Travelling around the South Coast

For those using public transport, the South Coast couldn't be easier to get around, with easy access to airports, train stations, buses and taxis.

If you fancy a road trip in your own vehicle, the motorway is just a few minutes away and London is under a 2 hour drive. Alternatively a train to London takes just 80 minutes from Southampton Central (a short ride on the Quayconnect bus or a taxi ride from the ferry terminals).


Quayconnect is a shuttle bus service between the ferry terminals on Town Quay and Southampton Central Station (south side) via the WestQuay shopping centre.

The service is FREE to Red Funnel ticket holders, passengers with through rail or National Express coach tickets to/from East Cowes or West Cowes and holders of Senior Citizen bus passes. For all other passengers, a flat fare of just £2 applies for a return journey which is payable on boarding. Period passes and Plusbus tickets are not accepted.

Quayconnect operates every 30 minutes. For National Express customers, the nearest Quayconnect bus stop is on Portland Terrace.

  • All times correct at time of publication (April 2016). Red Funnel reserves the right to alter or amend this timetable at any time.
  • Late night and weekend trains may be altered and ferries can be delayed or cancelled in bad weather. Please check & before travelling.
  • Taxis - there is a taxi rank at Terminal 2, Town Quay (white coloured cars) and on both sides of Southampton Central Station. The journey will take approx. 5 minutes.
  • South West Trains, Red Funnel Ferries & Blue Star (Quayconnect operator) can not guarantee connections and can accept no liability if services shown in this timetable fail to connect. Please see Travel Terms & Conditions for each operator.
  • This service is operated on behalf of Red Funnel by Blue Star (part of Go South Coast).


Connecting Bus Services - West Cowes

Frequent buses operate between West Cowes and Newport (Service 1) from where there are connections across the Island. Service 1 connects with Red Jet Hi-Speed arrival and departures, stopping right outside the terminal in Fountain Yard.

FrequencyService 1
Mon-Sat daytime every 7-8 mins
Mon-Sat evening every 15 mins
Sunday/Public Holiday daytime every 10 mins
Sunday/Public Holiday evening every 15 mins
Night buses every 30 mins


Connecting Bus Services - East Cowes

There are regular services between East Cowes and Newport (Service 5) and Ryde (Service 4). The bus stop is directly outside Waitrose, a short distance from Red Funnel's East Cowes Terminal. Service 4 & 5 both stop outside Osborne House (5 minute journey).

FrequencyService 4Service 5
Mon-Sat daytime every 60 mins every 20 mins
Mon-Sat evening every 60 mins every 30 mins
Sunday/Public Holiday daytime every 60 mins every 30 mins
Sunday/Public Holiday evening every 60 mins every 30 mins


Southampton Area Bus Services

Bluestar operates services from the City Centre to local towns such as Ashurst, Bassett, Bishopstoke, Bitterne, Botley, Brockenhurst, Calmore, Chandlers Ford, Compton, Eastleigh, Eling, Fair Oak, Fawley, Hardley, Hedge End, Holbury, Hythe, Langley, Lord's Hill, Lymington, Lyndhurst, Marchwood, Millbrook, North Baddesley, Northam, Otterbourne, Portswood, Romsey, Rownhams, Shawford, Shirley, St Cross, Swaythling, Thornhill, Totton, Townhill Park and Winchester.

First Southampton City Reds operate between the City Centre and the General Hospital as well as local districts and neighbouring towns including Bassett Green, Bitterne, Boorley Green, Fareham, Gosport, Hamble, Harefield, Hedge End, Hursley Park, Lordshill, Lordswood, Midanbury, Millbrook, Netley, Nursling, Portswood, Rose Bowl, Shirley, Sholing, Thornhill, Totton, Townhill, University West End, Weston Estate and Woolston.

Unilink operates a frequent service (for everyone) between the City Centre and the University (via Portswood) which also stops at Southampton Airport, Southampton Central Station and the Oceanography Centre. They also operate services from the City Centre to Southampton General Hospital (via Portswood and the University) and from the City Centre to Bassett (via the University).

Notes: Service U6 operates between West Quay and Southampton General Hospital. Service U1C runs between Platform Road (Nr Town Quay) and Southampton Airport via Southampton Central Station.

Xelabus offer local services around Bitterne and Shirley, along with buses between Eastleigh and Hedge End via Mansbridge.

Salisbury Reds operates a non-frequent service between the City Centre and Salisbury (via Totton, Calmore, Ower, Wellow, Landford, Whiteparish and Whaddon).

Quayconnect operates between Southampton Central Station and the ferry terminals on Town Quay. It is designed to connect Red Funnel's Red Jet service with South West Trains Southampton < > London Waterloo service. It is FREE to Red Funnel ticket holders.

PLUSBUS The City of Southampton is also a member of PLUSBUS, the integrated ticketing scheme. You can buy a PLUSBUS ticket with a single, day return or period return train ticket and receive unlimited bus travel within the city on all First, Bluestar, Stagecoach, and UniLink services.

London to Isle of Wight Train Timetable (until May 2017)

Connections from individual airports

Bournemouth (BOH)

Located 15 miles west of Southampton, Bournemouth Airport is easy to get to and from by road, rail and coach. Airlines serving the airport include easyJet and Ryan Air.

  • By Car: The airport is situated adjacent to the B3073 exit of the A338. To get to Southampton follow the A338, join the A27 east and then M27 to junction 3, followed by M271 and then A35 to the city centre. Car Hire is available at the airport.
  • By Bus: Yellow Bus (service 14) operates 7 days a week (7am until 8pm) between the airport and Bournemouth Station.
  • By Taxi: The airport taxi firm, PRC Streanline Taxis serve Southampton - call 01202 373737 for a quote.
  • By Rail: Bournemouth train station is 4 miles away - see Bus & Taxi for connection options.
  • By Coach: National Express operate a direct service between Southampton and Bournemouth (approximate journey time 55 minutes) - see Bus & Taxi for connection options.

London Gatwick (LGW)

Located 28 miles south of London near Crawley, London Gatwick is the UK's second largest airport and has 2 terminals (North and South). The airport is served by most major airlines including Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, EasyJet, Ryan Air, Flybe, Norwegian, Swiss, Vueling and many others. 

  • By Car: Gatwick is linked to the M23 at junction 9. To get to Southampton travel north on the M23 to junction 8, then travel west on the M25 to junction 12, then M3 to Southampton. Approximate journey time: 2 hours. All the major car hire firms are at the airport and can either be booked in advance or on arrival.
  • By Rail: There are some direct trains to Southampton operated by Southern Railways (approximate journey time 2 hours) or you can take a Southern train from Gatwick Airport to Clapham Junction and change to a South West Trains direct service to Southampton Central. Aprroximate journey time: 90 minutes.
  • By Coach: There are direct National Express services between Gatwick and Southampton which take as little as 2 hours 11 minutes.
  • By Taxi: From Gatwick Airport to Southampton's ferry terminals an official airport taxi will be in the region of £165

London Heathrow (LHR)

Located 15 miles west of London, Heathrow is the UK's largest international airport. It is easy to get to and from by road, rail and coach. Heathrow has 5 terminals and is served by all major airlines with the exception of some low-cost operators.

  • By Car: located just off the M25, Terminals 1, 2, 3 are close to junction 4 of the M4 or junction 15 of the M25. If arriving at Terminal 4, follow signs to the M25 at junction 14. Terminal 5 has its own access road with easy access to junction 14 of the M25. To get to Southampton, either take the M4 to junction 11, then A33 south, joining the M3 at junction 6. Alternatively travel south on the M25 to junction 12, then M3 to Southampton. Approximate journey time: 90 minutes. All major car hire firms are based at Heathrow and can either be booked in advance or on arrival.
  • By Railair: National Express operate a twice hourly rail-air coach service between all Heathrow terminals and Woking railway station (journey time 50 minutes). From Woking, there are frequent South West Trains services to Southampton Central station. Approximate journey time: 50-60 minutes.
  • By Rail: Either use the Railair service referred to above and change at Woking OR catch the Heathrow Express service to London Paddington Station and then use the London Underground service to get to London Waterloo station. From here you can catch a direct South West Trains service to Southampton Central station which takes as little as 1 hour 11 minutes.
  • By Coach: National Express operate regular scheduled services between Heathrow and Southampton. Approximate journey time 1 hour 50 minutes.
  • By Taxi: From Heathrow to Red Funnel's Southampton ferry terminals a taxi typically costs in the region of £140.00

Southampton (SOU)

From Southampton Airport (SOU) it is really easy to get to the city centre by public transport. The airport has its own adjacent station (Southampton Airport Parkway) with the journey to Southampton taking around 10 minutes. On arrival at Southampton Central you will find the Quayconnect shuttle bus service which operates between the train station and the ferry terminals.

Southampton airport is just outside Southampton city centre and has excellent road and rail links. It is the fast-track airport of the south, serving over 47 European destinations.

  • By Car: The airport is adjacent to the M3 and M27 interchange. For the city centre follow the A35 from junction 5 of the M27. Approximate journey time: 15-20 minutes.
  • By Rail: Southampton Airport Parkway station is just 99 steps from the airport entrance. There are up to 3 trains an hour to Southampton Central.  Aprroximate journey time: 7 minutes.
  • By Bus: Unilink's (service U1C) operates a frequent service between the University, the city-centre and the airport. It runs every 15 minutes during the week and every 20 minutes at weekends and public holidays. First Group (service 14) operate an hourly service Monday to Saturday until 13:26pm and two additional services later in the day.
  • By Taxi: Checker Cars is located in the main concourse opposite the arrivals hall and operates 24 hours a day.