Isle of Wight

walking routes

Walks on the Isle of Wight

Sometimes, a walk is all you need. A chance to clear your mind, enjoy some fresh air and get the blood pumping. Luckily, the Isle of Wight is a walker’s paradise.

Whether you’re out for a family stroll, a jaunt down to the beach, the ultimate dog walk or a more serious hike along the Isle of Wight coastal path, the Island provides some of the UK’s best walking routes.

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Best walking routes

There’s over 500 miles of designated footpath on the Isle of Wight. Walks include beautiful meanders over chalk downs, clifftop hikes with stunning views, winding lanes through historic villages, trails through forests and wetlands, or simple paths taking you from pub to pub through the countryside.

With so many routes to choose from, it might be hard to pick the perfect trail for you, so we’ve rounded up three of our favourites below, each with varying levels of difficulty.

Walkers across Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight

Freshwater Way

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Distance: five miles

This easy route, which is mostly flat, covers the five miles from historic Yarmouth with its waterfront castle to the scenic cliffs at Compton Bay. The ultimate Isle of Wight coastal path for a leisurely afternoon stroll.

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Bembridge trail

  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Distance: 11 miles

Starting near Newport, at the heart of the Isle of Wight, this trail leads to Bembridge over to the east. It’s a varied walk that will take you up and over hills, through woodlands and alongside marshes at the mouth of the River Yar.

Bembridge Trail
Walkers walking a countryside path, the Tennyson Trail on the Isle of Wight

Tennyson Trail

  • Difficulty: challenging
  • Distance: 14 miles

Taking you from Carisbrooke, with its medieval castle, to the coloured sandstone cliffs of Alum Bay. The coastal views are spectacular and from the highpoint of Brighstone Down you can see the entire Island on a clear day.

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Walking routes map

If you’re on the Island and looking for walking routes to tackle that are close to your hotel, or maybe near to our ferry ports, check out our interactive Explorer map. Full of walking routes – and other activities, too, including cycling – you can move around the map and start building your ultimate walking itinerary.

Explore walking map

Coastal Isle of Wight paths

Taking on a coastal path on the Isle of Wight means dramatic cliffs with beautiful sea views – either out to the channel or across the Solent where, on a good day, you’ll spot Portsmouth or the New Forest.

The Island has a wealth of coastal routes to choose from. Some do dip inland – which is great for a bit of nature spotting or, if you need to refuel, popping to a nearby pub – while others will hug the coastline throughout. Check out a small selection of our favourite routes below.

Hamstead Trail

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Distance: seven miles

A relatively short walk, this trail still manages to take you from the north of the Island to the south, via salt marshes – a haven for wildlife – woodlands and open countryside.

Hamstead Trail

Cowes to Yarmouth

  • Difficulty: challenging
  • Distance: 16 miles

A long route, but well worth it. Taking you from the yacht haven of Cowes to the charming and historic town of Yarmouth, you’ll pass through villages and woodlands and along stunning clifftops.

Cowes to Yarmouth walking route

Sandown to Ryde

  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Distance: 12 miles

Passing through the National Trust-owned Bembridge Down, this route touches on some of the most beautiful scenery you can find on the east coast of the Isle of Wight and comes with plenty of spots along the way to grab some food and drink.

Sandown to Ryde

Getting there

We’re your link to the Isle of Wight, with three convenient routes connecting Hampshire with the Island. With sailing times from just 22 minutes, we can get you there in no time at all on one of our spacious, comfortable and well-equipped ferries.

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Victoria of Wight sails into Fishbourne