Isle of Wight Steam Railway

An invigorating, captivating step-back in time, lifting the lid on a bygone era of train travel on the Isle of Wight!


Prices from £22 (adult), £11 (children), £48 (family), infants under 4 travel free. Adult & family tickets increase by £2 and children by £1 when purchased at the station

Travel Type:


No. of Attractions:

11 places to visit

View journey Attractions
Journey Duration:

Just over an hour - journey times can vary slightly

Route Frequency:

Typically hourly - frequency depends on day of the year and season

Starting point:

Havenstreet station

How to get here

Journey fact:

In 2018, the entire round trip on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway was granted accreditation museum status by Arts Council England, meaning the entire Railway is a working museum! It literally is 'the 10 mile museum!'

Journey Overview

Step back in time and immerse yourself in nostalgia on this fabulous preserved railway, set in the heart of the beautiful, gem that is the Isle of Wight!

The fun starts when you set foot outside the popular starting point Havenstreet, gazing at the ornate, meticulously cared for architecture that is a throwback to the famous bygone era of Southern Railway, of well-run, green steam trains, of simple, innocent pleasures and great adventures. The whiff of steam or hissing pistons that greets you as you pass the ticket office, creates an evocative feel, with the hairs bristling on the back of your neck at thoughts of yesteryear – even younger ones who can only remember renationalisation and then the privatised railway will be full of awe and wonder.

Onto the train as the fireman proudly shovels coal to get the fire glowing and you’ll be marvelled by the intricately and painstakingly preserved carriages, be it First or Third Class, in which you choose to travel. The train is off, with a sharp toot of the horn and along tree-lined track with lovely views of the green fields and farmyards and the rolling hills of the Isle of Wight in the background. Off to Smallbrook Junction it makes its way through a short tunnel and with the aroma of steam parping into the air, passing occasional walkers or families having fun, all stopping what they are doing to look up and gaze admiringly at the train and maybe wave to the lucky customers on-board.

Smallbrook Junction is a small halt, which connects with the “mainline” railway run by South Western Railway between Ryde Pier and Shanklin. The engine uncouples and runs round the train so that it can be ready at the front of the train for the reverse journey back non-stop to Wootton, passing Havenstreet again.

Between Havenstreet and Wootton the view from the window is, once more, delightfully rural, providing an idyllic view of the Island’s unspoilt countryside and wildlife – red squirrels and a fascinating variety of birds all hang out close to the line. The train passes ancient and dense woodland before finding its way to Wootton and it’s lovely Edwardian station, turning round once more and providing another great photo opportunity of the locomotive, or enjoying the picnic area, before returning to Havenstreet, where there is more fun to follow.

For those travelling by car, the best way to join the railway is at Havenstreet, where there is a car park. If you are coming by public transport, the South Western Railway train to Smallbrook Junction (from Ryde Pier Head, Ryde Esplanade, Ryde St. Johns or from the opposite direction Brading, Sandown, Lake and Shanklin) is really easy – a simple cross platform connection onto the railway to pick up your train to Wootton, reversing to Havenstreet for some exploration then onto Smallbrook Junction to return on your way! There’s also a great bus connection to Wootton, running every 20 minutes from both Newport and Ryde which together offer excellent connections across the Island on the comprehensive Southern Vectis bus network.

A Fab Day Out!

If you think the train journey was fab, the experience goes up a notch even more, with the opportunity to visit the “Train Story” and look at the magnificent Victorian and Edwardian carriages and rare rolling stock, as well as find out how they are restored. There’s a fascinating timeline detailing the history of steam railways and lots of interactive displays. The enlightenment then continues in the railway shop with an artefacts gallery and pictorial depiction of the Island’s railway history.

Across the tracks, the other side of Havenstreet station, there’s a fabulous 2nd hand bookshop and for those who want to balance their railway passion with something else, the Haven Falconry is next to the station refreshment area and houses a marvellous collection of owls, hawks, falcons, eagles and vultures. There’s also a children’s play area, a lovely field overlooked by woods which is ideal for picnics and from 2024, the bar serves a beer or two – not bad, as this railway lark is certainly thirsty work as there’s so much to take in. Check out also the many events throughout the year at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, ranging from Santa Specials, a model railway exhibition, real ale (of course!), 1940s experience to Fish and Chip evenings and much more! Caught your breath yet? This is a trip like no other cutting through the heart of a paradisical, unique Island, that in itself, lovingly feels frozen in time!

Top and tail your experience on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway either before or after, with a visit maybe to Monkey Haven which provides primate care and is home to over 19 specials, including the singing Lar gibbons and huge Siamangs, Mueller’s gibbons as well as Mangegbeys, Colobus monkeys, Javan languars and endangered Cotton-top tamarins! The creatures are very interactive and great fun to watch – there’s also fabulous keeper talks and animal feeds throughout the day.

Close to Monkey Haven is Butterfly World which is an opportunity to explore the most beautiful and exotic butterflies under one roof, as they fly round you, fluttering in and out of trees, bushes and other foliage. There’s also more interactive fun here, including butterfly walks, interactive koi feeding session and mini-beast handling sessions as well as a Japanese Garden and Fountain World which is a scintillating display of water shooting!

Butterfly World is a 7 minute drive from the Isle of Wight Steam Railway and 2-3 minutes further along the road is Monkey Haven. For those travelling by public transport, it’s a Butterfly World is a 20 minute walk from the Railway and Monkey Haven around 10 minutes further. The number 9 bus to/from Ryde or Newport goes right past both attractions and has a 10-minute frequency.

There are plenty of other great attractions and things to do and see on the Isle of Wight as part of a day-trip or longer stay, so be sure to check out some of those featured below on this page.

How to get here...

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