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Red Funnel Ferries – Southampton to the Isle of Wight

Red Funnel operate a ferry service from Southampton to the Isle of Wight in Southern England. We used them a month ago when we went for a short walking holiday on the island (which, incidentally, is fantastic. Nothing very high, but very beautiful and well signposted routes through the sort of unspoilt, slow-paced, graceful countryside that you don’t see very often on the Southern English mainland.)

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We booked our Red Funnel tickets online and printed out our boarding passes with no problems (a car plus 4 passengers costs less than £50 return). I chose to go to the Isle of Wight via Southampton instead of Portsmouth because of ease of access from where we live in South-East England; with Portsmouth we’d have to go down the often slow and busy A3, whilst Southampton is reached via the much wider and more free-flowing M3. The drive was really easy (M25 then M3 then a short hop on the M27), taking about 3 hours in total from Canterbury in East Kent, and Southampton Docks were well signposted from the M3. I was a bit worried as we drove along the docks approach road as there were no signs for Red Funnel, but then we reached the number 7 dock (just past the huge IKEA which is on the left hand side), and the signs on the right were easy to see. We pulled in, the guy in the booth checked our print out and within minutes we were in the queue.

I’ve never drove onto a ferry before. No reason to worry about that though, there were lots of marshals directing us up the ramp and into our parking space. Then we locked up and popped upstairs to have a quick drink at the bar and a bite to eat. The bar was a little expensive but that’s pretty much a universal complaint of mine nowadays…

It wasn’t a featureless crossing, first there were the docks to see, then a few sailing craft, and also the sights on the residential side of the Solent Channel.The crossing only takes around an hour so we had time to walk around the viewing deck. It was very windy but the ferry had a glass screen that you can sit or stand behind if you want that cuts the wind out.

We left the ferry in Cowes, from where it was a half hour drive to our base in Ventnor, on the south of the island. If we hadn’t had already sorted out a hotel then Red Funnel had a variety of deals going on where we could stay in any one of 4 decent campsites (the sort with swimming pools), where the price was around £109 for 5 nights including ferry ticket and tent pitch for 4 people. But as I say we had already sorted accommodation out in Ventnor and it was from here that we enjoyed the many walking opportunities and fine views that the south of the island has to offer.

All I really wanted from Red Funnel Ferries was that their booking procedure was easy, that they got us over to the Isle of Wight safely, that they left and arrived on time, that the facilities such as bar, restaurant and toilets were good and that the crossing was comfortable. And they delivered on all counts. We were very satisfied in our dealings with Red Funnel, so I recommend them.

To check out the Red Funnel website and their current deals and prices please click here http://www.redfunnel.co.uk/

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