Top Tips for Travelling to the Isle of Wight without a car
Planes, Trains and Automobiles? Nope, more like Ferry, trains and buses instead.
We set out to establish if you really do need a car when visiting the Isle of Wight…
First things First.
The first decision to make when travelling to the Isle of Wight without a car; how are you going to get across the Solent to start your adventure?
On our first adventure without the car, we tried the Hovercraft. From Southsea to Ryde in 10 minutes, you can’t really go wrong. The only hovercraft company in existence - it is iconic and memorable in equal measures.
Once you arrive on the Isle of Wight, whether it is in Ryde, Cowes or Yarmouth, the buses are your main mode of transport to reach your final destination.
Having said that, I have to admit my favoured onward choice of transport is the Island Line. Riding a vintage London Tube train from Ryde to Shanklin is an amazing way to introduce yourself to the relaxed vibes of island life.
The Island Line Adventure
Setting off from Ryde, we jumped off at Brading Station on our way through to Shanklin. I can highly recommend a stop here. The Heritage centre and Tearooms provide refreshments, Station Box tours and a friendly atmosphere, alongside plenty of railway history. [Be sure to check opening times].
If you have time to spare before jumping back on the train, Brading Town centre is a 5-minute walk away. I made the mistake of introducing the 7 year old to Giraffe and Custard – that’s a shop, not a delicacy! I think we have nearly cleared them out of giraffe cushions.
Back on the train, we waved to Sandown as we passed by, reaching our final destination shortly after; Shanklin. Here you can head to the beach should you desire, visit Shanklin Chine, or enjoy the Old Village. We choose the later option and enjoyed a leisurely walk around the Village. We stopped for an afternoon tea (there are tearooms in abundance) and visited some of the unique independent shops, including a shop dedicated to Christmas.
There are plenty of options for fun on the Island Line. You can even get off at Smallbrook Junction and join the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. But, that’s a whole new adventure (and blog).
Just make sure, on the return journey back to Ryde; you stay on till the end. It's not often you can ride a train along a pier and out into the sea.
Southern Vectis look after the bus system on the Isle of Wight. Connecting resorts, towns and attractions along the way. Pretty reliable and covering a wide area, using the buses is a simple and sustainable way to travel on the Isle of Wight.
On one of our “can we survive without a car” days out, we arrived on the Island and grabbed a 24-hour Rover ticket. This time we travelled from Ryde on the Island Coaster. This is a bus route that takes you right along the coast, all the way around to Yarmouth. You can hop on and off, connect with other buses and breezers and generally make the most of your £10 ticket (£5 if you are little).
We made a few stops (Ventnor and Freshwater) and then swapped to the Needles Breezer to play the real tourist. It’s worth noting; only plan this little adventure in the summer. The Breezers do not operate during the winter months. 2 of them are open top buses, so you can see why!
Wherever you arrive on the Isle of Wight, a bus route can take you to Newport, the ‘capital’ of the island. From here, you can pretty much get anywhere on the Island by bus.
Fun at Blackgang Chine? Number 6 bus will see to that.
Say Hi to our donkeys at the IOW Donkey Sanctuary? No probs, Number 3 route will get you there.
Need to get crafty at Arreton Barns? Number 8 is the bus for you.
The Islands travel system really can make a sustainable holiday a possibility.
Reasonably priced, scenic and definitely more adventurous.
Less money, less electronics to amuse the kids and certainly less “are we nearly there yet’s”
Next adventure, cycling or walking around the Isle of Wight?
For more information and help with committing to sustainable travel, the Isle of Wight Travel Ambassadors have plenty of suggestions and tips for you.