Isle of Wight

Carefree short breaks & holidays

A ship sailing past The Needles © IW Tourism

Beach guide

Family playing on the beach

Beach © IW Tourism

The Isle of Wight boasts 60 miles of spectacular coastline, with picturesque coves and broad, beautiful bays of golden sand.

Most are ideal for families, offering miles and miles of fine sand and safe shallow waters. If you want to escape the holiday crowds, however, there are peaceful bays and secluded coves just waiting to be discovered.

West Wight, the quietest part of the Island, has two stretches of Heritage Coast, a term applied only to coastlines of the highest quality in England and Wales. The dramatic ancient cliffs and beautiful beaches echo with tales of shipwrecks and smugglers.

Below are details of just some of the beaches you can enjoy while visiting the Isle of Wight.

Alum Bay

A vast bay backed by towering cliffs and the famous Alum Bay coloured sands. Steps and chairlift to the Needles Park, with breathtaking views of the Needles rocks and lighthouse. Toilets and refreshments are at the Needles Park on the cliff top.


Bembridge is surrounded by the sea on three sides and there is access to the varied shoreline in a number of places. Beaches are of pebble and sand, quiet, non-commercialised and generally safe for swimming. Also great for collecting shells and exploring rock pools at low tide. Café, toilets and car park near the harbour. Parking also available at Lane End by the lifeboat pier.


Shore Road winds steeply down to a view point car park, from which it is just a two-minute (steep) walk down to the pebbly beach. You can also walk along the seawall from Ventnor. You will find a pottery, cafés and fresh local seafood. The new revetment extends to Monks Bay and footpaths lead to Bonchurch Old Church, Bonchurch Village and the coastal path to Shanklin, passing the fascinating rock formations of the wooded landslip.


This is a very interesting beach with sandy areas as well as a petrified forest at Hanover Point and fossils in the cliffs. There are three car parks each with a pathway leading down to the shore through crumbly yellow brown cliffs where many dinosaur remains have been uncovered. Refreshments available at Hanover House, Brook.

Colwell Bay

This small sand and shingle beach is tucked away on the quieter west coast of the Island and provides panoramic views of the western reaches of the Solent. The beach is unspoilt and popular with locals and holidaymakers alike. Although traditional facilities are provided for beach users, such as cafés, a peaceful time can be spent here. A relatively safe, level walk along the seawall revetment links Colwell Bay to Totland Bay.

UK Rural seaside award winner.

Compton Bay

Situated between Freshwater Bay and Brook on the main coastal road, Compton Bay is a firm favourite with holidaymakers and residents.

It offers safe swimming from a sandy beach and is suitable for surfing, though there are no hire facilities. Compton Bay is also one of the prime spots on the south coast of the Island for fossil hunting.

East Cowes

East Cowes beach, at the head of the Medina Estuary, provides the holiday and yachting resort of Cowes with a well-used recreational area. The beach is very popular with residents and visitors alike. The facilities on the seafront provide traditional holiday requirements for a promenade and woodland walks, children's play area and a grand vista of Cowes harbour with all its maritime activity.

Freshwater Bay

Selection of restaurants, ice cream parlours, cafés and gift shops, and fine local walks, either on the cliffs or into the local nature reserve of Afton Marsh. There is an 18-hole Golf Course nearby.

Gurnard Bay

A gently shelving sand and shingle beach, ideal for family bathing. There are cafés, beach huts and a pleasant promenade. Suitable for swimming, windsurfing and dinghy sailing. There is a slipway for small boats.

UK Rural seaside award winner.


Between Sandown and Shanklin, Lake has a sandy beach with rock pools at low tide. The quieter stretches can be reached by slipways from a flower-strewn cliff path or by walking along the revetment between the two towns. There is a railway station near the beach which is also convenient for pedestrians. Cliff-top car parking. Lake beach is home to the Island's largest water sports operator.

Priory Bay

A small, quiet bay which is sandy and picturesque. The bay is especially beautiful when the tide is out and there is a café selling ice cream and hot drinks. Priory Bay is quite difficult to reach due to having no parking facilities nearby. Next door is a hotel and the beach is frequently used by its residents.


Sandy beaches fully exposed at low tide adjoining the esplanade with easy access and car parking. Facilities include an ice rink, bowling alley, swimming pool, canoe lake, amusements and a leisure harbour. The beach faces the Solent and has a variety of water sports. A leisurely stroll will take you into the town centre.

UK Rural seaside award winner.
Blue Flag award for water cleanliness.
Beach is manned by lifeguards during high season.


Sandown has one of the most popular beaches on the Island and is noted for its long, sandy stretches. A wealth of beach activities caters for all tastes and the amenities of the town are close by. The beach is well served by longshoremen providing traditional seaside leisure pursuits as well as parasailing, pedalloes and volleyball. Refreshment kiosks are dotted along the seafront and the pier provides entertainment for all ages. A relatively safe walk along the seawall links Sandown to the equally popular Shanklin.

UK Resort seaside award winner.
Blue Flag award for water cleanliness.
Beach is manned by lifeguards during high season.

Seagrove Bay

This totally unspoilt sand and shingle beach offers uninterrupted views across the Solent. The bay provides a haven for families wanting a peaceful and pleasant day at the beach, with safe swimming and a café for refreshments.


A quiet beach in a small seaside town. Seaview is perfect for sailing, windsurfing and paddling. With a yacht club on the seafront there is plenty to watch in the summer months. The beach is a mixture of rocks and sand and, although not perfect for sunbathing, there are plenty of viewpoints and places to sit and take in the magnificent sights. It has toilets and a bar selling drinks and snacks. Seaview has on-road parking, is on the Southern Vectis bus route and is close to Puckpool Park.


This beach forms part of Sandown Bay, noted for its long sandy stretches. Beach activities cater for all tastes, with the town's amenities close by. The beach is well served by longshoremen offering traditional and modern leisure pursuits.

Refreshment kiosks are dotted along the esplanade and there is an amusement arcade for wet weather entertainment. Shanklin Theatre is a short walk form the seafront where a lift can be taken to the top of the cliffs. The resorts of Shanklin and Sandown are linked by a level walk along a seawall. There is also a cliff-top walk linking Sandown and Shanklin with Lake in between.

UK Resort seaside award winner.
Blue Flag award for water cleanliness.
Beach is manned by lifeguards during high season.


Springvale lies to the east of Ryde with a long sandy beach providing magnificent views of the Solent. The area is peaceful and adjoined to Puckpool Park, which makes it an ideal family beach with easy access by car and free parking.

St Helens Duver

St Helens Duver is a haven of peace and tranquillity. The beach is excellent for swimming, with sand dunes to the rear of the promenade and quaint railway carriage beach huts. Birds and wildlife are plentiful in this area and the views of Bembridge Harbour are simply breathtaking.

UK Rural seaside award winner.

Totland Bay

A quiet little bay with beach, safe bathing, small pier, amusements, toilets, café and restaurant. A favourite with families, especially those with small children.

This beach is a good base for a turf walk and has its own picnic area. A promenade joins it with Colwell and many visitors enjoy the scenic walk between the two beaches. Towards Alum Bay is a rocky area which both locals and tourists find good for prawning. When the tide is high, the beach becomes very narrow, but sunsets here are fantastic to watch. Reached by way of a narrow winding road through low cliffs. Limited parking on foreshore. Large free car park opposite approach road to beach.


Ventnor's sun trap bay is sheltered by the high cliffs on which the terraced town is built. A steep road winds down from the town past the famous Cascade Gardens to the seafront, where you can stroll along the promenade or cliff walk and enjoy the spectacular views.

UK Rural seaside award winner.

West Cowes

The beach at Prince's Esplanade is ideal for family swimming and viewing the activities of the Solent. Cowes, famous for its maritime activity, is a grandstand for all that makes a good seaside holiday. This prestigious Victorian town is enhanced by its clean, excellent facilities.

Whitecliff Bay

Here you will find a lovely sandy beach sheltered by the spectacular Culver Cliff. There is limited parking at Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park, where there are toilets, refreshments and a licensed bar. There is a café on the beach but no toilets. The coastal path provides a delightful walk from Bembridge or Sandown.


To the west of the town, Fort Victoria Country Park is signposted off the A3054. It has a nature trail, cafés, toilets, picnic area and large car park. Also in Fort Victoria is the maritime museum, marine aquarium, planetarium, and panoramic views of shipping activity in the Solent. Seawall promenade leads back to Yarmouth. To the east of Yarmouth a small car park with adjoining picnic area face a stretch of grass that slopes down to the seawall promenade with seating overlooking the sea. The Yarmouth area is unsuitable for swimming due to strong offshore currents.


Yaverland is a popular venue for windsurfing events and the home of Yaverland sailing clubs. Situated on the magnificent Sandown Bay, Yaverland offers a sandy beach running between the towering Culver Cliff at one end and Sandown at the other. It is quiet and less busy than those between Sandown and Shanklin, offering safe swimming and fossil hunting by the cliffs. There is an esplanade and seawall walk from Sandown to Yaverland.

UK Rural seaside award winner.