Travelling to the Isle of Wight

Transport to the Isle of Wight

(text by Visit Isle of Wight)


It’s easier than you might think to get to the Isle of Wight. The Island is situated just four miles off the South Coast of England.

There are excellent transport links and frequent crossings by vehicle and passenger ferries from Southampton, Lymington and Portsmouth. The ferry companies and Hovertravel run regular promotions, including day returns from £5.

Don’t worry if you don’t want to bring the car, as there are fantastic bus links from the ferry ports with Southern Vectis, the Island’s bus service as well as cycle and car hire opportunities.  See our Green Star page for details of getting to and around the Isle of Wight without a car.

You can also book excellent value tickets that combine transport with entrance into the leading attractions. Prices vary – it’s most expensive to travel during the summer months, particularly during Cowes Week in August, and at peak times of the day.

Email us for a 15% discount voucher for travel on Red Funnel vehicle ferry from Southampton to East Cowes.

Please note that due to Covid-19, ferries may be running at a reduced service.  Please check ferry company websites for latest information and additional guidelines (eg wearing facemarks)

Ferry choices for travelling to Firefly House, West Cowes

  • Red Funnel Car Ferry (1hr) from Southampton to East Cowes.  From the car ferry terminal in East Cowes, take the chainferry to West Cowes, it's then a very short drive to Firefly House - or alternatively you can drive around from East to West Cowes via Newport (approx 20-30 min drive)

  • Red Jet Passenger Ferry (1hr) from Southampton to West Cowes, then short walk to Firefly House (less than 15 mins).

  • Wightlink Ferries (Porstmouth to Fishbourne or Lymington to Yarmouth) then drive to West Cowes.

For in-depth information on the different crossings and best prices see the transport providers’ websites, or visit:

Approximate timings

BY ROAD to Portsmouth or Southampton

  • From London   1 hour

  • From Manchester       4.5 hours

  • From Birmingham      3 hours


BY RAIL to Portsmouth Harbour or Southampton Central

  • From London   1.5 hours

  • From Manchester       5 hours

  • From Birmingham      2 hours



  • Wightlink –

    • Portsmouth – Fishbourne       45 minutes

    • Lymington – Yarmouth           40 minutes

  • Red Funnel -

    • Southampton – East Cowes   1 hour



  • Red Funnel Red Jet Southampton – West Cowes     25 minutes

  • Wightlink Catamaran - Portsmouth Harbour – Ryde   22 minutes

  • Hovertravel hovercraft - - Southsea – Ryde         10 minutes



For information on Getting around the IOW, see our page Travel without a car