Visitor and tourist information
for East Cowes Isle of Wight
East Cowes is separated from its sister town,
Cowes, by the River Medina. East Cowes is best know for its
industrial heritage and for the fact that Queen Victoria lived at
Osborne House which is a short distance from the centre of the town.
The town is familiar to visitors to the Island as the terminal for
the Southampton car ferry.
The town's industrial heritage is dominated by J.S.White's shipyard
which was originally founded in 1881. Until its closure in 1966 the
company built motor torpedo boats, destroyers and submarines mainly
for the Royal Navy. Upon its closure the shipyard was taken over by
the British Hovercraft Corporation (BHC). At the former White's site
hundreds of Hovercraft, invented by Sir Christopher Cockerell in
1959, were developed and manufactured until the early 1980s. Another
giant of British industrial history, Saunders Roe, built the famous
Columbine Shed in East Cowes in 1935. The company built many sea
planes including the largest ever metal seaplane The Princess. The
Columbine shed is today owned by GKN Aerospace Services which
painted a giant Union Jack on the door in 1977 in order to celebrate
the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
Visitor and tourist
information for East Cowes Isle of Wight
Magnificent countryside retreat of Queen Victoria. Visit the
is is in private ownership and is set in 100 hectares of private
park/farm land plus ancient woodland...
St. Mildred's Church
in the Isle of Wight is surely an outstanding example of this little
group, as a visitor will soon appreciate.....
Places to go in East Cowes
List of places to go in and around Newport on the Isle of Wight...
The chain ferry floating bridge is one of only a handful of such
operational vessels in the UK. The bridge is the only direct link
between East and West Cowes (which saves a drive to Newport) and has
been run by the Isle of Wight Council since 1901. The first steam
driven floating bridge was introduced in 1859.
Osborne House was designed by Prince Albert, the Queen's Consort,
and built by Thomas Cubitt in 1845-48 as a retreat and family
residence for Queen Victoria. Osborne House was the Queen's
favourite residence after the death of Prince Albert in 1861 and she
died at the House in 1901. Osborne House, with its two large towers
and balconies reflected Prince Albert's interest in the Italian
architecture of the period. The House was opened to the public in
1904 after Edward VII donated it to the nation. The State and
private apartments used by Queen Victoria are open to the public as
are the newly restored gardens which were opened to the public in
2000. From the House a path leads for half a mile to the Swiss
Cottage which can also be reached by a free pony and trap service.
The Swiss Cottage, a playhouse for the Royal children, was built by
estate carpenters in the style of a Swiss chalet in 1854. Further
details about Osborne House are available from English Heritage.
Norris Castle was designed in the Norman style by James Wyatt in the
late eighteenth century. The building remains a private home. In
1798, the architect John Nash, began building work on his own future
home, East Cowes Castle, where he later entertained the Prince
regent and other prominent guests of the era. East Cowes Castle was
notable for its Gothic towers and turrets and its elaborate
castellation. Nash died in 1835 and was buried in the tower of East
Cowes Church which he also designed. Regrettably the Castle designed
by Nash was demolished during the 1960s, although the Ice House
East Cowes marina has been enlarged and improved by its present
owners, Dean and Reddyhoff, since 1998. The capacity of the marina
is now 150 visitor moorings. East Cowes is also the focus of new
residential and industrial development under the auspices of the
Project Cowes initiative.