The Isle of Wight

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About The Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is no longer overlooked for being the preserve of the family bucket and spade holiday. Sure, the sailors always knew about this fantastic island with its incredible varied coastline, and the family campers with their buckets and spades certainly knew about its reliable weather, and local foodies knew about it too, but for ages it was overlooked. But then the music festival came to the island, and suddenly it started to get hip. Campsites got yurts and vintage camper vans, the foodie scene really hotted up, and seaside kitsch got cool. So now the best places to stay on the island are as eclectic a bunch as the visitors, from traditional old-fashioned B&Bs to chic guesthouses and elegant coastal hotels.

Where to Stay? Which part of the island?

  • Cowes is a picturesque seaside town on the northernmost tip of the Isle of Wight. Well loved by sailors, who appreciate the excitement of the Solent at the annual Cowes Week regatta, and the town’s shipbuilding heritage, Cowes is also known for having more bars and restaurants per square mile than any other town in the UK. Cowes is connected to Southampton by ferry.
  • Ryde is connected to Portsmouth via a foot-passenger ferry or catamaran, and by hovercraft to Southsea! It’s one of a string of classic British seaside holiday towns, its neighbours being Seaview, St Helens, Sandown and Shanklin. Ryde’s pier is impressively long and listed because of its age. Behind the wide beach is the esplanade, lined with Victorian and Regency buildings. Ryde also has a pool, bowls club, bowing alley, boating lake, several playgrounds and amusement arcades and a slew of cafes, bars and restaurants, so it’s popular with day-trippers from the mainland. And with families only staying for a short break.
  • Sandown also has a long, wide, sandy beach, with impressive sandstone and chalk cliffs at the northern end, which are part of the Isle of Wight Biosphere Reserve. Culver Down, a chalk down, is just a short walk from town, and this whole region is a wonderful place for spotting sea birds and birds of prey. This is a wonderfully safe stretch of coastline too, so a great choice for families, especially seeing as it’s also home to the Isle of Wight Zoo.
  • Shanklin is on the other end of Sandown Bay, another classic British seaside resort, complete with a sandy, family-friendly beach, an arcade, mini golf, and an impressive section of the Operation Pluto pipe which supplied fuel to the D-Day beaches.
  • if you’re looking for a coastal escape try Seaview, a charmingly small Edwardian resort with a rocky seafront, but with close access to a white, sandy beach — but only at low tide.
  • The other ferry connection to the Isle of Wight is between Yarmouth and Lymington, on the edge of the New Forest. Yarmouth is small, but fun, with a bijou town centre which includes a choice of some excellent restaurants and charming pubs, the best with sea views. Salties is a favourite without sea views, but it does have an excellent seafood restaurant, and it’s well loved by Princes William and Harry.
  • Newport is the county town (read capital), and the largest shopping centre, with a pedestrianised central square and some charming independent boutiques and art galleries as well as the larger chains you’d expect. It’s 7kms from the coast, so probably not the top choice for many visitors.
  • Ventnor is on the island’s southern side, overlooking the Channel, and looking a bit like the south of France, but with Victorian architecture. There are palm trees lining the streets that edge closer to the chalky hill overlooking the water, and lush, colourful gardens. The beach is long, wide and shingle-y and the seafood is incredible.

The best places to stay in the Isle of Wight are incredibly busy during the peak summer months, and almost impossible to book during the festival. So if you're planning a visit during July or August, do yourself a favour and plan well ahead.

The Best Places to Stay on the Isle of Wight

For a seaview

  • The Seaview Hotel in Seaview, does have excellent sea views, luckily! There are 28 rooms and suites, some of them perfect for families, decorated in either classic seaside chintz, or contemporary simplicity. There’s a busy terrace with two restaurants, which are popular with visitors and locals, probably because of the sea views. And the fact that you’re so close to the water’s edge.
  • The Hambrough is an enchanting villa set on top of a cliff in Ventnor, overlooking the Channel. There are just seven stylish rooms, each of them with a pampering bathroom and a balcony for enjoying the view. There's also a highly regarded restaurant.
  • Also heading up the hill behind Ventnor is Hillside, a thatched Georgian villa chock-a-block with designer Danish furniture and abstract art. In contrast to its traditional exterior it oozes cool Scandinavian sophistication. There are 12 rooms and suites, the best with panoramic views of Ventnor and the ocean beyond, plus wooded gardens around the house, and an apartment in the converted stables that’s perfect for families.

For an escape

  • The Wight Mouse Inn is a delightfully rural inn in a sleepy village on the Isle of Wight’s quiet, southern coastline, near Blackgang and Chale. Outside the windows are great expanses of empty (but beautiful) landscape, while inside there’s a hint of country chintz to the 11 simple, cosy rooms with their pale colours and pine furnishings. The pub is very good too.
  • The Fishbourne is an easy escape to get to, close to the Wightlink ferry port at Fishbourne, but it’s surrounded by countryside and the five light, airy rooms have tranquil water views. The rooms are above a pub, which has plenty of atmosphere, and local regulars, and there’s an innovative British restaurant which specialises in seafood.

For Sailors

  • The Union Inn in Cowes is a charming inn just steps from the Solent, with six smart rooms and an atmospheric pub and restaurant, which are popular with the locals as well as visitors. Sailors will appreciate the location, bang in between the Sailing Club and the Yacht Squadron, and the great sailing photos on the walls of the pub.

For romance

  • North House, a 19th century Grade II listed property, is an elegant choice in Cowes, with sea views, and a sublime seafood menu. There’s a boutique feel, with period features, but antique-style contemporary furnishings. And there’s a pool.
  • For something grander try the Albert Cottage Hotel, an impressive hotel on the outskirts of East Cowes. Each of the ten rooms have been individually decorated with aplomb, and feature antiques, original artworks and huge windows overlooking the gardens. And there’s a superb restaurant.

For Families

  • The George Hotel in Yarmouth is a family friendly Georgian property with a huge sun terrace overlooking the Solent, and superb period features inside, including a17th century panelled hall and bedrooms with crooked wooden floors. It’s between the pier and Yarmouth Castle, and less than a minute from Fort Victoria, so the location is great. There are 17 rooms and suites, and the larger ones have antique panelling and private decks.
  • The Royal Hotel ticks lots of boxes, with its beautiful exterior, glorious sea views, buzzy bar and smart restaurant, but it’s the scale of the hotel which has picked the category for us. With its 52 rooms and suites, there’s lots of choice when it comes to room configuration, and the family suites are very spacious. Plus, you’re minutes from the beach.

The Isle of Wight’s Best B&Bs

  • Gotten Manor — The Old House is a wonderful place to escape from modern life. This historic B&B conversion is quaint with its original stone walls and low doorways, and is decorated simply, with antiques and Persian rugs. In addition to the two B&B rooms the are three converted, self-catering barns you can book. There’s no restaurant and the closest pub and shop is a three mile walk. But it’s so charming it’s well worth the extra effort.
  • The Little Gloster is a stylish B&B close to Cowes that is becoming increasingly popular with the the boating set. It serves up delicious yet unpretentious food in the eponymous restaurant and offers three cool bedrooms — book the balcony suite for a private terrace overlooking the Solent.

Prefer an apartment or cottage?

  • If you’d prefer to stay in an apartment or private cottage we recommend you visit our online partner, booking.com.

Travel information

  • Two ferry routes serve the Isle of Wight; one runs from Portsmouth to Fishbourne and the other Lymington to Yarmouth. Portsmouth has an international airport and both Lymington and Portsmouth have good train connections across the UK.
  • If you’re thinking about hiring a car we recommend checking what our online partners, Rentalcars have to offer.
  • The UK is known for its unpredictable weather, but, surprisingly considering it’s a small island in the middle of water, the Isle of Wight has a microclimate that’s a bit more reliable than many places in the UK. Spring days often start with rough seas and fog which burns through to sunshine, summer is dry and sunny, autumn is mild and sunny still, but with less daylight hours of sunshine, and winter is often crisp and still sunny.

Still not sure which is the best place to stay on the Isle of Wight?

Weather

Monthly Weather in The Isle of Wight

Best Hotels in The Isle of Wight

  • Gotten Manor - The Old House The Isle of Wight 2 rooms from CA$135

    Romantic Break  -  Perfect for an intimate, romantic break in the total peace and quiet of the secluded countryside. Beautiful walks and gardens.
    Full of character  -  Beautiful yet simple decor. Saxon house featuring large rooms, low doorways, Persian rugs and white-washed walls.
    Country Escape  -  Enclosed by natural surroundings and near to the coast and beautiful St Catherine's chalk down.
    Hideaway  -  Totally off the beaten-track, this charming B&B offers total seclusion.

    Entirely charming, quaint Saxon B&B offers a stay of total seclusion completely off the 'beaten-track'. Rooms boast a delicate, rustic French-style decor, featuring plush beds. Surrounding gardens and countryside make this a gentle and beautiful stay. Plus 3 self-catering barns. See More

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  • The Union Inn Cowes (Isle of Wight) 6 rooms from CA$160

    Local exploring  -  Well positioned near the coast in West Cowes to access all things sailing and the high street.
    Sailing  -  Cowes is best known for its sailing and the property lies bang inbetween the Sailing Club and Yacht Squadron.
    Great walks  -  Head out of the town and take long walks along the coast.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.

    A charming inn set in the heart of the town and just steps from the sea. Rooms are smart with boldly patterned wallpaper, crisp white linen and simply designed furniture. Downstairs the pub and restaurant are atmospheric and as popular with locals as they are with tourists. See More

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  • North House The Isle of Wight 14 rooms from CA$160

    Romantic Break  -  Lovely accommodation, beautiful sea views and splendid cuisine-the ideal spot for a romantic getaway
    Local exploring  -  North House is the perfect base from which to explore Cowes
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Sights nearby  -  Go visit the historic Osborne House
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith

    Set in a 19th-century Grade II listed property, the quaint North House is situated on the coast of Cowes. Featuring many original features such as period fireplaces, the hotel also offers chic boutique accommodation with elegant furnishings. Sublime seafood served up. A lovely and intimate spot. See More

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  • The Wight Mouse Inn Chale, The Isle of Wight 10 rooms from CA$167

    Sights nearby  -  In Chale itself there is the 14th century St Andrews Church and the 100 year old Chale Green Stores.
    Great walks  -  Find miles of walking trails to be explored.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel

    A delightful rural inn set in a sleepy coastal village in the southern part of the island. Traditionally dressed rooms are both elegant and cosy with soft hues, sink into beds and plenty of light. Excellent pub food is served and there is endless beautiful countryside to be explored. See More

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  • Northbank Hotel Seaview, The Isle of Wight 18 rooms from CA$169

    Families  -  A memorable experince for all the family, with eccentric hosts, communal bathrooms and plenty of beachlife.
    Great walks  -  With over thirty miles of Heritage coastline, there are many stunning walks to be had.
    Sailing  -  A prime sailing spot and a favourite past time for both locals and tourists.
    Sights nearby  -  Carisbrooke Castle - once a prison for Charles I.

    An eccentric family run hotel in a fabulous setting - the 1930s with a ‘60s twist. Forget en suite bathrooms, but for families wanting a very relaxed seaside atmosphere at reasonable rates, with lots of friends to make, it's an experience. The antithesis of boutique. See More

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  • The Fishbourne Ryde (Fishbourne) 5 rooms from CA$180

    Country Escape  -  A seaside property ideal for exploring the island's coast and countryside from.
    Great walks  -  Take long scenic walks along the coastal path.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Full of character

    An atmospheric pub topped with a handful of light and airy rooms located in a peaceful spot right next to the Wightlink ferry port. The restaurant serves innovative British fare with an emphasis on local produce and seafood. A tranquil spot from which to explore the island. See More

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  • Albert Cottage Hotel East Cowes, The Isle of Wight 10 rooms from CA$202

    Local exploring  -  A great base for exploring the many attractions of the Isle of Wight.
    Sailing  -  Cowes Week is a famous annual regatta on the island. Sailing is readily available.
    Great walks  -  Go walking along the stunning Compton Chine.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit Carisbrooke and Calshot Castles.

    Albert Cottage Hotel is an excellent establishment on the outskirts of East Cowes. Each room has been individually decorated with aplomb and features ornate beds and antique furniture. The restaurant is superb. A great launchpad from which to explore the Isle of Wight. See More

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  • The Boathouse Seaview 11 rooms from CA$218

    Local exploring  -  A great base from which to explore the Isle of Wight.
    Birdwatching  -  The Isle of Wight coastline is a haven for birdwatchers.
    Fishing  -  Go on sea fishing trips from Seaview.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the nearby Spitbank Fort.

    Just a short way from the centre of Seaview on the Isle of Wight and directly by Apply Beach, The Boathouse is a charming seaside hotel. The bedrooms are comfortable and airy, decorated with a pale palette. The pub is popular and the restaurant serves excellent seafood. A delightful place. See More

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  • The Little Gloster Gurnard, The Isle of Wight 3 rooms from CA$219

    Restaurant  -  Recommended.
    Views  -  Lovely Solent views.
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.

    Top quality food with Solent seaviews to match - a delightful and stylish b+b close to Cowes and popular with sailors. Just three bright, seaside chic, minimalist bedrooms, one with a private terrace. A lawn overlooks the sea. Delightful. See More

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  • The George Hotel Yarmouth, The Isle of Wight 17 rooms from CA$236

    Romantic Break  -  The perfect getaway for two, simple yet undeinably elegant rooms, deep soaking tubs, views of the bay and top notch dining.
    Local exploring  -  Situated between the pier and Yarmouth Castle, there is plenty to keep you entertained.
    Sights nearby  -  Less than a mile away is Fort Victoria now housing an aquarium, planetarium and underwater archaeology centre.
    Great walks  -  Work up and appetite for dinner along the miles of coastal paths and trails.
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays

    Handsome, relaxed Georgian hotel in charming Yarmouth with great Solent views. Popular food, lovely bedrooms, some with antique panelling and private decks. Family friendly, a great base for sailing or exploring the Island. See More

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  • The Seaview Seaview, The Isle of Wight 28 rooms from CA$244

    Families  -  A family friendly hotel on an island that provides plently of outdoor activities for children, plus babysitting services.
    Beach Life  -  Situated right on the coast. Ideal for all manner of sea bourne activities or simply coastal walking.
    Sights nearby  -  Puckpool Mortar Battery is nearby and makes for an interesting historical visit.
    Great walks  -  Bring one of the hotels packed lunches and walk the coastal path to Ryde beach.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays

    Friendly, stylish hub in the centre of charming Seaview, popular with locals. Boasting a busy terrace, two restaurants and a mix contemporary or chintzy bedrooms in various sizes, some with views. Great base for sailing or local exploring, 50 yards from the sea. See More

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  • The Hambrough Ventnor, The Isle of Wight 7 rooms from CA$253

    Foodies  -  Chef Robert Thompson has transformed the restaurant into a veritable Mecca for foodies- emphasis is on local, fresh ingrediants.
    Romantic Break  -  Stylish rooms, with private balconies overlooking the picturesque bay, incredible food and romantic walks along the coast.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the nearby is historical and beautiful village of Bonchurch, once the home of Charles Dickens.
    Great walks  -  Make the most of the miles of sandy beaches and coastal paths.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide

    An enchanting clifftop villa with spectacular seaviews, in charming Ventnor. Lovely light and modern bedrooms with pampering bathrooms. Nearly all bedrooms have views, some with balconies.The fine dining restaurant uses local produce and experimental cooking. A chic stay. See More

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  • Hillside The Isle of Wight 12 rooms from CA$263

    Views  -  Overlooking Ventnor with panoramic seaviews.
    Great walks  -  At the foot of St Boniface Down
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide

    Stylish guesthouse in a charming thatched Georgian villa, overlooking Ventnor and the sea. Rooms are all white, with designer furniture and abstract art abound. Groups and families can also stay in the stables apartment adjacent to the house. A tranquil place to stay, with wooded gardens. See More

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  • The Royal Hotel Isle of Wight, The Isle of Wight 52 rooms from CA$295

    Total relaxation  -  An elegant coastal property, ideal for quiet weekend breaks.
    Great walks  -  Take long walks along the coast and through the picturesque countryside surrounding Ventnor.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the grand baroque-style stately home, Appuldurcombe House.
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool

    An elegant hill top property boasting glorious sea views. Bright rooms mix contemporary and traditional styles with steel grey and white hues, heavily draped sash windows and luxurious bathrooms. A smart restaurant offers well executed British classics and there's a buzzy bar too. See More

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