Archived webpage (now out of date)


What to do in Cowes and East Cowes

Information on this page is now out of date - please see VisitIOW website for up-to-date information on the Isle of Wight

Watersports & adrenaline sports

UKSA, Cowes


UKSA is a 15 minute walk from Firefly House.


For some weeks in the summer UKSA run Watersports Fun Days (0900 – 1630) to get children (7 – 16) out on to the water to enjoy a variety of different fun water based activities including: Dinghy Sailing, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Kayaking, Windsurfing, Raft Building & Wet Team Games.

They also have dinghy mini courses which run for 3 hours a day over 5 days for children aged 6-7, and splash days and multi activity days for older children.

All other children's course are residential.

Parks and woodlands

Northwood House Park

Park, Tennis

Enjoy the Victorian ‘Pleasure Gardens’.  Perched above Cowes with commanding views of the Solent the Park has evolved from the pleasure gardens developed by the Ward family throughout the 19th Century. Ornamental trees reflect the Victorian fashion for botanical and specimen planting. In addition to the network of paths crossing the grounds residents of Cowes can enjoy tennis, bowls and the children’s play area. Well behaved dogs are welcome.

Free Tennis Courts.  As part of Northwood House Charitable Trust, our 6 tennis courts are run by a team of volunteers, who maintain them and ensure they are available for everyone. The courts are completely free to use.
For more information email:


Children’s play area.  In the northeast corner of the Park a secure play area is available for young children to enjoy, swings, slide and a seesaw on a forgiving rubber surface.  All residents and visitors are welcome to use the play area.  We request that dogs do not enter the space.

Council Managed Parks


Information about the principal parks in the care of the Isle of Wight Council:

Princes Green, Cowes

East Cowes Esplanade

Lake Cliff Gardens

Church Listen Park, Newport

Medina Arboretum, Newport

Seaclose Park, Newport

Appley Park, Ryde

Ryde Seafront

Battery Gardens, Sandown

Ferncliff Gardens, Sandown

Sandham Grounds, Sandown

Pier Gardens, Sandown

Puckpool Park, Seaview

Rylstone Gardens, Shanklin

Tower Cottage Gardens, Shanklin

The Cascades, Ventnor

Ventnor Park

Council Managed Playgrounds & Paddling Pools

Playgounds, Paddling Pools

Playgrounds (see web link for list of facilities at each)

  • Cowes:  Brunswick Road, Northwood Park, Park Road Recreation Ground, Venner Avenue, Esplande/Paddling Pool (East Cowes), Jubilee Recreation Ground (East Cowes), Victoria Grove (East Cowes), Gurnard Green 

  • Freshwater: Stroud Recreation Ground

  • Havenstreet: Recreation Ground

  • Lake: Lea Road 

  • Newport: Clatterford Recreation Ground, Church Litten, Pan Estate, Seaclose Recreation Ground, Victoria Recreation Ground, 

  • Ryde:  Appley Park, Binstead Recreation Ground, Binstead Rest Gardens, Canoe Lake Paddling Pool, Monkton Mead, Oakwood Road, Simeon St Recreation Ground

  • Seaview: Puckpool Park

  • Sandown: Battery Gardens, Sandham Grounds

  • Shanklin: Big Meade, Batts Copse

  • St Helens: St Helens Green

  • Totland: Totland Recreation Ground

  • Ventnor: Esplanade Paddling Pool, Lowtherville Estate, North Street, Sea Breeze

  • Wootton: Wootton Recreation Ground

Heritage, museums, cinemas

Osborne House


"It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot" said Queen Victoria of Osborne House, her palatial holiday home on the Isle of Wight. Visit Victoria and Albert's private apartments, their bathing beach and children's play-cottage for an intimate glimpse of royal family life. Then stroll through the garden terraces where the stunning views across the Solent reminded Prince Albert of the Bay of Naples.

Osborne reflects Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's passions, tastes and style. Ornate furnishings and artefacts from The Royal Collection fill rooms and corridors where Victoria entertained heads of state, inventors, princess and princesses and ruled the vast British Empire.

Things to see and do:

  • State rooms

  • Family rooms

  • Queen Victoria's beach

  • Swiss Cottage

  • Garden and grounds

  • Food and drink

  • Playgrounds and trails

  • Royal collection

  • Regular themed events throughout the year

For families:

  • shingle / sand beach for paddling & swimming (with shuttle bus)

  • Two playgrounds: at the visitor centre, by Swiss Cottage

  • Swiss Cottage, including the Childhood at Osbourne exhibition

  • Family themed events

  • Children's trail - Noble Quest

  • Victorian activities: including Punch & Judy shows, quoits, skittles

  • Picnic benches

  • Cafes with child-sized portions, lunch boxes, highchairs, & children's cutlery 

Sir Max Aitken Museum


This magnificent 18th Century, Ratsey and Lapthorn sail maker’s loft, was acquired and restored by Sir Max Aitken in 1947. Today, with its traditional splendour, the building boasts Sir Max’s personal collection of historic and nautical artefacts.

Highlights of the museum include:  a Gaff from the Royal Racing Yacht Britannia, museum tables made especially for the room by Lallows in the 1960s, a French Empire cradle, reputed to belong to Napoleon Bonaparte and Princess Marie Louise of Austria, many artefacts relating to Nelson and other exhibits include several models and half models of various yachts, junks, clippers, yawls etc.

Cowes Maritime Museum

Museum in Library

The Museum displays a selection of objects and images which help to tell the story of Cowes and its important maritime heritage.

You can see Uffa Fox’s dinghy, Avenger and models of vessels built by J. Samuel White & Co Ltd of Cowes.

Entrance to Cowes Maritime Museum is free of charge.

The museum is situated within Cowes Library, which also houses a collection of maritime related books.

To be continued

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