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Gurnard Beach

Beaches a Stone’s Throw From the Ferry

Whether you’re arriving to the Island via East Cowes or west, or you’ve got an hour to kill ahead of your ferry – there are great beaches to explore and seafront cafes and restaurants to enjoy just a short walk from the Red Jet and vehicle ferry.

West Cowes

Cowes Parade and Green

Just a short walk from the Red Jet terminal you will find incredible views across the Solent from Cowes Parade and Green. Grab an ice cream for the walk from Paradise Ice Creams, Bliss or pop along to Cabin on the Green after a swim. Along the parade you’ll find benches to sit with fish and chips, and the Globe serving food and drink. Head west along the parade past the Royal Yacht Squadron brass canons and around the corner to the green. A great place to skim stones, go for a dip, read a book, enjoy a picnic or watch the sun set over Cowes, the green is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. From the Red Jet to Cowes Green is a short 15-minute walk just under a mile, but the coastal path continues past Egypt Point and along to Gurnard – a quiet seaside town with a pub, park, green, ice cream kiosk and beach.  

Gurnard green and beach

Looking for a quick dip? Take a stroll along to Gurnard where you’ll find a rolling green and a pebble beach perfect for rock pooling, swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding. Should you find yourself in need of refreshment, The Woodvale is a popular pub overlooking the sea with a great menu packed full of family favourites, your favourite tipple and ice creams. With several outside patio areas to sit, The Woodvale is one of the best spots in down to catch the sunset on the horizon. Just a short walk into Gurnard village you’ll find Gurnard Press offering homemade pizzas, sandwiches and cake and The Portland Inn, a friendly family run pub serving up tasty homemade food; from delicious burgers and fries to fresh Thai fishcake salads.

Cowes High Street

Cowes is a lively boutique sailing town on the northern tip of the Island. From the moment you step foot off the Red Jet you’ll find yourself with a choice of great coffee shops, clothing stores, restaurants, interior shops and more. Some of our favourites include Comicon, a great place for coffee or a smoothie and a donut. For a great meal in a relaxed atmosphere see The Coast, Call it What You Want and the Smoking Lobster. For a quick drink, the Real Ale House, The Anchor, Pier View and The Union are friendly traditional pubs. Right opposite the terminal you’ll find The Fountain, with a great outdoor space for a quick drink before the ferry. For places to shop, see Live Like This for clothing, jewellery and gifts, Mia for stylish women’s clothing, A Pocket Full of Pebbles for kids clothes, Buff for home and kitchen wear, Lovebird and Skylarking Artisan Silversmithing for handmade jewellery, Shorelines for gifts and trinkets, Kendall’s for the best of Island art, Staples and Green for modern furnishings, Sounds and Grounds for coffee and vinyl shopping… and so much more! Cowes High Street has something for everyone.

East Cowes

East Cowes seafront

Just a short walk or drive from the vehicle ferry terminal, the esplanade at East Cowes is the perfect place for families. A short stretch of pebble beach, the shoreline offers amazing views across to Cowes and out towards Southampton – the perfect place to watch yachts, boats and the ferry coming and going. Behind the beach is a family area complete with a play park, a lido for paddling and the Shoreside Café, offering tea, coffee, cake and ice cream. A short walk from the seafront is Prego, a woodfire pizza place offering dine in and take away services – the perfect tea time treat on the green. Further into the town you’ll find a large Waitrose superstore, a number of convenience stores, cafes and a fish and chip shop.

Osborne Bay

A bus ride or drive away from the East Cowes vehicle terminal is Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s palatial seaside home. As a family, Victoria, Albert and their nine children frequented Osborne often, with the children learning how to grow vegetables, about wildlife, how to swim, how to cook all which holidaying as the Mediterranean inspired grand house. Queen Victoria herself could often be found swimming at Osborne Bay – her own private beach now open to the public. A day out at Osborne includes a walk around the Victorian home, exploration of the magnificent gardens, discovery of the children’s own Swiss cottage as well as access to Osborne Bay. A sheltered and secluded shingle beach, Osborne Bay offers calm waters for taking a paddle and a stretch of beach perfect for reading and relaxing as Queen Victoria once did. You’ll also find a beautifully decorated alcove where the Queen once sat to read and write poetry, and an example of a Victorian bathing house – designed to preserve the modesty of Victorian ladies and the Queen. You can also enjoy a café serving hot drinks, lemonade, sandwiches and cakes.

East Cowes Dining

If you’re looking for a quick bite on arrival or before you leave, look no further than the Lifeboat. A friendly restaurant serving up pub classics and tasty specials, the Lifeboat offers a great outside terrace overlooking the marina perfect for a sunny day as well as comfortable inside seating. With a great choice of drinks and a menu offering breakfast through to dinner, the Lifeboat is a great spot to while a few hours away. Just along the road you’ll find the Victoria Tavern, a fun and friendly pub serving up delicious plates and renowned for their roast. A the Tavern you’ll find a pool table, games and more to spend a few fun hours to unwind from your journey or get ready to go home. As mentioned above, East Cowes also boasts a great pizza restaurant, with Preggo serving up wood-fired pizzas with tasty toppings to your liking.

Whether you’re coming or going, here for a day or here to stay – there’s so much to do just a stone’s throw from the ferry.