Breezing off The Needles on an Open Topper

A Southern Vectis Bus in Newport, Isle of Wight
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Last week saw the seasonal introduction of the first Needles Breezer bus services. Each year the network of interlinking open-top and double deck bus services cross the Isle of Wight serving many of the tourist attractions and points of interest.

Last year, we took a trip along to the rather high, and rather rather draughty road to the Needles lighthouse, and I must admit, I was envious of the driving skills needed to get up there! This year the Needles Breezer is indeed the first to return.

The Needles Breezer is based on the west side of the Island and runs from Yarmouth town centre (and adjacent to the Wightlink Ferry Terminal) around Freshwater and Totland to the Alum Bay Needles Landmark Attraction and the top of the hill.

The Needles Breezer. As shown on the Southern Vectis website.

The timetable, being very low season, is only hourly for most of the day, appearing to use either two buses with a long layover, or one bus running with a delay. This does improve once the season kicks off in a months time though, so I wonder if this is some sort of arrangement that the Needles Landmark Attraction Centre pays for.

As for other dates for the Isle of Wight network, many of the bus services visit attractions that I have taken the family too and they have enjoyed. For young kids, I would particularly recommend Blackgang Chine and Tapnell Farm (both linked below) but there is plenty more to do as well.

If I get the chance, once April comes I will be taking a few trips out to east of the Island to show you where you can head to. You may remember a slightly colder day when I went to look at new old trains on the Island Line.

So these are the changes for later in the season:

From 9th April:

The Needles Breezer will run half-hourly.

The Island Coaster will begin; Ryde – Sandown – Shanklin – Ventnor – Blackgang (for Blackgang Chine) and Alum Bay.

The Summer Links will begin, which is a rebranded route 27 service. This runs between Newport – Tapnell FarmChessell Pottery and Calbourne Water.

From 28th May:

The Downs Breezer will run hourly; Ryde – Wootton – Robin Hill Adventure Park – Sandown – Wildheart Animal Sanctuary (formerly Isle of Wight Zoo), Dinosaur Isle, and Bembridge.

The Shanklin Shuttle will run around the town area and to the railway station. This popular link helps you get to the beach…. yes, it is quite a way!

Tickets

Southern Vectis are different from many bus operators in that they offer PROPER one day tickets. I call it proper because it is actually valid for a whole day and not just for that day’s service.

If you are going to be using the Breezer network of services, then the standard Southern Vectis Rover tickets are not valid and you will need to pay an extra bit to add the Breezers on. Now I have pointed out previously that day tickets are pretty expensive; and they are because the Isle of Wight is a captive market. The Rover, and Rover+Breezer tickets are valid for a whole 24, or 48 hours. Buy at 1pm on Monday and you can use it until 1pm Tuesday (or Wednesday).

That kind of offsets when I complained about the lack of return tickets:

Yes though, for a 24 hour ticket on Southern Vectis and the Breezer network… it is £12.50 and for the Needles, Downs and Shanklin Breezer services concessionary passes are not valid.

You can though, buy the tickets via the Southern Vectis app or on the bus.