Located just a few miles across the Solent from the New Forest, the Isle of Wight attracts huge numbers of tourists each year, thanks largely to its wealth of natural beauty. While it's home to an embarrassment of inland riches - from quaint villages to rolling hills - it's the coastline for which the Isle of Wight is most famous. The Classic Boat Museum in Cowes tells a story of the town's maritime past, fascinating stuff for anyone staying in the nearby hotels.
The Classic Boat Museum
The Classic Boat Museum straddles two sites in east Cowes. Opened to the public in 1996, the working museum encourages visitors to engage with ongoing restoration projects, which change throughout the year.
In addition to real-time projects, the award-winning museum also houses an impressive collection of photos and films, as well as models, books, artefacts and, of course, more than 40 boats. Highlights include the Airborne Lifeboat, which was a pioneering piece of design which helped Air and Sea Rescue teams for years in the 1940s.
Wander into Cowes
The centre of Cowes can be reached via the regular chain ferry, which takes visitors across the River Medina. The lively town holds a strong maritime identity, with boats of all shapes and sizes decorating the river's route down to the Solent. Take a stroll down the pedestrianised high street, which offers a plethora of quaint cafés and independent shops. On the town's northern edge, visitors are afforded a stunning view out to the mainland across the Solent.
Hotels in Cowes
Cowes is such a popular place to stay, it's hardly surprising that it houses some of the finest guest houses and hotels on the Isle of Wight.
Mimosa Lodge and Villa Rothsay Hotel are both located in the North of Cowes, just a stone's throw from the beautiful coastline. Further to the east, the town offers a number of guesthouses, all of which give views out over the River Medina, towards East Cowes, where the Classic Boat Museum lies. From East Cowes, it's possible to walk south, towards Newport. Walkers will find a number of pretty spots along the river to enjoy a bite to eat.