Cowes is located on the northern coast of the Isle of Wight. Unusually the town is split in half by the River Medina whose mouth the town sits astride. This is a town with incredibly strong connections to the sea; it has a maritime heritage that it is very proud of. Even today the connection to the sea is strong and the marinas are always filled with vessels, never more so than during the annual regatta of Cowes Week which draws thousands of visitors to the island every summer. The way the town has been split has led to the different parts being names west and east Cowes. The western side has a link to the foot passenger ferry which transports people to and from the mainland, while the eastern side is home to one of the major car ferry landings which brings the majority of people to the island.
Things to Do
Though only a small island there is much to do here. One of the most popular activities of course, involves the water. Sailing is very popular here and there are many companies from which you can charter a vessel. If you need instruction on how to sail there are a number of places where you can sign up for lessons. The maritime heritage of the island is brought to life in the different museums you can find here, not only of the town of Cowes but of the island as a whole.
One place you should visit that attracts many visitors is the former summer residence of Queen Victoria. Osborne House is located just on the outskirts of Cowes and overlooks a stunning island landscape. If you like the beach you will find that the facilities on either side of the town have won awards, and you can take in some spectacular views across the Solent. There are a number of sailing related events that take place on both of the beaches throughout the year, and you will find that it is easy to cross from one side of the town to the either using the chain ferry which accommodates both cars and pedestrians.
There are plenty of shops and stores in Cowes to keep even the most enthusiastic shopper happy, and the high street is pedestrianised so you can shop without the worry of heavy traffic. A walk along the parade makes for a relaxing stroll and allows you to take in some of the incredible scenery the island offers as you make your way across to Gurnard, Cowes neighbouring village. Many of the restaurants here have won awards and you will find some fabulous seafood on offer as well as a good variety of different world cuisines, and of course no visit to a seaside town would be complete without either fish and chips or an ice cream.
There are plenty of ferries that run to and from the mainland if you only want to visit the island for a day to enjoy everything that Cowes has to offer.