Wightlink is the primary ferry operator between the mainland and Isle of Wight, carrying over 4.8 million passengers annually. Each crossing takes roughly 22 minutes by catamaran, or 40 minutes by car ferry. Multiple routes remain in operation all day and night and share a combined total of 48,000 crossings per year. Many residents use the service to venture back and forth on an almost daily basis, while holiday makers who are eager for a taste of island life use it to make their escape to one of the most secluded parts of England.
There are three transport routes on Wightlink Ferries: Yarmouth to Lymington, Fishbourne to Portsmouth and Ryde to Portsmouth. The Yarmouth to Lymington route is the shortest car ferry at only 40 minutes and provides a very picturesque view of Yarmouth, showcasing the coast in all its glory. Fishbourne to Portsmouth takes 45 minutes, but provides faster access to mainland motorways. Ryde to Portsmouth is primarily a foot passenger service that takes only 22 minutes and arrives by the Portsmouth Harbour railway station.
Wightlink tickets vary depending on the day, time, capacity and available space. Concessions are available if you pre-book tickets and prices may fluctuate according to demand. Expect to pay £24.50 for economy tickets or £27.50 for standard tickets if driving in an average size car and buying on the day. Standard day returns for motorcycles, tricycles and quad bikes are £35 and valid for one vehicle and two passengers. To get an accurate ticket price and check your vehicle category, visit the Wightlink website.
There are restrictions on what you can and cannot take on board Wightlink ferries. Certain substances that are permitted to travel on passenger ships may be limited under the IMDG Code. For example, petrol cannisters and empty containers that have been used to carry Dangerous Goods may only be allowed on certain routes. If in doubt, check the Dangerous Substances page of the Wightlink website – www.wightlink.co.uk/iow
If you arrive late, there’s no need to fear, Wightlink staff will try to get you on the next available crossing, providing space is available. While you won’t have to pay an extra fee for changing your journey, you might have to pay the difference if the latter ticket price was more expensive.
Things to Do
All of the ferries and catamarans have passenger lounges and outside seating areas, so you can take in the views of the unspoilt Isle of Wight shoreline while travelling. They also contain a cafe/bar with varying opening hours where you can buy cold or hot beverages. Although the ride is comfortable, the real adventure is waiting on the island. Walking and cycling are two of the most popular pastimes on the Isle of Wight due to the sheer amount of cycle and hiking trails.
For more information on Wightlink ferries, download the Wightlife Magazine application from Google Play or iTunes. Here you will find the latest information on new services and promotional offers, as well as up-to-date advice about where to stay and what to do when travelling in the area.