A trip to the Isle of White was on our bucket list for some time now. This little piece of heaven in the South of England is a must-visit place in the UK. It is the largest island in England and is located on the English Channel, around five miles off the Hampshire coast. Separated by the Solent, the isle is a popular holiday destination since Victorian times. In fact, Queen Victoria had a summer home on the Isle of Wight, which she used to visit with her family. Known for its mild climate, coastal beauty and an array of attractions including chines and fields, the Isle of Wight is a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve too.
So, during this Easter break, we decided to visit the Isle of Wight and see for ourselves what makes this a much loved and sought-after tourist destination. Accordingly, we set out from Liverpool early morning on Good Friday to Portsmouth, from where we’ll board the ferry to the Isle of Wight.
Travelling to the Isle of Wight
The easiest way to travel to the Isle of Wight is by ferry. The Isle of Wight ferry recorded its first service way back in the 1420s. Nowadays, there are various service providers such as Hovertravel, Red Funnel, and Wightlink running regular services from the southern coast of England to the ports on the north side of the Isle.
Apart from these, you can also travel by train from various parts of England by purchasing joint train and ferry tickets. Most of the connecting trains to the Isle of Wight are operated by South Western Railway. The Isle of Wight has train services running from Ryde to various towns such as Sandown, Shanklin, and Brading. Check out the Isle of Wight Trains for details.
There are coaches with regular connections running from various parts of the UK to Portsmouth and Southampton. You can travel by coach to the Isle of Wight.
There are no direct commercial flights to the Isle of Wight. However, it is possible to fly private aircraft to the Isle of Wight. The airports are located at Bembridge and Sandown.
As mentioned before, the Isle of Wight is located just off the southern coast of the English mainland with ferry connections from Portsmouth, Lymington, and Southampton. We decided to take the Wightlink ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne. Wightlink offers various ticket options for people travelling to the Isle of Wight. If you wish to take your car with you, you can opt for a ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne (like we did). The journey takes approximately 45 min. Alternatively, you can opt for the Lymington to Yarmouth ferry if you wish to take your vehicle with you. It will take you around 40 min to reach the Isle of Wight.
If you aren’t taking a vehicle with you, you can opt for the Portsmouth to Ryde option, which will take you to the Isle in 22 min.
Boarding and Solent Crossing
We arrived at the ferry boarding point well in time. The entire process was smooth as we had already entered the vehicle details and ticket details in the Wightlink app. We were told to wait in a particular lane for boarding. Our ferry was scheduled for 2 PM, but there was a delay of around 20 min. As we had enough time, we walked around a bit and enjoyed the view from the ferry terminal. We also purchased our lunch from the terminal café.
Not long afterward, it was time for us to board. This was a first-time experience for us. We drove in and parked the car at the designated spot and climbed out. Since the crossing takes 45 min, we had enough time to go up the sun deck and enjoy the magnificent view. The weather was lovely, the waters calm. We couldn’t have asked for a better setting. The ferry was full of holidaymakers – old and young travellers, families with children – the atmosphere was lively and buzzing with excitement.
The crossing from the mainland to the Isle of Wight is known as the Solent crossing, even though technically it is in the English channel.
A Sunny Welcome to the Isle of Wight
After a smooth crossing, we arrived at the Isle of Wight in 45 min. Lovely weather welcomed us and soon we headed towards our accommodation in Yaverland near Sandown. We checked in at the holiday park and rested for some time. The accommodation was comfortable and cozy, which felt heavenly after a day of travel.
Once our weary bodies were amply rested we set about exploring Sandown. We drove down to the beachside, parked by the roadside, and walked along the beach for some time. It was the perfect setting to enjoy an evening walk and play. As the sun started to set, we decided to call it a day and go back to our accommodation. The moon was already shining in the sky. As we drove away, far away in the ocean, a ship was sailing to its destination – a magical scene to end a perfect day!
We will be back with more stories from Isle of Wight soon. Until then, read our previous blogs here