Ryde is one of the Isle of Wight's main gateways and the largest town on the island, accessible via fast catamaran and hovercraft services from Portsmouth and Southsea. With plenty of family attractions on offer and six miles of sandy beach space, Ryde is a great base for a family holiday on the Isle of Wight. Central attractions include an ice rink, the marina and a bowling green. Families will adore Peter Pan's funfair on the seafront and one of the island's most popular attractions - The Waltzing Waters, a unique display of tons of illuminated water in the colours of the rainbow shooting up on stage with musical accompaniment. The Waltzing Waters theatre is just south of Ryde along the A3055. Other popular attractions around the town include the historic Quarr Abbey, Rosemary Vineyard and Sharon Orchard where you'll find plenty of cider samples to try.
Ryde has one of the best beaches on the island offering six miles of golden sands flanked by pretty gardens and a feature folly. Lifeguards patrol the beach in summer and the shallow waters make it a popular family friendly beach not far from catamaran and hovercraft landing points - ideal for daytrippers. At low tide a large area of sand is exposed which is perfect for beach games and strolls. Beachside attractions include a canoe lake, paddling pool and a swimming pool with a retractable roof.
Ryde Carnival which takes place across August each year is believed to be the oldest carnival in Britain and originates from Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1887. The event attracts floats from all over the island and features a Main Carnival, a Children's Carnival and an Illuminated Carnival. The Ryde Carnival is the ultimate carnival amongst over 20 carnivals staged in towns and villages elsewhere on the island.
Wightlink run a Fastcat service to Ryde from Portsmouth. It takes foot passengers only. Services run all year round with a journey time of just 20 minutes. Crossings run very regularly throughout the day making it an easy hop across the Solent. Leaving the port you get some fantastic views of the Portsmouth waterfront and Spinnaker Tower.
Hovertravel run a regular service to Ryde on the east coast of the Isle of Wight. Hovercrafts run at least every half hour with a journey time of just 10 minutes. This is the quickest crossing from the mainland to the Isle of Wight - great for a day trip. It takes foot passengers only, although you can take your bike across free of charge.
Hotels and B&Bs in the town centre offer easy access to the sandy beach and catamaran/ hover travel services. Other accommodation options in the area include family friendly holiday parks, stylish mews style holiday cottages and bungalows, and holiday apartments close to the beach. For a romantic break, you'll find a choice of Scandinavian lodges around the coastal town with onsite swimming pools and leisure facilities. Dog friendly accommodation in Ryde is also easy to find and there are plenty of coastal walks nearby for them to enjoy.