Red Funnel ferry to the Isle of Wight

Enjoying the Solent crossing with snacks and pretending to drive the boat.

My last post was about our Isle of Wight holiday and this one gives credit to an important part of us getting there. Should you wish to visit the Isle of Wight, I highly recommend Red Funnel ferries.

The boats were spacious with plenty of air-conditioned indoor seating and outside deck seating. There were several different places to buy food. We had coffee, juice and cake during our outgoing morning crossing and ice cream on the way home. There is a special pet-friendly lounge if you’re bringing your dog, and more importantly a child-friendly lounge featuring a giant computer touch screen with games. It also had a little table for playing trains, although unfortunately people had stolen all the trains. Nevertheless, my 1-year-old enjoyed pretending the train tracks were bricks and climbing over and under the train table.

Best of all, if you ask nicely and the weather is good, you can visit the bridge and meet the captain. My 4-year-old asked to meet the captain and so the two of us crept up the narrow stairs to the bridge. My son got a little intimidated once we were there and didn’t want to sit in the captain’s chair, but he did begrudgingly accept the captain’s binoculars. I restrained myself from sitting in the captain’s chair despite desperately wanting to.

I totally geeked out asking the captain how he drives the boat and “what does that do”. He was very kind and informative, and even posed for a picture with us. I didn’t ask him if I could post his picture so I’ve just posted a picture of boat-driving wheels and walkie-talkies. Well, I found them exciting.

The crossing takes about an hour and it costs us £65 round trip for our car with roof rack, using a Sun newspaper discount that came with our holiday. The Solent crossing is well-known for being the most expensive crossing in relation to distance, but at least the boat was good.

The verdict

This was the best short-haul ferry I’ve ever been on.

ShelliconShelliconShelliconShelliconShellicon5 out of 5 shells

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