Cowes Week

What is Cowes Week?

Cowes Week is the oldest and largest annual sailing regatta in the World and has been running since 1826, only halting for World Wars.   Thousands of boats take part in daily yacht races over 8 days, whilst thousands of spectators view the racing from Cowes beach, the Green, Egypt Point, Gurnard and sailing club balconies.  The town buzzes with carnival style atmosphere, which you just can't get enough off.

See  Cowes Week website for more history

What is there to do at Cowes Week?

Whilst Cowes Week is all about sailing, it doesn't matter if you know very little about sailing.  This is the week that Cowes high street shops have been waiting for, so they are bursting with coastal and island themed gifts and Cowes Week special offers.  The Parade and the Yacht Haven also have stalls selling everything from jewellery to rum!

There are plenty of activities and ideas to keep the whole family entertained including face painting, tree climbing, rib rides, cinema, theatre, fairground rides.

Cowes Week is the party week of the sailing world, so expect to see a lot of plastic glasses everywhere.  There is an enormous selection of places to enjoy the evening atmosphere including the Yacht Haven, The Parade, Shepards Wharf and East Cowes Marina which all offer nightly live music.  Some of the larger local pubs also put on live music including the Anchor and The Duke of York.  


If you prefer your evening sundowner a little more sophisticated, try the Lawn Lounge at Northwood House or one of the pop up bars.  If you are lucky enough to know someone competing or who is a member of one of the yacht clubs, see if they will invite you to one of the nightly yacht club champagne parties, it's the perfect opportunity to pull out your cocktail dress and parade through the town!!  And if dancing is your thing and you are ready  to dance the night away, try the nightclubs: The Sugar Store at Shepards Wharf and Balearic at Northwood House.  Scroll down for full list of entertainment. 

Where to eat?

Cowes Week is busy, so it's always best to plan your gastro delights well in advance.  Tables in fine restaurants book up very quick, but there is also a selection of pop-up fine dining restaurants, snack bars and street food.  


It's also a great time of year to picnic on the Green whilst you watch the boats sail past, or on the lawns at Northwood House. 

When is it?


It takes place over 8 days around the end of July/beginning of August.  The town wakes up about 8am every day to head down to the boats, and parties until the clubs close at 2am.

31 July to 6 August 2021

How many people are involved?

Between 800 and 1000 boats take part over the 8 days, resulting in around 8,000 competitors.

Cowes Week regularly attracts over 100,000 spectators in Cowes.

10 highlights of Cowes Week

  1. Take a picnic to the Green at Cowes Beach, tune your radio into Cowes Week radio, and watch the boats racing down the Solent

  2. Wander along Cowes Parade looking at the stalls, and have a beer whilst you catch one of the live bands

  3. Meander down Cowes High Street, listen the the live pavement bands, and do a spot of shopping 

  4. Get out on the water and observe the action close hand, see Cowes Week website for rib rides and spectator boats

  5. Go to the main beer tent in Cowes Yacht Haven, sample some of the street food outlets, and dance the night away in front of the main stage

  6. Pop along to Shepards Wharf Marina for a beer, watch the sailors come in, tie up and head to the bar.  Go along a bit later and dance the night away in the Sugar Store nightclub

  7. Take the floating bridge over to East Cowes, have a sundowner at the Lifeboat (the best place in Cowes to watch a sunset) and listen to a spot of live music

  8. Take the family up to Northwood House for the open air cinema or live theatre

  9. Or head up to Northwood House in the evening for the Lawn Lounge 

  10. Grab the best spot in town for the fantastic Friday finale which includes the Red Arrows and late evening fireworks.

Firefly House offers a haven of tranquility amongst the buzz of Cowes Week.  An ideal base to stay at while you sail or spectate in Cowes Week, it is located very close to both Shepards Marina and the Yacht Haven.  After a hard day's sail or spectating from the green, you will be back at the house for a hot shower in less than 10 minutes (3 showers).   If anyone is arriving by car, there are 2 on-site parking spaces.  


The 4 bedrooms each sleep two in luxurious Hypnos beds, so your crew is certain to get a perfect night's sleep.  Two zip and link beds allow flexibility for couples or singles.


The kitchen diner accommodates up to 8 diners, and there is additional outdoor seating for a further 8, together with a 5 burner gas bbq.  The 2 additional reception rooms ensure that there is quieter space for watching TV, catching up with some work or offering a quiet place to chill.  


See Firefly House page for more photos, Offers page for any current offers and Bookings page for all prices.

  • 4 double bedrooms, (2 of which are ensuite), family bathroom

  • Beds sleep 8 persons in luxurious Hypnos beds 

    • Bed configuration:  1 king, 2 singles, 4 singles/or/2 superkings 

    • If you need 8 beds for crew, we can set up an addition Guest folding bed with pocket sprung mattress in the downstairs snug, creating a 5th bedroom

  • Formal sitting room 

  • Separate snug/study room

  • Spacious open-plan kitchen dining room with outdoor bbq area

  • Kitchen fully equipped (including coffee machine, microwave, washing machine etc)

  • 2 off-street parking spaces

  • Bag collection service from marina available

Firefly House is booked for Cowes Week 2018.

Bookings for 2019 will open later this summer