Ryde SeafrontKnown as the Gateway to the Island because it is so easy to reach, Ryde is just a short sea crossing from Portsmouth or Southsea. With the construction of the pier, in 1814, and the establishment of a regular ferry service in 1825, the town became an elegant Victorian seaside resort.

Ryde's main attraction is its miles of glorious golden sand and shallow coastal waters that extend all the way around the coast to Springvale and Seaview. The tide goes out a long way, leaving firm sand ideal for beach games. The Esplanade has a marina, beautiful gardens and activities for all the family, such as bowling green, children's amusement park, ice rink, tenpin bowling, nightclub, boating lake, swimming pool with retractable roof and the dotto train. Stroll along the sea wall to Puckpool Park, with café, tennis and children's play park.

Appley Park has pitch and putt and the Victorian landmark Appley Tower. A plaque on the sea wall commemorates the epic voyage of The First Fleet, which anchored off the Mother Bank, just offshore, before setting sail for Australia's Botany Bay in 1787.

Regattas have attracted crowds to Ryde for around 150 years. The town's first carnival was held in 1874 and except for some war years it has been held ever since, traditionally at the end of August, the Island's last carnival of the season. In 2001, as part of the Ryde Arts Festival the carnival will be held over two weeks, from 31st August to 16th September.

Union Street and the long High Street beyond are packed with interesting shops, pubs and restaurants Collectors will be fascinated by the many antique and bric-a-brac shops in the Upper High Street and the Victoria Arcade in Union Street, with its tiny boutiques, curio shops, cafe and cellar flea market.

Development to the west of Ryde has spread to engulf Binstead and Wootton, villages mentioned in the Domesday Book. Wootton Bridge was originally a causeway built for the monks of Quarr. On the east side of the creek is the Fishbourne car ferry terminus. To the east of Ryde are the villages of Seaview, Nettlestone, St. Helens and Bembridge. Sailing is the main summer activity of Seaview and Bembridge, whilst St. Helens has its Village Green, where sports and carnivals are held. The island's only surviving windmill is at Bembridge.

See also:

Puckpool Park   Puckpool Park
18 hole Putting green, 15 hole crazy golf, Two tennis courts and three bowling greens. Hop on...
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Appley Park   Appley Park
A place for young children to wear themselves out whilst you soak in...
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Places to go in Ryde   Places to go in Ryde
List of places to go in and around Ryde on the Isle of Wight...
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