£2 ticket to Ryde and dreams beyond with Southern Vectis

Escape into another world with Southern Vectis

10 minutes on Hovertravel from Portsmouth (Southsea) – the world’s only remaining commercial hovercraft – over the water to paradise or 20 on a fab Wightlink Fast Cat from Portsmouth Harbour. That’s all it takes for folk to be whisked in the idyllic Isle of Wight and the charming, vibrant town of ultimate contrasts – Ryde.

Here, folk can enjoy a delightful blend of historical attractions and scenic beauty and the gateway to one of the world’s most renowned, successful and customer-centric, award-winning bus company, Southern Vectis, with their green coloured livery that symbolises the fabulous lush Isle of Wight landscape and heritage. There are memory-making adventures to come across all parts of the Island for only £2 a trip on Southern Vectis – Sandown, Shanklin, Ventnor, Newport, Freshwater, Cowes to name but a few – those lovely names literally rolling off the tongue, with awe and wonder at the beginning of a scenic sojourn to sate the appetite. Oh and from Spring onwards, you can blow those cobwebs away when open top buses breeze their way round this iconic Isle. It’s a a magical bus network over such a relatively small geographical area (23 miles x 13 miles approximately!) and if you don’t believe us, check out the map below or go to Southern Vectis – The Island’s Buses (islandbuses.info)

Ryde bus station is situation 30 seconds from the Hovertravel terminal. Alternatively if you are travelling on Wightlink, then it’s a wonderful walk down the amazing Pier to Ryde Esplanade and the bus station or one stop on the train!  To plan your crossing over the Solent waves, go to Fastest Isle of Wight Ferry | Portsmouth to Isle of Wight (hovertravel.co.uk) or Portsmouth – Ryde FastCat Isle of Wight ferry route – Wightlink Ferries

A Pier that leads to perfection

Firstly, start your exploration at the iconic Ryde Pier, a Victorian marvel that extends into the Solent, providing stunning views of the sea and mainland, whilst trains trundle across it cautiously. Take a leisurely stroll along the esplanade, lined with vibrant gardens and Victorian architecture.

Saints and Steam 

Visit All Saints’ Church, a noteworthy landmark with its impressive spire and medieval origins. For a cultural experience, immerse yourself in the exhibitions at the Ryde Arts Festival, showcasing local talent in various forms. Head to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, a nostalgic journey through the island’s picturesque countryside on a vintage steam train. The number 9 bus serves Wootton station on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. To plan your visit to this famous attraction, check out.. Isle of Wight Steam Railway – The 10 Mile Museum (iwsteamrailway.co.uk)

Becalming beachside vistas to escape your Apps in Appley

Escape the world of technology, switch off from modern day Apps and gadgets with some R and R on Ryde’s sandy beaches, particularly Appley Beach which offers a serene escape with panoramic vistas. The iconic landmark, Appley Tower, stands proudly on the esplanade, adding a touch of historic charm. Visitors can enjoy leisurely strolls along the quaint seaside, explore the nearby Appley Park, or indulge in seaside treats at the charming beachside cafes.
Ryde’s a right cultural melting pot of fun!
The town also hosts the annual Ryde Carnival, a lively event featuring vibrant parades and festivities. So too, there’s also Mardi Gras, Isle of Wight Pride, The South Island Rugby Sevens and sports events, Wight Wave Beach Festival on Appley Beach and the Isle of Wight Classic Car Show.
Delve into maritime history at the Hovercraft Museum, highlighting Ryde’s pioneering role in hovercraft technology. Explore the quaint shops and cafes in Union Street and immerse yourself in the town’s friendly atmosphere. There’s always a hustle and bustling buzz about Union Street and the views from the top, looking down the hill and over the Solent to the iconic Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth are the stuff of dreams!
For nature fun-lovers, a visit to Puckpool Park beside the beautiful beach, offers lush landscapes and a peaceful setting, plus some crazy golf too! Ryde has an abundance of dining options – more of which later – from traditional pubs to seafood restaurants, allowing you to savour local flavours. One of our favourites, which we must mention now, is nestled close by on the fringes of the lovely village of Seaview and is The Boat House. It’s a beautiful beachside setting with fine dining, fantastic ales and a great wine selection too!

Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or leisurely seaside activities, Ryde provides a rich tapestry of experiences for visitors to enjoy. The architecture is full of contrasts – pretty pastel buildings, styles and designs – no better illustrated than in this fab picture below which is opposite the bus station.

In Ryde, a unique tradition has emerged where residents celebrate the annual “Vernon Square Gnome Hunt.” This quirky event, started by a local artist, involves hiding whimsical garden gnomes throughout Vernon Square, a charming residential area. Participants, armed with maps and clues, embark on a scavenger hunt to locate these elusive gnomes.

What makes it even more peculiar is that the gnomes change locations every year, creating an element of surprise and anticipation. The community comes together for this light hearted pursuit, turning it into a fun-filled day of eccentricity and camaraderie for families and friends.

Power, Polar, Writer and Prophet

Ryde has an interesting history too. In the early 19th century, Ryde became an unexpected hub for experimentation with early electric lighting. In 1837, a notable inventor named Henry Dircks, residing in Ryde, conducted pioneering work on electric arc lamps. Dircks successfully demonstrated one of the earliest public displays of electric lighting in the town.
The event took place at the Royal Victoria Arcade, where Dircks illuminated the area using arc lamps powered by a primitive form of electric battery. This early foray into electric lighting predated widespread use by several decades, marking Ryde as an early adopter of innovative technology.
While Dircks’ specific lighting system didn’t gain immediate popularity, his experiments laid the groundwork for subsequent advancements in electric illumination. This obscure historical fact showcases Ryde’s role in the early stages of technological innovation, contributing to the eventual widespread adoption of electric lighting that transformed cities worldwide.
Ryde has been home to or associated with several notable individuals. One prominent figure is Sir James Clark Ross, a renowned polar explorer born in Ryde in 1800. Ross led expeditions to Antarctica and made significant contributions to our understanding of the polar regions. His legacy is commemorated with a plaque in Ryde, acknowledging his adventurous spirit and achievements. Another notable resident was the Victorian novelist George Gissing, who spent a considerable amount of time in Ryde. Although not born in Ryde, Gissing resided there and drew inspiration from the town for some of his literary works. In the world of sports, Ryde claims connection to David Icke, born in Ryde in 1952, who started his career as a professional footballer before gaining fame for his controversial theories, prophecies and public speaking.
Cod, Coffee, Cosy and King Lud

As mentioned, Ryde offers a variety of dining options, showcasing its culinary diversity, not just the fab Boat House, that we mentioned earlier. For a taste of local seafood, head to The Codfather, a popular fish and chip shop known for its fresh catches and crispy batter. If you’re in the mood for Italian cuisine, Michelangelo’s Restaurant offers a cozy ambiance and a menu featuring delicious pasta dishes and authentic pizzas. For a more relaxed setting with a sea view, The Three Buoys provides a diverse menu of British and international dishes, emphasizing fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Coffee lovers can indulge in a visit to Olivo, a charming café that serves artisan coffee and delectable pastries. If you’re looking for a traditional pub experience, The King Lud is a historic pub with a wide selection of ales and hearty pub fare.

Exploring Union Street will lead you to a range of cafes and eateries, including The Blacksheep Bar and Club, known for its laid-back atmosphere and tasty cocktails. Whether you’re seeking casual dining or a more upscale experience, Ryde has something to satisfy every palate.
All in all, Ryde is a classic gateway to an exploration of the Isle of Wight, no better than by Southern Vectis and its comprehensive network of services. Make sure you check out the links below for the Southern Vectis bus times for those services currently running from Ryde and plan your scenic sojourn on the stunning, wondrous part of the UK!