Whilst the kids may have thought the ferry over to the Isle of Wight one of the most exciting parts of our week long holiday there there’s actually another way that I want to get to the island the next time we go – hovercraft.
The Isle of Wight is home to the world’s only remaining commercial hovercraft service which takes passengers between Southsea in Portsmouth and Ryde on the Island. I’d read about this route before we went, but I have to admit that it wasn’t until we were in Ryde and found ourselves next to the Hovertravel terminal that I got really excited about it as a mode of transport.
Somehow hovercrafts manage to be both incredibly retro and futuristic at the same time – and I find that strangely alluring! Like a sexy ferry I guess. We stood for ages on a bridge over the Island Line watching the hovercraft arrive and depart, and judging by the number of other people doing the same (of all ages) I’d say we weren’t the only ones transfixed by what we saw.
What is for certain though is that the sight of a hovercraft coming out of the sea and up on to dry land in a matter of second is really quite impressive. Within moments of it “landing” the steps are wheeled up to the side and passengers can disembark. Combine that speed of “docking” with the mere 10 minutes that it takes them to cross the Solent and you can see why it’s such a popular method of transport.
Once you come into Ryde you’re right next to the Ryde Esplanade station on the Island Line (oh there’s a whole other blog post coming about that particular highlight for transport geeks like myself!) meaning that you can get to places like Sundown and Shanklin very easily, and the bus station is also just a short walk away.
We had such a fantastic time on the Isle of Wight that I’m determined that we will return – I just need to try and work out when and how – especially as you can’t exactly fit a car on a hovercraft!