10 of the Best Isle of Wight Beaches

Shanklin Bay on the Isle of Wight
Shanklin Bay – one of the Isle of Wight’s best beaches

With its 57 miles of coastline, the Isle of Wight is home to some of Britain’s most varied beaches. From pockets of sand beneath towering cliffs and remote bays where you can cast away on watersports adventures to shingle shores in traditional seaside towns, there is something for everyone in this laid-back holiday destination.

Wherever you are on this beautiful island, you’re never more than a few miles away from one of these fantastic beaches on the Isle of Wight

1. Yaverland Beach, Sandown, Isle of Wight

Yaverland

Arrive at low tide to make sandy footprints on one of the finest beaches on the Isle of Wight. Yaverland Beach is an enormous stretch of sand, where you can dip your toes in the sea and feast your eyes on the white chalk cliffs of Culver Down, jutting out into the English Channel. Feel the wind in your sails when you try sailing, kitesurfing or windsurfing, or pick your way along the shoreline in search of fossils. You can join a guided fossil-hunting walk and delve into the history of these prehistoric beasts at the dinosaur museum, Dino Isle, not far from the beach. 

2. Ventnor Beach, Isle of Wight

Ventnor beach and seafront on the Isle of Wight

There’s nowhere better to start your sandy-toed adventures on the Isle of Wight than at Ventnor Beach, a buzzy Victorian seaside resort carved into the steep cliffs of St Boniface Down – the highest point on the island. Zig-zag your way down to the shore past terraces thriving with sub-tropical plants (a beacon of the balmy micro-climate and south-facing aspect), to be greeted by traditional British beach life. The beach huts that once had wheels to transport the gentry to the sea are now fixed at the top of the red single and golden sands, beneath the traditional esplanade lined with amusements, cafés and shops selling beach toys and windbreaks. 

3. Colwell Bay, Isle of Wight

Awaiting on the western shores of the Isle of Wight, Colwell Bay boasts a vast stretch of sparkling sands lapped by glassy waters, beckoning you in for a swim, snorkel, or explore on a canoe. If you prefer to take it all in from the shore, beach huts and deckchairs are available for hire. Or, you can wander along the promenade all the way to Totland Bay, soaking up panoramic views of the mainland. 

4. Cowes Beach, Isle of Wight

If you’re into sailing and boats, head to Cowes Beach, a yachtie haven on the north coast of the Isle of Wight. Here you can hop aboard or watch the many colourful sailing events, including the world’s largest sailing regatta, Cowes Week. While the pebble shore might put you off bathing on your beach towel, it’s an incredible spot to search for shells and sea glass, and you can follow the promenade all the way along the seafront, past Egypt Point, to Gurnard Beach and beyond, pausing at plenty of picnic spots on route.

5. Compton Bay, Freshwater, Isle of Wight

Did you know you can go surfing on the Isle of Wight? When the swells hit, it’s often along this two-mile stretch of sand between Freshwater Bay and Brook where you’ll see surfers making the most of the waves. Access down to the sandstone-backed bay is via steep steps from the National Trust car park, where the only facilities are toilets and a refreshment van in summer, which keeps the crowds at bay. So pack a picnic and bask in the wild beauty until the ocean ebbs, then search for dinosaur footprints in the rocks at low tide. 

6. Steephill Cove, Isle of Wight 

Get away from it all at this pristine little cove that’s only accessible on foot, just 20 minutes’ walk from Ventor. Crystal clear waters lure you in for a swim, rock pools hide the treasures of the ocean, and sugary sands invite you to relax on a deckchair. Backed by beach huts, fishermen’s cottages and a seafood restaurant, Steephill Cove takes you back in time to simple days at the seaside.

7. Shanklin Beach, Isle of Wight

Walk down the traffic-free Chine (or slipway) from Shanklin village, one of the Isle of Wight’s most popular seaside resorts. Situated in the southwest corner of the island, at the southern tip of Sandown Bay, Shanklin’s seawall and paved promenade were once complete with a pier that was destroyed in a storm in 1987. However, the beach still flaunts the best of British beach life, with everything from cafés and beach huts to amusement arcades. In the nook of Dunnose Point, it’s protected from the prevailing winds, making it a great spot for a sea swim, too. 

8. Sandown Bay, Isle of Wight

Think buckets and spades, deckchairs and windbreaks, crazy golf and chintzy souvenirs. With its long, gently sloping sandy beach backed by an esplanade lined with cafés and kiosks serving chips and ice cream, Sandown Bay is the epitome of the British seaside. Once the winner of the BBC Countryfile Beach of the Year award, its vibrant seafront offers everything you could need for a family day at the beach, including Blue Flag water quality, all-terrain wheelchairs and kiss-me-quick photo boards where you can capture those holiday memories. 

9. Bembridge Beach, Isle of Wight

Marked by the iconic old lifeboat station perched on the end of a 200m pier, Bembridge is a photogenic and historic spot. On the edge of one of Britain’s busiest shipping lanes, the pier was originally built in 1922 so that a lifeboat could be launched beyond the ridge of rocks offshore. Take a dip in the safe swimming area, watch the ferries and boats crisscrossing from the south coast of Britain, and don’t forget buckets and nets to go shrimping and rockpooling when the rocky ledges are exposed at low tide.

10. Thorness Bay, Isle of Wight

Are you looking for a beach on the Isle of Wight that’s a little more on the wild side? Thorness Bay is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a wonderful spot to seek some solitude and watch the boats pass in the Solent. While access is via a holiday park, trappings are left far behind once you reach the shoreline stretching from Salt Mead Ledge in the west to Gurnard Head to the east. Pick your way along the pebbles, spot seabirds and marine life, and go cockling at low tide. 

Book a Beach Cottage on the Isle of Wight

Choose from over 500 seaside cottages on the Isle of Wight. Wherever you choose to stay, you’ll never be more than a pebble’s skim from some of the best beaches on the Isle of Wight. 

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