Throw off your seaboots and explore the holiday Isle of Wight. Take a hike, hire a bike or hop on the bus.
Isle of Wight at a glance
- Wander down Cowes' pretty High Street
- Walk to Queen Victoria's Osborne House
- Watch the sunset from Gurnard
- Great beaches for sand castles and surfers
- Country pubs and pretty villages
- Come for the racing at Cowes Week
The Isle of Wight is only 15 miles by 23 and half of it is classified as Area of Natural Outstanding Beauty. No Island town is very big, and all are charmingly old-fashioned. Away from the coast, the Island is rural, with rolling downland, small fields and areas of forest with red squirrels. In fact, you can often see red squirrels in suburban gardens in East Cowes, and in Northwood House in Cowes.
There are lots of footpaths on the Island, and it is possible to walk the whole way round. You can even go for a walk with a llama if you so desire. If you don't fancy this, exploring by bus or bike is perfectly achievable. Local car hire companies will deliver to the marina.
Things to do ashore
Not surprisingly, the Isle of Wight has always been a holiday destination, even for the Royals. Queen Victoria's Osborne House is about 15 minutes' walk from the marina, and you can enjoy the house, grounds and beach. Dogs are now allowed in the grounds.
Castle fanatics should head for Carisbrooke Castle near Newport, where Charles I was imprisoned, and an older era is brought to life at Brading Roman Villa, to the east of the Island. If you like maritime history, the Sir Max Aitken Museum in Cowes is a treasure trove of powerboat racing memorabilia and curios.
If you want to sit on a beach or build sand castles, head to Ryde, Seaview, Sandown or Ventnor; Cowes' beaches are a bit pebbly. On the way to Ryde and accessible by bus is Quarr Abbey, a Benedictine monastery that welcomes visitors and has a nice tea room. If you make it south to Ventnor, visit the Botanic Gardens and Steephill Cove, a privately owned beach.
Things to do by boat
On a high tide you can follow the river Medina right up to Newport, the island's capital. Check your tidal heights and don't miss the tide back though!
A popular lunch stop and swimming place with locals is Osborne Bay, just to the east of Cowes. The anchorage is sheltered from the south and west. If you're lucky the ice cream boat will come by.
Click through for our suggestions for places to eat and shop in the local area.
We have 380 berths for power and sail, the Lifeboat pub with sun terrace, free parking, water taxi and more.Read more
Locals and mainlanders love our friendly marina as a race base or holiday home-from-home.Read more
Walk to historic Osborne House, watch red squirrels, cycle to Newport or stock-up in Waitrose.Read more
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