Newest Review: ... anything like the poor levels of service I have experienced here. The service is always suffering from delays. They come up with the w... more
Hover your way to the Isle of Wight!
Member Name: charlie1979
Advantages: Fast and a great experience!
Disadvantages: Cancelled in poor weather, cramped seats
Hovertravel is a company that operates a hovercraft passenger service between Southsea on the south coast of England to Ryde on the Isle of Wight. The crossing time is only ten minutes and is the fastest way to travel between the Isle of Wight and the mainland. The hovercraft can carry around 130 passengers.
The hovercraft service runs every day of the year except for Chrismas Day and Boxing Day. They run from about 6:30 in the morning to approximately 8:30 in the evening. They are not allowed to run too late as they are quite noisy machines and residents near the terminals might get a bit annoyed! On a clear day they can be heard from over a mile away!
The company Hovertravel was created in 1965. The Solent crossing was originally between Ryde and Stokes Bay near Gosport however swithed to Southsea where it runs from today in 1968.
To my knowledge the only accident with one of Hovertravels hovercraft was in 1972 where one overturned and killed five people near Southsea. Safety has greatly increased since then and they will not operate in bad weather.
Day Return Cost
From Southsea: Adult £12.50, Child £6.25
From Ryde: Adult £10.20, Child £5.10
Being an 'Islander' myself I guess I take this form of transport for granted. I used to travel to Southsea every day for two years to school and to me getting the hovercraft to school was quite normal! When I speak to people who aren't from the south they are fascinated!
I have certainly had my fair share of bad weather and when the weather is windy the hovercraft is the first of the ferries to be cancelled. I have had a few 'hairy' crossing though when it has been windy and it does bounce around a bit!
Even when I use the hovercraft now it is still quite exciting when it 'inflates' and raises up off the ground! It's an amazing bit of engineering! The staff have always been polite and friendly. If you have big bags to carry on they will always assist you and place them in the storage for you.
How to book
Generally you can just turn up and buy a ticket and board on the next available hovercraft. They generally run every half an hour but extra crossings are run at peak commuter times. It is advisable to book if you wish to travel at a peak time and this can be done by phoning them on 01983 811000.
They have a great website at www.hovertravel.co.uk. Here you will find all the details on fairs and timetables. You will also find details on local attractions and the current operation of the hovercraft ie if it's running or not!
If you have never been on a hovercraft I would highly recommend it! Although the crossing is short it's a real novelty. The seats are quite cramped but you are only on there for ten minutes so you don't get time to notice and discomfort!
Summary: Great fun!
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