Designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2019, the Isle of Wight and its surrounding waters are the sixth region in the UK to gain this accolate. Why? Because the people and wildlife live harmoniously and nature thrives. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty also encompasses half of the island and there are two areas of Heritage Coast.
The most famous coastal landmark on the Isle of Wight must be the iconic Needles on the western tip of the island. Made of chalk, these three huge sea stacks stretch out into the English Channel and are part of a coastline famous for its multi-coloured cliffs, dinosaur footprints, bays, smugglers coves, chines and lighthouses.
Did you know … a chine is a steep sided valley of soft eroding cliffs with a stream flowing down to the sea!
The Isle of Wight was much loved by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their holiday home, the impressively grand Osbourne House, is now run by English Heritage. With extensive gardens, fabulous views over the solent and a private beach, it’s easy to see why Victoria declared “It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot.” We can’t promise you a beach house on this grand scale, but we do have Isle of Wight beach huts all around the coast.
With over 60 miles of beaches, many of the traditional seaside resorts are on the east coast – Ryde, Sandown, Shankling and Ventnor among them. These are popular family friendly resorts with sandy beaches, great facilities and amusements.
Gurnard and Cowes on the northern tip of the island have sailing clubs, spectacular sunsets and are good vantage points for watching ocean liners and large boats approaching Southampton.
The west coast of the islands tends to be quieter with award winning Colwell Bay being popular for its panoramic views and clear waters.
- Good areas for surfing inc Sandown, Shankling and Compton Bay.
- Internationally renowned for sailing (Cowes Week Regatta and the Round the Island Race)
- Well maintained award winning beaches
- Some beaches are shingle, so not so good for sandcastles
- Dogs are not always permitted, especially between May and September - check before you go
- Some beaches have warning about hidden rocks in the water and strong moving tides - so be aware