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Isle of Wight beaches

Beaches on the Isle of Wight

When you’re on the coast, why not make a dash for the beach? The Isle of Wight is famed for its beaches and whichever part of the Island you choose to visit, you can be sure to witness some of the best coastal views that the UK has to offer.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect day out with the kids (and the dog!), want to explore some hidden coves or enjoy some adrenaline-pumping water sports, the Diamond Isle has a tonne of stunning locations ideal for a multitude of seaside activities.

Making memories by the seaside on the Isle of Wight is just a ferry away – book your sailing today.

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The tropical-looking Totland Bay beach on the Isle of Wight

Best beaches on the Island

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to picking out glorious beaches on the Isle of Wight.

If you’re a thrill seeker looking for somewhere to surf, you’ll be best off on the south of the Island, where the current from the English Channel helps create some sizeable swells. Compton Bay is by far and away the most popular place to ride the waves, pulling in surfers from across the UK all year round.

For something a little more serene, with Mediterranean vibes, check out Priory Bay. The sandy beach is backed by nearly eight acres of National Trust woodland and visiting boats often drop anchor on its shores – perfect for that opportune Instagram snap.

If you’re only popping over for the day and time is tight, Appley Beach has everything you need. A vast expanse of sand on the north of the Island, it’s only a few moments’ walk from our FastCat port in Ryde. On a clear day, you can see right across the Solent to the mainland.

Explore more IOW beaches

Top five Isle of Wight beaches

With so many beautiful beaches to choose from on the Island, it can be hard to pick which one to visit. So we’ve put in the hard work (if you can call beach testing hard work), and rounded up our favourite five to make things a little easier for you.

A family sit down and take in the sun on Appley Beach, Ryde, on the Isle of Wight

1. Appley Beach

One of the most popular Island beaches, partly because of its convenient location next to our FastCat port, Appley is a stunning expanse of sand that stretches almost as far as the eye can see.

Backed by beach huts sitting below green trees, it’s one of the most picturesque places on the Island to relax and soak in the sun.

The perfect beach destination for families with young children, it’s home to a kids’ play area and plenty of ice cream choices.

Get to know Appley Beach
Compton Beach, Isle of Wight, on a blue sky day

2. Compton Bay

Winner of the Marine Conservation Award, Compton beach on the Isle of Wight is a popular beach for locals, tourists and watersports enthusiasts alike.

Known for its clean sands and picturesque views, the water can get a little choppy at times, but this is what makes it so great for surfers and windsurfers.

It’s also a must-visit for fossil hunters as, at low tide, large dinosaur footprints can be seen imprinted on the rock ledges.

Explore Compton Bay
Freshwater Bay shot from far away, with the town in the foreground

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.

Freshwater Bay
Steephill Cove on the Isle of Wight on a hot summer's day

4. 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.

It’s 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, make sure to take a trip through Ventnor Botanic Garden on your way down.

Steephill Cove
Sandown Beach, IOW

5. Sandown Beach

A multiple award-winner, Sandown Beach is a well-known stretch of sand that’s often viewed as a traditional ‘bucket and spade’ English holiday beach.

It’s backed by a packed esplanade, full of ice cream parlous, arcades and shops, and the seafront is topped off with the delights of Sandown Pier.

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.

Explore Sandown Beach

The best beaches for...

Everyone loves a beach, but while some of you may want a quiet cove for some peaceful bathing, others will want a vibrant stretch of coast with a host of family amenities. That’s why we created our Isle of Wight beach guide, a list of beaches that are best to suited to all kinds of activities, from rock pooling to water sports.

Read our IOW beach guide
Surfers walk into the sea on a beach on the Isle of Wight

Dog-friendly beaches

The Isle of Wight is a pooch’s paradise and the beaches are the best bit. Dogs love a brisk walk across the sand and the opportunity to paddle in the lapping waves.

Across the Island, there are a variety of beaches that allow dogs all year round and a selection that are dog-friendly only in the off-season months, between October and April. Those non-summer months are a great time to visit as you’ll often find you have the beach all to yourself and your four-legged friend.

Beaches allowing dogs from 1 October to 30 April

  • Colwell Bay

  • Cowes Beach

  • East Cowes Beach

  • Freshwater Bay

  • Gurnard Beach

  • Ryde Beach

  • Sandown Beach

  • Shanklin Beach

  • Springvale Beach

  • Ventnor Beach

  • Yaverland Beach

Explore the dog-friendly Island

Beaches allowing dogs all year

  • Alum Bay (dogs must be on a lead)

  • Colwell Bay (to the right of the slipway)

  • Bembridge Beach

  • Seagrove Beach

  • Priory Bay

  • Ryde Beach (to the left of Ryde Pier)

  • Whitecliff Bay

  • Yaverland (to the left of the car park)

  • Brook Bay

  • Chilton Chine

  • Rocken End

  • Steephill Cove (dogs must be on a lead)

Explore the dog-friendly Island
A screenshot of an Isle of Wight map showing beaches as map pins

Map of Isle of Wight beaches

The beauty of the Isle of Wight is that you’re never far from a beach. Use our interactive Explorer map to find the stretch of coast nearest to you, or to plan out your perfect beach hopping getaway.

You won’t just find beaches on Explorer, though – use the filter toggles to find events, attractions and even places to stay.

Explore IOW beach map
Wightlink's Victoria of Wight ferry in the middle of the Solent

Getting to the Island

Getting to the Isle of Wight is easy with Wightlink. We offer three convenient ferry routes linking Hampshire with the Island, with crossing times from just 22 minutes.

Our foot passenger-only FastCat service links Portsmouth with Ryde, a beautiful destination to the north of the Island. Here, you’ll find the stunning sandy expanse of Appley Beach, ideal for a quick beach day getaway.

If you’re bringing the car, you can cross the Solent on our Portsmouth – Fishbourne route. This will leave you only a short drive from the east coast of the Island, which is full of beautiful beaches.

You can also travel on our Lymington – Yarmouth route, the gateway to the west of the Island. This is a great route to choose if you’re heading to Freshwater Bay or Compton Bay, both popular beaches with surfers.

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