This seaside resort is full of quirky features, including the railway, which runs all the way to the end of the pier, from where you can catch a catamaran to Portsmouth. One of the world’s few remaining commercial hovercraft routes also operates from here, with a journey time of just 10 minutes to Southsea. There is also a swimming pool, ice rink, bowling alley, and boating lake along the long esplanade, with boutique shops, museums and galleries further inland.
All about Ryde
The beautiful seaside resort of Ryde is the largest town on the Isle of Wight. Its hovercraft and passenger ferry links have earnt it the title ‘Gateway to the Island’, but Ryde is far more than just a throughway. Boasting amazing beaches and fantastic family attractions, there’s much to see here – it’s certainly worth a visit.
In this guide, we highlight the town’s top attractions, places to eat and events to take part in, so you can plan your next visit accordingly.
Things to do in Ryde
No matter how old or young you are, you won’t be bored whilst in Ryde. Here are three of the town’s most popular attractions.
No trip to Ryde is complete without visiting its famous sandy beach. The miles and miles of shoreline are perfect for enjoying long walks on, building sandcastles with the kids and sunbathing the day away. If you’re into watersports, head to the east end of the beach, where you can try your hand at kitesurfing.
Ryde beach also has incredible views. Hire a deckchair and gaze out towards Portsmouth – on a clear day you can see the Spinnaker Tower! There are also two 19th century Solent defence forts standing proudly in the middle of the sea.
When the weather isn’t quite so nice, we recommend booking tickets to the amazing Waltzing Watersshow. The creators claim it’s the world’s most elaborate water, light and music show. It’s certainly impressive, and will captivate children of all ages. After the show, why not visit the café and gift shop?
Covering 30 acres of land, Rosemary Vineyard is one of the largest producers of wine in England. Don’t fear if you’re not a fan of the red and white stuff though – they also create their own apple juice, cider, vodka, gin and fruity liqueurs. No matter what your tipple is, you’ll find something that takes your fancy here.
Visit the vineyard on a Saturday, Sunday, Monday or Tuesday and you’ll be treated to a free 30-minute tour! Once you’ve seen how the wine is made (and maybe even had a little taste), you can stock up on bottles in the store. You can also stop by the café and enjoy a hot meal and a glass of cold cider – an ideal way to spend any afternoon.
Where to eat in Ryde
Whatever sort of food you’re into, you’re bound to find somewhere that tickles your taste buds when in Ryde. Here are some of the best and most popular restaurants in the area.
Ada Mediterranean Kitchen
Boasting a selection of pizzas, pastas and hot and cold mezzes, there’s something for even the fussiest of eaters here – you really are spoilt for choice! The prices are reasonable too, so you don’t have to worry about blowing all of the holiday money.
To top it off, the staff are welcoming and friendly; whether you’re popping in for a quick bite to eat at lunch or enjoying a family dinner, you’ll feel right at home at Ada Mediterranean.
The White Hart Inn
If you’d prefer traditional pub fare to Mediterranean food, the White Hart Inn is an excellent choice. It’s so popular that you’ll need to book a table in advance, and it’s easy to see why. All the food here is made fresh every day and if you have particular dietary requirements, the pub does its best to accommodate them, as there are menus to suit gluten-free diets and vegetarians.
A firm favourite with chocoholics, Chocolate Apothecary is a café serving a wide selection of sweet treats, from biscuits and handmade chocolates, to incredible cakes and more. The rich hot chocolates created here are not to be missed, but if you’d rather have something a little less sweet to enjoy with your slice of cake, the coffee and organic teas are great too.
Unmissable events in Ryde
There are some great events that take place in Ryde each year – we really do recommend planning your trip around them!
Ryde Illuminated Carnival
Ryde hosts several carnivals, but this is one of the biggest and best. In fact, the Illuminated Carnival marks the end of the carnival season in September. It’s a fantastic event with a great atmosphere – the whole family will love it.
ARRguably one of the best events of the island, Shipwreck Isle is a two-day pirate-filled event which takes place on the beautiful Appley Beach. It’s free to attend and we highly recommend dressing up as your favourite salty dog. The kids will love meeting (several) authentic-looking Captain Jack Sparrows, watching the pirate fights and taking part in the various games and activities.
How to get to Ryde
While you may well enter the island via Ryde, you might still need directions on how to reach the town from our various holidays parks.
From Rookley Country Park
Ryde is a just a 20-minute car ride away from Rookley Country Park, so you should have no trouble finding your way there.
Start by travelling down the main road/A3020 in a south-west direction. Next, turn left onto Merstone Lane, then right onto Crouchers Cross and continue down the A3056.
Turn left onto Downend Road and continue onto Ashey Road. At Swanmore Road, turn right and take a slight left onto West Street. Finally, take the right onto Lind Street/A3054 and follow it until you reach the town centre.
From Colwell Bay
This park is a little further away, as it takes around 40 minutes to drive to Ryde from here.
Start by taking Monks Lane to Colwell Road/A3054 in Norton Green. Continue on this A road until you reach a roundabout, at which you should take the third exit onto Medina Way/A3020. At the following roundabout, take the first exit onto Fairlee Road/A3054.
Next, turn right onto Staples Road then left onto Long Lane. At the roundabout, take the third exit onto Downs Road and continue onto Ashey Road. You’ll then want to take a right onto Swanmore Road, then left onto West Street. Turn left right at Lind Street/A3054 and continue on until you reach Ryde.
Parking in Ryde
Parking is not a problem in Ryde, as there are several car parks scattered around the town. If you’re only paying a flying visit to Ryde and will be parked for five hours or less, use the short stay car park on Victoria Street.
If you need to stay longer, here is the list of long stay car parks:
St Thomas Street upper/lower
If you’re planning to visit places other than Ryde during your holiday to the Isle of Wight, we recommend you check out our other guides. For any advice on Isle of Wight holidays, please get in touch – we’re happy to help any way we can!