Cowes, the home of Yachting
Officially Cowes, is the proper name for the town. It is on the western side of the River Medina. Do not confuse it with East Cowes. It would be easier if Cowes, were to be called 'West Cowes', so as not to confuse non-locals.
Cowes, hosts Cowes Week. The annual event held during the first week in August. It is a world class sailing event.
If you're on the Island in the first week of August, Cowes is a must do visit. Even if you've no interest in yachting at all. Just the spectacle of so many yachts in the Solent, is worth making a special trip for Cowes Week.
Your chances of securing accommodation in Cowes, during Cowes Week, are virtually nil. Outside of Cowes Week, there is a fair amount of hotels and guest houses. Not in the quantities of Sandown, Shanklin and, Ventnor though.
Cowes is not close to the more popular walking and mountain biking areas, so it often gets overlooked by many walkers. Including the locals. The geography of the north of the Isle of Wight is very different to the south of the Island. The north is flatter with more estuaries and oak trees. Much like the south Hampshire coast it faces.
Any walk starting from Cowes, usually involves walking along the sea wall towards Gurnard - which is paved. Don't let that put you off. In the summer months the Solent is a very busy place, with plenty of yachts, and vessels entering and leaving the Port of Southampton, giving you plenty to see.
Cowes is a busy small town, with some interesting shops, and plenty of history The shops are geared up for those who sail, but there's plenty of non-technical clothing shops also.
Cowes it the port for Red Funnel's foot passenger only service, the 'Red Jet'. The service runs from Southampton - and does not carry cycles. For this reason no cycling routes will be listed for Cowes.
National Cycle Route 23, starts in Cowes, and runs to Sandown. If you want to come by bike from the mainland to start your journey in Cowes. Your best option is to get the Red Funnel Car Ferry to East Cowes, and cross the River Medina via the Chain Ferry - it's free for cycles.
Things to Do
Sir Max Aitken Museum
The once home of Sir Max Aitken DSO, DFC, a Conservative Politician, and Second World War fighter pilot. Who left his house, and his maritime artefacts and paintings in trust. More information can be found here. Free Entry.
Cowes Maritime Museum
Housed in the Local Library. It's a small, but interesting collection, chronicling Cowes maritime history. More information can be found here. Free Entry.
During the Yachting Racing season. The town is busy with visiting yachts. It's worth strolling about the town and the parade just to soak up the atmosphere.