Eating and shopping
The Island has plenty of places to eat and drink, from chippies and pubs to cafes and white tablecloth hotels
Places to eat
Right next to the marina office is the Lifeboat pub, which serves food until 9pm every day. The Lifeboat's sunny terrace is a great place to watch the sun go down, and there's often live music too. For breakfasts you can't beat Sea Breeze cafe and takeaway on York Avenue in East Cowes, or the Umbrella Tree, which is opposite. Samel's on Clarence Road does takeaway fish and chips plus pizza and kebabs. All are no more than 10 minutes' walk away from the marina. There are big plans afoot to improve East Cowes, so watch this space...
Most people cross the Medina into Cowes; its only 30 minutes' walk door-to-door, or take your dinghy down to Town Quay. In Cowes, our favourites for a nice evening out are Mojacs Restaurant, Coast Bar, The Grill and Murray's Seafood, and the best pubs are the Pier View (the yachtie's favourite) and the Anchor. For chips it has to be Corries Cabin. In truth, you won't go hungry in Cowes, as almost every other premises in the High Street is a pub, restaurant, cafe or takeaway.
A summer walk from Cowes along the Esplanade to Gurnard is very enjoyable, and at just over a mile you'll deserve a pint in the Woodvale as the sun goes down. Gurnard is also home to the delightful Watersedge Cafe (breakfast and lunches) and the Little Gloster, a decidedly tasty place to dine, but you'll have to book.
The marina office has a list of places to eat across the Island, or try Island experts Matt and Cat for reviews.
Cowes and beyond
Cowes is only a small town, but has small M&S food and Sainsbury's supermarkets, plus local shops including Grace's Bakery, Phillip's fish shop and a health food store. Cowes also has an eclectic mix of independent shops, the most useful of which is Hursts hardware store. Of course there are also chandleries including Jolliffe's and Pascal Atkey, plus Musto and Henri Lloyd stores.
Beyond Cowes, Newport is the county town and only 5 miles away. A walk into Newport along the river Medina is a nice option, especially if you finish with lunch at Quay Arts before exploring the town. Newport has a range of chain stores and independent shops, plus large supermarkets. There are regular busses from East Cowes and Cowes into Newport.
Ryde is 20 minutes by bus from East Cowes, and has a wider range of independent shops than Newport. Union Street down to the sea is a nice wander, and there are lots of refreshment stops en route.
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