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Getting to Southampton By Bus

Bus and Shuttle Services for the Southampton Area

Sit back and relax and let someone else do the driving! Hampshire, Southampton, and the Isle of Wight all have excellent local and regional bus services that make getting around a breeze and enable you to connect with rail, air, and ferry services with ease.

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. 

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.


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.

Find the latest Quayconnect Timetable here.


  • All times correct at time of publication. 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 Western Railway, 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. For Service 1 from the Red Jet Hi-Speed terminal, follow the pavement markers to the bus stop outside the M&S Foodhall (2 minute walk).


Service 1

Mon-Sat daytime

Every 10 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).


Service 4

Service 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

Explore local and regional bus routes into Southampton.

Getting Here By Bus

Southampton is well served by both national and local coach companies.

Getting Here By Coach

Sail in, sail out. See cruise ship and ferry connections into Southampton.

Getting Here By Cruise & Ferry

Two National Cycle Network routes meet in Southampton.

Getting Here By Cycle

Southampton is easily accessible for passengers arriving at Southampton Airport.

Getting Here By Air

Southampton Central is a busy station hub with services from around the UK.

Getting Here By Rail

Getting to Southampton is a breeze for motorists, with routes from all over the country.

Getting Here By Road

See current fares for Red Funnel and Red Jet crossings.

Fares & Tickets

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Special Offers & Deals

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Points of Interest

On both sides of the Solent, there’s lots to see and do whether you’re crossing for leisure, for work, or simply for a change of scenery. Explore points of interest on the Isle of Wight and in and around Southampton. 

Royal Pier Pavilion

Royal Pier Pavilion

This one’s easy to spot as you arrive at our Southampton ferry terminal, particularly at night when it’s lit up in purple lights! When Red Funnel was first formed, we ran a fleet of paddle steamers that operated excursions to destinations around the Island, and along the south coast. These departed from “Royal Pier”, and the impressive pavilion building is still in use as a restaurant.

Ocean Cruise Terminal

People walking on a ship

This striking landmark on Southampton’s waterfront is where you’ll find some of the world’s largest cruise ships docking. See if you can spot some of the famous Cunard and P&O Cruises vessels as you depart for the Island, and if you’re travelling in the late afternoon/early evening you might even get to sail alongside them as they depart Southampton for their global destinations.

Hythe Pier

Hythe Pier

The Hythe pier is difficult to miss, as at 640 metres in length, it’s the 7th longest in Britain. It is also the home of the world’s oldest working pier train, which links the village of Hythe and its marina to a small ferry that runs a regular service to the City of Southampton.

Netley Chapel

Netley Chapel at Royal Victoria Country Park

This striking chapel, on the eastern side of the river, is all that now remains of one of Britain’s first purpose-built hospitals. Constructed for veterans of the Crimean War, the original 220-acre site was the largest of its time but was demolished after a fire in 1966. The site is now open to the public as part of Royal Victoria Country Park.

Calshot Castle

Calshot Castle

The picturesque Calshot Castle was originally built by Henry VIII to defend the entrance to Southampton waters. As our ferry reaches the Solent, the castle is easily visible at the end of Calshot Spit, which extends from the west into the main waters, with Calshot beach and its long row of beach huts visible further along.

Columbine Building

East Cowes aerial image

The striking Columbine building on the East Cowes waterfront has been a central point of Island industry for many years. Starting with Saunders Roe, which was involved in everything from sea planes, hovercrafts, and rockets, and is currently home to Wight Shipyard, which built two of Red Funnel’s Red Jet fleet. When you spot the iconic Union Jack doors, you’ve arrived on the Island!

Other Red Funnel Ferries

Aerial Image of the ferry

Southampton’s waters and the Solent are always busy with shipping movements, not least with our very own Red Funnel fleet. At peak time we will often have our three vehicle ferries, two Hi-Speed passenger ferries, and our freight ferry all out on the water – so watch out for them, and don’t forget to give our other passengers and crew a customary wave!

Cowes Castle

West cowes

As you approach the Island and arrive at Cowes Harbour, you’ll see another of Henry VIII’s forts, Cowes Castle. The castle is now home and clubhouse to the Royal Yacht Squadron, whose Club organises yacht racing as a principal feature of the now globally famous Cowes Week regatta. Look carefully at the front and you might see the cannons that are used for starting races.

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Fast and efficient service
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The service is great. The boarding and disembarkation is like a well oiled machine executed by happy and helpful staff. The ticket office colleagues welcome you with a smile and a…
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