Best spots for sea swimming on the Isle of Wight

There is nothing that can come close to stepping into the (normally freezing!) sea for a swim, especially when the weather is glorious during the summer. Whether you’re planning on a paddle, a dip, or a full on workout, there are definitely risks which can occur if you’re not swimming in a safe area. The Isle of Wight has plenty of beaches with safe swimming waters and things to keep the family busy, here are a few of our favourites;

Colwell Bay

Colwell is situated to the west of the island, in between Yarmouth and Totland. There are plenty of cafes, shops, and a restaurant as well, so you won’t be far from amenities. You can also hire equipment for watersports, as well as purchase inflatables to enjoy the water even more. The waters are clear and calm, and offer views back across to the mainland. The water gently slopes into the sea, so it’s perfect for sea swimming. The only thing to note is that the bay is a hotspot for windsurfers and jetskiers, so practise caution and be aware of your surroundings.


Shanklin is possibly the most famous beach on the Isle of Wight, partly due to it’s stunning swimming waters. The beach itself is sandy, so is great for setting up for the day, whether sunbathing, building castles, or swimming. The promenade that sits next to the beach has plenty of things to keep the whole family busy; with crazy golf, cafes, shops, go-karting, and pubs. From Shanklin there are lots of good walks and places to visit, including walking round to Luccombe Beach at low tide.

Freshwater Bay

You might need to make sure you’re wearing sturdy shoes on this beach as it is a little pebbly, however once you’re in the water there is soft sand underfoot. This is a great spot to visit for those who like something a little different than the standard ‘beach day’, with caves that can be explored by kayak (with local instructors). You can also walk along an exposed rocky ledge to see a smaller bay to the west of Freshwater Bay, though this can only be done at extremely low tide so it’s worth checking before you travel. Freshwater Bay also has rock pools to explore, and is popular with surfers. From Freshwater Bay you are close to Tennyson Down and Monument, which are both things you should see whilst on the island.

Springvale Beach

The shallow waters at Springvale Beach make it absolutely perfect for younger children wanting to swim in the sea. The beach itself is made up of shingle and sand, and the waters are sparklingly clear, perfect for a paddle. It’s generally a fairly quiet beach as well, which makes it a nice change from some of the more popular tourist areas. If you fancy extending the day out, there is a nearby pub called ‘The Boathouse’, and the beach is only a short walk away from Puckpool Park, which offers refreshments as well as other activities such as mini-golf and tennis. There is a lot of free parking around as well, so a perfect cheaper day out.

Steephill Cove

Although Steephill Cove is only accessible via foot, it really is a hidden gem and well worth a visit. It’s a really quiet and picturesque spot to admire the views from, and has a much different atmosphere to some of the busier beaches on the island. The area also has lots of cute fisherman’s cottages and beach huts, which really add to the feeling of stepping back in time you get whilst here. There are several restaurants to refresh yourself in, which all serve fresh seafood, and the beach is dog friendly (although do double check with local information.) The only downside is the accessibility, as the cove is down (you guessed it!) a steep hill, which does mean it’s probably not suitable for those with lower mobility.


Care should be taken when swimming in any water, so make sure all children are supervised and you triple check for dangers, as well as being aware of any dangers which may be unseen.

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