The 10 Best Things to Do in Cowes, United Kingdom (UK)

October 31, 2017 Janean Rudisill

Cowes (/kaʊz/) is an English seaport town and civil parish on the Isle of Wight. Cowes is located on the west bank of the estuary of the River Medina, facing the smaller town of East Cowes on the east bank. The two towns are linked by the Cowes Floating Bridge, a chain ferry.
Restaurants in Cowes

1. The Wight Military and Heritage Museum

490 Newport Road, Cowes PO31 8QU, England +44 1983 632039
Excellent
68%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 126 reviews

The Wight Military and Heritage Museum

The Isle of Wight Military and Heritage Museum is operated by and for a registered charity . The charity uses any excess income from that museum to support ex service personal . It is firmly under the control of a board of trustees with a professional management team in place . This will secure the museum as a living memorial to the sacrifices that ordinary people are , all to often , called upon to make when diplomacy fails and armed conflict breaks out . It brings together items of historical interest and is largely staffed by volunteers who are typically ex service people who regularly give guided tours and talks . It has a cafe and the fully licensed Mess Bar in a former barracks building . The museum is not just a store of artifacts, it aims to be a hub for ex-service personnel to meet , share their knowledge and experience and access services tailored to their needs. The museum also provides volunteer posts for others in need . Any surplus income and donations from the museum go towards furthering these aims.

Reviewed By Vivienne L - Isle of Wight, United Kingdom

Visited this attraction with members of the EWPG camera group. It is run by volunteers who are all very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the items that have been displayed. Most of the items are on a permanent loan, and very good mix of the decades. The displays have a brief description of what the items are. There is a street that is the personal collection of 1 of the members which shows all the goods that would have been on sale at the time of the 2nd world war and beyond. There a number of different tanks and other military vehicles to look at. The volunteers are busy painstaking restoring a Bembridge Anti aircraft gun, which will eventually be displayed at Bembridge Fort.
Once you have been round the museum you can refresh yourself in the Churchill cafe which serves a range of light snacks.

2. Cowes Ale House

Shooters Hill, Cowes, England
Excellent
70%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 61 reviews

Cowes Ale House

Reviewed By WelshCariad01 - Swansea, United Kingdom

We just popped into the Alehouse in passing. It was very friendly and when we talked to some customers they told us there would be musicians coming back later to play Irish Music. The Mermaid gin was delicious and the beers were good or so I'm told!
We indeed returned for the music later on after eating out. There were about 10 musicians who meet each Monday and play Irish music. There were fiddles, guitars, recorders, a singer etc and the music was brilliant and contributed to the atmosphere.
Everyone was so friendly and welcoming and this just added to our visit.

3. Sir Max Aitken Museum

83 High Street, Cowes PO31 7AJ, England +44 1983 292191
Excellent
76%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 45 reviews

Sir Max Aitken Museum

Reviewed By 2TravellingEast - Penang Island, Malaysia

This little gem is not always open and staffed by volunteers.Originally a sailmakers loft the main museum space has a number of interesting nautical artifacts and Sir Max's personal trophies from his adventures.
As a Nelson buff a nice collection of Nelson memorabilia .
The main room is set up as a wonderful dining room with huge long table that can be rented out for weddings and meetings.
A wonderful hour hour browse on the High Street with a genuine glimpse of the past.
Donation only for entry

4. Cowes Floating Bridge

37 Medina Road, Cowes PO31 7BX, England +44 1983 293041
Excellent
45%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
15%
Poor
3%
Terrible
14%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 246 reviews

Cowes Floating Bridge

Reviewed By Stueeee - Newport, United Kingdom

This unique crossing saves a round trip of about 11 miles but does seem to make the most of this monopoly. However it is quick,modern and efficiently staffed.
East Cowes centre notably suffers the most from its expensive isolation with little reason to visit save for access to waitrose and destinations further East.

5. The Coast Bar & Dining Room

15 Shooters Hill, Cowes PO31 7BG, England +44 1983 298574
Excellent
53%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
0%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 41 reviews

The Coast Bar & Dining Room

Reviewed By Emma P - Ryde, United Kingdom

Coast never disappoints. Went here for a Sunday breakfast. Really good eggs benedict. Nice coffee, dog friendly, cheerful staff, impromptu cold prosecco. all in all great spot to while away a few hours on a drizzly bank holiday Sunday! Husband felt the full English could've been a bit more generous but nice quality....I think he's just a bit greedy!

6. Northwood Park

Ward Ave | Cowes, Cowes PO31 8AZ, England
Excellent
51%
Good
46%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 26 reviews

Northwood Park

Reviewed By WightStripe - Isle of Wight, United Kingdom

I walk through the Park on most days of the year and still enjoy it. The volunteers work hard to keep it at the standard it is at especially considering in the 60s and early 70s when Council owned there was a whole team employed there. One thing I would really like to see is some form of Seating in the area that used to be the putting green and for it to be a general eating area for all ages not just families. It would be lovely to go there at lunch times and if that one area was dog free area it would be great so that if all the Seating was taken you could still sit on the grass instead.

7. The Anchor

1-3 High Street, Cowes PO31 7SA, England +44 1983 292823
Excellent
27%
Good
62%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 18 reviews

The Anchor

The Anchor is situated in the very heart of Cowes town centre and its bustling International yachting scene. Opposite Cowes Yacht Haven and just a short stroll from the Red Jet ferry terminal, it is an ideal place to relax after a hard day on the water. The Anchor offers excellent food, award winning ales and a warm welcome through the year, with Live Music 3-5 evenings a week.

Reviewed By Airmilesjames - Isle of Wight, United Kingdom

The problem with many "Managed Houses" like this, is the Bar Staff. Kids serving drinks on the minimum wage who can't wait for their shift to finish. The Stable Bar out the back has live Music Friday and Saturday nights and the whole place ends up becoming more like a night club. Its packed !! If thats what you like - Great. Fill your boots. This is THE place to end your evening in Cowes on a Friday or Saturday night. They have a Barbecue outside in the courtyard during the summer, but it tends to get a bit messy by mid afternoon with locals and sailors smashed out of their brains !There are plenty of better places to go in Cowes. Not may worse !

8. Live Like This

42 High Street, Cowes PO31 7RS, England +44 1983 299559
Excellent
84%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 6 reviews

Live Like This

Reviewed By The_Concierge_8 - Trinidad

Just imagine putting all your favourite things into one beautiful, quirky shop and this will be it!
Its name says it all! Live Like this! Everything we wish we can have, should have, desperately want to have! Beautiful décor & furnishings abound – you’d want every single piece for your house!
It’s a lovely place to pick up a special, useable souvenir of your visit to Cowes and the Isle of Wight. They’ve even got ceramics, shoes, jewelry, fabrics and all manner of unique gifts for your best female relatives and friends!
I bought a lovely bottle of locally made perfume, which nine months later, I’m still using and reminds me of my visit to each time I use it!
I also bought some unique cards and stationery as well.
The owners are there and so helpful! There was no pushy selling which I greatly appreciated!
If you’re passing through Cowes, do make sure to pass through this lovely store – if only to browse and dream of living like this!

9. Cowes Maritime Museum

12-14 Beckford Road | Cowes Public Library, Cowes PO31 7SG, England +44 1983 823433
Excellent
50%
Good
50%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 6 reviews

Cowes Maritime Museum

Reviewed By Maggie N - Ventnor, United Kingdom

As soon as you arrive in Cowes town centre, which is close to the waterfront, you become aware of the importance of sailing to the town. In shop window displays you see yachting outfits, you're jostled by hordes of youths emerging from passages leading from the sailing clubs.
But how many people realise the importance of Cowes in the history of ship-building? That men from this area were employed as master shipbuilders to the Tsar of Russia some four centuries ago? And that
in the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century there were two thriving shipyards here, one on either side of the River Medina. They were highly creative industries where flying boats and later hovercraft were invented.
This museum not only tells the histories of shipbuilding, sailing and ferry transport, but it illustrates this information with photographs, paintings, ship models and other artifacts. I found the King's or Armada Chest especially interesting, as it was kept at the Customs House to store monies and valuables collected by HM Customs. The model of the paddle-steamer 'Ryde' caught my attention because I believe this is the same ferry that I have seen abandoned and gradually disintegrating upstream for many years. She was employed from 1937 to 1969 as a cross-Solent ferry. The model is enlivened with a large number of passengers on deck. All the ship models are of a professional standard.
Two prints of watercolours of eighteenth century Cowes also attracted my attention. Thomas Rowlandson is considered to be the most talented illustrator of the English way of life of the late Georgian period. He painted a number of scenes when he travelled to the Isle of Wight. I like the lightness of his touch, using pencil, pen, grey ink and watercolour for greater detail.
This museum is housed in a room at the back of Cowes Public Library and is open during library hours. Entry is free and there are associated activities for young children. The library is currently open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 to 5, but closed for an hour at lunchtime, and on Saturdays from 10 to 4.30. It is close to the town centre.
The library also houses the Isle of Wight's collection of books, journals, newspaper cuttings etc on local maritime industries.

10. The Fountain Inn

High Street, Cowes PO31 7AW, England +44 1983 292397
Excellent
44%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
14%
Terrible
7%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 14 reviews

The Fountain Inn

Reviewed By Linda S - Isle of Wight, United Kingdom

We used to live on Cowes so know the Fountain very well, but the first time we have stayed there. Very friendly staff, very obliging. We booked the superior double room, Room 1, overlooking the street, but worth every penny to pay the extra, it...MoreI'm really glad you have enjoyed your stay with us, we hope to welcome you back soon.

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