Top 10 beaches on the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is renowned for it’s wide range of sandy beaches: whether you’re looking for the ideal day out with the kids, want to explore some hidden coves or enjoy some adrenaline-pumping water sports, the Isle of Wight has many stunning locations suitable for multiple seaside activities. Here is our pick of the  top 10 beaches on the Island:

10. Cowes & Gurnard

A popular beach for sailing and watersports, Cowes and Gurnard beach is a short walk from the town with several cafes and restaurants along the route. The beach has great views of the Solent and is the perfect location to watch ships and liners enter the harbour. There are regular sailing regattas that take place in the Solent and Prince’s Green on Cowes esplanade is the ideal spot to watch the yachts race by.

9. East Cowes

A quiet sand and shingle beach, East Cowes is ideal for watching the boats in Cowes Harbour as they start their journey down the river Medina. The beach, tucked away behind the town, has won a Quality Coast Award and is just a short walk from a host of cafes, restaurants, pubs and shops. 

8. Ventnor Bay

Nicknamed the Mediterranean of the Isle of Wight, Ventnor Beach features all the seaside essentials of golden sand, crabbing pools and sun loungers. Walk along the seafront and you’ll find an amusement arcade, ice-creams and the world famous, nautical-themed Spyglass Inn, making it a worthy winner of a Blue Flag and Seaside Award. Just a short walk from the beach is the quaint town centre, filled with independent shops selling everything from vintage clothing to local crafts and jewellery.

7. Seagrove Bay

Situated on the east coast of the Island, Seagrove is a long, gently sloping, sandy beach with clear waters. With rocks for children to explore and calm waves that are safe for swimming, Seagrove is the perfect beach day out. There is a beach-side cafe and shop for refreshments and the pretty village of Seaview is nearby if you want a little more choice.

Seagrove Bay on the eastern side of the Isle of Wight

6. Sandown Bay

As the name suggests, this beach is perfect if you want to feel the lovely golden sand between your toes. The clean, soft sand and calm waters are ideal for a family day at the beach. There are good toilet facilities available and a whole host of restaurants, cafes, bars and ice cream kiosks for when the kids get a little peckish. Sandown Bay has held the Water Quality Award since 1996, as well as being a winner of the prestigious Blue Flag. The towns of Sandown and Shanklin sit at either end of the Bay; Sandown boasts one of the Island’s best piers whilst Shanklin’s Old Village has been a traditional attraction since the early Victorian days.

The golden sands of Sandown Bay stretching under Culver Cliff in the distance

5. Steephill Cove

Hidden away in one of the most quaint areas of the Isle of Wight, Steephill Cove in Ventnor can only be accessed by foot so is ideal for getting away from it all and escaping the crowds. Steephill Cove is perfect for the children to build sandcastles or for those who want to laze on a deckchair whilst watching the local fishermen catch delicious lobster and crab – you can even try some of these fresh daily catches at a number of small restaurants and cafes right on the beach. If you’re visiting, why not take a trip through Ventnor Botanic Garden on your way down?

Picturesque Steephill Cove near Ventnor is the perfect beach hideaway

4. Colwell Bay

Winner of not only the Quality Coast Award but the Water Quality Award too, Colwell Bay is not a beach you want to miss on your visit to the Isle of Wight. This beach is popular with both visitors and locals who want the perfect place to relax in summer away from some of the slightly busier beaches on the Island.

Enjoy a spot of rockpooling at Freshwater Bay

3. Freshwater Bay

On the western coast of the Isle of Wight, Freshwater Bay is loved by all. Whether you’re looking to get out on the water with a surfboard and catch some waves, try coasteering through the cliffs and caves or simply relax with a picnic on the beach, there’s something for everyone here. The small pebble bay is perfect for rockpooling so make sure you bring a bucket and net for the kids.

2. Compton Bay

Located between Freshwater Bay and Brook, Compton Bay on the west coast of the Isle of Wight was recently included in the ‘Top 50 Best Beaches in the World’ by the Sunday Times. It’s ideal for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing enthusiasts because of it’s frequent high winds and waves – especially in the winter months. In the summer though, the stretch of golden sands and cliff faces are the perfect spot for families looking to explore. Compton Bay is also a must-visit for fossil hunters as, at low tide, large dinosaur footprints can be seen imprinted on the rock ledges. The beach is only accessible by stairs from the carpark so we do advise not taking too many bags and beach toys with you!

1. Appley Beach

The miles of flat sand at Appley Beach are perfect for playing

Appley is the perfect beach destination for families with young children – hosting a children’s play area, a nine hole pitch and putt course and plenty of ice cream choices, all just a stroll from the bustling town of Ryde. Winner of a Seaside Award, Appley is one of the safest beaches on the Island with a lifeguard in the summer and a first-aid hut just off the beach. And as if all that wasn’t enough – to top it off, the soft sandy beach at Appley is just a 22 minute catamaran ride from Portsmouth and only 2 hours from London!

So there it is – Wightlife’s top 10 Isle of Wight beaches! Visit one of our amazing, family-friendly beaches, ideal for all sorts of activities whether it’s watersports, swimming, fossil hunting, walking, rockpooling or just relaxing in the sun.

Thanks to Visit Isle of Wight for all of the above images.

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