You can walk along the Island’s beaches for miles in winter without meeting another soul, taking in amazing 360-degree views, listening to the waves crashing on the shore and feeling the blustery wind in your hair. Time it right and the sky will dazzle with electric pink sunrises and glowing orange sunsets. A wintery beach walk on the Island is truly one of nature’s best gifts!

With restrictions for dogs on the beach reduced during winter too, your four-legged friend will enjoy their freedom racing along the sand.

After a long breezy day on the beach, whether you’re on your own or with family and friends, there’s only one thing that will finish the day off perfectly and that’s the reward of a welcoming pub or cuppa at the end. 

So, get wrapped up cosy, enjoy the large swathes of sand without any footprints and experience the exhilaration of a wintery beach walk.

Here’s a selection from the Island’s 25 beaches to get you started:

Bobble hats at the beach

Family-Friendly Beaches

With all these beaches accessed by the Island trainline and bus service, they’re ideal destinations for a beach walk when you arrive on the Island if you don’t want to bring your car. The abundance of facilities nearby provides much-needed refreshments afterwards!

Appley Beach, Ryde, with its wide expanse of sandy beach and lush green park beyond is one of the most popular Island beaches. It takes about 25 minutes to walk there from the train station. With beach huts nestled under the trees and its own fairy castle on the beach - Appley Tower, a gothic folly built in the 1870s - there's a real sense of magic at Appley. You’ll have fantastic views from the Island to Portsmouth, with the landmark Spinnaker Tower forming an impressive backdrop to the many boats that pass by. Kite surfers use the beach in the quieter months - it's a great winter spectator sport – and there are a couple of places to eat and drink at either end of the beach. 

Sandown Beach is one of the Isle of Wight's finest and most recognised beaches, with miles of soft golden sands crowned by Sandown’s pleasure pier. It’s a great beach for a family walk as it’s only 15 minutes from the station, and Sandown’s esplanade has traditional seaside cafes, souvenir and beach shops, whilst the pier has amusements galore. 

Yaverland Beach is a long sandy beach, when the tide is out the sandy beach expands across acres. The beach stretches northeast from the Yaverland Sailing and Yacht Club all the way to the foot of the chalk cliffs of Culver Down. Pathways through the undergrowth on the cliffs lead from the coastal path to the beach or vice versa. The orange sandstone cliffs gradually increase in height as they move towards the white chalk of Culver cliff, and it is around here that fossil remains can be found. It’s a popular beach for water sports, so you'll see catamarans and dingy sailing, kite surfing, windsurfing, and surfers on your winter wander. There's a beach shop and cafe at the southern end of the car park, where there are also public toilets that get their power from solar cells and a wind turbine! Dogs are welcome all year round at Yaverland beach to the left of the car park. 

Shanklin Beach is a one of the Isle of Wight’s best-known stretches of golden sands, which backs onto a traditional English seafront promenade so it’s an ideal location for a family walk. A good stop off point is the cute, thatched Fisherman's Cottage pub at the foot of Shanklin Chine. The majestic cliffs tower over the beach at this end and you can carry on by foot around the headland to Luccombe Beach at low tide if you wish.

Ventnor Beach is the southernmost holiday beach on the Isle of Wight and is well-loved by locals and visitors alike. Nestled in the bay beneath the tumbling tiers of the Victorian town, Ventnor’s red shingle and golden sand beach has vintage beach huts that once had wheels and transported the gentry down to the sea to bathe. Walk along the seafront to find a bistro-style bar serving tapas and drinks, more cafes and, crowning the bay, the famous Spyglass Inn, which has a quirky nautical-themed interior and upper and lower deck terraces overlooking the sea.

Best Wheelchair / Pram-Friendly Beaches

Beaches that have paths alongside for a stroll are Appley beach in Ryde, the path between Sandown and Shanklin beaches and Cowes Esplanade.

Special 'all-terrain' wheelchairs are now available on Sandown seafront to enable people with mobility difficulties or physical disabilities to access the beach. The wheelchairs are available for hire from Dinosaur Isle on Culver Parade and the beach lifeguard station at Eastern Gardens and all they cost is a £20-a-day returnable deposit. They are available on a first come first served basis. 

Compton Bay at sunset

Best Beaches for Peace & Quiet

Brook Beach can be found on the unspoiled southwest coast of the Isle of Wight, and is a beach made up of golden sands adjacent to the popular Compton Bay. One of Brook Beach’s most unique features is the fossilised forest of huge trees which appears from beneath the waves at Hanover Point at low tide. Beyond this is a sandstone ledge with the fossilised footprints of dinosaurs imprinted within it. To the back of the beach, closer to the cliffs, fossils can also be found amongst the pebbles along with the casts of further dinosaur footprints. There is a National Trust Car Park serving Brook Beach if you choose to drive, but there are no additional facilities.

Freshwater Bay is one of the most picturesque beaches in West Wight and lies just to the South of the town of Freshwater. The beach is covered in a mixture of grey flint and chalk pebbles that make a unique sound as the waves rise and fall onto the shore. The Bay has been hewn from the chalk cliffs that surround it by thousands of years of exposure to the waves and the small river that runs from here to Yarmouth. Located within the bay visit Dimbola Museum and Galleries for afternoon tea.

Bembridge beach, the main beach in Bembridge runs down the coast from the spit at the edge of Bembridge harbour (a Site of Special Scientific Interest). The beach is comprised of stones, pebbles and shells but has sand below the high-water mark and a large sandbank that extends into the Solent at low tide. It’s an ideal beach for exploring, with great views out over the Solent to Portsmouth and the south coast, and of St Helen's Fort. A car park sits among the sand dunes behind the beach. There is a small cafe on the edge of the harbour nearby and a popular pub that also serves food.

Best Beach for Spectacular Sunsets

Gurnard Beach is a quaint traditional, pebble and shingle beach, within walking distance of Cowes on the northwest coast of the Isle of Wight, with great views across the Solent, and some of the best sunsets you are likely to find!

It is bordered by attractive, municipally owned beach huts, and if you keep walking towards Gurnard Marsh you’ll find The Woodvale, a traditional pub offering the perfect views for watching boats sail past and the spectacular sunsets. Catch the bus to Cowes to visit Gurnard.