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Image of the ferry on the water at dusk

Getting to Southampton By Cruise & Ferry

Connect by sea – you’re in good company

Southampton is a major maritime city, handling 1 million cruise passengers and over 3.4 million ferry passengers every year. The city hosts visiting cruise passengers and those embarking on cruises to the Norwegian Fjords, Baltic Sea, Canary Islands, Mediterranean and the classic transatlantic voyages to New York.

West cowes

Cruise Ship Connections

The cruise terminals in Southampton are all fairly close to each other and some are within walking distance of the local hotels if you don't have luggage. The City Cruise terminal and Ocean Cruise terminal  are very close to Red Funnel's ferry terminals on Town Quay.

Oceans (+44 2380 331395), 160 High Street, Southampton offer a left-luggage service for cruise passengers.

Visiting cruise passengers: if you have a day or half-day to spend in the city, why not visit the Isle of Wight? We offer special packages to cruise ship passengers to iconic places such as Osborne House (Queen Victoria's beloved palace by the sea), Carisbrooke Castle (a quintessential English castle), Godshill (the model English village), The Needles (the famous chalk outcrops), Cowes (the spiritual home of international yacht racing). Packages include return ferry crossings and travel on connecting bus services.

Hythe Ferry

Apart from Red Funnel's ferry services between Southampton and the Isle of Wight, White Horse Ferries operate the Hythe Ferry between Southampton's Town Quay (Terminal 2) and Hythe on the Western Shore of Southampton water.

Hythe Ferry takes just 12 minutes to travel between Hythe and Southampton where there are excellent connections to/from the Isle of Wight. At Hythe, there are good bus links to the Waterside villages of Dibden Purlieu, Marchwood, Fawley and the delights and attractions of the New Forest including Beaulieu, Exbury Gardens, Lymington, Brockenhurst and Lyndhurst.

Red Funnel and Hythe Ferry offer through-fares from Hythe to East & West Cowes and vice versa for Islanders wishing to visit Hythe's famous Tuesday market and the beautiful New Forest. Bicycles are carried FREE from East Cowes to Southampton and can be taken on the Hythe Ferry for a small charge. Apart from Red Funnel's ferry services between Southampton and the Isle of Wight, White Horse Ferries operate the Hythe Ferry between Southampton's Town Quay (Terminal 2) and Hythe on the Western Shore of Southampton water.

Hythe Ferry takes just 12 minutes to travel between Hythe and Southampton where there are excellent connections to/from the Isle of Wight. At Hythe, there are good bus links to the Waterside villages of Dibden Purlieu, Marchwood, Fawley and the delights and attractions of the New Forest including Beaulieu, Exbury Gardens, Lymington, Brockenhurst and Lyndhurst.

Red Funnel and Hythe Ferry offer through-fares from Hythe to East & West Cowes and vice versa for Islanders wishing to visit Hythe's famous Tuesday market and the beautiful New Forest. Bicycles are carried FREE from East Cowes to Southampton and can be taken on the Hythe Ferry for a small charge.

Explore local and regional bus routes into Southampton.

Getting Here By Bus

Southampton is well served by both national and local coach companies.

Getting Here By Coach

Two National Cycle Network routes meet in Southampton.

Getting Here By Cycle

Southampton is easily accessible for passengers arriving at Southampton Airport.

Getting Here By Air

Southampton Central is a busy station hub with services from around the UK.

Getting Here By Rail

Getting to Southampton is a breeze for motorists, with routes from all over the country.

Getting Here By Road

See current fares for Red Funnel and Red Jet crossings.

Fares & Tickets

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Special Offers & Deals

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Points of Interest

On both sides of the Solent, there’s lots to see and do whether you’re crossing for leisure, for work, or simply for a change of scenery. Explore points of interest on the Isle of Wight and in and around Southampton. 

Royal Pier Pavilion

Royal Pier Pavilion

This one’s easy to spot as you arrive at our Southampton ferry terminal, particularly at night when it’s lit up in purple lights! When Red Funnel was first formed, we ran a fleet of paddle steamers that operated excursions to destinations around the Island, and along the south coast. These departed from “Royal Pier”, and the impressive pavilion building is still in use as a restaurant.

Ocean Cruise Terminal

People walking on a ship

This striking landmark on Southampton’s waterfront is where you’ll find some of the world’s largest cruise ships docking. See if you can spot some of the famous Cunard and P&O Cruises vessels as you depart for the Island, and if you’re travelling in the late afternoon/early evening you might even get to sail alongside them as they depart Southampton for their global destinations.

Hythe Pier

Hythe Pier

The Hythe pier is difficult to miss, as at 640 metres in length, it’s the 7th longest in Britain. It is also the home of the world’s oldest working pier train, which links the village of Hythe and its marina to a small ferry that runs a regular service to the City of Southampton.

Netley Chapel

Netley Chapel at Royal Victoria Country Park

This striking chapel, on the eastern side of the river, is all that now remains of one of Britain’s first purpose-built hospitals. Constructed for veterans of the Crimean War, the original 220-acre site was the largest of its time but was demolished after a fire in 1966. The site is now open to the public as part of Royal Victoria Country Park.

Calshot Castle

Calshot Castle

The picturesque Calshot Castle was originally built by Henry VIII to defend the entrance to Southampton waters. As our ferry reaches the Solent, the castle is easily visible at the end of Calshot Spit, which extends from the west into the main waters, with Calshot beach and its long row of beach huts visible further along.

Columbine Building

East Cowes aerial image

The striking Columbine building on the East Cowes waterfront has been a central point of Island industry for many years. Starting with Saunders Roe, which was involved in everything from sea planes, hovercrafts, and rockets, and is currently home to Wight Shipyard, which built two of Red Funnel’s Red Jet fleet. When you spot the iconic Union Jack doors, you’ve arrived on the Island!

Other Red Funnel Ferries

Aerial Image of the ferry

Southampton’s waters and the Solent are always busy with shipping movements, not least with our very own Red Funnel fleet. At peak time we will often have our three vehicle ferries, two Hi-Speed passenger ferries, and our freight ferry all out on the water – so watch out for them, and don’t forget to give our other passengers and crew a customary wave!

Cowes Castle

West cowes

As you approach the Island and arrive at Cowes Harbour, you’ll see another of Henry VIII’s forts, Cowes Castle. The castle is now home and clubhouse to the Royal Yacht Squadron, whose Club organises yacht racing as a principal feature of the now globally famous Cowes Week regatta. Look carefully at the front and you might see the cannons that are used for starting races.

Customer Reviews

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The booking experience was first rate. I had to amend my return journey due to a close family bereavement and the agent, Peter, couldn’t be more helpful and sympathetic. I wasn’t…
Thu, Feb 29 2024
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On time and helpful staff
Mon, Feb 26 2024
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bring back the dancing man
Sat, Feb 24 2024