Isle of Wight Ferry Companies
There are several different ferry companies offering a ferry to the Isle of Wight from the English mainland or Northern Ireland, depending on which route you’re planning to take, and whether or not you want to travel with your vehicle or by foot.
Companies operating to the Isle of Wight
If you’re planning to leave from Portsmouth, you have two options for landing ports on the Isle of Wight. There is a route that can take you from Portsmouth to Fishbourne, or an alternative route that lands in Ryde.
The ferry company Wightlink offers a frequent ferry service between Portsmouth and Fishbourne for passengers travelling both by foot or with a vehicle. The service runs from as early as three in the morning up until midnight, with ferries returning from Fishbourne from one in the morning until ten at night. For those travelling on foot, return tickets can cost as little as £14.
Wightlink also provides a catamaran service from Portsmouth Harbour to the seaside resort town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight, offering a very quick journey of 22 minutes. Wight Link makes up to 24 sailings every day from Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde, beginning at 6:15 AM on Saturdays, 7:15 AM on Sundays and 5:15 AM on weekdays, with the last ferry of the day leaving Portsmouth Harbour at 10:15 PM. Return tickets on Wightlink’s catamaran ferry crossing can be bought from £18 upward.
Wightlink also runs a frequent ferry route from Lymington to Yarmouth up to 18 times a day. This crossing takes about 40 minutes, with the earliest ferry leaving at 5:35 AM daily and the latest leaving Lymington at 10:05 PM.
An even quicker route from mainland England to the Isle of Wight, particularly for passengers wanting to visit Ryde, is the one that connects Southsea, near Portsmouth, to Ryde. The company Hovertravel is the primary provider of ferry services from Southsea to Ryde.
Hovertravel isn’t your standard ferry service- the trip is made on Europe’s only scheduled passenger hovercraft, so this crossing is especially speedy and offers a fun and exciting journey for families. The hovercraft service has been running in the UK since 1965 and can travel at speeds of around 45 knots. Hovertravel also offers a bus service connecting Southsea with Portsmouth Harbour, Gunwharf Quays and Southsea City Centre to make the journey a little easier.
Hovertravel’s hovercraft makes up to 34 crossings between Southsea and Ryde daily, and the trip takes only 10 minutes. On weekdays, you can set off from Southsea from as early as 6:30 AM or as late as 9 PM, and return from Ryde from 6:15 AM to 8:45 PM. Tickets are available from Hovertravel from as little as £16.50 return.
For those wishing to travel from Southampton to the Isle of Wight, the ferry company Red Funnel offers crossings to both East Cowes and West Cowes; your choice of route will depend on whether you want to travel by foot or vehicle. If you’re planning on bringing your car or bicycle on board, the Red Funnel service to East Cowes would be the ideal service. For those travelling by foot, the West Cowes crossing is available.
Red Funnel’s East Cowes ferry leaves from the Southampton docks all year round and takes just under an hour to arrive at the Isle of Wight. It sets off every 60 minutes between April and October, and every 90 minutes from November to March.