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Visitor Information

Things to do in Cowes

Excursions from Cowes

Visitors coming to Cowes have a wonderful array of land and water-based options to explore the town and further afield on the Isle of Wight.

Northwood House Grand Cowes Tea

Enjoy a luxury afternoon tea experience at historic Northwood House, including Pimm’s on the lawn and a fascinating history tour… telling the story of this iconic Cowes building.

Northwood House, set in beautiful Northwood Park in Cowes, is the perfect destination for discerning groups looking for an exclusive afternoon excursion. A luxury afternoon tea experience, known as the “Cowes Grand Tea”, is served to perfection in the Grand Ballroom, which includes a round of Pimm’s on the House lawns… how quintessentially English! Guests will also enjoy a fascinating history lecture and tour, which tells the story of this iconic Cowes building from the 1700s through to the modern day. Exclusively available for cruise ship excursion groups looking for something unique and memorable to do in Cowes for up to two-and-a-half hours.

Farringford House - Historic Home Of Lord Tennyson

Home of the celebrated Victorian Poet Laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892) and one of the Isle of Wight’s most important historic estates, Farringford, at Freshwater in West Wight, has been restored to its 19th century splendour.

The Royal Hotel - Ventnor

Surrounded by cliffs and windswept headlands forming an especially beautiful part of the Coastal footpath and English Channel, Ventnor possesses an unrivalled and enduring beauty. The Royal Hotel is nestled into exotic south facing gardens overlooking Ventnor’s stunning coastline. An extra special afternoon tea package is offered for groups of cruise passengers.

The Needles By Rib

Walk along the Trinity Landing tender pontoons to meet your RIB and the friendly crew. After an essential safety briefing and demonstration of safety equipment, step aboard and head out on a scenic tour along the picturesque Isle of Wight coastline.

Your skipper shares their outstanding local knowledge and provides a commentary on the landmarks and areas of natural beauty you will see along the route. Watch out for Gurnard Bay, beautiful Newton Creek, picturesque Yarmouth Harbour, Colwell Bay and Alum Bay.

The Needles, a distinctive cluster of three stacks of chalk that rise vertically almost 100 feet out of the sea on the Western tip of the Island. The impressive lighthouse stands boldly at the end of the outermost chalk stack where the weather sweeps in from the west. Stunning photo opportunities are found here before you make the return journey along the coast back to Cowes.

Ventnor Botanic Garden

Green thumbs and garden lovers, come to the Ventnor Botanic Gardens to better understand the English world of flora and horticulture.

Benefiting from the micro-climate of the Undercliff, Ventnor sits in a prime position to grow and showcase subtropical and exotic plants interacting with each other as they would in the wild. This immersion landscape showcases 30,000 rare plants and trees as they would be seen in their native environments.

Ventnor’s uniquely mild climate and sheltered setting creates the opportunity to display plants spread across 22 acres of garden. The planting groups are based on geographical regions. A guided garden visit introduces you to the various parts of the garden and offers additional insights.

Carisbrooke Castle

The quintessential romantic castle, Carisbrooke has been an Elizabethan artillery fortress, a king’s prison and a royal summer residence.

Amazing Carisbrooke Castle, of Saxon origin, was built as one of the fortified camps intended to defend England against the Vikings. The Normans, in turn, came along looking for a spot on which to establish their own stronghold. They found that the stone-faced Saxon fortifications provided them with an excellent ready-made type of defence system. For more than 800 years, the living heart of the castle was enclosed within the Norman curtain walls with a gatehouse. The castle was comprised of internal domestic buildings and the outer bailey.

Today, you can explore this romantic castle and its Edwardian-style garden, taking in the panoramic views from the high castle walls.

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. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert purchased Osborne House with their own money in 1845. The Prince supervised the construction, landscaping and all alterations very closely over the next six years. It was to be a country retreat where the royal family could be free from state ceremonial obligations. Osborne’s location, relatively convenient to London, is also quite secluded. A private beach allowed the Queen to swim and enjoy boating with her family.

Today, the house and its 350-acre estate allow visitors like you a rare and intimate glimpse into Queen Victoria’s family life. You will see the ornate furnishings and artefacts from The Royal Collection that fill the state rooms where Queen Victoria entertained heads of state, inventors, princes and princesses and ruled the vast British Empire. Take some time to enjoy the rest of the estate, exploring the extensive terraces and sweeping lawns, and enjoy the magnificent views out to sea as you head towards Queen Victoria’s private beach.

Explore the Isle of Wight

Cowes visitors are presented with a delightful range of activities, both on land and water, to discover the town itself and beyond, across the Isle of Wight.