Archived webpage (now out of date)



Information on this page is now out of date - please see VisitIOW website for up-to-date information on the Isle of Wight

Cowes is a coastal town on the northern shore of the Isle of Wight, lying opposite Southampton.  The town is split by the River Medina, with West Cowes housing the fast passenger ferry to Southampton and the main shops and yacht clubs, whilst East Cowes is the home of Osborne House, and is connected to Southampton by car ferry.


West Cowes can be dated back to early fortifications built during the reign of Henry VII to dispel a French invasion.  The fortifications were known as cow forts or cows due to their supposed likeness to cows and this is probably how Cowes got its name.


The town has been a base for yacht racing since the early 19th Century and continues to be a a home of international yacht racing in the UK.  The world's oldest regular regatta, Cowes Week takes place very year in August and is an unmissable spectacle for both sailing enthusiasts and landlovers.


Much of the town’s architecture is influenced by the ornate building style influenced by Prince Albert who lived with Queen Victoria at Osborne House in East Cowes.

Slideshow photo 4 credited to

Cowes eating

Cowes shops

Cowes what to do

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