The Isle of Wight is considered by many as one of the most dog-friendly holiday destinations in the UK. It's got a vast coastline of pet-friendly beaches to explore and sniff, as well as plenty of dog-friendly pubs and places to eat. That’s not even mentioning the multitude of attractions that welcome pups with open paws such as castles, woodland glades and The Isle of Wight Steam Railway.
But the Isle of Wight is an isle after all and getting there might not be as simple as just popping the pooch in the car and driving over. Or is it? It’s never been easier to get your four-pawed friends over the Solent and onto the shores of Ryde, Cowes, Yarmouth or Fishbourne. With numerous companies operating dog-friendly ferries to the Isle of Wight, now is the time to get tails wagging and set sail to the sunniest place in the UK!
Once you and the pups are all tuckered out, you’ll need a place to let sleeping dogs lie, so browse our dog-friendly cottages on the Isle of Wight and set up your getaway today.
Wightlink is a dog-friendly ferry operator that offers dedicated lounging areas where you can kick back and relax with your canine companion. Wightlink appreciates that not everyone loves dogs on ferries as much as you and therefore ask that you stay with your pup in this space during the crossing. Alternatively, you can leave your dog in your vehicle with the window open but be aware that if you do this, you won’t be able to return to your car to check on them during the journey.
On clear days, however, Wightlink does allow for dogs to have a little wander on the outer decks of their ferries. Assistance and guide dogs are permitted in all areas of the ferry and port.
Do dogs travel free? Yes, on all three routes linking the Isle of Wight to the south coast.
Does my dog have to stay in the car on this ferry? Not at all. Check here to see where on each ferry dogs are allowed to go.
What if my dog poops? If he poops, then you scoop. Make sure you bring your own dog waste bags.
Offering award-winning ferry travel from Southampton to East Cowes and back on the largest ferries ever to serve the Isle of Wight, Red Funnel provides pet-friendly crossings with vehicles in under an hour. There’s a licensed bar, a cafe, a shop and sun decks, and also a designated pet lounge with water bowels on all three Raptor Class ferries: Red Osprey, Red Falcon and Red Eagle.
Dogs are also welcome on the roomy outer passenger decks, just remember to keep Fido on a lead and off the seats.
Do dogs travel free? Yes, on all Red Funnel’s ferries.
Does my dog have to stay in the car on this ferry? Not at all, although if you choose to leave them in the car, please ensure a window is left open.
What if my dog poops? There is a cleaning charge of £50 issued if your dog fouls on gangways or in the accommodation.
Operating the fastest ferry crossing between Portsmouth and Ryde, Hovertravel is a passenger-only ferry that’ll whizz you over the Solent in ten minutes flat! Providing the world’s only year-round passenger hovercraft service, by the time you and your pup have stepped foot on the ferry, it’ll be time to hop off again.
Not that you’ll have much time to sit down but just in case, you’ll need to ensure your dog stays off the passenger seats and on the lead at all times. In no time at all, you'll be vacationing with man’s best friend in the sunny Isle of Wight.
Do dogs travel free? Yes.
Does my dog have to stay in the car on this ferry? As it’s a passenger ferry, this doesn't apply, but your dog can stay by your side.
What if my dog poops? There is a fine if your dog fouls on the craft, pad or terminal.
Good to know
Here are a few more frequently asked questions you should consider when taking your dog on a ferry to the fair isle.
Do you need a dog passport for the Isle of Wight? As the Isle of Wight is a UK county, it is not subject to border control and therefore no humans or dogs will need to show a passport.
Do dogs get seasick? Dogs can get motion sickness, which causes nausea and dizziness. Of course, all dogs are different, and it is more commonplace in puppies, whereas older dogs tend to grow out of it.
What can I do if my dog gets seasick? There are over-the-counter medicines available, but just remember that this is a very short journey and medicines of this nature may make your pup drowsy, which is not great when you want to hit the sights and head out on some walks after you alight at the other side. Herbal remedies such as Safe Journey Flower Essence are a good option. You could also try trimming the fur around your dog’s pads to provide him with more grip and stability on the potentially wet deck. This will provide more balance and hopefully prevent seasickness in the first instance.
Will my dog need to wear a muzzle on the ferry? Out of the three operators, only Red Funnel mention muzzles, saying that if your dog appears nervous or aggressive, you may be asked to muzzle them, or alternatively leave them in the car for the duration of the journey.
Browse our cottages
Whichever ferry operator you choose, you’ll soon be travelling in style towards your next holiday. Make sure there’s a lovely home away from home waiting for you on the other side by booking one of our dog-friendly Isle of Wight cottages today.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.