Best beaches on the Isle of Wight – Sandown, Shanklin and more…

The Isle of Wight’s beaches are as diverse as the habitats found across this fantastic British holiday destination. So why not get to know the island via its beaches? There are long sandy town beaches like Sandown and Shanklin, secluded secrets like Steephill Cove, remote surf spots like Compton, or beaches of historical and geological interest like Bonchurch and Ventnor.

So whether you’d like to sunbathe, go for a hike, play in the water or simply take a slow amble along a promenade, the Isle of Wight has got the beach for you. And being on a small island you’re never ever far from a sea view.

Why not book your next holiday on the Isle of Wight? Visit our helpful guide for inspiration.

Shanklin and Sandown Beach

These two neighbouring beaches could well be the most popular beaches on the Isle of Wight. Sandown and Shanklin are located on the east coast of the island, where you can enjoy sweeping views of the English Channel and the Solent. Sandown is the most northerly of the two and it runs into Shanklin before cliffs intervene at the southern end.

Shanklin and Sandown on the Isle of Wight

Both towns had pleasure piers but today only Sandown’s remains after Shanklin’s was swept away in the ferocious storm of 1987. Sandown’s seafront is slightly more built up and shops and cafes line its esplanade. The town’s High Street runs parallel to the coast road towards the beaches northern end. As the cliffs begin to push out towards the Esplanade you will begin to encounter a few places to hire deckchairs, beach huts and stretches of sand to walk your dog unrestricted.

Shanklin beach is at the foot of the town’s cliffs and it also has an esplanade and parking. There are a number of pubs and family cafes, as well as crazy golf and some other themed rides and amusements for kids. At the most southerly point is the curious Shanklin Chine; a landscaped garden that meanders up the cliff from sea-level making for a pretty stroll.

Lifeguard service

  • Yes (seasonal)

Dog friendly beach?

  • Yes – with restrictions between May and September

Activities

  • Sailing
  • Kayaking / canoeing
  • Fishing
  • Jet-skiing
  • Swimming / bathing
  • Surfing

Facilities

  • Toilets
  • Cafe
  • Pub and shops nearby
  • First aid point
  • Lost child rendezvous
  • Beach hut hire
  • Slipway

Steephill Cove

Steephill Cove is one of the Isle of Wight’s hidden treasures. Just over 1 mile west of Ventnor and inaccessible by road, this curious south-facing beach is a must-visit on your holiday.

Steephill Cove on the Isle of Wight

With two restaurants and a kiosk situated along its small boardwalk, you can also find a spot below the rocky sea defences at low-tide for a few beach games and some well-deserved rest, encountered via one or two footpaths that wind down along the coast from the road above. A pleasant hideaway for all the family with good facilities. Be sure to check tide times before you go because there’s very little beach when the sea comes in.

Lifeguard service

  • No

Dog-friendly beach?

  • Yes - on leads only before 6pm

Activities

  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Sailing

Facilities

  • Toilets
  • Cafe
  • Slipway
  • Deck chair hire

Ventnor Beach

An appealing walk back east from Steephill Cove is Ventnor, the Isle of Wight’s unspoilt Victorian-era sea resort. Standing in the lea of steep tree-covered cliffs, the town almost tumbles down the hill to join the brisk promenade.

A sandy arch-shaped beach impresses with its replica Victorian mobile beach huts-cum-bathing machines and scope for deckchair and small seacraft hire. Be sure to venture along the working pier to Ventnor Fish Haven for the best fresh fish and shellfish, or try something special from the take-away!

Lifeguard service

  • No

Dog-friendly beach?

  • Yes - on leads only before 6pm

Activities

  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Sailing

Facilities

  • Toilets
  • Cafe
  • Slipway
  • Deck chair hire

Compton Bay

Compton Bay is for adventurers and sits on the south-west of the island. Reached via the wild Military Road, which is known as one of the best drives in Europe (try it at sunset), Compton Bay is about your best bet for catching some great waves if you’ve brought your surfboard.

 

5k just walked 👍 5k to do later ☀️ #isleofwight

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Managed by the National Trust it’s also a good spot to head for if you’re looking for fossils. Along with other beaches, such as Whitecliff Bay, it’s one of the most interesting beaches for geology enthusiasts.

Lifeguard service

  • No

Dog-friendly beach?

  • Yes – with restrictions between 1st June and 30th September

Activities

  • Surfing
  • Kayaking / canoeing
  • Swimming / bathing
  • Facilities
  • Toilets
  • Drinking water

Facilities

  • Toilets
  • Drinking water

Freshwater Bay

Freshwater Bay is located near The Needles at the western end of the Isle of Wight. Surrounded by sheer white cliffs, its location is dramatic yet beautiful. Sheltered waters and exceptional views make Freshwater Bay a candidate for the prettiest beach on the island.

With good amenities close by you can assemble a picnic with ease or drink and dine at one of the nearby pubs. Other local beaches include Alum Bay, and Totland Bay. The impressive Tenyson Downs are also a short drive away for sweeping views across the island. Beach facilities are limited.

Lifeguard service

  • No

Dog-friendly beach

  • Yes – with restrictions between 1st June and 30th September

Activities

  • Swimming / bathing

Facilities

  • Promenade

Map of Isle of Wight beaches

Find the closest beach to where you're staying with a map of all the beaches we previously mentioned below.

Further inspiration

There are so many other beaches to discover, including Bembridge, Bonchurch, Ryde, Colwell Bay, and Gurnard Beach, all just waiting to be explored. An Isle of Wight holiday is the perfect way to fall in love with these beaches and find them all at your own pace.

Take a look at our Isle of Wight holiday cottages across the island, where you'll find some great place to stay by the sea perfect for your island beach holiday.

Posted by Ed on 19th July 2018