Escape the grind with this scenic coastal walk around England's largest island.
Tired of all the hustle and bustle of city life? Here’s a better alternative: Dust off your hiking boots and hop on a ferry to the Isle of Wight! This hidden gem is as dramatic and wild on the coasts as it is quaint and bustling in the small villages and towns peppered across the landscape.
The Coastal Path covers about 107 kilometres and is chock full of secluded beaches, impressive seaside cliffs, historic monuments, and more. Not to mention, numerous nature reserves make it a unique place for exploring diverse plant species and wildlife, so there’s a bit of something for everyone. The island was even designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1963, and two of its coasts were recognized as Heritage Coasts for their unspoilt natural beauty. The journey from London to Portsmouth, where you can catch a ferry to Ryde, is around two hours, so this is the perfect island getaway that isn’t actually so far away!
If you’re super keen and on the hunt for a real workout, you can hike the coast in about 4 days, but if you’re more into sauntering around the island, poking around in the smaller villages, and soaking in the views, the official Isle of Wight Tourism website recommends spreading it out over 6 days. We've broken it up into 7 days with distances ranging from 12 to 20 km per day.
Start off by warming up your legs with a gentle 13.8-km walk from Ryde to Cowes, where you’ll pass through two historic towns, stroll past abbey ruins, a former royal residence, and a modern-day vineyard.
Overall, the Coastal Path is relatively gentle with undulating hills except for the southern coast where it traverses the downs and a couple short steep climbs and descents on both sides of Chimes. End your walk by returning to Ryde, Isle of Wight’s largest town, where Union Street and Ryde High showcase a range of international cuisines and proper English pubs to celebrate the end of your journey.