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Cars on a road

Driving to Southampton

Easily accessible from all parts of the UK

Located on the UK’s sunny South Coast, Southampton is the gateway to the Isle of Wight and is easily accessible from all parts of the country by road.

  • From the Midlands and the North: use the M6 or A1/M1, M42, M40 and A34 links or alternatively M6 and M1, M25, M3 to Jct 14, A33 to City Centre and Waterfront
  • From Wales and Avon: use the M4 to Jct 13, A34, M3 to Jct 14, A33 to City Centre and Waterfront or M4 to Jct 18, A46, A36, M27, M271 to City Centre and Waterfront
  • From London, Heathrow, Essex, East Anglia: take the M25 or A316 and join the M3 motorway south to Jct 14, A33 to City Centre and Waterfront
  • From Gatwick Airport & Channel ports: take the M23 or M20 as appropriate, M25, M3 south to Jct 14, A33 to City Centre and Waterfront
  • From the South East: take the A27 or A272, or A3M, M27 to Jct 3 and follow signs to City Centre and Waterfront
  • From the South West: take M5, A30 or A358, A303, A36, M27 to Jct 5 and follow signs to City Centre and Waterfront.
Red Funnel's Road Connections to Southampton map

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 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
1 2 3 4 5
On time and helpful staff
Mon, Feb 26 2024
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bring back the dancing man
Sat, Feb 24 2024