If you are looking for a car free holiday, then the Isle of Wight is a perfect location, with plenty of rail and bus options both on and off the island, as well as three passenger ferry services to get you across the water for your island escape.
Getting To The Ports
National Express (nationalexpress.com) and Megabus (uk.megabus.com) run services into both Portsmouth (to The Hard Interchange, which is next to Portsmouth Harbour train station and Wightlink’s passenger service) and Southampton (to Southampton Coach Station, which is a short walk to Southampton Central for a bus connection to Town Quay – see further down).
South Western Railway, Southern and GWR (nationalrail.co.uk) run services to all three passenger ferry port stations, Portsmouth and Southsea, Portsmouth Harbour and Southampton Central station, as well as CrossCountry services also serving Southampton Central.
The stations run services that call at the following locations:
- Portsmouth and Southsea and Portsmouth Harbour: Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Bath, Gatwick, London Victoria and London Waterloo, with connections from these stations to many keys locations across the UK.
- Southampton Central: Southampton Airport Parkway, Oxford, Birmingham New Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Newcastle, Bristol, Cardiff, London Victoria, London Waterloo, Gatwick and Brighton, with connections from these stations to many keys locations across the UK.
Lymington Pier train station is next door to Wightlink’s Lymington to Yarmouth car ferry service and foot passengers are able to use the service. For more information on the service, see our travel by car page.
|Top Tip You can purchase through tickets for train and National Express services, which can provide savings for those using a railcard in comparison to purchasing your ferry/hover ticket separately. You’ll need to search for West Cowes (for Red Funnel’s Red Jet), Ryde Pier Head (for Wightlink) or Ryde Esplanade (for Hovertravel) or Shanklin if travelling by Island Line train on the island when purchasing.|
When at the ports, the passenger ferry services are as follows:
- Red Funnel’s Red Jet – Southampton to West Cowes: Red Funnel (redfunnel.co.uk) offer a 23 to 25 minute passenger ferry service from Terminal 2 at Town Quay in Southampton to West Cowes on the island. The service offers free wifi, a drinks service and onboard toilets for Red Jet 6 and Red Jet 7. There is also a Steam coffee and toilet facilities at each port. Red Funnel operate QuayConnect bus service from Southampton Central train station to Town Quay every 30 minutes, which is free for those with Red Funnel, train or National Express tickets. U1 from Unilink also operates for a fare. The service operates every 30 minutes during peak times on Monday to Saturday, with an hourly service outside this period.
- Wightlink – Portsmouth to Ryde: Wightlink (wightlink.co.uk) offer a 22 minute passenger ferry service from Portsmouth Harbour train station to Ryde Pier Head on the island. The service offers free wifi and onboard toilets. There is also a Costa coffee and toilet facilities at each port. When getting off your train at Portsmouth Harbour train, just walk to the front end of the platform (driver’s end on arrival) and the slope down to Wightlink is straight opposite. The service operates every hour all year round, with additional half hourly services at peak season.
- Hovertravel – Southsea to Ryde: Hovertravel (hovertravel.co.uk) offer a 10 minute passenger hovercraft service from Southsea to Ryde Esplanade on the island. There are toilet facilities at each port. The service is just over a mile from Portsmouth and Southsea train station and also Portsmouth Harbour train station with the Hoverbus offering bus travel from both stations to the hoverport (fares apply). The service operates every half hour with additional services at peak.
Discount On Your Ferry Crossing
Shanklin Holiday Homes are able to offer 20% discount on Wightlink’s passenger ferry service to the Isle of Wight. When booking online, you will be asked if you would like a code/link to allow you to receive a discount on your ferry booking and also which route you would like it for.
All of the car ferry services also offer foot passenger travel.
Public Transport On The Island
Island Line from South Western Railway (southwesternrailway.com) train service operates from Ryde to Shanklin, calling at Ryde Pier Head (for Wightlink passenger service), Ryde Esplanade (for Hovertravel), Ryde St Johns Road, Smallbrook Junction (for Isle of Wight Steam Railway) Brading, Sandown and Lake. There are no toilet facilities on the trains. Ryde to Shanklin is just under 30 minutes and connection with ferry and hover services. Services operate every hour with half hourly services in peak months and include wifi and USB charging. Tickets can be purchased on the train from the guard or at Shanklin station via the machine or the ticket office if open.
|Top Tip If you are looking to make a number of journeys on Island Line during a day, you can purchase a Day Ranger ticket for unlimited travel or a Day Rover ticket for unlimited travel including 3rd class on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.|
Southern Vectis (islandbuses.info) operate a wide number of routes across the island with Shanklin served by route 2 (Newport to Ryde), route 3 (Newport to Ryde via Ventnor), Shanklin Shuttle (circular service around Shanklin) and Island Coaster (Ryde to West Wight) with a bus station in Landguard Road. All buses are disabled friendly and in addition to the regular routes, open top Breezer buses are also available for scenic routes.
|Top Tip For those using the bus frequently during their stay, you can purchase a Rover ticket for 24 or 48 hours or Freedom for 7 days.|
The taxi rank is located at Shanklin train station, as well as West Cowes, Ryde Pier Head and Ryde Esplanade ferry ports. At peak times, it is advisable to pre-book your taxi.
For the ports, there are a number of taxi companies available, but some larger companies are Ryde Taxis (01983 811111) for Ryde ports and Leader Cabs (01983 303000) and Alpha Taxis (01983 280280) for West Cowes.
For Shanklin, a selection of taxi companies are: Ace Taxis (01983 868666), Door 2 Door (01983 404554), Macs Taxi (01983 862344) and Clare’s Taxi (07789 173457).
Last Updated: 08/11/2021