Ryde Best Things To Do
Ryde, a charming seaside town located on the Isle of Wight’s north-east coast, offers a delightful array of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re planning a day trip or an extended stay, Ryde has something for everyone. From beautiful beaches to historic landmarks, outdoor adventures to shopping and dining, this vibrant town promises a memorable experience. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best things to do in Ryde, ensuring that your visit is filled with excitement and enjoyment.
Ryde Beach: Soak Up the Sun and Fun
Ryde Beach, stretching over a mile from the Hoverport to Puckpool Head, is the perfect destination for a day of sun-soaked relaxation and family fun. The beach boasts pristine golden sands, gentle currents, and stunning views of the Solent. Lifeguards are present during the summer months, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all. Children will love the amusement arcade, permanent funfair, and play area, while adults can unwind at the open-air pool or one of the many cafes and restaurants along the waterfront. Don’t forget to rent a deckchair and watch the sailboats glide across the Solent on a sunny afternoon. At low tide, you’ll be amazed by the vast expanse of sand and might even spot boats stranded on the sandbanks. Ryde Beach is a must-visit attraction for beach lovers and families seeking a day of seaside enjoyment.
Quarr Abbey: A Tranquil Retreat
Situated between Ryde and Fishbourne, Quarr Abbey offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. This working Benedictine abbey, founded in 1132 and later moved to its current location in the early 20th century, is a fascinating blend of history, spirituality, and architectural beauty. Explore the ruins of the medieval Cistercian monastery, which include the infirmary chapel, refectory, kitchen, dormitory, and wood store. Marvel at the striking architecture of the modern abbey buildings, characterized by a blend of French Gothic, Moorish, and Byzantine styles. Don’t miss the visitor centre, art gallery, and farm shop, where you can purchase products made by the monks, including ale, cider, juices, fruits, and vegetables. Quarr Abbey is a haven of tranquillity and an opportunity to immerse yourself in history and spirituality.
Appley Beach: A Hidden Gem
Just a short distance from Ryde Beach, Appley Beach offers a quieter and more secluded retreat. As you stroll along the paved Garden Walk, you’ll discover a picturesque coastline with golden sands, calm waters, and breathtaking views. Appley Park, with its wooded hillside and neo-Gothic tower, provides a stunning backdrop for a leisurely walk or a picnic. At the west end of the beach, you’ll find the Appley Beach Cafe, where you can enjoy a refreshing drink or a delicious meal while taking in panoramic views of the Solent and Portsmouth. Whether you’re seeking solitude or a peaceful spot for a family outing, Appley Beach is the perfect destination.
Goodleaf Tree Climbing: Reach New Heights
For a unique and exhilarating experience, head to Appley Park and embark on a tree-climbing adventure with Goodleaf Tree Climbing. Ascend a mature oak tree under the guidance of experienced instructors, who will provide you with helmets, harnesses, and climbing tuition. Scale the heights of the canopy, relax on sturdy branches, or even try out a tree-top hammock. Goodleaf Tree Climbing offers a thrilling and immersive experience in nature, allowing you to reconnect with the outdoors and challenge yourself in a safe and controlled environment. After your climb, unwind with a cup of tea and a homemade flapjack, and revel in the sense of accomplishment and tranquillity.
Isle of Wight Bus Museum: Step Back in Time
Step into the past at the Isle of Wight Bus Museum, located in the old Southern Vectis bus depot on Park Road. This unique museum houses a collection of over 20 buses dating back almost a century, offering a fascinating insight into the island’s transportation history. Admire the oldest bus in the collection, a 1927 Daimler CK with a Dodson body, as well as a beautifully restored 20-seater Dennis Ace from 1934. Explore the double-decker tourist buses from the 1930s and 1940s, and marvel at the open rear platform Paris bus from the same era. The Isle of Wight Bus Museum provides a nostalgic journey through time and a chance to appreciate the island’s rich heritage.
Royal Victoria Arcade: A Shopper’s Paradise
Indulge in some retail therapy at the Royal Victoria Arcade, a historic shopping destination on Union Street. Built in 1836 and adorned with Queen Victoria’s royal arms, this Grade II* listed arcade is an architectural gem. Explore the diverse range of shops and boutiques, offering everything from unique gifts and fashion to antiques and collectibles. Visit the museum dedicated to postcards, and marvel at the rotunda’s exquisite leaded glass oculus. Don’t miss the basement of the arcade, home to the Historic Ryde Society and a preserved ice well from the 1830s. The Royal Victoria Arcade is a shopper’s paradise, where you can discover hidden treasures and experience the charm of a bygone era.
Isle of Wight Coastal Footpath: A Scenic Hiking Adventure
Embark on a breathtaking hiking experience along the Isle of Wight Coastal Footpath, which passes through Ryde. This well-marked trail stretches for 70 miles along the island’s coastline, offering awe-inspiring views and opportunities to explore its natural beauty. Take a day hike from Ryde to Sandown, enjoying majestic vistas of Sandown Bay and the Solent from Culver Down. Along the way, you’ll encounter charming coastal villages, picturesque beaches, and idyllic countryside. Make use of public transport options to customize your hike and explore different sections of the trail. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply seeking a leisurely walk with stunning scenery, the Isle of Wight Coastal Footpath is a must-visit attraction.
Puckpool Park: Fun for the Whole Family
Continue your adventure beyond Appley Beach and discover Puckpool Park, a delightful green oasis with something for everyone. This peaceful park is home to the Puckpool Battery, a historic fort built in the mid-1860s as part of Britain’s coastal defense system. Explore the fort’s well-preserved structures and learn about its fascinating history.
Enjoy the park’s cleverly designed play area, putting green, and 12-hole crazy golf course. Indulge in refreshments at the cafe housed in the old barracks building, or relax on the sheltered beach to the east of the headland. To reach Puckpool Park, hop on the road train that runs from Ryde’s Esplanade, adding an extra touch of excitement to your day.
Ryde Pier: A Historic Landmark
No visit to Ryde would be complete without a stroll along Ryde Pier, one of the town’s most iconic landmarks. Built in the early 19th century, Ryde Pier served as a crucial transportation link for upper-class tourists visiting the Isle of Wight. Take a leisurely walk along the pier, which stretches for an impressive 681 meters. Marvel at its historic structure and enjoy the refreshing sea air as you gaze out over the Solent. Ryde Pier is the second-longest seaside pier in the country, and although its primary function is as a road and rail link, it remains a popular spot for visitors seeking a taste of history and a scenic stroll.
Appley Park: Nature’s Playground
Nestled behind Appley Beach lies Appley Park, a picturesque green space that offers a blend of natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Formerly the grounds of a country house, the park boasts a fascinating Gothic Revival folly known as Appley Tower. Built in 1875, this tower features an oriel window that offers breathtaking views of the sea and has served as a seamark for sailors for generations. Explore the park’s winding trails and discover its children’s playground and specimen trees, some of which date back to the 19th century. Appley Park is also the base for Goodleaf Tree Climbing, where you can challenge yourself to reach new heights and enjoy a unique perspective of nature.
Rosemary Vineyard: A Taste of the Isle of Wight
Located on the south-facing slopes just outside Ryde, Rosemary Vineyard offers a delightful opportunity to sample the Isle of Wight’s finest wines and produce. This vineyard cultivates a variety of cool-climate grapes, resulting in a range of whites, reds, roses, and sparkling wines. In addition to wines, Rosemary Vineyard produces cider, liqueurs, and fruit juices, all made from locally sourced ingredients. Take a guided tour of the winery, where you’ll learn about the vine-to-wine process and have the chance to taste a selection of their finest products. Children can enjoy non-alcoholic fruit juices, ensuring a family-friendly experience. A visit to Rosemary Vineyard is a true sensory delight and a celebration of the island’s rich agricultural heritage.
Haven Falconry: A Bird’s Eye View
Nestled in the countryside near Havenstreet, Haven Falconry is a haven for bird lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. This birds of prey centre offers an array of experiences, from falconry demonstrations to “hawk walks” and owl handling sessions. Immerse yourself in the ancient art of falconry as you learn about the different hunting habits, physical traits, and behaviours of these magnificent creatures. For a deeper dive into falconry, consider shadowing a professional falconer for a day, gaining firsthand knowledge of flying and caring for these majestic birds. Haven Falconry provides a unique opportunity to connect with nature and discover the fascinating world of birds of prey.
All Saints’ Church: Architectural Splendour
All Saints’ Church, often referred to as the Isle of Wight’s cathedral, is a striking neo-Gothic landmark that dominates the Ryde skyline. Designed by renowned architect George Gilbert Scott in the 1860s, this ornate church showcases exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail. Admire the pulpit made from Derbyshire alabaster, which won first prize at the Crystal Palace during the Great Exhibition. Marvel at the frescoes painted by the Clayton and Bell workshop, and appreciate the original stained-glass windows that have survived the test of time. All Saints’ Church is a testament to Ryde’s rich architectural heritage and a must-visit for history and art enthusiasts.
Peter Pan Funfair: Endless Fun for Children
Located on the Esplanade, just moments from Ryde’s ferry terminal, Peter Pan Funfair offers a world of excitement and entertainment for children of all ages. From carousels and bumper cars to cups & saucers and a thrilling slide, this permanent funfair promises laughter and joy. Let your little ones immerse themselves in the classic charm of old-fashioned fairground amusements, from claw machines to coin pushers. Take a break from the rides and challenge your family to a game of mini-golf on the crazy golf course. Peter Pan Funfair is the perfect destination for families seeking a day of laughter, thrills, and unforgettable memories.
Hovertravel: A Unique Mode of Transportation
Finally, no visit to Ryde would be complete without experiencing the thrill of Hovertravel, the world’s only year-round hovercraft service. Departing from Southsea in Portsmouth, this remarkable mode of transportation offers a swift and exhilarating journey across the Solent, taking just ten minutes. Glide above the water in a Griffon 12000TD hovercraft, enjoying stunning views of the coastline. Hovertravel is not only a functional means of travel but also a unique experience that adds an extra touch of adventure to your day out in Ryde.
Ryde, with its beautiful beaches, historic landmarks, and vibrant atmosphere, offers an array of activities and attractions that cater to all interests and ages. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural experiences, this charming seaside town has it all. From sun-soaked beach days to tree-climbing escapades, from shopping excursions to falconry adventures, Ryde promises a day out filled with unforgettable memories. So, pack your bags, hop on the hovercraft or catamaran, and embark on an incredible journey to discover the best things to do in Ryde.