Some of the best things to see and do in Cowes
PUBLISHED: 10:49 27 August 2019
Escape to Cowes this summer for a slower-paced break – filled with coastal bike rides, sea-salted caramel fudge and Mermaid gin
The Slow Travel Guide
It's time to ditch the car and head to the Isle of Wight as a foot passenger. Visit Isle of Wight have launched the new Slow Travel Guide with eight non-prescriptive routes that can all be explored at leisure - via the eco-friendly combo of bus, walking and cycling. It offers the experience of eating and drinking your way around the island, stopping off at farm shops, meeting local craftspeople and discovering lesser-known rural gems. Two routes incorporate Cowes: one from East Cowes to Ryde and the other taking in Yarmouth, Shalfleet and Newtown.
Highlights along the second route include birdwatching at Newton Creek, Parkhurst Forest; Bouldnor Forest Nature Reserve, crumbling cliffs and Dodnor Creek and Dickson's Copse.
Those with fondness for the sweet stuff will love the suggested stop at Slab Artisan Fudge (www.slabfudge.co.uk) in Cowes, set up by husband and wife team, Steven and Rachel Powell. "We love buying fudge when we are in places like Cornwall and Devon, and we felt the Isle of Wight was missing a good artisan fudge company," explains Rachel.
"Our bestseller is Sea-Salted Caramel, by far! No matter how much we take to events, it's always the first to sell out."
The pair are delighted to be mentioned in the Slow Travel Guide: "It is a mindset we like very much," says Rachel. "Take your time, don't rush, notice the details - and you will inevitably find beauty!"
Get your nautical fix
A visit to Cowes would not be complete with a visit to the Sir Max Aitken Museum. Located on the High Street, the famous 18th century sailmaker's loft is filled to the rafters with a splendid and eclectic collection of historic and nautical artefacts - all with their own story. Highlights include a 51ft gaff from the Royal Racing Yacht Britannia, dating back to the 1920s and weighing around 900lb and King George V's chair. Many artefacts relate to Nelson, including several paintings and a handwritten letter, signed Nelson of Brote.
Surf and turf…
The Little Gloster is a true gem, located on the sea's edge in the village of Gurnard. Expect simple, seasonal and Scandinavian style with freshly-caught fish and panoramic views across the Solent - great for spotting yachts racing across Cowes. This award-winning, relaxed, family restaurant is listed in the Michelin Guide and the Good Food Guide as being one of the best new entries in the UK. Popular dishes include the fresh Isle of Wight crab with linguine or salad, the gravadlax house-cured Hampshire trout and a good selection of steak (dry-aged for over 32 days). Cocktails are also on the menu and the wine list comprises of more than 90 per cent organic wine. Just make sure you book in advance!
The Caledon is great bed and breakfast in Cowes - small, welcoming and bicycle-friendly! The eight-bedroom Victorian House also has lots of lovely original features, from fireplaces to exposed beams and offer fresh breakfast with local eggs and bread. At the end of a long day of (mindful) adventuring, make yourself a nightcap at the much-loved Honesty Bar.
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