So you made it to the Island. You haven’t brought a vehicle with you so these are your options.
Southern Vectis Bus Service – The one and only.
Ok, not all the buses are open top but these are the summer month buses. They go around the Island in the warmer weather to some of the attractions and best views. You can reach places such as The Needles, Blackgang Chine, The Downs, and a trip along the iconic Military Road. *some will require changing buses at different locations*.
Other buses on the Island are frequent between the main towns however for anywhere else, do check the timetables.
Prices vary depending on what you want and how long you are staying and what you wish to do. I’d recommend downloading the app if you plan to rely on buses. You can now pay by card on the buses. You can buy a rover ticket which will cover all rides within a certain timeframe. Always get a through ticket not singles and there are multi-day ticket bundles.
We do not have Uber! We have to call for a taxi, our taxi ranks are not usually swamped with available taxi’s so plan ahead. If you google “Isle of Wight Taxi near *insert location*” you will get the top results, all prices do not vary enough to warrant searching far.
Rent a car, van and mini bus
With little choice of car hire on the Island. I have listed a well known and a local company for you below.
Enterprise is a worldwide car hire company and is also located in the heart of Newport town center. You can find their website to search for cars (search via Isle of Wight, not Newport) by following this link. I used there service when my car was written off and I could not fault it, they even picked me up and dropped me off when I collected and returned the car. They also do a deal with Hovertravel.
A local company I have used many times for van and car hire. I have never had any problems and it is affordable and based in Lake. https://www.southwightrentals.co.uk/
One other site brought to my attention via social media that hires out good car’s and mini-buses at a reasonable price is https://www.primedrivecars.co.uk/
There is very little free parking on the Isle of Wight in the height of summer. You are looking at a minimum of £2.50 for a couple hours. Evenings and overnight is usually cheaper.
The Isle of Wight Council do offer a tourist parking permit. £15.50 for 2 days up to £105.80 for 14 days (July 21). It can only be purchased via www.paybyphone.co.uk. My personal opinion, with the restrictions of where you cannot use it and other options available this is not an money saver.
You cannot use it at Pier Square Car Park, Yarmouth, Yarmouth Harbour Car Park, Yarmouth, Browns/Dinosaur Isle Car Park, Sandown, Esplanade Car Park, Totland, Smugglers Haven, Blackgang and Riverway, Newport. You can find more information here.
Most of our parking payment machines are now pay by phone/app also but you will find some still require coins.
National Trust members can park for free on the notional trust car parks dotted around the Island.
At present (July 21) we do not have a running train service outside of the Steam Railway due to ongoing upgrades however when there is you can catch a train from Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin stopping at Ryde Esplanade, Ryde St John’s Road, Smallbrook (you can transfer to the Steam Train here), Brading and Sandown, Lake and Shanklin. There is a replacement bus service in place.
You can check out prices and options, including a rail card that may just save you some pennies at The Train Line.
Gone but not forgotten. The trains that were painted with dinosaurs and the dotto trains that took you along Ryde esplanade or Shanklin seafront.
Cowes to East Cowes and back
The Chain Ferry is a small ferry that provides a link across the River Medina for small vehicles and people. You do not need to book and you can pay by card. Do check it is in operation the day of travel. They do put on a passenger only service when it is out of service. It is around a 45 minute drive around on a low traffic day.