ferry which takes you on a 60-minute journey through the Southampton Water and Solent Waterway. Or perhaps the 30-minute trip from Lymington to Yarmouth might be quicker for you. This is the shortest and fastest car ferry voyage – ideal for those who want to get on the island in a more hustle-free environment.