Find answers to all your frequently asked questions (FAQs) about travelling on ferries via Portsmouth.
The breathalyser law has raised many questions, please see Q21.
Q1. Where can I sail to from Portsmouth?
Portsmouth Port offers more routes than any other UK ferry port. Ferry companies operating from Portsmouth have regular sailings to Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre and St Malo in France, Bilbao and Santander in Spain, and Jersey and Guernsey in the Channel Islands. There are also services to the Isle of Wight and to Gosport.
Q2. Which ferry companies operate from Portsmouth?
Brittany Ferries sail to Caen, Cherbourg, , Le Havre, St Malo, Bilbao and Santander. www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/Tel: 0330 159 7000
Condor Ferries sail to Jersey and Guernsey. www.condorferries.co.uk/home.html Tel: 01305 761551
Wightlink operates a car and foot passenger service to the Isle of Wight. www.wightlink.co.uk/ Tel: 0871 376 1000
Hovertravel runs a foot passenger hovercraft to the Isle of Wight. www.hovertravel.co.uk/ Tel: 023 9282 9757
Gosport Ferry operates a foot passenger service between Portsmouth and Gosport. www.gosportferry.co.uk/ Tel: 023 9252 4511
Q3. Can I buy tickets at the Port?
It is advisable to book in advance but tickets can sometimes be bought at the Port, depending on availability, and all ferry companies have ticket offices in the main concourse. Please note: all tickets must be purchased at least one hour before the published sailing time.
Q4. Are there any special offers?
Special offers are often available. Please check with the ferry companies for more.
Q5. How do I get to and from the Port?
Portsmouth is Britain’s best-connected ferry port and the nearest to London and Paris.
Driving: The M275 motorway runs right to our door. Our postcode for directions is PO2 8SP. Click here for How to find us
By train: From London Waterloo, London Victoria (via Brighton) and Cardiff (via Salisbury and Bristol) to Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth & Southsea train stations. Visit www.southwesttrains.co.uk/ These stations are a short taxi ride from the Port.
By coach: Direct services to and from the Port to London Victoria coach station. Visit www.nationalexpress.com/home.aspx. Change at London Victoria for all major towns and cities.
Taxi rank: There is a taxi rank outside the main terminal.
Car hire: A number of car hire companies operate services at various pick-up and drop-off points in and around the city of Portsmouth.
Q6. Can I park at the Port?
The four-storey APCOA car park is open 24 hours a day and is just minutes’ walk from the main ferry terminal.
Charges are as follows:
Up to 1 hour: £4.00
Up to 3 hours: £6.00
Up to 5 hours: £8.00
Up to 24 hours £13.00
Over 24 hours £13 per day.
Lost tickets will be charged at the full daily rate. Motorcycles free of charge. For further information call 023 9287 3378.
For instant parking quotes and confirmations click here
Click here for freight parking information.
Q7. When must I check in?
The last check-in times for passengers are:
Brittany Ferries and Condor Ferries – One hour before sailing
Wightlink – 30 minutes before sailing
Q8. What facilities do you have in the terminal building?
• A café and licensed bar for meals, snacks and drinks.
• A shop for gifts, newspapers, confectionery and holiday essentials.
• A bureau de change and ATM cash machine for foreign currency.
• Internet access.
• Left luggage: £4 per item, open 0600 hrs to 2330 hrs; there is no overnight facility. Electronic equipment can be stored and a security tag will be placed on the item(s) prior to passenger leaving them.
The new terminal opened in April 2011 offers an even better passenger experience.
Q9. Can I buy Duty Free at the Port?
Tax-free shopping is no longer available between EU countries – but is still available on routes to the Channel Islands. Condor Ferries have tax-free shopping on their ships sailing to Jersey and Guernsey. Ferry operators running routes to France and Spain still offer travellers savings over UK High Street prices.
Q10. What facilities are there for people who are disabled or have reduced mobility?
If you require assistance getting through the Port please advise the ferry company when booking or a member of staff when checking in. There are toilet facilities for people with disabilities throughout the Port.
A special minibus service is available to help wheelchair users or those with reduced mobility and their companions board the ship. Assistance is also available for those travelling by car, enabling parking on the car decks close to the lifts.
The Port car park has designated spaces for people with disabilities and/or reduced mobility and there are additional bays adjacent to the main terminal building. Please request these at the time of booking.
Q11. Can pets be taken through the Port?
Dogs and cats vaccinated against rabies and meeting other health requirements can travel through the Port without going into quarantine, under the Pet Travel Scheme. For more information see: www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad Pet owners must make advance arrangements with the ferry company.
NB Only assistance dogs are allowed in the terminal building.
Q12. What are the rules for taking cars to the Continent?
Legal requirements for motorists vary from country to country. Always check with your travel operator, motoring organisation or insurance company before travelling. Information and essential motoring accessories required by EU law are available from the shop at the Port. You need a GB car sticker for the Channel Islands and Europe. Car alarms must be switched off onboard ship.
Q13. What about LPG/LNG vehicles?
Ferry companies carry Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) vehicles onboard their vessels. The gas cylinder must be switched off prior to embarkation.
Q14. Can we arrive the night before an early crossing and camp out at the Port?
The Port does allow passengers to stay overnight if they wish to board an early-morning ferry. However, overnight camping/sleeping in the terminal building is not permitted. The terminal building is closed to the public from 2330 to 0600. Passengers wishing to stay with their vehicle overnight are required to arrive after 2200 hrs and must park in one of the far lanes of the Passenger Car Waiting Area.
Q 15. How can I find local accommodation?
At Portsmouth’s official visitor website. See www.visitportsmouth.co.uk
Q16. What is there to do in Portsmouth if I have any spare time?
Q17. Do we need passports and health cover?
For all international ferry crossings every passenger must have a valid passport with them to board the ferry. Adults need a full 10-year passport and children a 5- or 10-year passport to travel to France and Spain, but not the Channel Islands. For any domestic ferry crossing within the UK a form of photo ID is accepted if a passport is not available. For more information, visit: www.visaandpassport.co.uk/
You will need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to receive healthcare during a visit to a European Economic Area country. Visit: www.ehic.org.uk
Q18. Can I take a gun through the Port for sports events or hunting?
All firearms, weapons and ammunition must be declared at the time of booking. Contact your ferry operator for more details.
Q19. What can't I take onboard?
Merchant Shipping (Dangerous Goods) Rules prohibit the carrying of certain articles, including explosives, gases, radioactive or magnetic materials, flares and fireworks. Contact your ferry operator for more details.
Q20. Does the Port have a ‘green’ policy?
Portsmouth International Port has been awarded the prestigious international ISO 14001 standard for environmental management, recognising its work to reduce pollution and conserve natural resources. The new passenger terminal opened in April 2011 also employs groundbreaking ‘green’ technology.
Q21. Do I need to carry a breathalyser in my vehicle for travel to France?
The enforcement of the law making it compulsory to carry breathalysers whilst driving in France has been postponed indefinitely. Whilst the law itself is still in place the authorities have recognised problems with the supply of suitable breathalysers and will not issue fines until further notice. We continue to recommend that you still carry breathalysers and we will inform passengers as soon as we know of a date for the re-introduction of the fines.
At the present time they are not required in Spain.
You can buy a breathalyser kit at the amigo shop in the terminal at Portsmouth International Port on the ground floor. You can also buy them onboard the ferries.
Q22. How can I find out more about Passenger Rights?
Passenger Rights is an EU wide ruling that requires most maritime travel operators and the ports they use to make certain provisions for passengers in the event of delays or cancellations. It also provides direction for operators and ports alike for the carriage of disabled travellers (particularly those with limited mobility). Full details can be found on the EU website.
Q23. Is there a restriction on what shoes I can wear?
While the Port has no restrictions on the shoes that passengers wear, comfortable, sturdy footwear is preferable. In the event of any accident/injury sustained due to footwear, the Port shall not be held liable.