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The fastest way to the Isle of Wight and back.
Member Name: LillyMan
Advantages: Regular services, well operated.
Disadvantages: Can't see a great deal when travelling. Quite expensive (but this stretch of water always is!)
Hovertravel is the name of the company that offer high-speed hovercraft travel between Southsea (Portsmouth) to Ryde Harbour on the Isle of Wight.
With "flight" times of just over 10 minutes, the hovercraft is far quicker than it's ferry rivals. However, the biggest disadvantage is that it's for foot passengers only and you can't take your car on it.
There are modern terminals at both ends with seats, vending machines and tourist information which are good. You can buy your tickets at either a kiosk or through a machine that accepts credit cards.
The standard adult return fare costs £16.20 but this is valid for an entire year, which is good if you live on the island or are making a long term trip.
The hovercraft services run regularly, I believe it is four per hour each way, so you never have to wait long and in my experience, they have always been on time.
Due to the sea spray and the window positions, you can't see a great deal during the trip, but it is nice seeing yourself speed past all the ferries and other boats.
If you arriving in Portsmouth by train, it is around a 25 minute walk to the hovercraft terminal. This can be avoided by catching the Hoverbus coach which will take you to the terminal for just £1.00 which is handy if you have luggage.
Summary: As I haven't driven to the Isle of Wight I have always enjoyed the hovercraft trips.