Isle of Wight Travel Guide

Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight

Overview and Attractions

The Isle of Wight Travel Guide looks at a range of local attractions and outlines tourist information and tips for visitors. The area guide includes travel information on local transport and travel, events, facts & figures, entertainment, maps and accommodation.

The Isle of Wight is located off the southern English coast, given it is a short ferry ride or even faster by hovercraft it is an assessable holiday spot for many visitors from the UK and overseas. The Isle of Wight is around four miles out to sea from the mainland and historically has been a key battle ground in battles and invasions.

The Isle of Wight have had many visitors over the past hundred years who have come to enjoy its delights, in particular it is an island paradise for yachtsmen, cyclists, walkers and sun seekers. Visitors attracted by the lack of crowds on the beaches and roads and gentle hills have found it a delight to visit.

About one third of the Isle of Wight is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is blessed with weather that is milder than the rest of the UK, holiday makers have a great location.

Newport is the county town of the Isle of Wight, located centrally on the island; it is the commercial heart of the island. The town is based around two squares that include fine examples of elegant Victorian and Georgian town houses.

The town has a range of shops, outlets and amenities including a choice of theatres, pubs, restaurants and a thriving nightlife.

Local attractions include the Museum of Island History that is housed inside the 19th century Guildhall along with the local tourist information centre. Attractions close by include Carisbrooke Castle located a short distance away.

Newport has a harbour located close by to the town centre that includes amenities for yachtsmen; the River Medina runs through the town offering visitors a fine place in which to enjoy cycling and walking in a scenic setting.

The town of Ryde is located 8 miles east of Newport on the north east coast. Ryde is the island’s largest town and its seafront location along with transport links including ferry and hovercraft lead it to be referred to as the ‘gateway to the island’.

Visitors with find fine sandy beaches that stretch along the town and the coast along with a choice of local shops including boutiques, galleries and museums.

Local attractions include the historic 19th century All Saint’s Church, an important landmark on the Isle of Wight; the church has been referred to as the ‘cathedral of the island’. There is also the 19th century St Mary’s Church where tours for visitors are available.

Visitors can choose from a number of cafes and restaurants located in the town and on the seafront, Ryde High Street and Union Street offer a choice of bars, pubs and restaurants with a choice of cuisines available. The town includes a number of late night pubs, bars and nightclubs offering visitors with a choice of nightlife.

Ryde is home to a number of annual events including the Isle of Wight Scooter Rally that takes place each August bank holiday; the Classic Car Show takes place at Ryde Esplanade in September.

Cowes is located 5 miles north of Newport on the northern coast. The town of Cowes and neighbouring East Cowes are known for their rich maritime heritage and history.

Well known for sailing events, the town hosts Cowes Week each September, an international sailing regatta featuring a number of races and attracting some of the finest yachtsmen from around the world.

The town is a compact one that enjoys a laid back, relaxed atmosphere, the main high street is pedestrianised and includes a choice of shops, boutiques, galleries with a strong nautical theme running through the town.

Neighbouring East Cowes is the destination for the passenger and car ferry services that are available from Southampton on the mainland.

East Cowes has a compact shopping centre along with a seafront promenade and marina. Famous buildings include Queen Victoria's impressive Osborne House; the former Royal residence includes a private beach, impressive gardens and ornate family and state rooms in the house.

The town of Sandown is located just under 10 miles east of Newport, it is a popular seaside resort known for its golden sandy beach. Visitors to the beach can experience the traditional seafront along with a choice of entertainment and amusement at Sandown Pier.

There are a choice of beachside bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants to choose from offering some splendid views. The Sandown esplanade is a place where visitors can enjoy a walk alongside the beach; there are a number of Victorian and Edwardian era hotels in the area.

Local attractions include Dinosaur Isle geological museum and the Isle of Wight Zoo known for its collection of big cats. Visitors can enjoy a walk on the scenic coastal path at Culver Down offering stunning panoramic views over the bay and across the eastern coast of the Isle of Wight.

Shanklin is located 10 miles from Newport on the south east coast. Shanklin retains its charm and character as a traditional seaside resort, visitors will find a long sandy beach with a number of traditional beachside attractions including amusement arcade, crazy golf, bouncy castle and a play area for children.

The Shanklin Esplanade includes a choice of cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels. The main shopping facilities are located on High Street and Regent Street where visitors can find a choice of shops, arts and crafts shops and shops catering for tourists.

The Shanklin Old Village includes a number of charming buildings including thatched cottages and traditional tea rooms ensuring the village retains its character and charm.

Local attractions include Rylstone Gardens offer visitors a tranquil and scenic area to enjoy walks; there is a comprehensive events programme at the Bandstand in the Gardens.

Shanklin Chine, is a gorge that includes a scenic waterfall, nature trail, with trees, vegetation, footpaths, walkways offering visitors a unique place on the island.

Despite its compact size the Isle of Wight offers a surprising number of attractions, there is great scenery and a relaxed, holiday feel to things here.

Its close proximity to the English mainland mean it is a viable option for a day trip to those in the south of England and a great short break destination for those elsewhere in the UK. The short ferry crossing or hovercraft adds to the experience and holiday feel when you arrive at this picturesque island.

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