The first thing most people think of when you mention the Isle of Wight is ‘Beaches’. We’re famous for them, but they’re not all famous. The most popular beaches are often photographed and written about, and many have won awards, even appearing in the top 10 best beaches in the UK list.
However, they are some equally fantastic beaches on the Island, that you may not have heard of or knew they were even there – Here’s a few we can recommend:
Totland Bay – Great for swimming
If, like me you enjoy a swim in the sea during the warmer months, but don’t like the idea of standing on anything ‘icky’, Totland bay has a wide stretch of white sand from the shore to about 100 metres out and is very sheltered from currents and waves. At high tide, there isn’t much beach left, but there is easy access and nearby parking along the seafront, perfect for an after-work evening dip. After your swim, you’ll find a great pub on the beach, called The Waterfont which is a great place to grab a pint and bite to eat and watch the sun set over the sea.
Steephill Cove – Great spot for lunch
With articles about the Cove appearing in the Telegraph, the Independent, Lonely Planet and a host of travel blogs, Steephill Cove near Ventnor isn’t quite the secret it once was. However, it’s not the easiest spot to find and many people drive straight past without ever knowing what they’ve missed.
The cove can only be reached on foot, via a long narrow footpath from the clifftop, so be prepared to park a fair way away and travel light. The beach isn’t the best for building sandcastles, but it is very safe and enclosed by some great cafes and restaurants.
Watcombe Bay – Great for adventurers (with Kayaks)
This one isn’t for the faint hearted or for young children. Watcombe Bay is only a few yards around the corner from Freshwater Bay but the only way to get there, is to swim or Kayak round from Freshwater (I’d recommend the latter, if you have the equipment). Those brave enough to paddle round, will find a deserted beach made from a mix of sand and pebbles, and some fantastic caves to explore. The cave entrance should only be approached at low tide in calm conditions, as the water comes up to chest height on the way in. What you’ll find inside, is like something out of the Goonies and an amazing sight on a sunny day with sunlight bouncing off all surfaces.
The beach is a great spot to escape the crowds, as you’ll be hard pushed to find anyone else!
Gurnard – Great for getting on the water
A short drive (or long walk along the seafront) from Cowes is the small village of Gurnard, which has pebble and sand beach, popular with locals and budding dinghy sailors. The nearby sailing club and dinghy park means, you’ll always see plenty of little sails bobbing about, just off shore. Because of the easy access to the beach from the road, the beach is also popular with Kayakers and Paddle Boarders.
Running along the length of the promenade is a row of traditional beach huts, all strictly painted the exact same shade of green (must be a planning thing), and beyond these is a large green, perfect for picnics away from the sand, which also features a large children’s play area.
Right on the beachfront, you’ll also find a wonderful café, which is always busy and serves great local food, including some amazing seafood. Just up from the green, with a great viewpoint of the sea and Solent is the Woodvale Pub & Hotel.