For anyone living in or around Greater London, the Isle of Wight is the island destination for a stylish and relaxing getaway weekend or short break. Whilst the Island has the beauty and tranquility of more distant parts of the UK like Cornwall or Devon, you can start your break with a short sea crossing that’s just about an hour from the M25! Saving hours of wasted time and delay on trains or the motorway queueing further westward. You also have a full range of travel options open to you from ferries and trains to cars, bicycles and even hovercraft.
London to the Isle of Wight by train
Depending on where you are starting your journey in London, either London Victoria or London Waterloo are likely to be your most convenient railway stations. Both offer fast and regular journeys to the Isle of Wight via Portsmouth Harbour and Southampton, you are also able to change trains at Brockenhurst in the New Forest to travel to Lymington as well.
London Waterloo – South Western Railway offer direct services from London Waterloo to:
Portsmouth Harbour (not Portsmouth & Southsea) for Wightlink services to Ryde. Journey times from 1h 39mins and four departures per hour at peak times. The train takes you right to Wightlink’s passenger terminal for the Fast Cat service to Ryde and a short walk (10 mins) to the Wightlink car service which sails from Gunwharf Quays to Fishbourne. If you prefer a hovercraft experience, then you can take the Hoverbus from Portsmouth & Southsea station or Portsmouth Hard to the Hovertravel terminal at Southsea.
Southampton Central for Red Funnel services to Cowes and East Cowes. Journey times are from 1hr 11mins and three departures an hour at peak times. There is a free connecting bus service from the railway station to the Town Quay for fast Red Jet connections to Cowes and regular Red Funnel car ferry services to East Cowes.
Brockenhurst, change to Lymington Pier (not Lymington Town) for Wightlink service to Yarmouth. There are 2 connecting sevices per hour at peak times and journey times are 1h 54mins which includes a change at Brockenhurst for Lymington Pier where the Wightlink ferry departs for Yarmouth.
London Victoria – Southern services to:
Portsmouth Harbour (not Portsmouth & Southsea) for Wightlink services to Ryde. There are a few direct services a day from London Victroia to Portsmouth Harbour, approximately every two hours during the day. The journey takes around 2h 3mins. At other times you will either need to take the Tube to Waterloo or change down the line, most likely at Clapham Junction, to pick up the fast South West Trains service (as above).
Southampton Central for Red Funnel services to Cowes and East Cowes. The direct trains are once an hour, but it makes a long journey of about about 2h 30mins. The faster services involve a change at Clapham Junction for the fast South West Trains service. There is a free connecting bus service from Southampton Central railway station to the Town Quay for fast Red Jet connections to Cowes and regular Red Funnel car ferry service to East Cowes.
Brockenhurst, change to Lymington Pier (not Lymington Town) for Wightlink service to Yarmouth. There are several services per hour at peak times but all require at least 2 changes. The fastest route (approximately 2hrs) is to change at Clapham junction for the fast South West Train service. Change at Brockenhurst for Lymington Pier where the Wightlink ferry departs for Yarmouth.
London to the Isle of Wight by car
Your best route will depend on your location in London as well as how you intend on crossing the Solent to the Island, ie via Wightlink, Red Funnel. Assuming you can make your own way to the M25 it all gets a lot easier from there. The 2 main routes are via the A3 and M3, both offer fast and direct routes to the south coast.
M3 to the Isle of Wight – Anyone living in North or West London will probably decide to take the M3 which will be signposted to Southampton, especially if travelling via Southampton or Lymington in the New Forest. However if you are taking the car ferry from Portsmouth you would probably still be better travelling a bit further round the M25 and taking the A3 (see below).
M25 junction 12 to Southampton Town Quay – 56 miles or 1 hour* for Red Funnel
M25 junction 12 to Lymington Pier – 74 miles 1 hr 24 mins* for Wightlink
M25 junction 12 to Portsmouth Gunwharf – 74 miles 1 hr 14 mins* for Wightlink
A3 to the Isle of Wight – From South and East London the A3 might well offer the best route especially since the opening of the Hindhead tunnel which dramatically reduced congestion and journey times from this popular route.
M25 junction 10 to Portsmouth Gunwharf – 54 miles 1 hr* for Wightlink
M25 junction 10 to Southampton Town Quay – 57.7 miles or 1 hour 15 mins* for Red Funnel (via A31 and M3)
M25 junction 10 to Lyminton Pier – 75 miles 1 hr 36 mins* for Wightlink (via A31, M3, M27 & A337)
Car parking near mainland terminals to the Isle of Wight
If you are looking for car parking on the mainland then the following are recommended by the relevant operators:
*According to Google Maps directions