North Isle of Wight

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

Cowes Isle of WightThe 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 Huts Isle of Wight
Gurnard beach

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

Rural Walk on the North Isle of Wight Coastal Path

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.

Newtown Bird Hide

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

Cowes Bike RouteAs we have already touched upon the North of the Isle of Wight is a great place to enjoy nature and go for walks or cycle rides.

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

osborne_20130721_115855_3820The 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.

West Isle of Wight

The West of the Isle of Wight is known its unspoilt nature, dramatic coastal views and beautiful rural countryside. Visitors to the West of the Isle of Wight often tell us about the wonderful walks and peaceful days spent on the beach in one of the many bays.

West Isle of Wight Locations

The most popular holiday locations on the West of the Isle of Wight include Freshwater with the beach at Freshwater Bay flanked with dramatic cliffs; Totland and Colwell were there are beautiful bays and good restaurants; Yarmouth with its charming atmosphere and great food; Brighstone and Brook with easy access to the beautiful West Isle of Wight beaches; and Alum Bay where there are views of The Needles light house and a lovely coastal walk to either Freshwater or Yarmouth.

West Isle of Wight Beaches

Brook Beach Isle of Wight
Compton Beach

The beaches on the West of the Isle of Wight stretch along the whole South West coast as well as in 4 principle bays of which three are on the North West coast. The South West coast is an almost unbroken stretch of sand and shingle beach which is arbitrarily divided up into a number of named beaches including Compton Beach, Brook Beach, Brighstone Beach, Shepherds Chine and Whale Chine to name a few. At the Northern end of this giant beach is Freshwater Bay which is flanked by cliffs and has one of the most popular views on the Isle of Wight as it has a pleasant crescent shape and stands out so starkly with against the background of white cliffs (see main picture above).

The North West coast of the Isle of Wight has a number of beautiful bays which start near the tip of the Island, within sight of the Needles, with the bay of Alum Bay. Alum Bay is best known for the colourful sand which occurs naturally and can be seen in strata within the cliffs. Alum Bay is a starting point for boat trips to see The Needles and a great view can also be seen from the beach. You can reach Alum Bay by a footpath but many choose to take the ski lift from where another excellent view can be glimpsed of The Needles.

Totland Bay Isle of Wight
Totland Bay Isle of Wight

East along the North West Coast towards Yarmouth is Totland Bay which is a shingle beach in a long sweeping bay. The water here is excellent for swimming and is often crystal clear due to the shingle makeup of the beach. Sandy patches can be found in the bay depending on the tide and recent weather. A restaurant and small cafe supply refreshment to beach goers.

Next is Colwell Bay where there is a shingle beach with patches of sand. Here there are a number of cafes and a jolly atmosphere in the summer.

West Isle of Wight Views

There are a number of great vantage points on the West side of the Isle of Wight and panoramic views that take in the whole expanse of the Isle of Wight can be viewed from high ground on the West of the Isle of Wight.

The Needles Isle of Wight
The Needles

Probably the most famous view on the Isle of Wight is the view of the Needles. The Needles are white rock stacks stretching from the Western tip of the Island. They can be seen from a number of locations but one of the best views is glimpsed from the Old Rocket Testing Site on the coastal path between Freshwater and Alum Bay and is located just above the Needles Battery. It is free to visit the Old Rocket Testing Site.

A great rural view with sights all along the coast and across the solent to the mainland can be viewed on a clear day from the Tennyson Trail between Freshwater to Carisbrooke.

West Isle of WightThis is a 10 mile stretch of path which can be started at Freshwater Bay and takes you up onto the hills that are the spine of the Island. From the highest points you can look down over Brighstone and see 360 degrees through Freshwater, Yarmouth, Shalfleet, Cowes, Ryde, Ventnor, Chale and the whole coast back to Brighstone.

West Isle of Wight Walking and Cycling

The West of the Isle of Wight is enjoyed by walkers and cyclists all year round and there are a number of cycle tracks and marked walks and trails.

Yarmouth Isle of WightShort walks and cycle rides can be taken along the estuary between Yarmouth and Freshwater or from Freshwater Bay up to the Tennyson Monument or further on to the Old Rocket Testing Site. Sections along the coastal path from Alum Bay to Yarmouth are also very enjoyable and there are plenty of places to stop along the way to eat or enjoy the beaches.

Longer trails include the Tennyson Trail which takes you inland to Carisbrooke. This is a 10 mile walk with great views all the way.

South Isle of Wight

The South of the Isle of Wight is a fabulous part of the island with a wonderful mix of sandy beaches, sheltered remote bays, dramatic scenery and pretty seaside town and villages with great seafood and a lovely holiday atmosphere.

South Isle of Wight Locations

The principle locations on the Southern end of the island are Ventnor with a long beach and sheltered water; Niton with beautiful views over the sea and the dramatic light houses; St Lawrence with its small bays and many rock pools, and the South West Coast with bays such as Whale Chine where you can imagine you have the whole island to yourself.

South Isle of Wight Beaches

Ventnor Isle of WightThe most famous beach in the area of the Isle of Wight is Ventnor beach which is a mix of sand and fine shingle and is backed by restaurants and cafes. The water is known to be great for swimming and the gently sloping beach is popular with sunbathers.

To the South of Ventnor beach is Steephill Cove where there is a sheltered bay and a couple of small cafes and a restaurant. Steephill Cove is only accessible on foot via the coastal path running south from Ventnor or by a footpath running down from Ventnor Cricket Club.  The cove is considered as one of the Isle of Wight’s hidden treasures.

Steephill Cove, Isle of WightA number of smaller bays and coves continue along the coast including Orchard Bay and bays below St Lawrence and Niton. All of these are peaceful and relaxing places with shingle beaches flanked by rock pools.

Passing the Southern tip of the Isle of Wight brings you to the South West coast which is really one continuous beach all the way to Freshwater Bay. This stretch of shingle and sand is divided up arbitrarily into a number of named bays including Whale Chine and Shephard’s Chine. If you are looking for peace, solitude and an excellent view out to sea then these beaches are certainly for you.

South Isle of Wight Viewpoints and the Downs

st catherines oratoryApart from the coastline the South part of the Isle of Wight also has its own series of downs or hills from which there are wonderful views across the Isle of Wight. Some of these vantage points can be easily reached by car and the Ventnor Down is one of these (map link) . Further South and just above Blackgang Chine is the historical building known as the Pepper Pot from where there is a panoramic view along the South West coast all the way to Freshwater Bay as well as view east taking in Ventnor and Shanklin.

South Isle of Wight Walking and Cycling

Godshill Village Isle of WightThe Southern part of the Isle of Wight has a good number of footpaths and cycle ways which give access to the beautiful countryside and the connect villages such as Chale and Whitwell with the nearby coastline or head inland to traditional rural villages such as Godshill and Wroxall where there are country pubs and historic buildings.

Some of the principle and best know walks include the Stenbury Trail and the Worsley Trail.

Family Entertainment on the South Side of The Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight has a number of organised activities for children on the Southern end of the island and most famous is the Britain’s first theme park or Blackgang Chine (www.blackgangchine.com). Alternatively there are a host of amusements such as the seaside activities at Ventnor Beach and the wonderful park and botanical gardens in Ventnor which gives children a change to play and learn at the same time.

Cottages with Large Gardens

Having a lovely large garden is a wonderful place to enjoy a sunny day, play games and enjoy food under a blue sky. Children also love the chance to explore a new environment and kick a ball around.

To help you find an Isle of Wight self catering cottage suitable for a family looking for a large garden we have picked out a small selection of cottages we think you will like. These cottages have especially large gardens and some even have a patch of private woodland too.

Brook Lodge self catering Whitwell South Isle of Wight

Brook Lodge Whitwell, Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight » South » Whitwell

Sleeps 2 in 1 bedroom + 1 extra bed; Children 8+ yrs welcome
This attractive property is situated in the grounds of Brook Lodge in beautiful South Isle of Wight countryside on the outskirts of the rural village of Whitwell. The village centre with its attractive church and public house is only a 10 minute walk away. The sandy beach of the seaside town of Ventnor is within a 10 minute drive and there is also easy access to the small quiet coves on the south coast and on the West side of the Isle of Wight. View Brook Lodge Whitwell, Isle of Wight

Puckaster Wing self catering Niton Undercliff South Isle of Wight

Puckaster Wing Niton Undercliff, Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight » South » Niton Undercliff

Sleeps 4 in 2 bedrooms; Children welcome
Puckaster House is beautifully situated; surrounded by its own six acres of garden and with lovely lawns going down towards the sea. Visitors have the rare opportunity to stay in a wing of this beautiful ‘Cottage Ornee style house that dates back to the 17th Century. View Puckaster Wing Niton Undercliff, Isle of Wight

Sweetwater Lodge self catering Calbourne West Isle of Wight

Sweetwater Lodge Calbourne, Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight » West

Sleeps 4 in 2 bedrooms; Children welcome
This pretty thatched cottage, with leaded light windows, stands in beautiful countryside, only a few minutes walk from Calbourne Water Mill. The cottage was designed by John Nash as a lodge for Westover Manor and is a Grade II listed building with wonderful grounds of 3.5 acres. This is a lovely walking area with footpaths very close to the cottage leading to Newbridge, Calbourne and to the downs above Brighstone, linking with the renowned Tennyson trail to Freshwater Bay. View Sweetwater Lodge Calbourne, Isle of Wight

Beaulieu Cottage self catering Borthwood East Isle of Wight

Beaulieu Cottage Borthwood, Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight » East

Sleeps 5 in 3 bedrooms; Children welcome

This charming cottage is nestled in the beautiful East Isle of Wight countryside, adjoining National Trust woodland, renowned for its carpets of bluebells; abundance of red squirrels and rabbits. The cottage commands wonderful views towards the sea and Culver Cliffs as well as of the Ventnor Down. Visitors have the freedom to enjoy over three acres of garden and private woodland. The sandy beach of Sandown is within a seven-minute drive. View Beaulieu Cottage Borthwood, Isle of Wight

Baltija self catering Ventnor South Isle of Wight

Baltija St Lawrence, Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight » South » Ventnor » St Lawrence

Sleeps 6 and a baby in 4 bedrooms; Children welcome

Baltija is beautifully situated in the wonderful semi rural coastal area of St Lawrence on the south of the Island. St Lawrence is renowned for it mild climate and is an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. Lanes and footpaths can be followed directly from the property to the sea at Woody Bay which is a ten to fifteen minute walk away. View Baltija St Lawrence, Isle of Wight

Continue reading “Cottages with Large Gardens” »

Isle of Wight Holiday Events 2015

There are so many holiday events taking place on the Isle of Wight in the coming months and we are just getting started putting them all on.

Coming up for the rest of this year there are fireworks and Christmas events in Yarmouth, Sandown, Bembridge and Cowes as well as New Year Celebrations in every town around the Isle of Wight.

For next year the holiday season gets started with events for February Half Term and Easter as well as a number of music events at venues around the Island.

Summer of 2015 is a time for carnival and parades and there are carnivals and illuminated carnivals in Sandown, Shanklin, Ventnor and Ryde as well as smaller parades around the Island.

Music and dance also has a great line up for 2015 and there are music festivals including the Isle of Wight Festival and Bestival Isle of Wight taking place in the summer. Smaller music festivals for Jazz and World Music are also coming along next summer.

To see the events published so far visit www.islandcottageholidays.com/news/event/

To view self catering holiday cottages available for some of the big events on the Isle of Wight visit Isle of Wight Self Catering Holiday Dates

If you have an event you want to let us know about sent it to us to events@islandcottageholidays.com