The Isle of Wight is much closer than you would think and can be reached in just over 10 minutes when using one of the three dedicated passenger ferry services. All the services connect with corresponding train and bus services, so travelling to and from the Isle of Wight passenger ferries couldn't be simpler.
Southampton to Cowes
The "Red Jet" high speed foot passenger service is operated by Red Funnel and runs from Southampton Docks to the West side of Cowes. Taking just under 25 minutes the boat departs Southampton and runs down the river, before reaching the Solent and finally arriving at West Cowes. The service operates every 30 minutes during peak times, and every hour off-peak. Once in West Cowes there is a bus service which collects outside the "Red Jet" terminal.
Portsmouth to Ryde
The "Fast Cat" catamaran foot passenger service, which runs from Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde Pierhead, is operated by Wightlink. This crossing takes approximately 22 minutes and is directly linked at Portsmouth Harbour by both rail network services and National Express coaches.
Once the boat arrives at Ryde Pierhead there is a train station at the end of the pier which is serviced by regular Island Trains running as far as Shanklin to the South of the Isle of Wight, and at the top of the Ryde Pier there is a bus station providing transport links to the rest of the Island.
Southsea (Portsmouth) to Ryde
The Isle of Wight boasts the only foot passenger hovercraft service in the UK, which runs from Southsea in Portsmouth to Ryde Esplanade and is operated by Hovertravel. This crossing is also the fastest service to the Isle of Wight, taking just 10 minutes, and is linked at Southsea to both Portsmouth Harbour train station and "The Hard" bus station by the regular Hoverbus service.
After arriving at Ryde the hovercraft terminal adjoins Ryde Esplanade train station and Ryde bus station, both with regular connections to the rest of the Isle of Wight. The Isle of Wight Car Ferry is by far the most popular way for a family to travel to the island and there are three different ports from which to travel from: Portsmouth to Fishbourne One of the two most popular ferry crossings to the Isle of Wight, this vehicle and passenger service is operated by Wightlink. Taking approximately 45 minutes, this service departs from Portsmouth Harbour and lands on the Isle of Wight in the village of Fishbourne on the North of the Isle of Wight, which provides easy access to the main towns of Ryde and Newport.
Southampton to East Cowes
The other main car ferry service to the Isle of Wight is run by Red Funnel and operates between Southampton and East Cowes. This service takes up to 1 hour and has the capacity to carry over 200 cars per sailing, departing from Southampton hourly during peak season. Once you arrive at East Cowes there are good transport connections to the rest of the Isle of Wight, or a floating bridge service which operates to the West side of Cowes Town. The main route for traffic takes you past Osborne House, the former residence of Queen Victoria, which is one of the most famous attractions in the UK.
Lymington to Yarmouth
The quickest vehicle ferry service runs from Lymington in the New Forest to Yarmouth in West Wight, which is operated by Wightlink. Taking only 30 minutes this crossing is popular with visitors and locals as it offers fantastic views of both coastlines, and out of season can often be less busy. Arriving in the small town of Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight there are good transport connections available, with the town of Freshwater close-by and the capital town of Newport a short journey by either car or bus.