Which is the cheapest route?
This depends on the time of day and time of year that you are travelling – check the listed prices for each company. Booking ahead, especially the car ferries, can bring down the price, and there may be offers running. Listed below are various ways to save money on the Isle of Wight ferries.
Our Top Tips to get Ferry Discounts
Book your ferry travel through your accommodation provider
Many hotels, guest houses, parks and even B&Bs have special deals with the ferry companies, especially Red Funnel and Wightlink for car ferries. When booking your place to stay, ask if they have a special deal with the ferry companies – many will state this on their websites.
Parkdean Resorts have four holiday parks on the Island and offer great ferry discounts on their all-inclusive deals.
Discount code from booklets
Red Funnel and Wightlink issue booklets of discount codes of 15% and 20% to Isle of Wight residents. These are sent to the households of islanders but can be used by anyone to book ferry travel over to the island and back, although you do (in theory) need to present the voucher at the ferry terminal. If you have friends or family on the island, ask if you can use one of their discount codes when booking your ferry online.
Check each ferry company’s offers pages
There are some discounts in place already
Under-fives always travel for free, but when the schools break up you can also take up to two children aged 5-15 for free with every adult or senior foot passenger day return ticket – Offer Link
Wightlink have up to 40% off for motorhomes at off peak times, and it is valid for motorhomes between 5.01 and 15 metres long and no higher than 4 metres – Offer Link
Bulk buy your ferry tickets from Wightlink
Wightlink offer a multilink deal to buy ferry crossings but this only works if you have an Island address – so for Island residents or second home-owners – Offer Link
Get a Travel Card from Red Funnel
Red Funnel offer up to 20% discount if you open a Travel Card account and deposit money in the account. You do not have to be an island resident to apply for a Travel Card – Offer Link
Join the AA
AA members can get up to 25% off when booking with Wightlink. There are conditions so make sure to check first.
Camping and Caravanning Club
Members of the Camping and Caravanning Club get 20% off car and caravan/trailer fares (includes motorhomes up to 5m long and under 2.24m high) and 50% off motorhomes (over 5m long and 2.25m high) when booking in advance with Wightlink Ferries – Offer Link
They offer a 10% off voucher for Wightlink and Red Funnel ferries, but you have to sign up to their website before you can download your ferry voucher – Offer Link
Use your Blue Badge
Wightlink offer between 15 and 25% discount to Blue Badge holders. You do have to book online – Offer Link
They will also help with accessibility issues such as parking you near to a doorway, or allowing you a wider space for getting in and out of your vehicle.
Tesco Clubcard Points
Use Tesco Clubcard Points to purchase tickets. Wightlink tickets can be bought with Tesco Clubcard points with every 50p in points being changed into 1.50 towards your ferry tickets – Offer Link
Join English Heritage
English Heritage members get 15% off car ferry travel and 20% off of Wightlink foot passenger travel. They also get free entrance to all English Heritage attractions, which include the very popular Osborne House and Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight.
Travel Later in the Day
Travelling in the middle of the night during the high summer season can save you A LOT of money, especially if you have a caravan or motorhome. Travel between 1am and 3am for the best rates.
Don’t Travel on These Days
A Saturday in the summer is the most expensive as far as car ferry fares are concerned. Avoid travelling on the weekend of the Isle of Wight Festival too unless you’re attending it! If you are coming over for it, it might pay you to stay for a few days either side (or a whole week) to avoid the hiked fares over the weekend, and you get to see a bit of the wonderful Isle of Wight as well.
Book your Ticket as Part of a Train Journey
When travelling to the Isle of Wight as a foot passenger it is possible to book ferry tickets via National Rail and use a railcard for the whole journey.
Your journey also needs to include a train ride, but it only needs to be one stop.
- Lymington (Town) to Yarmouth
- Southampton Parkway to Cowes East
- Southampton Parkway to Cowes West
- Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde Esplanade
Travel as a Foot Passenger on the Car Ferries
Travelling as a foot passenger always costs less.
On red Funnel a standard (peak) adult day return on the Red Jet from Cowes (west) is £27.20 compared to £19 return if you travel as a foot passenger on the car ferry from East Cowes to Southampton. It does take twice as long though.
On Wightlink a standard (peak) adult day return on the Fast Cat from Ryde Pierhead is £21.20 compared to a foot passenger return on the Fishbourne to Portsmouth route, which is £18.20. The Fast Cat takes 22 minutes, and the car ferry takes 45 minutes – again twice as long.
Buy a Family Foot Passenger Ticket
‘Fly’ a family of five over to the island for £40 day return with Hovertravel – Offer Link
Red Funnel offer a family foot passenger day return for £36.40 – Offer Link
Wightlink offer a day return family foot passenger ticket for £52.50 – £45.80 if you come on foot on the car ferry – Offer Link
Get Hovertravel’s Blue Card
Apply for Hovertravel’s Blue Card, for free, and you get up to 32% discount on day returns and adult period returns on the hovercraft from Ryde to Southsea. But you do have to have an island address – Offer Link
Book through National Express
If you have a National Express Coachcard, you can get a through ticket which includes the ferry to the Isle of Wight (search for Ryde or Cowes). Sometimes this means that the third off is applied to the whole journey, including the ferry, but it’s worth checking with or without the ferry to make sure.
Join the Royal Solent Yacht Club
If you’re a member of this prestigious yacht club in Yarmouth you can purchase discounted Red Funnel and Wightlink tickets from the members area on their website – Offer Link