7 Great Reasons to Discover the Isle of Wight for a Car-free Trip

Lying just off the south coast of the UK, the diamond shaped Isle of Wight is easy to get to, accessible, friendly and beautiful; it’s the perfect location for a well-earned relaxing break.

Visitors cross the water all year round to enjoy the Island’s stunning coastlines, unique tourist attractions and quaint little villages. With strong royal connections dating back to Queen Victoria’s era and a diverse geology that proves the existence of dinosaurs, the Isle of Wight is steeped in history and appeals to all ages, all year round.

Sustainable travel is high on the Isle of Wight’s agenda, and however you choose to cross the water, you’ll find the option to travel as a foot passenger. Read on for seven reasons to leave the car at home and enjoy an eco-friendly trip to the Isle of Wight.

The holiday starts with the journey

One thing’s for certain about travelling to the Isle of Wight – you’ll cross some water! Boarding a ferry or hovercraft is where your holiday really begins. You’ll watch the numerous yachts and ships cross the busy Solent waters and you’ll soon see the Island’s beautiful landscape emerge from the horizon.

Arrive in Yarmouth via Wightlink for easy access to the iconic Needles and the stunning West Wight, or travel to the internationally recognised sailing destination of Cowes with Red Funnel for more time on the water. Travelling via Portsmouth with Wightlink will bring you to Ryde or Fishbourne which are great towns to explore on foot or bike, and if you’re looking for something a little different, you could board the world’s only commercial passenger hovercraft from Southsea with Hovertravel.

If you’re thinking of bringing your bike to the Island, check with your transport company first but expect it to be a free of charge addition.

One size fits all

The Isle of Wight is just 23 miles from east to west and 13 from north to south, making it big enough to explore time and time again but small enough to travel around without a car. Whichever town you arrive in, you won’t be far from onward travel options. The reliable and regular buses serve all the main towns as well as many rural areas. Our towns are small enough to explore on foot, and your accommodation is sure to be in easy reach.

Old Batter Hill Climb. Credit: Southern Vectis

All aboard!

Travelling by train on the Isle of Wight will be a nostalgic step back in time for some. On the east side of the Island between Ryde and Shanklin you’ll travel on Island Line trains – the carriages are  former London Underground stock dating back to the 1930s. If you’d like to go even further back in time, change at Smallbrook Junction to embark on a charming steam train journey to Ashey, Havenstreet or Wootton with Isle of Wight Steam Railway.

The Tourist at Ashley Halt. Credit: Visit Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight has a well-connected, colour-coded network of bus routes run by Southern Vectis that is easy to navigate. Your accommodation won’t be far from a bus stop and there are plenty of ticket options for you to choose from to suit your plans. For short breaks, choose the 24-hour Rover pass for unlimited travel, or consider multi-day options for longer stays.

Go Slow

Want a relaxed Isle of Wight break? Slow travel is all about immersing yourself in the community, exploring hidden gems and speaking to local people. It’s about soaking up the experience of travelling, seeing more and getting a deeper understanding of life on the Island. The Slow Travel Guide to the Isle of Wight has eight routes packed with inspiration for things to do, places to eat and where to stay. Each route gives you details of the nearest bus route, footpaths and cycle tracks to make it easy to get started.

Travel on two wheels

According to Lonely Planet; “The Isle of Wight is a cycling paradise that is home to some of the UK’s most varied terrain.” The Island offers everything from flat routes for all the family through to the challenging hills enjoyed by professionals. It’s easy to bring your bike to the Island, but make sure you check details with your transport provider in advance.

Visitors who prefer to hire bikes when they arrive on the Island can do so at Wight Cycle Hire (Yarmouth), Route Fifty7 (Shanklin), Two Elements (Cowes – mountain bikes only) or other, smaller hirers.

Cycling at Seaview. Credit: Seaview Hotel and Christine Taylor photography

Walking on Wight

Stunning scenery, perfect coastlines and fascinating geology make the Isle of Wight a walker’s paradise. There is a 68-mile coastal path that guides you around the whole of the Island’s circumference, not to mention the hundreds of miles of inland trails as well. The annual Isle of Wight Walking Festival is held in May each year and you’ll be spoilt for choice for guided walks; the festival is a wonderful way to discover the ins and outs of the Island, with history, music and food all popular themes for walks.

Credit: Visit Isle of Wight

There’s something for everyone on the Island

Whether you’re travelling as a family or going solo, you won’t be stuck for things to do on the Isle of Wight. Everyone will be entertained by the many attractions, gorgeous beaches, stunning countryside and great places to eat and drink and stay,  

Many tourism businesses on the Isle of Wight have signed up to the Island’s unique sustainable travel ‘Green Star’ scheme. The Visit Isle of Wight website has great ideas for sustainable travel including regular blog posts. You can contact the friendly and helpful Travel Ambassadors at Visit Isle of Wight to plan your car-free Isle of Wight adventure.

Head to www.visitisleofwight.co.uk for all your Isle of Wight holiday inspiration and information.