Travelling with children

Family ferry travel

Getting the ferry can be one of the most exciting ways to travel when you’re taking the kids along with you. And it’s even better when you’re making the most of our Kids Go Free offer throughout the school holidays. 

We want to make your experience as memorable as possible, so whether you’re coming on foot or you’re bringing the car, we’ve rounded up some top ferry tips for your family trip – find our suggestions below. 

Arrive with plenty of time

If you’re coming in your car, you’ll need to check in at the port between half an hour and an hour before your sailing time – so if you’ve booked a 15:00 crossing, make sure you check in between 14:00 and 14:30. Travelling on foot? You’ll need to check in 15 minutes before your scheduled crossing.

If you’ve played it safe (well done you!) and are set to arrive before your check in time, why not explore the local area? We’ve put together some handy guides showing you the best bits in the places around our ports.

See our destination guides

Check in and grab a cuppa

While you wait to board the ferryyou’ll be able to grab a hot drink and a bite to eat at each of our ports. 

For an authentic taste of the Isle of Wight, head to one of the Wight Taste outlets at our Portsmouth Gunwharf, Fishbourne, Lymington or Yarmouth portsIf you’re travelling through Portsmouth Harbour or Ryde Pier Head, you can grab something from Costa Coffee. 

There are toilet and baby changing facilities at each location.

See our facilities

Have fun onboard

We understand that keeping the children entertained throughout the crossing is probably one of your top priorities. 

Gladly, we’ve got the facilities to help. On board our Victoria of Wight and St Clare vehicle ferries, you can let them loose in our dedicated kids play area and once they’ve tired themselves out, relax and catch a film in our movie room. Don’t forget to try out our selection of board and card games, too, with classics from Asmodee Games like Dobble.

There are sun decks on each of our ships, too, so you can head outside and take in the stunning views across the Solent. 

If all the excitement has made the kids peckish, food and drink is available while you sail on board all our vehicle ferries. 

Make the most of the Island

The Isle of Wight is a haven for family fun. You can find beautiful sandy beaches, explore countless family-friendly attractions and enjoy one of the many unique events that go on throughout the year. We fully recommend using our Explorer tool to start building your perfect family trip itinerary.  

Explore the Isle of Wight

If you’re heading to the Island on our Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde Pier Head route, it’s worth noting that the walk down Ryde Pier is quite long – it can take around 15 minutes. We’d recommend hopping on an Island Line train, which depart from our ports.

Kids Go Free

With kids travelling for free as foot passengers every school holiday in 2023, you can say goodbye to staying in and getting bored, and hello to excitement and adventure.

Find out more
Costa staff pour drinks on board Wightlink ferry

Our facilities

You can pick up hot and cold food and drinks at all our ports and on board all our vehicle ferries, plus much more. 

See our facilities

Travelling with us by car

Not sure what to expect when you catch a Wightlink ferry? Get clued up on the check in process, boarding the ferry and disembarking on the other side.  

Read our vehicle travel guide

Travelling with us on foot

Find out what it’s like to travel with us on foot, including the check in process, boarding and disembarking on the other side.  

Read our foot travel guide