ISLE OF WIGHT COAST PATH

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Ryde - The pier, built in 1814, leads to a smart town with many Victorian and Regency buildings. The main street sweeps steeply away from the sea into a bustling town. I liked Ryde but its traffic and amusement arcades were too much for me. The walk away offered some refreshing relief. The walk - Ryde to Sandown

Bembridge - The walk along the coast bypasses Bembridge itself. But it's worth a detour, via a back route that will reveal a plethora of beautiful houses, to find an old village charm and lots of shops selling interesting things. The walk - Ryde to Sandown

Sandown - A typical Victorian seaside town. It now has everything; a zoo, golf courses, amusement arcades, plentiful shops selling souvenirs at attractive prices and lots of accommodation. The key feature for me is that long welcoming stretch of sand and the old pier that collectively say, 'Kids - this is where the fun starts'. The walk - Ryde to Sandown

Shanklin - Continuing the trend, Shanklin feels slightly more upbeat than Sandown. Old Shanklin has many attractions. You might have time to visit the Chine or perhaps use the lift - its concrete outline spoiling the style of an otherwise character filled town. The walk - Sandown to Chale

Ventnor - Yes, well I like Ventnor a lot. Try the Spyglass Inn overlooking the sea. Don't miss the cascade which is beautifully lit up at night. Climb up into the town and find the second hand book shops. Ventnor Rare books are happy to send books by post direct to your home - so their is no excuses. The botanical gardens on the way out are well worth a visit - is this really England? The walk - Sandown to Chale

Chale - Famous for the Wight Mouse Inn and superb coastal views. The walk - Sandown to Chale

Brighstone - A charming village, although in land, offers a welcome stopping off point for those who want to break up the long walk from Freshwater Bay to Chale. I stopped their on my second walk of the path and found one of the best bed and breakfast accommodations so far. Which way round?

Freshwater Bay - The horseshoe-shaped cove has a steep pebbly beach and a short promenade, rimmed by low cliffs of white chalk. The Albion Hotel offers views, fine refreshments and rest in preparation for the steep climb over Tennyson Down. The walk - Chale to Totland

Totland - A sea wall runs for a mile along a pebbly beach. I witnessed a beautiful sunset over the Solent from the shelter of the bay and Waterfront Inn. The walk - Chale to Totland

Yarmouth - A bustling old worldly town offers interesting nooks and crannies for further investigation. Spend some time here visiting the Castle and watching the WightLink ferries crossing to Lymington. Yarmouth has good accommodation and many places for meals etc. I found the Wheatsheaf Inn to offer superb food at reasonable prices. The walk - Totland to Cowes

Shalfleet - Placed at the mouth of the estuary offers some accommodation and a welcoming pub for those wishing to break the journey to Cowes. The walk - Totland to Cowes

Newport - Not really on the route but offers a good stop for a rest-day, replenishment of supplies or as a centre for the walk itself. Try a visit to Carisbrooke Castle for an alternative to all those marvellous coastal views.

Cowes - Narrow streets and plentiful shops filled with souvenirs of Yachting add to the flavour of a fascinating town. Allow plenty of time here and soak up the nautical air. Cowes feels like the centre of the Yachting world with its colourful goings on. On the way out from Cowes make an visit to Osborne House part of the itinerary. It's full of treasures from a Victorian past and should not be missed. The walk - Cowes - Ryde