Isle of Wight

Carefree short breaks & holidays

A ship sailing past The Needles © IW Tourism

Beach Guide

Family playing on the beach at Ryde

Ryde 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, which is the quieter area of the Island, has two stretches of Heritage Coast, a term applied only to coastlines of the highest quality in England and Wales. Here, the dramatic cliffs of ancient rock and beautiful beaches echo with tales of shipwrecks and smugglers.

Below are 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 chair lift to The Needles Pleasure Park, with breathtaking views of the Needles rocks and lighthouse. Toilets and refreshments are at The Needles Pleasure Park on the cliff top.


Bembridge is surrounded on three sides by the sea and there is access to the varied shoreline in a number of places. Beaches are of pebble and sand, quiet, uncommercialised and generally safe for swimming. Also great for collecting shells or for exploring rock pools at low tide. Café, toilets and car parking near the harbour and at Lane End (where the lifeboat pier is) and Forelands.


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 sea wall from Ventnor. You will find a pottery, cafes 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, which passes 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 holidaymaker. Although all the traditional facilities are provided for beach users, such as cafes, a peaceful time can be spent here. A relatively safe, level walk along the sea wall revetment links Colwell Bay to Totland Bay.

UK Rural seaside award winner.

Compton Bay

Situated between Freshwater Bay and Brook on the main coast 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 River 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 yachting activities.

Freshwater Bay

Choice of restaurants, ice cream parlours, cafes 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 close by.

Gurnard Bay

There is a gently shelving sand and shingle beach, ideal for family bathing. There are cafes, beach huts and a pleasant promenade. Suitable for swimming, wind surfing and dinghy sailing. There is also 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's a railway station is near the beach which is also convenient for pedestrian. Cliff top car parking. Lake beach is the home of the Islands largest watersports operator. The dog prohibited zone is limited to the area of the main slipway from the cliff road.

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 cafe selling hot drinks and ice creams. PrioryBay is quite difficult to reach due to having no parking facilities nearby. There is a hotel next door and the beach is frequently used by the residents.


Sandy beaches fully exposed at low tide adjoining the Esplanade with easy access and car parking. Facilities including Ice Rink, Bowling Alley, Swimming Pool, Canoe Lake, Amusements and a Leisure Harbour, are easily available. The beach faces the Solent and has a variety of water sports available. A leisurely stroll of five minutes will take you to 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 well served by longshoremen, providing traditional seaside leisure pursuits as well as parascending, pedalloes and volleyball. Refreshment kiosks are dotted along the seafront and the pier provides entertainment for all ages. A relatively safe walk along the sea wall revetment 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 Eastern Solent. The bay provides a haven for families wanting a peaceful and pleasant day on 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 towns amenities close by. The beach is well served by longshoremen, providing traditional and modern leisure pursuits.

Refreshment kiosks are dotted along the esplanade and an amusement arcade provides 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 revetment. 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 at the rear of the promenade and quaint railway carriage beach huts. Birds and wildlife abound in the area and the views of Bembridge Harbour are breathtaking.

UK Rural seaside award winner.

Totland Bay

A quiet little bay with beach, safe bathing, small pier, amusements, toilets, cafe 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 promanade joins it with Colwell and many visitors enjoy the scenic walk between the two. Towards Alum Bay is a rocky area which both locals and tourists find good for prawning. Like Colwell Bay, when the tide is high there is very little beach but sunsets here are fantastic. 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 Princes Esplanade is ideal for family swimming and viewing the activities of the Solent. Cowes famous for its activities 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 Cliffs. There is also 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 sign posted off the A3054, Nature Trail, Cafes, Toilets, picnic area, large car park. Maritime museum, marine aquarium and planetarium and splendid views of the shipping. Sea wall 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 the 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's quiet and less busy than those between Sandown and Shanklin, offering safe swimming and fossil hunting by the cliffs. There is an Esplanade and sea wall walk from Sandown to Yaverland.

UK Rural seaside award winner.