Cowes is widely recognised as the UK’s home of sailing and water sports. In the warm summer months, the expansive marina attracts thousands of boat-lovers from all over the world, bringing a variety of sailing vessels to the town – look out for the super yachts. It is also an ideal location to try water sports and sailing for the first time. The town itself is rich with independent shops and restaurants, catering for both locals and visitors, which creates a year-round vibrant atmosphere.
During August, the town plays host to the world-famous Cowes Week, the largest sailing regatta of its kind. With live entertainment, daily events, stalls and bars, this is another unique Island event that shouldn’t be missed.
On the other side of the river is East Cowes, better known for its royal and industrial connections. Here you will find the historic site of Osborne House, the Island residence of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. A favourite family holiday home, The Queen said of Osborne House that “it is impossible to imagine a prettier spot.” Today, the house is under the care of English Heritage and offers plenty to see and do for all the family. The house tour includes state and private rooms and provides a rare glimpse of royal family life and features many artefacts from the Royal Collection. Other attractions include the magnificent, award-winning gardens and the chance to explore the private royal beach where you can take a look inside The Queen’s bathing machine. The garden and grounds also include children’s playgrounds, trails and horse-drawn carriage rides.
East Cowes is also home to one of the world’s leading aircraft and engine manufacturers, GKN, who produce over 90% of the UK’s aerospace industry.
Attractions & Activities
Arctic Road, Cowes, Isle of Wight,
PO31 7PQ. Tel: 01983 294941
A water sports charity offering both day and full-time residential courses in windsurfing, dinghy sailing, yachting and power boating. It also offers specialist courses and qualifications. Above all, it’s a chance to sharpen existing skills or try something new.
York Ave, East Cowes, Isle of Wight
PO32 6JX. Tel: 0370 333 1181
See the opulent lifestyle of our greatest monarch and the Empress of India. Under the care and protection of English Heritage, a house tour is a must. Events are hosted in the grounds throughout the year, so it’s worth checking first if you’re planning to visit.
Osborne Golf Course,
Osborne House Estate, East Cowes, Isle of Wight,
PO32 6JX. Tel: 01983 295421
This nine-hole, par 70 course is the longest on the island and in a stunning location on the Osborne House Estate with sea views. The large, welcoming clubhouse is perfect for celebrating or reminiscing and the course extends down to a private beach. If you’re lucky, there may be the occasional sighting of the Island’s resident red squirrels.
Pubs & Restaurants
The Coast: Watch your pizza being prepared and twirled in an open kitchen.
The Little Gloster Restaurant & Bar: Enjoy panoramic sea views and quality seasonal food.
Mojac’s Restaurant & Bar: Simple but delicious food as well as gin and cocktails.
The Yachtsman: Located on the Cowes Parade with Solent views and excellent pub grub.
The Lifeboat Bar & Restaurant: Contemporary cuisine that can be enjoyed along the waterfront.