Ferry services


Guides to all the major UK ferry services offering international and domestic crossings



Brittany Ferries

Sail from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth to Cherbourg, Caen, Roscoff, St Malo in France and Santander in northern Spain

Condor Ferries

Sail from Poole, Weymouth and Portsmouth to St Malo and Cherbourg in France, to Guernsey and Jersey in the Channel Islands 

DFDS Seaways +

Offer sea crossings from Dover to Dunkirk in France, Newcastle to Amsterdam in Holland and from Harwich to Esbjerg in Denmark

Irish Ferries

Operate between Wales and Ireland, with services from Holyhead to Dublin and Pembroke to Rosslare. It also sails from Ireland to France between Rosslare and Cherbourg or Roscoff

LD Lines
Operates services to France, from Dover to Dunkirk and Calais, Portsmouth to Le Havre and Newhaven to Dieppe


Operates regular cross channel ferries between Dover and Dunkirk in France and Irish Sea ferry services from Liverpool to both Belfast and Dublin

P&O Ferries +

Sails from Dover to Calais in France, from Hull to Rotterdam in Holland and Zeebrugge in Belgium, and from Portsmouth to Bilbao in Spain. Across the Irish Sea P&O operates between Liverpool and Dublin and Scotland-Ireland services between Larne and Troon or Cairnryan

Speed Ferries

Offers fast sailings between Dover and Boulogne in France

Stena Line

Sails between Harwich and Hook of Holland, Fishguard and Rosslare, Fleetwood and Larne, Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire or Dublin Port, and between Stranraer and Belfast

Superfast Ferries

Links Scotland and Belgium with direct sailings between Rosyth and Zeebrugge

About ferry services

Ferries are a great way to travel and they can be eco-friendly too. Compared with flying it is claimed that ships produce fewer greenhouse gases per tonne for every mile travelled.

According to the Passenger Shipping Association, which represents leading ferry operators running services between the UK and Europe, the industry is taking active steps to reduce its environmental impact. Emissions from ships engines such as sulphur and nitrogen are regulated and carbon dioxide emissions are being reduced by cutting speeds, using more fuel-efficient engines and better route planning. This has resulted in large fuel savings and, according to an independent study, there is an average ferry emission of 0.12kg CO2 per passenger kilometre.

Ships must also comply with strict rules about waste management, exhaust gas emissions and the discharge of sewage. Several firms say they have introduced recycling schemes and other measures which go beyond the basic rules. Also, excess heat produced by ships’ engines is channelled back around the vessels to provide, for example hot water, heating and the making of fresh water. With their eye on marine conservation some companies support scientific research monitoring the seas and marine life around UK coastal waters.



Caledonian MacBrayne

Sails to twenty-two islands and four peninsulas on Scotland's West Coast. From Arran in the south to Lewis in the north, its network covers some of the most beautiful and dramatic places in Scotland


Runs a hovercraft service across the Solent from Southsea to Ryde on the Isle of Wight

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

Operates between the Isle of Man and Liverpool, Heysham, Belfast and Dublin

Isle of Sark Shipping Company

Runs a year round Channel Islands service between Guernsey and Sark

Isle of Scilly Steamship Group

Provides a ferry service between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly

John O'Groats Ferries

Operates a daily link from John O' Groats in the Far North of Scotland to Orkney throughout the summer

Lundy Company

Sails between Lundy Island and Bideford or Ilfracombe in Devon

NorthLink Ferries

Sails up to three times each day from Scrabster near Thurso to Stromness in Orkney and nightly from Aberdeen to Lerwick in Shetland - with four of these sailings going via Orkney's capital, Kirkwall

Red Funnel

Sails year round from Southampton to East Cowes and West Cowes on the Isle of Wight


Operates a round-the-clock service between the English mainland and the Isle of Wight on three routes across the Solent between Portsmouth and Fishbourne or Ryde and between Lymington and Yarmouth

About this guide

This guide is based on our own research. There are direct links to each ferry operator’s own website. Also there are links to a ferry booking agency. Some of these links are to sites with which we are affiliated. If you click through to these sites or make a purchase from them this may result in us receiving a fee or commission. These links are clearly indicated with this symbol: +

There are also links to sites which do not pay us. Any link or other information is only be included if we believe it is useful and reliable - not whether we are paid.