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London to the Isle of Wight


Getting from London to the Isle of Wight

Getting from London to the Isle of Wight is really easy and is achievable in just 2 hours 3 minutes if travelling by train to Southampton and then by Red Jet Hi-Speed ferry to West Cowes. Part of the Isle of Wight's popularity since Victorian times as a place to live, work and play has been its close proximity to London so whether you come for a day, a weekend away or a week's holiday you won't spend a long time travelling.




London to the Isle of Wight by train


London to the Isle of Wight by train

South West Trains operate up to 2 fast trains per hour from London Waterloo to Southampton Central station and onto Weymouth or Pool. The journey time on direct trains typically takes just 1 hour 14 min. When connecting with Red Funnel's Red Jet Hi-Speed services to West Cowes, you can reach the Isle of Wight in 2 hours 3 min.

Example day visit itinerary (Source: National Rail Enquiries): -

 To Isle of Wight (2hr 3min) To London Waterloo (2hr 5min)
08:05 Depart London Waterloo (train)
09:22 Arrive Southampton Central
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09:30 Depart Southampton Central (bus)
09:37 Arrive Terminal 2, Town Quay
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09:45 Depart Terminal 2 (ferry)
10:08 Arrive West Cowes

17:15 Depart West Cowes (ferry)
17:38 Arrive Terminal 2, Town Quay
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17:45 Depart Terminal 2 (bus)
17:52 Arrive Southampton Central
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18:00 Depart Southampton Central (train)
19:20 Arrive London Waterloo

London-Isle of Wight Timetable

Through rail tickets to Cowes East or Cowes West can be purchased form the London Waterloo ticket office and most station ticket machines. For cheap rail fares on this route (booked online in advance) between London and Southampton see Megatrain.

Slower trains operate from London Waterloo to Portsmouth & Southsea with bus connections to Hovertravel's services to Ryde on the Isle of Wight. Most of these trains continue to Portsmouth Harbour station to connect with Wightlink's ferry services to Ryde. Journey times to Portsmouth typically take 1 hour 33 min to 1 hour 40 min.

First and standard class coaches are available on the Southampton route and quiet zones are available on most trains as is a trolley buffet service. All services are non-smoking. Cycles are carried subject to availability.





Journey Times

Quickest travel times London to Southampton (approx)

  • By train: 1hr 14 min
  • By coach: 2hrs 10 min
  • By car: 1hr 35 mins

Isle of Wight ferry sailings to West Cowes take 25 min, 55-60 min to East Cowes.



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London to the Isle of Wight by coach


National Express Coach London to Southampton

National Express operates frequent coach services from London's Victoria Coach Station to Southampton Coach station and to Southsea and Portsmouth Harbour.

The direct National Express coach services from London to Southampton take from 2 hours 10 minutes. There are up to 21 services a day between London Victoria and Southampton Coach station, 6 of which are non-stop.

National Express also operates up to 12 services a day between London and Portsmouth of which 4 services are non-stop. The fastest service is 1 hour 58 minutes, other journey times take a fair bit longer.




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.

London to the Isle of Wight with a cycle


London to Isle of Wight by cycle

If you don't fancy cycling for 8 hours to cover the distance of 84 miles from Central London to Southampton or Portsmouth these are the options:-

Small Foldable Cycles (fold in-half by means of a special link in the main frame and carried in a padded bag or hard case, suitable for the purpose): Such cycles are carried FREE but space is subject to availability (first come first served) on National Express's London services to Southampton and Portsmouth; South West Trains services from London to Southampton, Portsmouth and Lymington and on both Red Funnel's routes from Southampton to East Cowes and West Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Hovertravel and Wightlink also carry cycles for FREE.

Non-Folding Cycles: South West Trains carry standard bikes for FREE but space is subject to availability on trains from Waterloo to Southampton, Portsmouth and Lymington. Red Funnel carries all types of cycles for FREE on its Southampton to East Cowes vehicle service. Cycles are also free (2 per sailing) on Hovertravel's services from Southsea to Ryde and Wightlink's services from Portsmouth to Ryde & Fishbourne and Lymington to Yarmouth.








London to the Isle of Wight by taxi


London to the Isle of Wight by taxi

The cost of a taxi from London to the Isle of Wight ferry ports in Southampton or Portsmouth will be in the region of £260 depending on the pick-up point and the traffic. If you pre-book a private hire car you could probably easily save £100 by pre-agreeing the fare. Split the cost between 3 people and it works out about £55 each.





London to the Isle of Wight by car


M3 Motorway London to Southampton

The 78 mile journey from central London to Southampton by car using  the A4, A316 and M3 takes about 1 hour 35 minutes.

The distance from Central London to Portsmouth is similar and takes 1 hour 40 minutes using the A3203, A3025 and A3.

If you are travelling from north or west London (Chelmsford,  Brentwood, Romford, Enfield, Barnet, Watford, Harrow, Uxbridge, Slough, Hounslow etc) we suggest you travel west on the A406 or anti-clockwise on the M25 as appropriate to pick up the M3 to Southampton.

If travelling from east or south London including Basildon, Dartford, Sevenoaks, Beckenham, Croydon, Reigate, Epsom, Leatherhead or Kingston we recommend you travel west on the A205 or clockwise on the M25 as appropriate before joining the M3 to Southampton.

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 but it's not essential. 

Car Ferry Timetable Make a Car Ferry Booking

Road Directions from London to Southampton's Isle of Wight Ferry Ports
View Larger Map & Get Directions


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Contact Centre: Bookings Tel (Within UK): 0844 844 9988. Tel (Outside UK): 0845 155 2442. Customer Services: Tel +44 (0)23 8001 9192

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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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Red Jet Hi-Speed service
Southampton <> West Cowes, Isle of Wight
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Service is operating normally

Passenger Vehicle Ferry service
Southampton <> East Cowes, Isle of Wight
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Service is operating normally

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