Despite being a small island, there are so many different parts to the Isle Of Wight that understanding what each area has to offer is key to the success of your holiday - some areas are great for families and geared up for that specifically and others are just the ticket for a romantic weekend away. So to help you find your perfect holiday spot, here are the towns of the Isle Of Wight explained....
Newport | Cowes | Ryde
Newport is the capital of the Island and so naturally this is where you'll find your shops, cinema, supermarkets and pubs restaurants etc - not necessarily where you will want to spend your whole holiday, but certainly a place you will visit during your time here.
Cowes of course is famous for its annual regatta. It is actually split into two (east and west Cowes) because the Medina river runs through the middle. The Cowes that most people refer to is West Cowes and it is here the regatta is held as well as where the high street is. West Cowes is where the Red Jet (foot passenger ferry) docks but the vehicle ferry is in East Cowes - make sure you know where you are going as they are a good 30 mins drive apart.
Ryde on the opposite side of the island to Cowes is a real seaside town and the second largest town to Newport. The Wightlink Fast Cat comes into Ryde and so if you are coming for the day by foot, everything is on your door step. Lots of great independents shops and restaurants and lots of options for a night out on the tiles. There are miles of sandy beach here.
Sandown | Shanklin
Sundown is where you need to head if you are looking for that traditional seaside holiday. Miles and miles of sandy beaches and great for swimming. Plenty of accommodation available for people wanting to stay here and all easily accessible from the beach. The esplanade has lots on offer, parks, amusements, trampolines - its a really great place to visit if you have kids in tow.
Shanklin is more of a town as opposed to beach - lots of great gift shops that you love on holiday... there is also a Christmas shop open all year round! Probably more of a place you would visit at the end of a beach day or on a rainy day.
Both these places are good to stay in if you dont have a car as they are accessible by train from Ryde.
Ventnor was the place to go in Victorian times and was a well known place to go for its health benefits. As it has its own micro climate, you'll find the botanical gardens here and it also has a very mediteranian feel to it - you do feel like you are somewhere special. The Esplanade is full of cafes and restaurants and there are miles of sandy beach. It is defiantly more suited to couples or a quieter holiday than a family destination. The atmosphere is much more laid back with its vintage shops etc - it's great for lobster and chips!
Yarmouth | Freshwater
Yarmouth is an old port and one of the main ferry ports for coming on and off the island - it is the Wightlink to Lemington route. It is a lovely town to walk around mooching in shops and of course the harbour and sea front make for great walks. It is very popular with sailing folk and the town is very much geared towards this.
Freshwater is a fantastic beach - great for swimming and great waves for body boarding and if you can get up, surfing. It is right next to The Needles which is on the next bay.
So as a round up... if you are looking for that all encompassing seaside holiday, especially as you have kids in the mix, then Sundown and Shankin are where you want to be. If you have older kids and enjoy more beach and activities, you will probably will want to head towards the North with Cowes, Newport and Ryde (they offer more in terms of evening entertainment too). For a much quieter holiday where you want to have some r&r, I would recommend the South and West of the Island. Last but not least, if you have a car, then everything is easily accessible, if you don't, Ryde and Sandown are where you want to head to.