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Cowes is a town on the Isle of Wight in southern England. It is a lovely beach and a wonderful place to visit if you are on holiday to the Isle of Wight.


Cowes, also known as West Cowes, is on the western bank of the River Medina, with East Cowes on the other side of the river.

Get in

  • Red Funnel Red Jet passenger catamaran – Southampton Town Quay to West Cowes; 25 min; adult £14.40,
  • Red Funnel car and passenger ferry – Southampton Town Quay to East Cowes; 55 min

Get around

A chain ferry, the Cowes Floating Bridge, runs across the river between the two towns; cars £2, foot passengers free. To drive by road requires a ten mile trip through Newport.

Southern Vectis provides bus services.


  • 1 Classic Boat Museum, Cowes Waterfront, Venture Quays, Castle St, PO32 6EZ.  
  • 2 Cowes Maritime Museum, Beckford Rd (inside Cowes Library). M Tu F Sa. Free.  
  • 3 Wight Military And Heritage Museum, Northwood Camp, 490 Newport Rd, PO31 8QU, ☏ +44 1983 632039. M-Sa: 10AM-3PM, Su: Closed. Adult £5 (display days Tu Th £7.50). 
  • 4 Osborne House, York Ave, East Cowes, PO32 6JX, ☏ +44 1983 200022. Although officially a summer home for Queen Victoria, she used it as her main residence for some time after the death of Prince Albert, her husband. Now owned and operated by English Heritage, most of the well-preserved house and grounds are open to visitors year-round. Visitors planning to visit both Osborne House and Carisbrooke Castle should consider becoming members of English Heritage; it can work out cheaper than buying individual tickets for family groups and allows free access to all other English Heritage properities for the rest of the year. adults £13.40, children £8.00, concessions £12.10.  


  • 1 Alum Bay. Famous for the many colours of sand which appear naturally on the beach. A traditional souvenir of the Isle of Wight is a picture or glass paperweight filled with the different colours - there are many stalls where you can get the wherewithal to make your own if you are so inclined. The bay is close to The Needles (see below) and accessible by stairs or by a ski resort-style chairlift. 
  • Cowes Week. One week in early August. The biggest yacht racing regatta in the world, started in 1823, with about 1000 yachts competing. There is a firework display on the Friday evening. (updated Jan 2018)





  • 1 Fountain Hotel (Old English Inns), High St, PO31 7AW, ☏ +44 1983 292397. 
  • 2 The Little Gloster, 31 Marsh Rd, Gurnard PO31 8JQ, ☏ +44 1983 298776. Superb restaurant with 3 rooms in Scandi style. Open mid-Feb to Oct and mid-Nov to mid-Dec. B&B double £130. (updated Jun 2020)
  • 3 North House, 30 Sun Hill, Cowes PO31 7HY, ☏ +44 1983 209453. Excellent well-run small hotel, comfy, stylish and great cooking. B&B double £150. (updated Jun 2020)


Go next

  • Newport
  • Bembridge
  • Freshwater
  • Ryde
  • Sandown and Shanklin
  • Ventnor
  • Wootton Bridge
  • Yarmouth

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