Isle of Wight Scooter Rally Guide

The Isle of Wight Scooter Rally is the biggest event in the scootering calendar and is the biggest scooter rally in the world.

In this guide I attempt to share all my extensive knowledge from a rally I’ve been attending since 1982 so that everyone has as much fun as I do over there!

The official VFM campsite

The official campsite is once again at Sandown Airport in 2024 and what this means is that the main campsite, entertainment, custom show and dealer village are all on the same site. Rally patches and official t-shirts will be available at the airport only too, so make sure to visit the Crusader Promotions stall there. 

Tip : if you want an official rally t-shirt make sure you visit the stall as soon as you can as they always sell out!

The site opens at MIDDAY on the Thursday so please don’t arrive before then as you will be turned away.  Use that time to go for a lovely ride around the island and make the most of the beautiful scenery.

A reminder for 2024 : the lane leading to the airport has been resurfaced!  The airport team have also been rolling the ground for the campsite so it will be in the best condition possible.

Tip : You can buy tickets on the gate for the whole weekend, day passes and evening-only passes using CASH ONLY.

Advance tickets are ON SALE NOW from the VFM website.

buy tickets

Pay cash at the rally

Day and evening passes are available on the gate as well as tickets to cover the whole weekend (camping / entertainment / custom show)

Please note : only cash is accepted on the gate.

2023 PRICES : 

Weekend ticket : £35

Friday daytime (til 5pm) : £4
Friday night : £10
Saturday daytime (til 5pm) : £5
Saturday night : £10
Sunday daytime : £3

Weekend car/van parking : £10 per vehicle
Campervans : from £30, must be pre-booked

Other locations

The Isle of Wight has always been a rally where scooterists are spread out around the island. Ryde and Sandown host different music nights, and the rideout on Sunday leaves from the Ice Rink car park in Ryde.

The green in Ryde is a major gathering point where scooters are parked up and people hang around to chat with friends.  Day trippers who come on the Hovercraft have plenty to see as there are always scooters riding up and down the seafront and parked in every nook and cranny.

Pubs in other towns on the island put on bands and scooterists stay on campsites elsewhere too. 

Scooters waiting to get onto the Isle of Wight ferry

How to get to the Isle Of Wight

The main ferry companies are Red Funnel (from Southampton) and Wightlink (from Portsmouth and Lymington).  Red Funnel tends to be a lot cheaper, so depending which direction you come from then Southampton may be the most cost-effective option for your departure point.  

Before you apply discounts, Wightlink costs a whopping £72 return for one person riding a scooter.  Red Funnel is just £43.90 for the crossing from Southampton to East Cowes, which includes the discount mentioned below.

Red Funnel Discount

The discount is applied automatically for the standard fare although you can pay full price of £58 for a flexi ticket.  These can be amended or cancelled if your plans change.

red funnel

Wightlink Discount and Clubcard Boost

My best tip for crossing the Solent, which will save you a fortune, is to use Tesco Clubcard vouchers for Wightlink fares as you can boost the value by three times.  For every £1 in vouchers you get £2 of ferry tickets, so this year you’ll need £36 worth of vouchers to pay for a scooter and rider in full without needing to top up with cash.  Here is a link to the boost page for more details. 

If you can’t use Clubcard Boost then there’s a special page on the Wightlink website for the rally you can click through from there to get a 20% discount.

DISCOUNT LINK

Where to stay at the Isle of wight scooter rally

Official Campsite

If you want to camp on the official rally site at Sandown Airport then you can buy a ticket in advance or on the gate which includes camping, all entertainment and entry to the custom show.   This is great value even if you don’t camp, compared with the price of paying for each element separately. 

Please note that all tickets on the gate are CASH ONLY.

Advance weekend tickets will be available from the VFM website..

You can buy daytime passes as well as evening-only passes for the on-site entertainment.

The address of the airport is Scotchells Brook Lane, Sandown, PO36 0JP and the site will be open from midday on Thursday to midday on Monday.

advance tickets

Glamping

If you’d like a more luxurious option but want to be where the action is then there are glamping options at the airport.

For full details here is a link to the Canvas Co website, the company who organise boutique camping at events nationwide. Prices start at £245 for a basic option, but if you want the full luxury experience then you’ll pay £1105 for 6 people for proper metal beds with memory foam mattress and Egyptian cotton bedding!

All bookings include access to the beauty parlour with hairdryer, straighteners and mobile phone charging. 

You will still need to buy an event ticket if you book glamping.

glamping

Other accommodation options

There are other campsites around the island, a popular one being Kite Hill which is near Wooton Bridge, around five miles west of Ryde. Be careful though as some sites don’t welcome scooterists.  Always book in advance for private campsites as it’s an extremely busy weekend for all businesses on the island.

Hotels and B&Bs

If you want a bit of luxury then there are plenty of hotels and guest houses around the island. Many are booked up year after year by the same guests, but it’s always worth checking on Booking.com to see if there is availability as  you might get lucky.  

Hotel Room in Sandown available!

I am selling a hotel room in the Burlington Hotel, Sandown as my plans have changed.  It’s from Thursday 22nd – Sunday 25th (3 nights) so if you’re interested please contact me.

isle of wight hotels

There can be better availability in Sandown which is close to the official campsite, and also at nearby Shanklin.  Scooterists who stay there don’t need to go very far afield for entertainment as they are closer to the main rally hub at the airport. 

check sandown check shanklin

Ryde

There are still a few options in Ryde, and it’s worth checking back regularly in case there are cancellations.

check ryde
Colourful flyer for the Isle of Wight scooter rally in 2024. Includes text details for all the entertainment at Sandown Airport. Image of a Lambretta rallymaster scooter.

Getting around by bus

The VFM team organise a regular bus service which runs from the airfield campsite to Sandown, Shanklin and Ryde into the wee small hours.

The island’s Southern Vectis bus provider also runs an excellent service really late into the night, with some routes running until 3am which is great for getting back from a do. Here is a link to the timetable for Route 8, a circular Newport / Shanklin / Sandown / Ryde route. All timetables are on their website.

southern vectis

Custom show

The Isle of Wight has the best rally custom show in the world, and is well worth a visit on Saturday morning. It usually starts at around 10am in the marquee and trophies are given out in the afternoon at around 3.30pm.

Tip : My top tip is to avoid the morning rush!  Visit after lunch and you’ll get a much better view of the amazing scooters on display.

If you’d like to show your scooter then you can download an entry form here (or click here for a PDF version)

For full details check out the VFM Website.

vfm website

What to do on the isle of wight scooter rally

Ride around the island!

One of my best scooter rally tips is to ride around the island!  I can’t emphasise this enough, and it seems so obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people park up their scooter and then leave it all weekend.  It seems such a shame to me to visit such a scenic place without exploring a bit, and the country lanes are perfect for two-wheeled riding.

Ali Richards sitting on a street art Lambretta at the top of Brading Down on the isle of wight.

Best scenic spots

Places I’d recommend visiting include Brading Down (with its stunning viewing point, where I’m pictured here) and Culver Down with its pub, the Culver Haven Inn, (read a TripAdvisor review here).  

The views at both sites are incredible, some of my favourites in the world!

If you’re riding from Ryde to Sandown Aiport then try a different route for some lovely country lanes.  We love the roads via Ashey, Knighton and Newchurch, and you pass some lovely pubs on the way!

 

What to do if you break down

There will always be breakdowns on a rally weekend and even if you prepare your scooter perfectly, and pack a variety of spare parts and tools, you may sometimes need a bit of help to get it back up and running again if something goes wrong.

There are lots of stalls at the trader village on the official campsite who sell an array of spare parts, some of whom offer mechanic assistance, so if you can make it there then you will hopefully be able to sort out most issues.

There’s also EST in Cowes, where owner Elliot keeps many spare parts and is also available for breakdowns. He may also have a stall on the rally site – his number is 07593 830953 and his address is 28 Somerton Industrial Park, Cowes.

If you can’t get what you need on the island then Portsmouth-based dealer Allstyles Scooters offer a tremendous service where they will take what you need onto the hovercraft at Southsea, which you (or a friend) can collect in Ryde.

allstyles scooters

Where to eat on the Isle of Wight

Riding your scooter around the island is a great excuse to visit a pub for a drink and a nice meal, and some I’d recommend include the Propeller Inn right next to Bembridge Airport which is surrounded by rolling hills and occasional planes taking off and landing.

It’s quite close to Culver Down which is worth the ride up the hill to the pub there for lunch with 360 degree stunning views.

The Crab and Lobster at Bembridge is on a peninsular overlooking the English Channel and they have a lovely fish menu. We often go there for our anniversary lunch over the rally weekend!

Godshill and Sandown

We regularly visit the Griffin Inn in Godshill which is in the middle of the island so easy to get to along the scenic country lanes.  If you fancy a wander along the prom in Sandown then check out Fin’s Beach Cafe which overlooks the beach.  They do amazing acai bowls (which I’m obsessed with) and it’s a lovely breakfast or coffee location.

East Cowes and Ventnor

In East Cowes there’s the Folly Inn which overlooks the marina and in Ventnor I’d recommend the Spyglass Inn.   There are many more too – look on TripAdvisor using this link to find other options!

entertainment

It’s impossible to list all the entertainment but I’ll include as much as I can here as soon as they are announced. If you’re organising a music event over the weekend please contact me and I’ll add it below.

Your best bet is to check the dedicated rally group on Facebook where most event organisers post details of their entertainment options.

main campsite

There’s a full programme of bands and entertainment at the official site at Sandown Airport.

Thursday : Early bird do with VFM DJ’s until midnight.

Friday night : The Beat with Rankin Junior

Saturday afternoon : Double Barrel plus DJ Jay Watson

Saturday night : Highliners and A Band Called Malice.

Sunday afternoon : Outa Time

the rideout

The biggest scooter rideout in the world!

The Sunday rideout is an event in itself, leaving from the ice rink car park in Ryde at lunchtime.  It will leave at around 1pm but do get there early as it gets really busy in the car park. Thousands of locals and holidaymakers line the streets to wave at the scooters riding past, and it’s quite a spectacle.

Some scooterists dress up for the occasion and although it’s great to take part on a scooter I occasionally like being a spectator too, as you often don’t realise the massive scale of it unless you watch them all ride past.

 

The Isle of Wight Rideout Route

I will get more details nearer the time and post a map on here.

Rally patches and t-shirts

If you want an official rally patch or t-shirt then visit the Crusader Promotions stall in the dealer village at the VFM campsite at Sandown.

Their friendly team will be delighted to sell you some goodies but be aware that Isle of Wight rally shirts WILL sell out, so get there early if you want one.

Crusader also stock a range of hoodies and scooter t-shirts in all sizes, from baby ones through to super extra large. Daz and the team provide the gear for the VFM team and for many other rallies and events around the country.

You can buy 2024 national rally shirts from the Crusader website.

shop men's shop ladies

and finally...

This is more of a plea from the heart than a tip, but please note that when you think the ferry has docked, it will likely be at least 10 minutes before you can ride away

Therefore, there is NO NEED to start up your scooter until you see other vehicles STARTING TO LEAVE.  It would be nice to go one year without getting 2 stroke poisoning!

Please support businesses run by scooterists for scooterists

official rally t-shirts by crusader

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scooter screens and other goodies by sluk

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handmade lambretta seats by scoots & soul

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history of the gp book by stuart owen

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44 thoughts on “Isle Of Wight scooter rally guide

  1. Mandy Brown says:

    I love the iow rally especially when the weather’s good…last year we stayed in a fab bnb in Sandown…my only tip is be careful when riding of the manholes in the road there are thousands of them…and dangerous when wet x

  2. Sue says:

    Hi you need to change the folly inn location to east cowes. East cowes and cowes are two separate places with a river inbetween them

  3. Jag says:

    Keep an eye out for the Lambretta Chopper Owners Club ride out
    Which we have been doing since the club was formed in 2012. The occurs on the Saturday. Leaving the campsite after the custom show. We leave the campsite and ride down into Ryde with a ride around Ryde then parking on the green opposite the King Ludd.

    • AliRichards says:

      Thank you, yes we will definitely join you for that. We have seen you before, both at Smallbrook and at the green!

      • AliRichards says:

        We don’t know – nothing is definite at the moment. Until the organisers have the latest government guidelines then they can’t make a decision. Things change all the time so we will have to wait and find out…

  4. Lee says:

    Great tips Ali , my favourite rally of the year since I’ve been doing them .
    Always plenty to do and normally good weather too !

  5. Rob says:

    What a lovely page. Great tips and info about our lovely island. Can’t wait for the bank holiday weekend. Fingers crossed for the weather.

    • AliRichards says:

      Indeed, the sun makes such a difference but it’s usually great weather on the island. Thanks for reading!

  6. Christie-Lee Booth says:

    Great reading, Lovely to hear so many great things about our beautiful Island. Have you visited “The Cod Father” fish and chip shop on Ryde seafront? We love to have the scooterists in, Its our staffs favourite weekend because of the atmosphere you guys bring! Pukka Pies, Mushy peas and Gravy galore! 😀

      • Richard Browne says:

        A new chip shop has opened right next door to the Codfather which is out of order .The Turkish owner has admitted that if he did that in his own country he would be firebombed . Suggest everyone boycotts the new shop and supports the Codfather as it is a long-standing family business that no doubt most scooterists have visited at some point .

  7. Paul Turner says:

    Wow what a great guide,not going until 2020 but there’s a lot of planning to do…lol,never been before but so looking forward to enjoying the vibe….cheers.

  8. Beth says:

    White Windows are the Premier Double Glazing company on the Isle of Wight. Since we began we have completed thousands of Double Glazing installations on the island …

  9. Dave Hollidge says:

    Thanks for a great review of our beloved Isle of Wight scooter rally. For those of you staying in Sandown …don t forget to come and visit us at “Scruffy Jacks” on Sandown Pier…i have been djing the scooter rallies since the 80s and we are open until 2am Friday and Saturday night plus 1am Sunday…playing our usual mixture of Northern Soul, Ska and Mod tunes. Will be great to see all our regular clubs and hopefully some new ones this year. Ride on guys…Dave

  10. 2tone tony says:

    This year it will be my 27th year in the isle of wight scooter rally…I wouldn’t and couldn’t ever miss it …I fell in love with this magical island the first time I set foot on it ..I live in manchester and travel over every year ..there’s so much on offer for everyone I’m a mod and have been since being 14 years old I’m now 48…and all say I should be at Brighton but I.o.w have lots and lots going on for us mods ..as well as stuff for skinheads ..scooterists in fact all genre of scooter rally goers …the isle of wight is a magical,beautiful place with so much to offer ….I for one will never ever miss coming over at least once a year for the biggest rally in the world …I love this place and always will it have a special place in my heart …see you very soon i.o.w….i cannot wait….

  11. Daniel says:

    Brilliant guide, thank you!

    For eating out in Ryde I can highly recommend Michelangelo directly located at the „roundabout“. Brilliant italian food, you’ll need to make a reservation.

    Have a sunny weekend everyone!

  12. Karen says:

    Love your guide Ali. I found it as you have a picture of me on it. I was the banana. Great picture by the way. I just remember Turning the corner at the top of union st and going down in slow motion with people double taking with their mouths open. It was a fun day until it poured down and we got soaked. Great memories.

  13. Yvonne says:

    hello guys,
    I wonder if any of you can help me please?
    I joined the rally on Sunday at Sandown on Tank Girl my mobility scooter. However I did not get any images or videos of me. I could only video it from first eye perspective. Is there any chance you folks might have any images or videos of me joining in this event. If so can you please send them to me if not can you possible ask around.
    I wanted to show the grand kids in USA that I really did join the rally and it was not someone eles LOL
    Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
    Regards
    Yvonne aka Baboshka
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVYLiDWY_KI&list=PL0pL7CRaQu1Hg2RY5h7yJY7yCsqnx9RFv&index=3

  14. Nancy Lee says:

    Dazzling to hear such huge numbers of incredible things about our wonderful Island. I discovered it as you have an image of me on it. We love to have the scooterists in, It’s our staff’s most loved end of the week due to the air you all bring. I love this place and consistently will remain a cherished memory to me.

  15. jc says:

    fantastic blog very informative thanks to the people involved in setting this up. see you on the Isle of wight tomorrow ride safe every one

  16. Shaz says:

    Keep an eye out for DJ Scooted and Booted on at both the Solent Inn, Ryde ( Usually the Friday and Saturday night) and also playing 2 days at Ticket to Ryde on the Green. The best ska, reggae and 2-tone DJ on the island that weekend

  17. chaz says:

    we have a modern house in sandown will welcome guests on B/B bases – parking etc near pier reasonable cost .phone 07779713266 can sleep 4.

    • AliRichards says:

      Hi, thanks for that. I would highly recommend posting in the Isle of Wight Scooter Rally group on Facebook as there are most likely people in there looking for accommodation. Thanks, Ali

  18. Andy stretton says:

    Great music this year especially at rocket Ronnies in ryde……crown also brilliant on sat evening,ryde castle great vinyl djs in afternoons ….can’t wait again until next year…

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