On an island that has dozens of places where you can enjoy the coastline, it’s really hard to say which are the best beaches. However the traditional resorts of Ryde, Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor are all there for one very good reason – a great beach. You might be mad about Colwell Bay or a big fan of Steephill Cove, but you can’t go far wrong with these fine beaches:
You can step right off the hovercraft or Ryde Pier after a short trip from Portsmouth and walk straight on to Ryde beach, which at low tide has a vast expanse of light-coloured golden sand.
In fact there are six miles of beautiful beach that runs from the pier right around to the coastal village of Seaview to the east.
A shorter walk takes you to Puckpool and passes cafés, gardens, children’s’ play areas, beach huts and Appley Tower. There’s even a boating lake if it takes your fancy.
The beaches are all sand and extend far out to sea when the tide is right out, so just make sure that you take care as the tide can come in surprisingly quickly. Depending on sea conditions you might well be joined by paddle boarders or kitesurfers and its not unusual to see horse racing along the beach as part of their fails exercise. Lifeguards are based on Ryde beach throughout the summer months and safety equipment such as life jackets are located along the Esplanade.
Sandown Bay is situated on the Island’s south east coast and is home to the sister resorts of Sandown and Shanklin. It really is a great place for families as it benefits from a gently shelving sandy beach within a sheltered bay that has the white cliffs of Culver to the north and the red cliffs of Luccombe to the south.
Sandown’s busy Esplanade is packed full of cafés, restaurants, bars, hotels and gift shops and there are good toilet facilities available nearby. Just hire yourself some deckchairs and a windbreak from the friendly longshoreman and you are set for the day.
Yaverland is part of the resort and is home to the Isle of Wight Zoo and Dinosaur Isle so plenty to do off the beach as well. There is Brown’s Golf Course, a skate park, Sandown Lawn Bowls Club, Crazy Golf and an excellent children’s play area to enjoy. Then of course there is the pier. Sandown Pier is open all year round with amusements, a café, pub and fishing facilities.
During the summer, Sandown beach is machine cleaned and litter-picked on a daily basis. Clad in their distinctive red and yellow uniforms, RNLI lifeguards will be keeping the public safe between 10:00 and 18:00 until Sunday 4th September.
Shanklin beach forms the southern part of Sandown Bay. The water is clear and the beaches gently sloping. Like Sandown, there are facilities for refreshments, a pitch and putt and amusement arcade. Cafés, restaurants and pubs span the Esplanade and the southeast side of the Island is recorded to receive the highest levels of sunshine throughout the year.
The beach is a popular site for water sports of all kinds and water safety zoning is in place to ensure bathers and recreational users are kept separate where necessary.
Ventnor beach is mixture of sand and shingle and a great sun trap, in fact, the town is famous for having its own microclimate and is home to the Botanic Gardens. There’s a superb coastal walk that runs from Bonchurch all the way to Steephill Cove and the main esplanade is lined with pubs, bars and cafes. including the very well known Spyglass inn. There’s a definite Mediterranean feel to the town which is played out on terraces that rise up against the steep downs which provide a backdrop to the town.
Ventnor is also a great place to enjoy fresh seafood that you can watch being brought ashore at Ventnor Haven fishery.