Our guide to holidays in Cowes
Cowes is a divided town. On the west is Cowes and on the other side of the Medina is East Cowes. At the head of the entrance to the harbour is Egypt Point, the perfect place to spend a warm afternoon watching the sailing boats and the activity on the Solent. If you plan your visit to coincide with the annual Round-the-Island-Race, Egypt Point is the best vantage point - so make sure you get there early.
There is a floating bridge which operates between the two Cowes, although named Floating Bridge no.6, there was high public opinion that it should be renamed Floaty McFloatface – whether that happens is still under debate but this community attitude points towards the delightful character of the people who live here on the magnificent Isle of Wight.
Places to visit in Cowes
A visit to Cowes library on Beckford Road will reveal a hidden gem in the form of Cowes Maritime Museum. The fact that it’s free to enter is a bonus too. You will find maritime history connecting the Isle of Wight to the Tsar of Russia, the hovercraft invention and development and around 400 years of history including the flying boats. The Maritime Museum houses models and photographs covering sailing and boat building and, if the rain should fall, is a perfect place to spend a few hours.
If you enjoy a picnic how about spending some time in Northwood Park? Like most of the Isle of Wight, Northwood Park is dog-friendly so there is no reason not to include your four-legged friend in your holiday. The trees give a nice shade in the heat of the day and the flower beds provide an attractive focal point as well as some sweet smelling plant life. You can feel as if you are a part of Downton while seated at one of the picnic tables provided, looking towards the stately house.
You can avail yourself of the range of amenities at Northwood Park including the pitch and putt course or the tennis courts. There is also great parking facilities and you could also enjoy a lovely cream tea with the added bonus of it being served on china plates! Northwood House offers a range of indoor functions during Cowes week as well.
For a quieter swim or relax on a sunny beach you won’t go far wrong by heading to East Cowes beach. Heading along the Esplanade, which is conveniently situated at the back of the beach, there is a children’s adventure playground, convenient parking – nearer the town end there is a charge but further up its free parking. There is a wooded area which is popular with walkers too.
The beach is mostly stone and shingle and does get totally covered when the tide is in. By going west on the other side of the harbour, there is the beach at Princes Parade. This beach is not really suitable for swimming but there is plenty to watch so make use of one of the benches which line the parade or take a picnic blanket and settle on the grassed area. The parking along Prices Parade is all chargeable.
For a jolly good lunch, how about a visit to Tiffins of Cowes? Located in the High Street and backing onto the marina, it’s a perfect place to eat for all the family. Enjoy a sandwich or soups, filled baguettes, hot main meals and cakes to die for. No need to book, just walk into Tiffins which is in a convenient location and has great food. Alternatively, another dog-friendly place to eat and enjoy is The Anchor. Great pub food – from a juicy steak to seafood. It’s a lively pub and the beers not bad either. If you are lucky enough to coincide your visit with one of their live band nights you won’t be disappointed.