Cowes, located on the Isle of Wight, is a picturesque town that is steeped in history and surrounded by natural beauty. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or just looking for a relaxing getaway, there’s something for everyone in this charming town. With so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming to choose which attractions to visit. To make things easier, we’ve compiled a list of the top must-see attractions that you won’t want to miss while you’re in Cowes.
1. Visit the Royal Yacht Squadron
For anyone with a passion for sailing, the Royal Yacht Squadron is a destination that cannot be missed. Established in 1815, this historic sailing club has played a vital role in the development of sailing as a sport and has been home to some of the most prestigious sailing events in the world. The club offers guided tours that take visitors through the various halls and rooms, providing insights into the club’s fascinating past and its influence on the sailing world. Whether you’re a sailing aficionado or simply a history buff, a visit to the Royal Yacht Squadron promises to be an unforgettable experience.
2. Explore Cowes Castle
Dating back to the 16th century, Cowes Castle offers panoramic views of the Solent and the mainland. This historic castle is now a museum, where visitors can learn about its fascinating history and the role it played in the defence of the town. Take a tour of the castle and climb to the top for breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
3. Take a Boat Trip
Cowes is well-known for its sailing culture, so a boat trip is a must when you’re in town. Whether you prefer to take a ferry to the mainland or a sailboat for a scenic cruise, there are plenty of options to choose from. Experience the beauty of the Isle of Wight from the water and enjoy the fresh sea air.
4. Visit the Classic Boat Museum
The Classic Boat Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the maritime history of Cowes and the Isle of Wight. This museum showcases classic boats and yachts, giving visitors an insight into the amazing history of the area. Whether you’re a boat enthusiast or just interested in history, you won’t want to miss this museum.
5. Take a Stroll Along the Seafront
Cowes, a delightful coastal town, is home to a stunning seafront, adorned with a diverse range of cafes and restaurants. Taking a leisurely stroll along the seafront is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the town’s beauty while basking in the breathtaking views of the Solent. The soft sea breeze and the rhythmic sound of waves brushing against the shore make for a soothing and calming ambience that is ideal for relaxation and embracing the tranquil surroundings. While you’re there, be sure to visit one of the many cafes or restaurants to rejuvenate with a refreshing beverage or satisfy your taste buds with a delectable meal. With a plethora of options to choose from, you’re bound to discover something that caters to your preferences and appetite, all while relishing the splendour of the ocean scenery.
6. Take a Cycling Tour
The Isle of Wight is a great place for cycling, and Cowes is no exception. Rent a bike and explore the local area at your own pace. With plenty of quiet roads and stunning scenery, a cycling tour is a great way to experience the natural beauty of the area.
Places to rent a bicycle in Cowes:
7. Discover historic sites along the trail.
Learn about the fascinating history of Cowes with the Cowes Heritage Trail, a walking tour that takes visitors on a journey through the town’s most renowned landmarks, providing insights into its rich past. As you stroll through Cowes, be sure to take the self-guided Cowes West Heritage Walk, which guides you through historical sites such as Phillip Island’s first and second hospitals, along with other notable places like historic houses, guest houses, and cottages, as well as the power station site, where you can learn more about the island’s past. The Cowes Visitor Information Centre, located at 97 Thompson Avenue, Cowes, is the starting point for this unforgettable journey.
8. Explore the Local Shops and Markets
Cowes is home to a variety of independent shops and markets selling everything from local produce to souvenirs. Explore the local shops and markets to get a taste of the town’s unique character and find a special keepsake to take home with you.
9. Visit the Nearby Beaches
If you’re looking for a beach day, Cowes is surrounded by several beautiful beaches including East Cowes and Gurnard, that are ideal for activities such as sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing. These beaches offer stunning coastal views and provide a great opportunity to relax and soak up the sun.