Discover the Island
When you’re visiting a new place, there’s nothing like inside knowledge to lead you to the best places and experiences. Here at West Wight Sports and Community Centre, in Freshwater, Isle of Wight, we welcome hundreds of visitors to our Festival of Running every June. We would like you to have a terrific time exploring our beautiful Island. Here are top hints and tips from our team and friends, to point you towards the best possible Isle of Wight experiences:
I have two favourite walks. Devils Chimney, between Ventnor and Shanklin, has a bit of everything: woods, down to the beach, rope swing, wishing seat and lots of other little secrets.
And St Catherine’s lighthouse. Walk around to Blackgang Beach and back up, via the fisherman’s ladder.
My favourite beach cafe has to be at Colwell. Good prices, great view.
And for a great cream tea, head to Chessell Pottery Cafe.
Sunset has to be Totland or Colwell. Get fish and chips is from Rainbow in Freshwater, then sit on a beach with a blanket and friends.
For cycling, the whole Island, on or off road, is brilliant.
I love the different areas of the Island – touristy Shanklin seafront (played crazy golf there last week); the olde worlde charm of Seaview; Bembridge has everything except a candlestick maker; stunning West Wight; and my sailing heaven, Cowes.
For the best walks, try The Needles Old Battery, Headon Warren at Alum Bay, Cowes seafront from the Water’s Edge café and Winkle Street, Calbourne.
There are great picnic spots on the Green at Cowes, Yarmouth Green and at Fort Victoria.
Water’s Edge, in Gurnard, is a lovely beach café, which serves excellent cream teas.
Gossips café in Yarmouth is another quaint waterfront spot, while Chessell Pottery Café’s cream teas are heavenly.
Enjoy the sunset from Fort Victoria or Gurnard (preferably in the Woodvale pub with a white wine spritzer).
When you need refreshment while touring the Island, don’t forget our friendly community café at the West Wight Sports and Community Centre.
PO41 coffee shop in Yarmouth is small and perfectly formed.”
Bluebells Café, at Briddlesford Farm, Wootton, serves farm-fresh treats and there’s a great farm shop too.
I’d recommend Coast Bar and Dining in Cowes for dinner.
My best swimming beach is Compton Bay, on the rugged west coast. Compton is unspoilt, with miles of rolling breakers. It’s a top surf spot too.
The best beach for children is Colwell Bay, with shallow, sheltered water and gentle waves.
The best beach for dog walking, all year round, is Thorness Bay, west of Cowes. You drive through a holiday park and down a track to reach this bay, which has miles of sand at low tide, perfect for energetic dogs. There is very rarely anyone around.
If you like to visit gardens, Farringford House, Freshwater, has a stunning garden, planned from historic paintings, photographs and records from Tennyson’s era. It has twin borders, billowing with colour.
Another garden not to be missed is Mottistone Manor, in Brook, which also has spectacular borders, plus an orchard and vegetable garden.
My favourite walk is Mottistone Down, from the Jubilee Car Park, above Brighstone. The views are amazing, of the coast towards Dorset.