In case you didn’t gather before, I was pretty excited about our recently family trip to the Isle of Wight. Not only was I generally looking forward to going there and seeing if the island was as nice as I remembered from a school trip all those years ago, but I was also hugely looking forward to the ferry trip over and the kids’ first time on a ferry.
I’m not totally sure what the kids expected a ferry to be like, but we’d talked to them a fair bit about what would happen and how we would take our car on to the boat. Master C did keep getting a bit confused and thought we were travelling to the Isle of Wight by “fairy” and so we had lots of questions about whether “fairies” were real or not and how could we get our car onto a “fairy” when you can’t even see the tooth fairy! Don’t you just love kids imaginations.
I’d likened the whole experience to being a bit like the ferry having a multi-storey car park on board which I thought was quite a good explanation until we drove into a multi-storey car park in Portsmouth where we planned to have lunch before the sailing, only for Little Miss C to suddenly ask from the back seat “are we on the ferry now?” I think Mr C literally snorted with laughter at that one!
We chose to sail from Portsmouth to Fishbourne, mainly as we were going to be staying in Wootton Bridge with is only a few minutes drive away. It’s a 45 minute sailing with Wightlink and booking the whole thing online was straightforward.
Upon arrival at Portsmouth we drove into the ferry loading area which is basically a series of numbered queues that you are directed towards so that they can then safely load the ferry and ensure that vehicles of different heights, lengths and weights go in specific areas of the boat. When directed we drove on, parked up and then went to explore.
With such a short journey the ferry itself isn’t huge, but we went up on deck for the kids to watch as the last vehicles were loaded on and whilst we sailed out of Portsmouth. Both kids thought that watching cars and busses drive on to the ferry was one of the most exciting things ever!
The Wightlink boats on this crossing aren’t huge, but then again you don’t need much for just 45 minutes. There was plenty of space both inside and out and as well as the usual toilet facilities there was also a small “shop” that sold hot drinks and snacks, and always seemed to have a long queue stitching out of it across the lounge area whenever I looked!
Our journey back to Portsmouth wasn’t quite so sunny, but even the rain and grey skies didn’t deter the kids from wanting to go out on deck and see what was going on.
Especially as they could see our car on board. Personally I actually found it quite invigorating out on deck in the rain. Much in the same way that I do when you’ve been out for a good hike somewhere in bad weather. Then again there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing! And that also holds true when travelling by ferry it seems.
For both journeys the kids were mainly entertained by being out of deck watching what was going on, or just sitting down in the lounge and having a snack. For them though it made this part of the journey into a really exciting experience and one that they’re still talking about now. I’m guessing it might blow their tiny little minds to go on an even bigger boat with more facilities next time. Let alone the possibility of sleeping on board! Time to start thinking about where our ferry travelling adventures might take us next.