10 best places to stay on the Isle of Wight

Coastal, Days out

Posted by Kate W on 19th May 2022

If you’re considering an island getaway to this stunning region, you’ll have to find the perfect place to stay to make your holiday extra special. To make it easy for you, we’ve put together what we consider to be the ten best places to stay on the Isle of Wight – read on and let us know if you agree!

An island getaway with a twist – it’s just a ferry ride away from the British mainland! – the Isle of Wight is just the place for coastal adventures and fun family days out. Visit zoos, walk the coast path and dine in a stylish waterside restaurant; it’s a magical holiday destination. Why not discover even more of the island in our Isle of Wight guide?

If you can’t wait to book your trip, browse our range of cottages on the Isle of Wight and find your perfect place to stay.

Isle of Wight cottages

Take a look through our collection of the best places to stay on the Isle of Wight below and look forward to an unforgettable break to this UK island escape.

Shanklin – best for walkers  

There are seemingly endless footpaths and places of interest to navigate across the Isle of Wight but if you’re planning on a holiday filled with exploration, Shanklin is a wonderful Isle of Wight place to stay, and hard to beat. The iconic Shanklin Chine is an unusual geological feature that’s always a popular place to visit when people arrive on the island. A ‘chine’ is a term unique to Dorset and the Isle of Wight and means a deep narrow ravine with water running down to the sea, while Shanklin Chine includes magical waterfalls and a visitor centre where you can plan your route.

Besides the impressive Shanklin Chine, there are a few enchanting gardens to explore along Shanklin’s seafront, beautiful beaches to roam, and you can always stretch your legs on the Isle of Wight Coast Path too.


Shanklin cottages

Cowes – best for history buffs

Bursting with a complex history that includes a Viking settlement, two castles built in 1539 by Henry VIII to protect the island from French invasions, and the world’s first yachting centre which came into being in 1815, Cowes is a bustling seaside destination and a fantastic Isle of Wight town to visit to uncover the island’s impressive heritage.

Make your way around the museums, venture into Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s family home of Osborne House, and head to Egypt Point, the furthest point north on the island where you can take in the serene coastal views.


Cowes cottages

Sandown – best for young families

One of the best towns on the Isle of Wight for families has to be beautiful Sandown, set down on the island’s south coast. There’s a wonderful golden sandy beach including a pleasure pier with crazy golf and indoor play which is good for kids, alongside a host of exciting attractions throughout the rest of town that the entire family will love.

At the Isle of Wight Zoo, take children along to meet lions, monkeys and wallabies at this fun family attraction, with a café and shop too for when you need to refuel. Dinosaur Isle allows youngsters to step back in time to when giants ruled the Earth, and if you can’t get enough of history, you could also enjoy a family walk around the grounds of ancient Brading Roman Villa.


  • Isle of Wight Zoo - lions, tigers and birds oh my (also lemurs, monkeys and farm animals)
  • Dinosaur Isle - visit Britain's first purpose-built dinosaur attraction
  • Sandown Pier  - indoor golf, ten pin bowling, dodgems and other rides await

Sandown cottages

Ryde – best for beach lovers

There are many spectacular beaches lining the Isle of Wight’s dramatic coast, but we reckon Ryde’s beaches are among the most popular, making it the best town to stay on the Isle of Wight for a seaside break. Ryde East is a real favourite for sandcastle building, swimming and soaking up the sun, and you can rent deckchairs for relaxing on the sand or try your hand at windsurfing during your holiday to Ryde.

There’s a delightful boating lake where you can rent swan-shaped pedalos and an indoor/outdoor swimming pool so you can stay out of the cold on chilly days, or soak up the sun when the weather’s fine as it has a retractable roof. Ride the train to the railway station at the very end of Ryde Pier, the second-longest pier in the country, or spend a morning inside the Donald McGill Museum, home of the cheeky seaside postcard!


Ryde cottages

Ventnor – best for group getaways

Take a trip to the Victorian-era seaside resort of Ventnor, one of the best towns on the Isle of Wight, for more stunning beaches alongside fun attractions. A great location for all the family or a big group of friends on a getaway together. Dive into the fun with Blackgang Chine, a family favourite where kids can meet magical characters and hop aboard exciting rides. Adult groups on holiday on the Isle of Wight might prefer traversing the curious geological feature of the Devil’s Chimney or heading out into the water with Wight Water Adventure Watersports.

When you’re ready for that big group dinner, whether you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary or reunion, Ventnor has plenty of stylish eateries you could head to. Le Tour du Monde Restaurant is a stylish family-run bistro, The Rex in Ventnor offers delicious Italian cuisine, while The Crab Shed is said to provide some of the best grub on the Isle of Wight.


  • Blackgang Chine - high-adrenaline rides and the Land of Imagination, this is a great group day out
  • Ventnor Botanic Garden - this microclimate attraction gets so warm that many of the plants found here can't grow elsewhere in the UK
  • Devil's Chimney - an old smugglers' route, this rocky path has plenty of caves to explore

Ventnor cottages

Carisbrooke – best for nature lovers

Of course, Carisbrooke has a wonderful history with the magnificent Carisbrooke Castle towering overhead, but the scenic natural spaces surrounding this village are what make it such a special destination and the reason it’s made our list of the best places to visit on the Isle of Wight. Two idyllic nature reserves are within reach when you stay in Carisbrooke: Arreton Down which is famed for the thousands of chalk hill blue butterflies which take over the site in summer, and the Sandown Meadows Nature Reserve where the diverse wetland provides habitats for kingfisher, heron and reed warblers, making it a top destination for birdwatchers.

There are many more remarkable natural spaces for you to uncover throughout the landscape and if you are keen to get to know the native flora and fauna all across the beautiful Isle of Wight, you could always strike out on a long walk through the scenic countryside from Carisbrooke.


Wootton Bridge – best for romantic getaways

If you’re seeking a getaway filled with romance, then beautiful Wootton Bridge is a hidden gem on the Isle of Wight coast where you and your partner can relax on a getaway for just the two of you. Enjoy river walks alongside Wootton Creek which winds through this scenic village before joining the sea.

There are a couple of antiques stores and boutiques you may like to pop into while staying in the village, while you can pick up fresh produce at Briddlesford Lodge Farm to cook back at your country bolthole. Ride the Isle of Wight Steam Railway across to neighbouring Havenstreet where you’ll find the train museum, then return to Wootton Bridge for tea at the ancient Quarr Abbey, home to dramatic abbey ruins and a working Benedictine monastery.


  • Isle of Wight Steam Railway - located centrally on the island, this steam train takes you on a 10-mile journey to countless Isle of Wight stations
  • Quarr Abbey - home to a small group of Benedictine monks, this abbey also has a farm shop and visitor centre
  • Butterfly World IOW - a great attraction whatever the weather, you can help feed the koi, handle the minibeasts or just wander the tropical interior

Wootton cottages

Newport – best for short breaks  

The thriving town of Newport is another top place to stay on the Isle of Wight for groups celebrating special occasions (escape rooms, anyone?), but it is also full of things to do for families or couples planning an easy relaxing break. It is set in the very heart of the island so makes a great base for getting out and about, and this bustling town has plenty of charming shops and places to eat, including a weekly farmers’ market where you can pick up local produce.

With art galleries, country parks, a museum, a cinema and a golf club, there is lots to keep you well-entertained. After shopping your way through the heart of the town, head to one of the two theatres to catch a show.


  • Robin Hill Country Park - 88 acres of exhilaration with rides, gardens and outdoor play
  • Monkey Haven - visit this award-winning sanctuary which is home to much more than just monkeys
  • Newport Roman Villa - take a look at the well-preserved remains of this 1,700-year-old Roman farmhouse

Newport cottages

Bembridge – best for foodies

Anyone planning to trial the best foodie places on the Isle of Wight may want to begin in the unassuming coastal village of Bembridge. Jampacked with places to eat, Bembridge is best-known for its seafood which many restaurants ensure is caught locally. The Crab & Lobster Inn is a popular place to dine out with fantastic views from the garden overlooking the sea, while you can enjoy a traditional roast at Ye Old Village Inn or head to the stylish Fox’s Restaurant to try the delectable Bembridge crab. Another must-visit just 8 miles from Bembridge is The Garlic Farm where you can shop, dine and take a tour of the farm.

The event that cements Bembridge’s reputation as a foodie destination is the annual Bembridge Food Festival which takes place in mid-September. Why not book your holiday to take advantage of this fantastic Isle of Wight event?


Bembridge cottages

Freshwater – best for getting away from it all

Escape to this serene western village, a quaint Isle of Wight destination which boasts one of the most picturesque beaches on the Isle of Wight and a wonderful footpath that will lead you to the most iconic feature of the island, The Needles. Bring your camera to snap a photo of these majestic white stone stacks against the sparkling water of the English Channel, best admired alongside a glorious sunset.

There are delightful cafes and shops you can drop by, a park where you can play footie on a clear day, and a golf course overlooking the sea. A cliff-top walk leads east to stunning Compton Chine and Compton Bay, while if you head north, you’ll find the ruins of Fort Victoria with a collection of wonderful attractions in the immediate area made up of a model railway, a reptilarium and a planetarium.


  • The Needles Landmark Attraction - home to one of the south coast's largest fireworks displays, the Needles is one of the island's most iconic landmarks
  • Freshwater Bay - one of the most beautiful bays on the island, this sand and flint beach is a true delight
  • Fort Victoria Country Park - visit all the 'iums': a reptilarium, a planetarium and an imaginarium

Freshwater cottages

Map of the 10 best places to stay on the Isle of Wight

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Holidays on the Isle of Wight

This island escape always offers unique and exciting places to visit and things to do during your holiday getaway – our list of the top ten best places to stay on the Isle of Wight doesn’t cover the wide variety of fantastic destinations across the region. A phenomenal coastline and host of attractions, from family-friendly days out to tranquil nature reserves, ensure you’ll be spoilt for choice when you arrive.

What will you get up to during your Isle of Wight holiday? Start browsing our holiday cottages on the Isle of Wight and book your next break today.

Isle of Wight cottages

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.