The Isle of Wight is situated off the south coast of England and blessed with over 70 miles of coastline. From the vast sandy shores of Shanklin, Ryde and Sandown to the pebbly coves of Steephill and Freshwater Bay, here are our top island coastal spots.
Located on the south-east of the island, Shanklin Beach is renowned for its miles of flat sand, traditional English seafront promenade and views over the Solent. Perfect for families to set up for the day, this is the quintessential “bucket and spade” beach. There’s a great choice of eateries along the seafront and shops selling all those holiday essentials like wetsuits and beach balls. Shanklin sadly lost its pier in the 1987 hurricane and a semi-circle of benches now stand where the original entrance used to be. Pay and display parking is available along the seafront which makes access easy and there’s a slipway on the south side of the beach. Dog restrictions apply from May to September.
With perfect soft sand and masses of space for everyone, Ryde beach joins Appley Beach to make a huge crescent shaped beach. Ryde pier stands to the left where you can watch the spectacle of the only year-round passenger hovercraft coming and going from Portsmouth and to the right the wooded parkland of Puckpool provides welcome shade on a sunny day. When the tide is out, miles of sand is exposed making this the idea family holiday destination. At high tide there is still sand to sit on and also, a lovely promenade which extends all the way from the centre of Ryde, along the coast to the village of Seaview. Two seaside cafes offer refreshments, and the usual plethora of seaside shops offer seaside paraphernalia including the all-important ice cream! Dogs are welcome year-round to the left of the pier.
With the towering chalk cliffs of Culver to the east and the pleasure pier to the west, Sandown beach offers miles of soft golden sand, backed by a seawall. With lots of cafes and shops close by and the pier with traditional amusements including crazy golf, children will love spending time here. If searching for sea glass is of interest then search the tide line on an ebbing tide, you’ll be surprised how much sea treasure there is to be found here. Dogs are welcome at the Yaverland end of the beach towards Culver.
A delightful cove which is only accessible on foot by either taking the coast path from Ventnor Esplanade or via Love Lane, either from the cricket club or Ventnor Botanic Gardens. The walk is well worth the effort, Steephill Cove is a hidden gem. During high season there’s a café and takeaway but at quieter times these may be closed. Pretty fishermen’s cottages adorned with lobster pots and floats sit overlooking the cove where the water is crystal clear and great for swimming. Deck chairs can be hired so pack a picnic and prepare to spend the day here, perfect! Dogs are welcome on a lead.
Ventnor is a traditional seaside town with a lovely safe shingle beach. Just along from the beach a children’s paddling pool in the shape of a giant map of the island is great fun for kids. The main promenade has lots of eateries and amusements and deck chairs can be hired. The town centre with an eclectic choice of shops is a short walk up a steep hill, past beautiful gardens. Dog restrictions apply from May until September.
Take a narrow country lane from the village where a right turn will take you on to the Duver (a low- lying piece of land occasionally inundated by the sea) and a left turn takes you to the beach. An ancient church at the end of the beach is now re-purposed as a sea marker which overlooks the Solent. The beach is single and sand, interspersed by groynes to keep the sand in place. Sitting opposite Bembridge with the harbour in between, the beach is well kept and popular for swimming as well as kayaking and paddle boarding due to easy access. The Baywatch Café opens during the summer months and offers a good selection of snacks, drinks and ice cream and dogs are allowed on the beach all year.
Another lovely west Wight beach can be found here at Colwell Bay. Situated down a short road from the main Yarmouth to Totland Road, the beach is a combination of sand and shingle which gently slopes to the sea. Whilst not a large beach, it is popular with swimmers and families and there’s a handy beach hut, ideal for ice creams and buckets and spades. If you are looking to treat yourself, The Hut is a bistro restaurant popular with guests from the mainland who travel over for the day by boat. You will need to book ahead! From here the views take in the Solent and over to the mainland and dramatic Hurst Castle. Dog restrictions apply in summer however they are allowed at any time of year to the right of the slipway at Colwell Chine to Brambles Chine.
Bembridge sits to the east of the island and has five fabulous miles of beach running along the length of the village. The beach can be accessed from a variety of points including the harbour, the lifeboat station and from footpaths leading from the village centre. With so much beach to choose from you are pretty much guaranteed there will be ample space for all and with both sand and shingle families will enjoy spending time here. Call into the village first for picnic supplies and head off for a day out swimming, rock pooling and generally messing about by the water. The lifeboat station offers visitors the opportunity to look round at certain times of the year and there’s a small shop, ideal for some holiday gift ideas. Dogs are welcome on Bembridge beach year-round.
Seagrove Bay is next door to Seaview beach on the north easterly side of the island. A large expanse of sand is exposed at low tide making this beach ideal for families and swimmers. Do check the tide times though as the sand all but disappears at high tide. Park in the pay and display car park in Seaview and the beach is a short stroll away. Amenities in Seaview include a variety of shops and cafes including The Old Fort which overlooks the Solent and a great place to enjoy a sea view. Dogs are allowed on the beach here all year round.
This delightful crescent of shingle beach can be found in west Wight. Popular with surfers, kayakers and swimmers, this beach has easy access and is popular in summer. Surrounded by chalk cliffs, snorkelers will enjoy the crystal-clear waters and sea stacks. Freshwater Lifeboat have a seasonal shop overlooking the beach and this is ideal for snacks and ice creams. They even have a webcam so you can watch the bay at anytime of day. Pay and display parking is just across the road from the beach and dog restrictions apply during summer months.
Wherever you are on the island you are never far away from a glorious beach. Take a look at our fabulous collection of self-catering cottages on the Isle of Wight and start planning your island escape.