The Isle of Wight is one of the top destinations in the UK for walkers, with a network of over 500 miles of footpaths weaving their way through contrasting landscapes and coastline. We also have the largest Walking Festival in the country, with over 100 organised walks taking place over 2 weeks in May and October!

Whilst the more hardened walkers might like to take on the challenge of the 67 mile coastal path, there are plenty of shorter walks we’d recommend which take in some of the Island’s “best bits” – we’ve picked out 8 of our favourites, along with a stop along the way to rest your weary feet:

Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight

1. Brook to Freshwater Bay

Easily one of the most photographed stretches of the Island’s coastline is the 3 mile stretch which runs from Brook to Freshwater Bay. Starting off at the car park above Brook Bay, one of the Island’s best beaches for fossil finds, the route leads you along the sandstone cliffs to the rear of Hanover Point and Compton Bay, up onto the spectacular chalk downs, before descending into the small cove of Freshwater Bay.

Along the way you can stop off for an ice cream at Compton Bay’s main car park and take the steps down to the beach to quickly dip your toes in the sea. But above all else, just marvel at one of the Island’s most breathtaking views – great at any time of day or year, but particularly good just as the sun goes down.

Once you arrive at Freshwater Bay, carry on up the road to famed Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron’s former house, Dimbola Lodge, which is now a museum and gallery dedicated to her work. Continue on past Dimbola and you will find the Piano Café – which was once owned by Queen Victoria’s piano tuner and supplier. It now serves quality coffees, food and refreshments in a stylish setting with free WIFI.

Sunrise at Appley Tower, Ryde on the Isle of Wight

2. Appley to Seagrove Bay

For a flatter coastal walk, try the 3 mile stretch which runs from Appley in Ryde through to Seagrove Bay, just east of the village of Seaview. From Appley follow the well-established “Garden Walk”, which leads along the sea wall with the luscious green park to your right and the largest expanse of golden sands on the Island to your left.

Beyond Appley you will walk round the exterior of Puckpool Park, hidden amongst which you will find the ruins of a Victorian fortification battery which once guarded the Solent – well worth exploring if you fancy a detour from the coast.

Continue along Duver Road, where you can step onto Springvale Beach, or stick to the easy-going of the protected pathway to the back of the sea wall. At the end of the beach you will reach the pretty village of Seaview. Time for a quick stop at one of the Island’s finest lodges, the Seaview Hotel, where the inviting “Pump Bar” offers a traditional blend of great pub food and ales.

Continue on via the beach at low tide (or detour via the road when it’s higher) to one of the Island’s lesser-known beaches, Seagrove Bay. At the rear of the beach are some of the Isle of Wight’s biggest, and most exclusive seaside properties, and at lower tide the sea recedes to reveal a mass of golden sands.

The Longstone, Isle of Wight landmark

3. The Warrior Trail

The Warrior Trail was created in celebration one of the Isle of Wight’s most famous First World War Stories; that of General Jack Seely and his real-life Warhorse. It is a 6 mile circular route which samples both the rolling hills and heritage coastline, and follows much of the route that Jack Seely once trained Warrior along – including a trip past Brook Bay where Warrior was trained for battle in the surf.

Starting at Mottistone Gardens car park (next to the church and manor house that actor Benedict Cumberbatch chose for his wedding), the route leads up onto the downs, past the Neolithic monument of the Longstone, and grand manor of Brook Hill House (Jack Seely’s former home) before reaching Brook village.

Once you’ve looped around the back of Brook Church to the edge of the village of Hulverstone, there is a great little pub called “The Sun Inn” (also chosen by Mr Cumberbatch for some post wedding drinks the following day) where you can stop off for refreshments.

Continue on to the coast past the old lifeboat station and complete the loop back round along the coast path from Brook Bay. If you fancy bringing a bike and trying the Warrior Trail out, there are alternative route suggestions which tour the nearby villages of Brighstone and Yafford.

Tapnell Trail sign posts on the Isle of Wight

4. The Tapnell Trail

The inland Tapnell Trail leads you on a trip back through festival history, along the site of the Isle of Wight’s 1970 Festival, where a reputed 600,000 revellers turned up for 5 days of music.

Beginning along The Causeway at the end of the Yar Estuary, you turn left and walk over the small river bridge before joining the bridleway opposite Woodland Cottage. You will then work your way across open countryside leading past the back of East Afton Farm.

As you reach Tapnell Farm, a quick wander up the track will take you to The Cow Co – an award-winning restaurant that celebrates the best of beef and dairy (with great vegetarian and vegan options too) along side a farm shop, exhibitions and more. After a quick bite to eat here (make sure you check out the sweeping views of both sides of the Island from the top floor of the restaurant), it’s back onto the trail along to the foot of Afton Down.

Afton Down was the chosen site for the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, so as you walk back along through the fields to rejoin The Causeway, try to imagine 6 times the Island’s population milling about to the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, The Who and The Doors!

The Folly Inn on the Isle of Wight

5. Whippingham to Newport

The small village of Whippingham made many royal ties when Queen Victoria was in residence just up the road at Osborne, and the small church at the start of this walk was redesigned by her husband Prince Albert (the Queen’s personal pew can still be found inside.)

From the church, you follow the path in the direction of the River Medina, and past the popular “sailors stop” the Folly Inn.

Just past the Marina you will see the sizeable remains of the Ryde Queen, a former paddle steamer which operated a ferry service back to the mainland before being moved to her current moorings to operate as a unique nightclub in the 1970s.

Stick to the river along the paths and bridges until you reach Seaclose Park – the current site of  the Isle of Wight Festival. It is a short walk from here along the side of the Quay into Newport, the Island’s capital town.

Sunset at Alum Bay, Isle of Wight

6. Yarmouth to Brighstone

The spectacular 14-mile coastal route from Yarmouth to Brighstone is brimming with landmarks to explore, including the iconic Needles at the most westerly point of the Island. You’ll also get to see breathtaking views over downland and beyond, making this special walking route one to remember. If the full route is too much, you can cut in half-way through to make it shorter and more manageable.

Starting from Yarmouth town centre near the ferry terminal, you cross over Yar Bridge before following the road to the sea wall to the end. Once you reach the coastal path, you’ll follow an old military path through gorgeous woodland from Fort Victoria to Cliff End Battery.

The first landmark is Brambles Chine Holiday Park. From here, it’s a relatively easy walk through signposted track from the holiday complex to Brambles Farm.

Continue on for a few miles and you’ll reach Alum Bay. So called from the alum mining which used to take place here from 1562, it’s now famous for the natural wonder of its coloured cliffs. Follow the meandering path upwards through the wooded cliff to Headon Hill. The route gets a little overgrown between the hill and the cliffs, but you’ll eventually ascend into heather where the paths become more clear.

The route eventually finishes at Brighstone village, where you’ll find an array of independent shops, quaint tea rooms and traditional thatched cottages to enjoy after a hard day’s trek.

Quay Arts in Newport on the Isle of Wight

7. Medina Estuary Walk

The Medina Estuary Walk is a relatively brisk 9-mile circular route that spans the length of the Medina River. The mudflats you’ll come across are crammed with snails, shellfish, shrimps and marine worms, providing food for the local wading birds and waterfowl.

Beginning at the West Cowes floating bridge terminal, you walk up Medina Road before taking the first left into Bridge Road. Continue along the path and take the third left into Pelham Road. Once you reach the first right-hand turn into South Street, turn left into Arctic Road at the top of the road and move onto the old railway line pathway to Newport near the mini roundabout. At this point, you’ll be surrounded by ancient trees and woodland on either side, providing you with a sense of peace and tranquilly as you explore the route.

Along the way, you’ll come across the Quay Arts Centre and the Island Harbour. There’s also the Folly Inn pub located in East Cowes, which serves traditional pub grub and a selection of refreshing drinks. You can stop here for a pit-stop or continue your journey until you reach your final destination of East Cowes.

Bembridge Windmill on the Isle of Wight

8. Bembridge and Culver Downs Wildlife Walk

If you’re looking for a short and relatively easy route that takes you on a tour of some of the Island’s most spectacular wildlife, then look no further than the Bembridge and Culver Downs circular walk. Located on the east side of the Island, the route offers spectacular views of the coast and countryside, winding through the RSPB-protected wetland at Brading Marshes.

Beginning at Bembridge Windmill, you walk downhill to Steyne Wood, a great place to spot the Island’s iconic red squirrels. After continuing up a gentle past a caravan park to Hillwood Road, you’ll eventually reach Whitecliff Bay, where you’ll be rewarded by the most beautiful views.

Along the walk, keep an eye out for the Yarborough Monument and Bembridge Fort – an unrestored Victorian fort set amongst chalk cliffs and open downland.

Once you reach the top of Culver Downs, be sure to spend some time taking in the stunning scenery.