The 13 Best Beaches on the Isle of Wight
Found just off the shore of the south coast of England, the Isle of Wight is a popular travel destination that is quintessentially British, with stunning rural countryside, plenty of historical heritage sites and lots of beaches and seaside towns that are the perfect setting for a summer holiday.
Beaches on the Isle of White range from secluded, pebbly stretches of coastline to private strips of sand, rock pooling havens and classic places to take your bucket and spade. Whatever kind of seaside experiences you’re looking for on this picturesque British island, this list of the 13 best Isle of Wight beaches has got something for everyone.
Best Sandy Beaches on the Isle of Wight
For the ultimate sandy beach experience on the Isle of Wight, Ryde Beach should be at the top of your list. Located along the front of the cheerful seaside town of Ryde, this beach stretches out for miles and is so large that a pier had to be built so that passengers arriving by boat at low tide could make it to the town without having to walk across the sand.
Ryde Beach is a wonderful place for dog walks, sandcastles, beach games and even horse riding, with plenty of space for everyone on even the busiest days at the coast. The nearby attractions of the town make it ideal for families with smaller children or for visitors arriving for the day who want to enjoy all the best parts of a trip to the seaside.
This pretty sandy beach is one of the most secluded and beautiful on the Isle of Wight and is a perfect place to come for picturesque views and a peaceful atmosphere. Osbourne Beach once belonged to Queen Victoria and her family, who used to spend their summer holidays enjoying the whole beach to themselves and whose bathing machine you can still find beside the shore.
Osbourne Beach is part of the English Heritage Site Osbourne House, so you do have to pay an entry fee to explore the whole area. It’s definitely worth it for the chance to enjoy the private beach, along with the chance to learn about the historic holiday home of the Royals and enjoy other attractions like an ice cream parlour and family shows in the summer.
Many people claim that Yaverland Beach is one of the best beaches on the Isle of Wight because of its golden sand, clean and shallow water, and the fact that it is a dog-friendly spot on the island all year round. Found between Sandown and the Culver Down cliffs, there is a large nearby car park that has a beach cafe and small shop, along with a nearby sailing club that is busy all year round.
Yaverland Beach is a very popular sport with watersports enthusiasts, so as well as boats from the nearby sailing club you can also expect to see a lot of surfers, jet skiers and windsurfers out on the water. It’s also a brilliant beach to go fossil hunting, as the nearby cliffs have preserved many ancient species and make this a very good place to learn more about the historic dinosaur inhabitants of the island.
Best Dog-Friendly Beaches on the Isle of Wight
Seagrove Beach is found on the northeast coast of the Isle of Wight, sandwiched between Seaview beach and Priory Bay. It’s known as being one of the best beaches on the island for families because of its Blue Flag recommended clear waters and sheltered position, but also the fact that dogs are allowed on the beach throughout the year so can be brought along with the rest of the family.
The stretch of beach right next to the shore is quite pebbly, but once the tide goes out Seagrove Beach is soft and sandy, gently sloping down to shallow water that gradually gets deeper. Don’t bring your dog at high tide however, as the beach almost entirely disappears and there’s isn’t much space for exploring.
At the western tip of the Isle of Wight is Freshwater Bay; a secluded, pebbly beach that is a great spot for walkers and watersports enthusiasts. Bringing your dogs to this beach during the high season for tourism on the island is restricted, but the rest of the year it’s a brilliant place to come for long walks with your furry friends.
Freshwater Bay is also known as one of the most beautiful Isle of Wight beaches because of the stunning chalk cliffs that surround the bay and rock formations that make it an incredibly interesting piece of coastline. When the tide is out, sand is revealed right next to the water, but the beach tends to be more popular with surfers and sailing boats as opposed to families hoping to spend a day beside the sea.
Best Isle of Wight Beaches with Rock Pools
St Helens Beach
St Helen’s Beach, or St Helen’s Duver as it is often known, is one of the best beaches on the Isle of Wight for rock pooling. Backed by sand dunes and featuring stretches of rocky shingle, when the tide goes out there are hundreds of rockpools left on the beach which are absolutely teeming with life.
If you’ve got younger children then rock pooling at St Helen’s is a wonderful way to spend a day on the Isle of Wight when the weather is not so good, with low tide being the best time to visit this beach. As well as the incredible crevices that have been carved out of the limestone rock along the beach, there is also a local cafe and a couple of historic ruins nearby that make it a great spot for an afternoon trip.
Compton Bay is found on the south-west of the island, and is a brilliant sandy beach that is also a very popular spot with fossil hunters. There are three different National Trust car parks up on the cliffs that you can reach the beach from, and miles of unspoiled sand which is perfect for bracing walks.
The rockpools at Compton Bay are one of the main attractions for the area, as there aren’t many other beachside facilities and you’ll mainly find over rock poolers or surfers along the sand. However, this means that you’ll likely have your pick of the rock pools if you visit this beach and can spend hours exploring the coastline and spotting creatures alongside the fossils that have been left by their ancestors.
Known for its impressive sailing club as well as the rock pooling opportunities, Bembridge Beach is a pebbly area on the east coast of the Isle of Wight that reveals a lovely stretch of sandy beach when the tide is out. The views from the beach make it a really great place for walks across the stones and collecting shells, and there are a few good beachside facilities as well as the nearby village of Bembridge.
When the tide goes out at Bembridge Beach, a brilliant collection of rock pools are revealed along the strip of sand beside the water. Make sure you check the tide tables before you visit, and enjoy the quiet atmosphere and wonderful selection of aquatic life that can be found in the different pools.
Best Accessible Beaches on the Isle of Wight
The beach at Ventnor is backed by the picturesque seaside town that will make you feel as though you’ve stepped back into Victorian England for your holidays. The whole area is very done up for tourism which means that it’s one of the most accessible beaches and towns on the Isle of Wight, with both shingle and sandy beaches that will be suitable for some mobility vehicles.
There are vintage-style beach huts at Ventnor Beach that make a great base for days spent on the beach, along with lots of facilities right on the front which can be very easily reached from the sand. Disabled parking spaces are available right on the promenade of the town, and the town’s pier is also relatively accessible unless the weather is particularly bad.
Shanklin is one of the most well-established beaches on the island and has been laying claim to the title of ‘best Isle of Wight beach’ for hundreds of years. With over a mile of golden sand, there is a long stretch of paved promenade that is ideal for mobility vehicles and those who find walking easiest on smooth and flat ground.
The town of Shanklin is quite a typical British seaside resort, with attractions like crazy golf, beach huts and beach cafes along the Esplanade. There’s a lift down to the beach from the top of the cliffs behind the town, and plenty of parking along the front that includes disabled spaces.
Sandown Beach is another classic British seaside town that is one of the most popular places to stay on the Isle of Wight, as well as being one of the island’s most accessible beaches. The front has a wide range of amusements and attractions that are all easy to get to, as well as a pier that completes the ‘bucket and spade’ atmosphere of the town.
The beach itself at Sandown is golden and sandy and the water has a Blue Flag rating for cleanliness and safety that makes it a very popular place for families with younger children. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes on the front serving everything from ice cream to fish and chips, and classic features such as crazy golf courses and beach huts.
Best Hidden Beaches on the Isle of Wight
A short walk away from the town of Cowes is Gurnard Beach; a quaint, pebbled bay that is perfect for holidaymakers who aren’t massive fans of large and busy beaches. Facilities include a small stretch of beach huts and a children’s play area, and there is also a cafe and public toilets nearby.
Gurnard Beach is the perfect place to come and watch the sunset on the Isle of White and enjoy a very naturally peaceful part of the island that is favoured by couples and families. It’s also a great place to watch the range of boats that are coming to dock in Southampton Water, with large ships causing waves that lap right up on the beach.
If the busy beach at Ventnor is too crowded for your liking, Steephill Cove is a small bay only a short walk away that is a wonderful hidden spot on the Isle of Wight. The beach is only accessible on foot, but once you arrive you’ll be greeted by a curved stretch of sand, beach huts, fishermen’s cottages and totally unspoiled scenery.
This is a beach to visit at low tide, as when the water is high the sand completely disappears and there isn’t much to do around the bay. It’s a lovely place to bring children who want the freedom to explore a small, safe area, and also a great spot to visit as the sun is setting for a romantic stroll along the beach and a portion of chips on one of the rocks.
How many beaches on the Isle of Wight?
There are numerous beaches of different sizes on the Isle of White, but fourteen of these are the most established on the island and have won awards for their cleanliness and the quality of the water. Eleven of these fourteen main beaches have received an ‘excellent’ rating from the Environmental Agency, the majority of which are featured in this guide.
Are there sandy beaches on the Isle of Wight?
Whilst the Isle of Wight is well known for the shingle beaches that are found along the coast, there are also a good number of soft, sandy beaches found around the island. Ryde Beach is the most popular sandy beach because of its huge size, but Yaverland Beach, Shanklin Beach and Sandown Beach are all also popular spots that have long, sand-covered beaches as well.