A direct train from London's Waterloo Station to Portsmouth deposits travelers directly at the pier for a ferry crossing to the Isle of Wight; ferries are timed to meet train arrivals. Travel time from London to the arrival point of Ryde on the Isle of Wight (including ferry-crossing time) is 2 hours. One train per hour departs during the day from London to Portsmouth. For rail information, call tel. 0845/748-4950 or visit www.nationalrail.co.uk.
Drive to Southampton and take the ferry or leave Southampton and head west along the A35, cutting south on the A337 toward Lymington on the coast, where the ferry crossing to Yarmouth (Isle of Wight) is shorter than the trip from Southampton.
Red Funnel operates a vehicle ferry service from Terminal 1 in Southampton to East Cowes; the trip takes 55 minutes. An inclusive round-trip fare (valid for 5 days) costs £14 for adults, £9.30 for seniors, and £7 for children. More popular with train travelers from Waterloo Station in London is a high-speed passenger-only catamaran operating from the Town Quay Terminal 2 in Southampton, going to West Cowes; the trip takes 22 minutes. A round-trip fare costs £18 for adults, £14 for seniors, and £9 for children 5 to 15. For ferry departure times, call tel. 0844/8449988 or visit www.redfunnel.co.uk and www.nationalrail.co.uk.
The Wight Link ferry (tel. 0871/376-4342; www.wightlink.co.uk) operates between Portsmouth and Ryde, taking 20 minutes and costing £19 for adults and £9.30 for children, round-trip standard return. Daytime departures are every 30 minutes in summer and every 60 minutes in winter.
Visitors can explore the Isle of Wight just for the day on the Island Explorer bus service. Tickets may be purchased on the bus, and you can board or leave the bus at any stop on the island. The price of a Day Rover is £10 for adults and £5 for children. It also entitles you to passage on the island's only railway, which runs from the dock at Ryde to the center of Shanklin, a distance of 13km (8 miles). For further information, call Southern Vectis at tel. 0871/2002233, or visit www.islandbuses.info.
Our preferred way to get around the island is by bike or moped. Rentals are available at 1st Call, 15 College Close, Sandown (tel. 01983/400055), costing £15 per day for a bike. Another possibility is Tav Cycle Sport, 140 High St., at Ryde (tel. 01983/812989), where cycles rent for £14 for a day. Both outlets are open Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm.
The information office is at 67 High St., Shanklin (tel. 01983/813813; www.islandbreaks.co.uk). It's open Monday to Saturday March to October 9:30am to 5pm, Sunday 10am to 4pm, and November to March Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4:30pm. It's best to call first, as these hours are subject to change.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.