Newest Review: ... with no problems and turned up at Victoria coach station in time for the 11.45 coach on Wednesday, August 1. The coach turned up in plen... more
A highly positive experience
Member Name: AbsintheFairy
Advantages: Cheap, reliable, comfortable
Disadvantages: None for me
In August 2012, I visited the Isle of Wight on holiday, prompted partly by a desire to explore more of the UK, and partly by a lack of cash! Wanting to experience a hovercraft trip, I chose to reach the island via Greyhound Coaches.
Greyhound Coaches operate coaches to and from various destinations in the United Kingdom. When you buy a ticket to the Isle of Wight, you also get a hovercraft journey to the island included, as well as a day ticket on Southern Vectis buses (although I didn't use this as I was staying in Ryde, where the hovercraft stops). The total journey time from London Victoria Coach Station to Ryde is under three hours. The website states that prices to the Isle of Wight start from £14 (plus 50p booking fee per transaction); mine cost £20 each way as I was travelling during the peak season in August. Still, £40 in total sounded very reasonable to me.
I booked my tickets online with no problems and turned up at Victoria coach station in time for the 11.45 coach on Wednesday, August 1. The coach turned up in plenty of time, and the driver was friendly and pleasant, helping to load my luggage onto the coach and requiring only my booking number to confirm my journey. I was surprised at the lack of passengers on this trip, considering there were only two coaches per day - only about five people got on, with a couple more picked up along the way in Portsmouth.
I was impressed with the coach itself. Outside, it had a dark blue colour scheme which was very attractive, much better than a bright orange or garish white! Inside the coach, the same soothing blue colour scheme had been applied and the cushioned seats were incredibly comfortable. I had plenty of legroom and liked the curtains at the windows which would have helped to block out the sun if there had actually been any. The coach also had free Wi-Fi and power sockets, although I didn't use these.
The journey was very smooth and we arrived at the Hovertravel port at Southsea in plenty of time. My ticket specified a particular hovercraft to catch, but in my experience they let you catch any service. I took advantage of the toilet facilities at the port and hung around in the compact waiting room to await the arrival of the hovercraft.
I was childishly excited about the prospect of travelling by hovercraft and the journey did not disappoint! The hovercraft zoomed out of the sea like some giant marine creature and deflated with a sigh. My luggage and that of my fellow passengers was loaded into the back and I took a seat inside.
The journey only took about ten minutes, with spray hitting the side of the window all along the way. The hovercraft slid onto the sand at Ryde and we disembarked. I collected my luggage and left the Hovertravel building - true to the claim, less than three hours after I'd left London.
My return trip, made the following Tuesday, was equally straightforward and hassle-free. I arrived at London Victoria in good time with no issues at all.
Looking at reviews, it seems that many people have had problems with Greyhound Coaches. This was not my experience, luckily. The whole experience, from booking tickets to actually travelling, was smooth and trouble-free. I was especially impressed with the comfortable and luxurious coaches, particularly given the low price of the tickets. I would definitely use Greyhound Coaches again and I highly recommend them - particularly if you are visiting the Isle of Wight.
If you are interested you can check out the Greyhound website:
Or the Isle of Wight section:
I posted some Hovercraft videos on YouTube if you are interested - I just think these things are amazing!
Summary: A cheap, reliable way to get to the Isle of Wight