The North of the Isle of Wight is a beautiful and varied part of the Island and contains wonderful natural scenes with walks and views of the sea as well as vibrant towns with festivals of sailing, food and culture. The North of the Isle of Wight is also only a short boat trip for the mainland and is easily enjoyed on a bike or by public transport.
North Isle of Wight Locations
The principle towns on the North of the Isle of Wight start in the North West with Yarmouth which is a pretty little harbour and traditional seaside town; Shalfleet, a lovely village with great public house and fantastic bird watching estuary; Newtown which is packed with thatched cottages and historic buildings as well as a wetland reserve; and Gurnard, with a wonderful seaside community and lovely local food; before reaching the Northern point of the Island at Cowes. Cowes is famous for the sailing festival of Cowes week but is enjoyed all year round by sailors and those wanting to enjoy the charming boutique shops and great local restaurants. East of Cowes is the small town of East Cowes and then Osborne, Wootton, Ryde and on to Seaview and Bembridge before the coast line heads South.
North Isle of Wight Beaches
The North of the Isle of Wight is not famous for its beaches which is a real pity because they include some of the most beautiful and untouched havens of tranquility as well as busy little family beaches packed with fun and games. One of the most remote and peaceful stretches of coastline is just East of Yarmouth and can be found by following the coastal path. The path weaves inland and back to the coast to join numerous bays and beaches which you will probably be able to enjoy all to yourself even in the height of the summer holiday season. The views from this stretch of coastline stretch to the mainland and passing ships destined for Southampton cross on the horizon.
Gurnard Beach just West of Cowes is famous for its row of iconic green beach huts but is popular with locals because of the friendly atmosphere and choice of places to eat. A sailing school operates at one end of the beach and gets people out onto the sea for waterborne adventures.
East of Cowes is the popular sandy beach at Ryde. This stretch of golden sand is especially raked and prepared to give a perfect soft texture and an excellent surface for sun bathing or beach games.
North Isle of Wight Wildlife
The North of the Isle of Wight enjoys some excellent estuaries and wetlands for enjoying nature and watching wildlife. Starting in the North West there is Yarmouth Estuary which has a path and cycle track towards Freshwater which takes you along 2 miles by the water and from where wetland birds can be spotted in huge numbers.
Newtown Nature Reserve near Shalfleet has specially facilities for bird watching with a raised walk way built across an area of wetlands which takes you to a bird hide. The wetlands at Newtown are an important stopping point for migratory birds and this means you might spot rare birdlife not commonly seen in the UK.
The coastal path on the coast North of Shalfleet has a wetland walk with raised walk ways and little bridges which let you explore the beautiful countryside and spot wildlife visiting the estuary. Special estuary boat trips can also be taken from here.
The Cowes to Newport cycle route and footpath along the Cowes Estuary is another wildlife haven and also a fabulous walk along a flat and level path. Many say that it is also the best way to travel between the two towns and some lucky people use it to commute to work.
North Isle of Wight Walking and Cycling
The principle walking route is the North Isle of Wight coastal path which continues around the whole Island. The northern stretch takes in wetland, beaches, a nature reserve, several historic villages with public houses, and a small ferry ride when you cross from Cowes to East Cowes.
The Isle of Wight cycle network connects Cowes to the rest of the Isle of Wight via the track along the West side of the Cowes Estuary to Newport and then there are connecting tracks to Shanklin or Godshill. A return route can be followed up the East side of the Cowes Estuary.
Family Entertainment on the North Side of The Isle of Wight
The Northern side of the Island is popular with families who wish to enjoy the magic of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, the excitement of tree climbing with Goodleaf Tree Climbing and those wanting to learn to sail with UKSA. Families are very welcome at Osborne House which also offer special activities for children.