"In the first place, so far as London is concerned we may be at liberty to remark that both railway companies - the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, and the London, and South Western Railway - issue return tickets to and from the Isle of Wight and give the passenger the option of returning by either company. This is a great advantage, as the journey is rendered the more agreeable by being the more varied. There are several points along the north shores of the Isle of Wight where steamboat service provides the necessary means of transit from the mainland to the shores of the Island.  

1. - The principal traffic is via Portsmouth Harbour and Ryde, and the service of well-appointed passenger steamers is very efficiently controlled, Mr D. Greenwood, of Portsmouth, representing the joint-owners of the vessels, the two mainland railway companies before named. Portsmouth Harbour is the terminal of these two railways, and from this point communication is opened with east, west, and north of the mainland. Portsmouth Harbour is about 4½  miles from Ryde, and the passage usually occupies from 25 to 30 minutes. The steamers, at tabled times, call at Portsmouth Town and Southsea Piers en route. On other occasions they make the passage direct between the harbour pier and Ryde.  

2. - Stokes Bay Route. - This is from a pier belonging to the South Western Railway Company, but the passages are done by the boats belonging to the joint companies. It is about 3½ miles from Ryde, and the journey usually occupies 15 to 20 minutes.  

3. - Southsea and Sea View Route. - Throughout the season a boat is run between these two points, the passengers landing on the Sea View Pier. The voyage occupies about half an hour.  

4.- Southsea and Bembridge. - The same steamers proceed into St Helen’s Harbour, landing passengers at Bembridge Pier or jetty for Bembridge and St Helen’s. The whole journey is made in about 15 or 50 minutes.  

5.- Southampton and Cowes Route. - From the new Pier at Southampton, finished in 1892, to the Pontoon at West Cowes, about 12 miles, a journey of one hour. This gate provides  convenience for visitors from the west of England, and from London and other parts, via the South Western, in connection with the South Coast, and Great Western, Midland, and other railways. The seven miles steam down the river is a very pleasant feature. The right hand of the river is fringed with the trees of the New Forest, with Calshot Castle at the Solent end of the strip of water, on the left the visitor passes Netley Abbey and Netley Hospital for invalid soldiers.  

6. - Lymington and Yarmouth. - This is a journey of about four miles, worked by steamers belonging to the South Western Railway Company, and it occupies about 25 minutes. In the season it is much used, principally for the accommodation of  visitors to Yarmouth, Bouldnor-on-Sea, Freshwater, Totland Bay, Alum Bay, &c.  

7. - Lymington to Totland Bay. - The same boats proceed, on certain named occasions, to Totland Bay, the passage from Lymington occupying about three-quarters of an hour.  "


The Minerva Isle of Wight Pictorial and Guide - circa 1900