Each year Wightlink transports around 5 million passengers on two routes to the Isle of Wight leaving from Portsmouth and Lymington making them one of the UK's largest domestic ferry operators.
The 40 minute crossing from Portsmouth affords the opportunity to study the coastal defences and harbour, whilst the slightly shorter crossing from Lymington passes through salt marshes and other natural resources - both ideal study topics as depicted in the available resources.
Here's some of the most frequently-asked questions about school visits to Wightlink Ferries, posed by teachers and other group leaders
Many of our crossings tend to occur around lunchtime and the passenger lounges are well equipped with tables and chairs, bins etc. so feel free to use the crossing time to eat a packed lunch or buy from the cafe / snack bar on board (facilities vary depending on vessel).
There are toilets at each terminal as well as on board the ships. Please do not use the terminal toilets unless you have more than 30 minutes to wait or it is urgent, as this may delay the vehicle being loaded and cause you to miss your sailing slot.
Your ferry crossing will be pre-paid by Education Destination and if you are using our coaches all of the information will have been passed on to the driver for you, so you don't have to do anything. If you use your own transport or travel as foot passengers, we will tell you exactly what you need to do in advance which 9 times out of 10 is to go to the ticket office at the terminal with a reference number / barcode.
Yes - there are several lounges and passenger areas on the ship. There are also outdoor areas accessible in good weather with plenty of seating throughout. Depending on the vessel used, hot and cold food and drinks are available for sale on most crossings.
Both Wightlink crossings take less than an hour and check-in is advised at least 30 minutes prior to sailing so that the necessary checks can be done and the vehicles loaded. There are frequent sailings throughout the day.
All of the main areas within the terminals and on board the ships are accessible to wheelchairs. Some of the outdoor spaces on the vessels may be trickier to access due to storm doors and steps but there are always staff on hand to help.
It's very unusual for weather to cause delays, cancellations or uncomfortable journeys. The route sailed is relatively sheltered in the main. The ships are designed for the route and apart from a slight rocking motion in places the crossing will be less noticeable than the coach that got you there!
The following Wightlink Ferries educational resources are FREE to use when you book your trip with Education Destination. Some include pre or post-visit classroom work, others are on-site activities. All are accompanied by detailed Teacher Notes and some even have sample lesson plans!
Prepared by our expert team of teachers with local Island knowledge, each resource addresses a specific National Curriculum topic. Click on any image for full details.