Home sussex life The day we went to school on the ferry

The day we went to school on the ferry

by Clare Mansell
The day we went to school on the ferry

Chichester Harbour has its own foot ferry which runs around the channels in the harbour and can be hailed by anyone who needs a lift. Back when we first started visiting this area (and before we lived here permanently) it was a huge novelty. Every time friends visited we take them on it to have lunch at the pub iacross the water and we’d take our bikes on it to cycle to the beach… and then a weird thing happened, we moved here full-time and we forgot all about it. Life and routine gets in the way and suddenly you stop and take check and realise it’s 5 years since you last used it!

But this week we broke our ferry fast for the very best of reasons. Theo had a school day out and the drop off point was at one of the villages the other side of the harbour. 25 minutes by car or a short drive to the shore and a 5 minute ferry trip. Why on earth would we do anything else?!

We got to the shore in good time and called the skipper Andy on his mobile, a few minutes later and he and his dog Bruce bought the boat on to the beach and we hopped on board.


We got to the rendez vous point in good time and Theo marched off with his classmates for the first part of his day aboard the Solar Heritage.


Alice and I were in no rush to get home, so we took the opportunity to have a hot chocolate at the Quarterdeck Cafe in Itchenor, before making our leisurely way back to the jetty for the return trip. On the way back we got lucky, a chap who boarded at the same time as us wanted to go in the opposite direction to us and put his boat cover on. Would we mind a little diversion on the water? Of course we wouldn’t, we were in no rush. So whilst I took in the view, Alice made friends with Bruce and the sun came out.


Bruce was a rescue dog who was unsuccessfully rehomed twice before his first birthday, now he spends his days on the water with a proper “job” greeting the passengers. It took sme time, but he eventually got very lucky with his forever home!

Next week, if the weather behaves we have another ferry tripped lined up, this time to the Isle of Wight where we hope to spend the day doing some fossil hunting, but our trip on the foot ferry has reminded me how often we overlook the activities on our doorstep. What do you have close to you that you’ve never visited or forgotten about over the years?


Itchenor Ferry runs daily May to September.

Quarterdeck Cafe in the boatyard in Itchenor serves sanwiches, snacks and hot drinks 10am – 5pm


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