Travel without a car

Sustainable transport to and around the Isle of Wight 

We are very proud to be a Gold Level Member of the Visit IOW Green Star scheme, a scheme that actively promotes the use of sustainable transport.


The beauty of the Isle of Wight is that you don’t need a car to get here, or to explore the Island. There are miles and miles of cycle paths and walking routes, a bus network that links every corner of the Island, as well as two train operators.

The island is surrounded by an array of footpaths and cycle routes that provide adventures for everyone, whether you are looking for family-friendly paths or more significant challenges.  You can enjoy everything the Island has to offer from muddy woodland walks to flat, traffic free bike rides.

 

Please note that due to Covid-19, the Red Jet foot passenger service is currently running at a reduced service.

Getting to Firefly House in Cowes without a car from the mainland

See Visit IOW's PDF guide on Getting to Cowes from the mainland.

There are 5 cross Solent routes, each connected on the mainland to the rail network.

 

Southampton to West Cowes

  • From Southampton Central railway station, take the free bus that connects to the Red Funnel terminal. 

  • Then take the Red Jet foot passenger service to West Cowes

  • No booking required, half or hourly service, journey takes 25 mins, bicycles must be folded

 

Southampton to East Cowes

  • From Southampton Central railway station, take the free bus that connects to the Red Funnel terminal. 

  • Then take the Red Funnel vehicle service to East Cowes (as a foot passenger)

  • No booking required, hourly (or hour and half service), journey takes 60 mins, bicycles can be carried

  • Take the floating bridge (or passenger vessel) from East Cowes to West Cowes (about 10 mins)

Lymington to Yarmouth

  • From Lymington Pier railway station, walk to the Wightlink terminal. 

  • Then take the Wightlink vehicle service to Yarmouth (as a foot passenger)

  • Journey takes 40 mins

  • Take the Southern Vectis route 7 bus from Yarmouth Harbour to Newport bus station (35 mins)

  • Then take the SV route 1 bus to West Cowes (19 mins)

  • Or hire bikes from Wight Cycle Hire and cycle to West Cowes.

 

Portsmouth to Ryde

  • From Portsmouth railway station, follow the 'Wightlink' sign at the end of the platform Wightlink terminal. 

  • Then take the Wightlink foot passenger Catamaran to Ryde Pier 

  • Journey takes 22 mins

  • Take the Southern Vectis route 9 bus from Ryde bus station (platform B) to Newport bus station (30 mins)

  • Then take the SV route 1 bus to West Cowes (19 mins)

 

Portsmouth to Ryde

  • From Portsmouth & Southsea railway station, cross the road and take the Hoverbus (bus stop C) to Southsea Hoverport (15 mins) 

  • Then take the Hovercraft to Ryde Esplanade  

  • Journey takes 10 mins

  • Take the Southern Vectis route 9 bus from Ryde bus station (platform B) to Newport bus station (30 mins)

  • Then take the SV route 1 bus to West Cowes (19 mins)

Electrical cars

If you are bringing an electric car to the Island, you can find up to date details of charging points at www.zap-map.com/live/

Travelling around the Isle of Wight without a car

See Visit IOW's PDF guide on Sustainable Transport around the Isle of Wight.  

Buses

You can travel to almost anywhere by Vectis Buses.  

The main interchange zone is in Newport in the centre of the Island, with buses leading out in all directions.

Travel from Newport:

  • North to Cowes & East Cowes

  • West to Yarmouth, Totland & Freshwater travelling through Shalfleet, Newbridge, Shorwell or Brighstone

  • South to Niton & Ventnor, through Chillerton & Blackgang

  • South East to Sandown & Shankin thorough Arreton, Rookley & Godshill

  • North East to Ryde, Seaview & Bembridge through Wootton, Brading & Arreton

 

Vectis Buses service listing (routes) explained

Map of Vectis Buses

Most of the attractions and places of interest are covered by bus routes including:  Appley Beach, Blackgang Chine, Robin Hill Adventure Park, Carisbrooke Castle, Dimbola Museum & Gardens, Dinosaur Isle, IOW Steam Railway, IOW Zoo, Monkey Haven, Needles Landmark Attraction, Needles Old & New Battery and Osborne House.  

See Southern Vectis page on Days out by Bus for the bus routes.

Bus tickets

(prices as of February 2019)  

A 24 hour (or 48 hour) rover ticket available for unlimited travel across the network is just

  • £10 (£15 for 48 hrs) for an adult,

  • £7.50 (11.25) for a young adult,

  • £5 (7.50) for a child

  • or £25 (£35) for a group of up to 5 people.  

Freedom tickets for 7, 30 or 90 days start at £24 for an adult 7 day pass.

 

See Southern Vectis page on Rover tickets and Freedom tickets

 

Explorer buses

Southern Vectis also run a number of seasonal explorer buses, two of which are open top.

  • The Needles Breezer open-top bus runs a circular route from Yarmouth to Freshwater Bay, Alum Bay and right up to The Needles Battery - one of the most spectacular bus rides in Britain! Starts March 2018

  • The Downs Breezer open-top bus links many attractions and areas of interest with the beautiful views from way up high on the Downs and the holiday town of Sandown.  Returns in May 2018

  • The Island Coaster is a closed-top service from Ryde to the West Wight via Blackgang, the scenic Military Road along the South-West coast of the island and Alum Bay. Returns in March 2018

  • The Shanklin Shuttle Local service around the holiday resort of Shanklin. It links the bus and rail stations with the beach, hotels and charming Old Village.  Returns in May 2018.

 

See Southern Vectis page on Island Breezers for more information

Travelling around the Isle of Wight without a car

Bicycle

Travelling by bicycle is a popular choice on the Isle of Wight where the scenary is stunning and the roads are quiet.

You can either bring your own bicycle over (remember that the Red Jet only allows folding bikes) or you can hire a bicycle while you are here.  See our dedicated page on cycling at Firefly for details and routes.

Red Squirrel Electric Bikes

You can hire electric bicycles from Newport.

nutsnotto.co.uk

Wight Cycle Hire in Yarmouth

If you organise in advance, Wight Cycle Hire will deliver your bike straight to Firefly House in Cowes, ready for your arrival.

Choose from hybrid, trekking, mountain, road, electric, tandem and kids bikes.

wightcyclehire.co.uk

Isle Cycle Hire in Sandown

Based in Sandown, a few minutes ride from the Red Squirrel trail. Free parking, w/c and changing facilities.

islecycle.co.uk

 

Tav Cycles in Ryde

A long established friendly local bike shop and are Island agents for Specialized, Mongoose, Trek, Pashley, Claud Butler and many more. They also offer cycle hire of adult and children’s bikes and accessories.

tavcycles.co.uk

 

Route 57 in Shanklin

A variety of cycles for hire in Shanklin.

routefifty7.com

Sandown bike and beach hire

Selection of ladies and gents bikes, kids bikes, tagalongs and Dutch Cargo Bikes

sandownbikeandbeach.co.uk

Travelling around the Isle of Wight without a car

Car rental

Enterprise in Newport

South Wight Rentals in Shanklin

Esplade Car Hire in Ryde

Co-Wheels IOW 

 

Water taxi

Cowes Harbour water taxi

Sally Water taxi

Bembridge Harbour Water Taxi 

Yarmouth Harbour Water Taxi

Island Harbour Marina

Folly Waterbus

Folly Launch

Travelling around the Isle of Wight without a car

Trains

There are two train options on the Isle of Wight, the Island Line and the IOW Steam Railway.

Island Line Trains connects Ryde Pierhead with Ryde, Brading, Sandown, Lake and Shanklin.  The service is run by South Western Railway.  Follow link for the SWR website.

IOW Steam Railway is an award winning working museum with restored steam engines running between Smallbrook Junction (near Havenstreet) and Wootton.  Follow link to IOWST website.