Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours


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Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight coast
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Highlights

  • The white cliffs and panoramic views from Tennyson Down
  • The colourful variegated cliffs at Alum Bay
  • Stunning, unspoilt coastlines at Shanklin, Sandown and Freshwater Bay
  • Prehistoric fossils and rock formations

With over half of the island designated as an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty, almost 30 miles of heritage coast and an abundance of sunshine make the Isle of Wight a very appealing and welcoming destination in Britain. Add to this the wonderful 67 mile coastal path circumnavigating the island and you have a walker's paradise just waiting to be explored.

Starting in the historic town of Ryde and following the coast in an anti clockwise direction prepare to splendour in the delights the Isle of Wight has to offer. The unspoilt landscape has so much to offer, you can visit the blue flag beaches at Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor and wander through the charming towns of Cowes and Yarmouth. Escape into the wide open spaces of Tennyson Down, watch the wildlife of the West Wight and Bembridge, and wonder at the natural beauty of the estuaries in the north and the rolling downs running south to the sea.

Our Isle of Wight walking holiday features hand-picked overnight accommodation in high quality B&B’s, country inns, small hotels and guesthouses. Each is unique and offers the highest levels of welcome, atmosphere and outstanding local cuisine. We also include daily door to door baggage transfers, a guide book and pre-departure information pack as well as emergency support, should you need it.

Below you will find a brief description of the entire coastal trail broken down into the main sections of the walk.


Starting Point: Ryde

Ryde is located on the East coast of the Isle of Wight and is serviced by regular transport from Portsmouth (South England). You can catch a high speed passenger catamaran (Wightlink) which connects with railway stations at either end in less than 22 mins.


Direct mainline train connections run from Portsmouth to London Waterloo (1.5 - 2 hrs), Brighton (1.5hrs), Bristol (2.5 hrs) and Southampton (1hr) frequently. If you are planning to drive to Portsmouth then you can leave your car at the port in the longstay multi story car park for a charge. You can also catch the superfast hovercraft (Hovertravel) service from Southsea to Ryde in just 10 mins. 


Ryde itself boasts wide beaches with shallow waters and a beautiful Victorian Pier. Ryde is the gateway to the Island, a busy seaside town full of life.


Ryde to Cowes - 8 Miles

Leaving Ryde you pass the church at Binstead, where since Norman times there has been a place of worship. Strolling through woodland you reach the ruins of the original Quarr Abbey before the latest incarnation a little further along the trail. Crossing Wootton Creek you enter Wootton and minor roads take you into small copses and onto Osborn house which is worthy of a slight diversion. After East Cowes, you cross the floating bridge and into the historic town of Cowes.


Cowes to Yarmouth - 16 Miles

This section of the walk is long and heads inland around the Newtown river estuary passing cliff tops and through small villages and woodland. From Cowes follow the promenade, rounding Egypt Point, along the sea wall out of town and onto the cliff top path to Gurnard Head. Dropping into Thorness Bay you have a beach at your disposal. Next you head inland over fields to Newtown Estuary and Shalfleet Mill. Heading back towards the coast you pass Hamstead Quay before Hamstead Ledge. The path runs through fields and a copse, finally hitting the cliff at Bouldnor and a shingle beach that runs into Yarmouth.


Yarmouth to Brighstone - 13.5 Miles

A wonderful section of the walk passing pinnacles of chalk that mark the western end of the Island—the Needles. This section is now remote with dramatic coastal views. After Yarmouth you pass Fort Victoria before reaching Colwell Bay, followed by Totland Bay. You climb gradually to Healdon Hill and then descent to Alum Bay, where a refreshment break will be well earned. Next you ascend the white cliffs towards the iconic Needles - a slight detour takes you to a scenic viewpoint. Back on the trail, you are now walking along the edge of Tennyson Down. The views here are magnificent and time should be taken to savour every minute. Freshwater Bay and its quiet beach follows as you head along the coast following many smaller bays until you reach the turn off for Brighstone village.


Brighstone to Shanklin - 16 Miles

A quick paddle before continuing onto the cliff path, crossing several Chines (steep gullies) with superb sea views along this one time smugglers coast. After Whale Chine you see the quirky 14th century Pepper Pot on Niton Down, built as a penance from the Pope for the ‘misappropriation’ of wine from a shipwreck. Traversing above the undercliff to St Lawrence you rejoin the cliff path that takes you to charming Ventnor. After spending time at Ventnor, its Botanical gardens and strolling along the seafront to nearby Bonchurch you ascend over Luccombe cliffs, hugging the coastline to Shanklin.


Shanklin to Ryde - 13.5 Miles

This section starts by walking alongside the sandy beaches of Shanklin and Sandown with their Victorian promenades. You then skirt Culver Cliff, White Cliff and onto Bembridge where wildlife abounds in the wetlands reserve. After Bembridge Harbour the path returns to the coastline and meanders up through the villages of St Helens and Seaview before finally returning to Ryde.


 Additional nights in Ryde or indeed other places on the island are highly recommended. With the extensive network of paths and bridleways that cross the island you have opportunities to discover more of the countryside.


You can leave Ryde the same way you came and connect on to Rail or Bus links which serve the UK, nearby airports or cities. From Portsmouth, where you will disembark your ferry, London is only 2 hours away by train.

Accommodation

One of the highlights of this tour is the high standard of the accommodation.


We specifically choose the Inns, Guesthouses and B&B’s to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food.


We always try and book your accommodation as close as possible to the line of the trail. Occasionally a short transfer may be required and this is always included in the price of your holiday.


Single Rooms

If you require single rooms we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.


Solo Walkers

We welcome solo walkers on the coast path, although you should of course take extra care in the outdoors when walking solo. A supplement will apply to baggage transfers.


Meals

A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Most accommodations are more than happy to provide a packed lunch - this can be booked on arrival. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs or restaurants.



 

 

 



Sorrento Lodge - Ryde



Sorrento Lodge - Ryde

Sue & Gary offer a warm welcome at Sorrento Lodge Bed & Breakfast. The outlook from Sorrento Lodge is simply stunning, with fantastic views out over the Solent.


 

 

 


 

 

 




105 Park Road - Cowes

105 is a beautiful Victorian House, close to the heart of Cowes town centre.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Ivy Cottage - Yarmouth

Veronica & Brian offer a warm, welcome to Ivy Cottage, set in the heart of the charming town of Yarmouth.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Braewood - Freshwater Bay

Braewood offers comfortable and immaculate accommodation with extremely comfortable beds and a warm welcome.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Chale Bay Farm - Chale

Chale Bay Farm is a beautiful and individual guesthouse nestled among rolling fields with stunning views on the south-west of the Isle of Wight.


 

 

 


 

 

 




The Belmont - Shanklin

Once a grand Victorian house, and established as a hotel early in the last century.


 

 

 


 

 

 



The Belmore - Sandown



The Belmore - Sandown

The Belmore guarantee you excellent quality en-suite rooms, impeccable service and a hearty breakfast made from all Island produce.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Levante - Ryde

Levante offers comfortable bed and breakfast in the heart of Ryde.


 

 

 

Baggage Transfer

Baggage Transfer is included in your holiday and your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary.  We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 15kg per person.


Walking Direction

Our itineraries follow an anti-clockwise direction, as this is the preferred route for baggage transfer services.


Additional Nights and Extensions

Many of our clients choose to add extra nights along the walk to sample more of the wonderful walking and attractions available on the island. Yarmouth, Freshwater Bay, Chale, Ventnor and Sandown are great choices for extra days.  These pleasant and uncrowded villages and towns often feature additional day walks, wildlife opportunities or great beaches that can easily soak up a day!


Ryde and Cowes can offer attractive extensions and you shouldn’t forget Newport in the centre of the Island – ideal for additional day walks and visiting the historic and imposing Carisbrooke Castle.


Birders may want to take advantage of the isolation of the island which has preserved areas like the Medina Estuary between Ryde and Cowes, the Newtown Estuary north of Yarmouth, The Yar Estuary south of Yarmouth, and the wetlands at Bembridge—all prime spots to observe the wealth of wildlife on the island.


Grade

This holiday is graded from Easy through to Moderate/Strenuous, depending on the itinerary you choose.  The route is a mixture of paths, tracks and minor roads.Some of the path sections can be steep as you traverse the cliffs—however no single ascent is deemed difficult.


Navigation

The route is way marked extensively and clearly.  Usually with wooden posts with 'Coastal Path' noted on them. We also provide detailed maps and route notes you will also have access to the Macs Adventure Smartphone App enabling you to follow the route using your phone's GPS so you will have no problems finding the way.


Accommodation

One of the highlights of this tour is the high standard of the accommodation.


We specifically choose the Inns, Guesthouses and B&B’s to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food.


We always try and book your accommodation as close as possible to the line of the trail. Occasionally a short transfer may be required and this is always included in the price of your holiday.


Single Rooms

If you require single rooms we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.


Solo Walkers

We welcome solo walkers on the coast path, although you should of course take extra care in the outdoors when walking solo. A supplement will apply to baggage transfers.


Meals

A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Most accommodations are more than happy to provide a packed lunch - this can be booked on arrival. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs or restaurants.


Equipment

Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.


Dogs

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers do not accept pets.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascent / descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all neccessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants) sunhat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking shoes or boots, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for the summer months, and a day pack.


Getting to/from Ryde

By Air—The closest airports to Portsmouth/Southsea (for ferries) are Bournemouth and Southampton. Slightly further afield you have London Gatwick, with many international connections.


By Rail—Portsmouth is on the main train line and takes approx 2hrs from London, 1.5hrs from Brighton and from Bristol its 2.5hrs.


By Car—the M27 spur runs off the M3 directly into the heart of Portsmouth, making driving an option.


You can save money and reduce the impact of tourism on the island by leaving your car in Portsmouth and catching a passenger ferry.  You can leave your car in the multistory car park for a nominal fee.


By Sea—Passenger ferries run from Portsmouth (crossing time 22 mins). Hovercrafts run from nearby Southsea (an incredible short crossing time of only 10 minutes)


If you need to take a car you should catch a ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourn, followed by a short drive to Ryde.


A good source of reference for travel details is the travel line website: www.traveline.org.uk  

Included

  • Bed and breakfast accommodation in ensuite rooms wherever possible.
  • Door to door baggage transfer.
  • A detailed info pack and guidebook.
  • Emergency telephone support from our office in the event of a problem

Excluded

  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
  • Travel Insurance
  • Transport should you need to skip a stage
  • Transport to the start and from the end of the walk.

Extras

  • Single room supplement - If you require a single room in your party there is a single room supplement payable for each single room required.
  • Extra nights - You can of add extra nights anywhere along the way.

We are often asked the following questions and we hope that you will find the answers useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more advice on the walk.

How fit do I need to be?

We offer a range of itineraries with differing daily distances so you can find an itinerary that suits your preferred level of activity. If you currently don’t enjoy an active lifestyle we suggest regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardio vascular exercise prior to your walk. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the Isle of Wight is extremely popular especially over April/May and July/August. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans. 

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.

When is the best time of year?

The Isle of Wight offers longer sunnier days than most places in the British Isles. Of course the tendency for rain or cooler weather still exists.  We operate the walk from late March to late October.

Am I able to take my dog?

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop. In some cases the baggage transfer service that takes your bags on to your next accommodation may be able to assist. Our office can assist with helpful advice should you need to arrange transport for yourself or anyone in your party.

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