Bristol to the Isle of Wight

Getting from Bristol and the West Country to the Isle of Wight is simple and achievable in just 2¼ hours if travelling by train to Southampton and then by Red Jet Hi-Speed ferry to West Cowes. This makes the Island closer than Cornwall and the perfect destination for a holiday or short-break travelling by public transport or by car.

Bristol to the Isle of Wight by train

Great Western Railways run frequent services between Bristol and Southampton calling at Bath and Salisbury.

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

National Express has 1 direct daily coach service from Bristol Coach Station to Southampton Coach station. Journey times take about 3 hours.

To travel at other times you will need to catch one of the frequent services from Bristol to Reading and change there for a direct service to Southampton (the fastest journey times for this routing is around 4 hours).

Bristol to the 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.

Bristol to the Isle of Wight by bicycle

If you are not up for the 79 mile, 6 hour 54 minute cycle from Bristol to Southampton but 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 the National Express service from Bristol to Southampton; Great Western Railway's 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: 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 taxi

The cost of a pre-booked taxi from Bristol to the Isle of Wight ferry ports in Southampton will be in the region of £130 depending on the pick-up point and the traffic.

If you agree the fare in advance and split the cost between 3 people it could work out about £43 each.

Arriving in Southampton by Public Transport

The FREE Quayconnect Shuttle Bus connects Southampton's Central Rail Station (short walk from the coach station) to Red Funnel's ferry ports for IoW 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's about a 12-15 minute walk.