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Car driving in the countryside

Getting to Southampton By Flight

Easy connections from South East region airports

Travelling to the Isle of Wight is easy for passengers arriving at Southampton Airport or one of the many airports serving the wider South East region. There are flights to Southampton from many UK regional airports and European cities such as Dublin, Paris, Geneva, Munich, Dusseldorf and Amsterdam. There's also excellent transport links to Southampton from London Heathrow (LHR), London Gatwick (LGW) and Bournemouth Airports (BOH).

Once in Southampton, you can travel by ferry with Red Funnel to the Isle of Wight either as a foot passenger or with a hire car or motorhome.

Located 15 miles west of Southampton, Bournemouth Airport is easy to get to and from by road, rail and coach. Airlines serving the airport include easyJet and Ryan Air.

  • By Car: The airport is situated adjacent to the B3073 exit of the A338. To get to Southampton follow the A338, join the A27 east and then M27 to junction 3, followed by M271 and then A35 to the city centre. Car Hire is available at the airport.
  • By Bus: Yellow Bus (service 14) operates 7 days a week (7am until 8pm) between the airport and Bournemouth Station.
  • By Taxi: The airport taxi firm, PRC Streanline Taxis serve Southampton - call 01202 373737 for a quote.
  • By Rail: Bournemouth train station is 4 miles away - see Bus & Taxi for connection options.
  • By Coach: National Express operate a direct service between Southampton and Bournemouth (approximate journey time 55 minutes) - see Bus & Taxi for connection options.

Located 28 miles south of London near Crawley, London Gatwick is the UK's second largest airport and has 2 terminals (North and South). The airport is served by most major airlines including Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, EasyJet, Ryan Air, Flybe, Norwegian, Swiss, Vueling and many others. 

  • By Car: Gatwick is linked to the M23 at junction 9. To get to Southampton travel north on the M23 to junction 8, then travel west on the M25 to junction 12, then M3 to Southampton. Approximate journey time: 2 hours. All the major car hire firms are at the airport and can either be booked in advance or on arrival.
  • By Rail: There are some direct trains to Southampton operated by Southern Railways (approximate journey time 2 hours) or you can take a Southern train from Gatwick Airport to Clapham Junction and change to a South West Trains direct service to Southampton Central. Aprroximate journey time: 90 minutes.
  • By Coach: There are direct National Express services between Gatwick and Southampton which take as little as 2 hours 11 minutes.
  • By Taxi: From Gatwick Airport to Southampton's ferry terminals an official airport taxi will be in the region of £165

Located 15 miles west of London, Heathrow is the UK's largest international airport. It is easy to get to and from by road, rail and coach. Heathrow has 5 terminals and is served by all major airlines with the exception of some low-cost operators.

  • By Car: located just off the M25, Terminals 1, 2, 3 are close to junction 4 of the M4 or junction 15 of the M25. If arriving at Terminal 4, follow signs to the M25 at junction 14. Terminal 5 has its own access road with easy access to junction 14 of the M25. To get to Southampton, either take the M4 to junction 11, then A33 south, joining the M3 at junction 6. Alternatively travel south on the M25 to junction 12, then M3 to Southampton. Approximate journey time: 90 minutes. All major car hire firms are based at Heathrow and can either be booked in advance or on arrival.
  • By Railair: National Express operate a twice hourly rail-air coach service between all Heathrow terminals and Woking railway station (journey time 50 minutes). From Woking, there are frequent South West Trains services to Southampton Central station. Approximate journey time: 50-60 minutes.
  • By Rail: Either use the Railair service referred to above and change at Woking OR catch the Heathrow Express service to London Paddington Station and then use the London Underground service to get to London Waterloo station. From here you can catch a direct South West Trains service to Southampton Central station which takes as little as 1 hour 11 minutes.
  • By Coach: National Express operate regular scheduled services between Heathrow and Southampton. Approximate journey time 1 hour 50 minutes.
  • By Taxi: From Heathrow to Red Funnel's Southampton ferry terminals a taxi typically costs in the region of £140.00
  • Just catch a train into central London followed by a bus, tube or taxi to London Waterloo rail station from where there are frequent South West Trains rail services to Southampton Central.
  • Alternatively, there are regular National Express coach services from Victoria Coach Station to Southampton.

From Southampton Airport (SOU) it is really easy to get to the city centre by public transport. The airport has its own adjacent station (Southampton Airport Parkway) with the journey to Southampton taking around 10 minutes. On arrival at Southampton Central you will find the Quayconnect shuttle bus service which operates between the train station and the ferry terminals.

Southampton airport is just outside Southampton city centre and has excellent road and rail links. It is the fast-track airport of the south, serving over 47 European destinations.

  • By Car: The airport is adjacent to the M3 and M27 interchange. For the city centre follow the A35 from junction 5 of the M27. Approximate journey time: 15-20 minutes.
  • By Rail: Southampton Airport Parkway station is just 99 steps from the airport entrance. There are up to 3 trains an hour to Southampton Central.  Aprroximate journey time: 7 minutes.
  • By Bus: Unilink's (service U1C) operates a frequent service between the University, the city-centre and the airport. It runs every 15 minutes during the week and every 20 minutes at weekends and public holidays. First Group (service 14) operate an hourly service Monday to Saturday until 13:26pm and two additional services later in the day.
  • By Taxi: Checker Cars is located in the main concourse opposite the arrivals hall and operates 24 hours a day.

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

Sail in, sail out. See cruise ship and ferry connections into Southampton.

Getting Here By Cruise & Ferry

Two National Cycle Network routes meet in Southampton.

Getting Here By Cycle

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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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.

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