London to the Isle of Wight

Travelling 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

South Western Railways operate up to 2 fast trains per hour from London Waterloo to Southampton Central station and on to 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

Through rail tickets to East Cowes or West Cowes can be purchased form the London Waterloo ticket office and most station ticket machines.

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.

London to the Isle of Wight by coach

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.

London to the Isle of Wight by car

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.

London to the Isle of Wight by bicycle

If you don't fancy cycling for 8 hours to cover the 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 the National Express London to Southampton and Portsmouth services; South Western Railways 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 Western Railways 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

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.

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.