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Bristol to the Isle of Wight

Getting from Bristol to the Isle of Wight

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Getting from Bristol to the Isle of Wight is achievable in 2½ hours if travelling by train to Southampton and then by Red Jet Hi-Speed ferry to West Cowes.

Superb transport links have helped maintain the Isle of Wight's popularity since Victorian times as a place to escape for a weekend break or a longer holiday.

Bristol to the Isle of Wight by train

Bristol to the Isle of Wight by train

First Great Western operate direct services from Bristol to Southampton. There are hourly services from Bristol Temple Meads with journeys taking as little as 1 hour 40 minutes. Services from Bristol Parkway are less frequent and take from 2 hours 9 minutes.

Through rail tickets to Cowes East or Cowes West can be purchased from Bristol ticket offices and most station ticket machines. Most trains offer First and standard class coaches and a trolley buffet service. All services are non-smoking. Cycles are carried subject to the cycle policy - see cycle section.

Bristol to the Isle of Wight by coach

Brighton to the Isle of Wight by coach

National Express has 1 direct daily coach service from Bristol Coach Station to Southampton Coach station. Journey times take about 2 hours 50 minutes. To travel at other times you will need to catch one of the 13 daily coaches from Bristol to London Victoria Coach Station and then change for a direct service to Southampton (the fastest journey times for this routing is 5 hours 5 minutes).

Journey Times

Quickest travel times Bristol to Southampton (approx)

  • By train: 1hr 40 min
  • By coach: 2hrs 50 min
  • By car: 1hr 53 mins

Isle of Wight ferry sailings to West Cowes take 25 mins & 55-60 mins to East Cowes

Arriving in Southampton by public transport?

Southampton CityLink shuttle bus

If arriving at Southampton Central Station or at Southampton's Coach Station, a FREE CityLink Shuttle Bus operates from the Central Rail Station to Red Funnel's ferry ports to connect with the Isle of Wight ferry sailings to East and West Cowes. Alternatively, there is a taxi rank at the station for the 5-8 minute journey to the ferry terminals. It is about a 12-15 minute walk.

Bristol to Isle of Wight by taxi

Brighton to the Isle of Wight by taxi

The cost of a taxi from Bristol to the Isle of Wight ferry ports in Southampton will be in the region of £115 depending on the pick-up point and the traffic. If you pre-book a private hire car you could probably easily save money by pre-agreeing the fare. Split the cost between 3 people and it works out about £38 each.

Bristol to the Isle of Wight by cycle

Brighton to the Isle of Wight by cycle

If you are not up for the 86 mile, 8 hour 46 minute cycle from Bristol to Southampton but still want to bring your bike (the Isle of Wight is great for cycling) these are the options:-

Small Foldable Cycles (the type that fold in-half by means of link in the main frame and carried in a padded bag or hard case): Such cycles are carried FREE but space is subject to availability (first come first served) on National Express's service from Bristol to Southampton; First Great Western services from Bristol to Southampton and on both Red Funnel's routes from Southampton to East Cowes and West Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

Non-Folding Cycles: First Great Western carry standard bikes. Although carried FREE of charge, space is limited and subject to availability on trains between Bristol and Southampton. Red Funnel carries all types of cycles for FREE on its Southampton to East Cowes passenger vehicle ferry service but standard cycles can not be carried on the Red Jet service to West Cowes.

Bristol to the Isle of Wight by car

Bristol to Isle of Wight by car

The quickest route from central Bristol to Southampton (Isle of Wight Ferry Terminal 1, Dock Gate 7, Royal Pier) by car is to take the M32 out of Bristol and then travel east on the M4; followed by the A34, M3 and A33. It takes about 1 hour 53 minutes to cover the 105 mile distance.

Alternatively to avoid the A34, you can turn off the M4 at Junction 17 and take the A350, B4158, A420, A4, A342, A364, A360, A36, M27, M271 and A33. This route is about 87 miles and will take 2 hours 16 minutes in average traffic conditions.

The shortest but most scenic route is to take the A4 out of Bristol and then the B1130 before joining the A36 at Limpley Stoke. Follow the A36 towards Southampton, travel east on the M27 from Junction 2 to Junction 3 and then take the M271 followed by the A33. This route is only 74.2 miles but will take just over 2 hours.

If you don't want to take your car to the Island there are numerous car parks near the ferry terminals, so just park-up and catch the Red Jet to West Cowes or the Passenger Car Ferry to East Cowes. The latter can be pre-booked using the link below.

Car Ferry Timetable Make a Car Ferry Booking

Road Directions from Bristol to Southampton's Isle of Wight Ferry Ports (B)
View Larger Map & Get Directions

RedFunnel Address

Contact Centre: For travel, accommodation and enquiries call +44 (0)23 8001 9192

Switchboard: Tel +44 (0)23 8024 8500. Fax +44 (0)23 8024 8501.

Registered in England: 002404, VAT number: GB 902 873131. All Rights Reserved, © 2014 Red Funnel (i-0f02866ef2913e697)

Isle of Wight Port Addresses: Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries, Trinity Road, East Cowes, Isle of Wight PO32 6RA | Red Funnel Red Jet Ferries (West Cowes), Fountain Yard, West Cowes, Isle of Wight PO31 7AR.

Southampton Port Addresses: Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries (Terminal 1), Terminal 1, Dock Gate 7 off Town Quay Road, Southampton, SO14 2AR | Red Funnel Red Jet Ferries (Terminal 2), Terminal 2, Town Quay, Southampton SO14 2AQ.

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Southampton <> West Cowes, Isle of Wight

running a shuttle service due to reduced visibility. We apologise for the inconvenience to your journey


Southampton <> East Cowes, Isle of Wight

Service is operating normally

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