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Dog Friendly Isle of Wight

In under 3 hours, London pups can get to the Isle of Wight and explore everything the beautiful island has to offer.

There are so many wonderful walks and beaches and fun things to do with your pooch. We visited in September and here's some of the great places we found.

Getting there:

Getting to the Isle of Wight from London is so easy.
By Train: South Western Railway run services from Waterloo direct to the Wightlink Ferry Terminal in Lymington, then the crossing to Yarmouth is just 30 minutes which is the shortest crossing.
You can also get trains direct to Portsmouth and Southampton direct from London which have ferry links to Ryde and Cowes respectively.
Once on the island, South Western Railway also run the Island Line which operates between Ryde Pier and Shanklin and there are good bus services covering the whole island.
By Car: if like me, you don't travel light, then you might prefer to load up the car with all your treats!
Wightlink and Red Funnel ferries carry vehicles of all sizes - you just need to be at the terminal 30 minutes prior to sailing. The terminals all have an area to stretch your legs and buy last minute snacks before you board.
If you don't have a car, the fastest way to get there is by Hovercraft. Foot passengers and cyclists can catch Hovertravel from Southsea and you'll arrive in Ryde a speedy 10 minutes later!
Whichever way you prefer to travel, you can be on the island in less than 3 hours from London.

Once on the ferry, dogs of all sizes are welcome on the outer decks and a designated pet area on one indoor deck. All routes to the island take under an hour and are very smooth. Archie is not a great traveller but was really relaxed on the ferry.

We travelled from Lymington and arrived in Yarmouth, which is small but does have a couple of dog friendly pubs - The Bugle is a great pub and the terrace at The George Hotel is a fabulous spot on sunny days.

Where to stay:

Our first 2 nights were spent in Tom's Eco Lodges at Tapnell Farm which is just a short drive from Yarmouth.
You can stay in a safari tent or eco pod or lodge, all of which are dog friendly and are well-equipped and comfortable.
There is plenty of things to do here if you have small humans in your family including an aquapark and farm attraction (no doggies at these). We did enjoy watching the cows, sheep and alpaca from a distance though.
The accommodations are nicely spaced out so you get lots of peace and quiet.

Tapnell Farm is also home to The Cow restaurant which is well known on the island for it's fabulous beef (made from real cows, not the ones pictured).
The restaurant is housed in a spacious barn with some outside tables and we can report that the burgers didn't disappoint!

Next we moved on to Cowes and stayed at the beautiful Foresters Hall. The human was relieved to be inside a solid structure as the weather turned very stormy on our third day!
Luckily the hotel is very luxurious so she was happy. They are also very dog friendly so we were happy too! The staff made us feel very welcome - one of them even wanted to us to keep her company on reception!
We stayed in one of the designated dog friendly rooms and we were excited to discover our very own bed and a tin of treats and food for us.
We doggies are allowed in the cosy bar and in the restaurant as long as you let them know when you book.

Next stop was in a beautiful converted Hayloft on Cooks Castle Farm in Wroxall. If you like horses, this is the place for you as it is a working equestrian centre and stables. We enjoyed watching the horses coming and going from the window.
There is access from the property directly to the Red Squirrel Trail for lovely walkies and the whole area is very secluded and peaceful.
The cottages are recently renovated and The Hayloft has a secure garden, perfect for pooches.

Where: Cooks Castle Farm Stables & Cattery, St John's Rd, Wroxall, Ventnor PO38 3AA

Book through:

What to do:

There are so many attractions on the island where we pooches can go. Possibly the most famous attraction is the famous Needles, a collection of chalk rocks that rise out of the Channel just off the coast of Alum Bay. We can't see what all the fuss is about but sometimes I have to just go along with the humans!

The Needles is a Heritage Attraction but there is no fee, except to park the car (£6). Dog-free humans (strange as they are) can get the chair lift down to the beach but we have to walk down and it's a lot of steps but they are well-maintained and not treacherous!
We dogs are allowed on the boat that takes you for a closer look at the Needles but we decided this was close enough.
As you can see the beach is large pebbles so not the easiest to walk on.

Alum Bay is very picturesque thanks to the world famous multi-coloured cliffs which surround it. They are made up of 21 different colours and make a stunning backdrop to the beach.
Alum Bay sand is the stuff your humans might have in glass bottle on their fireplace!

We had great fun feeling like giants at the Model Village in Godshill.
The village is a perfect replica of the island with many of it's famous attractions to see in miniature including the steam railway and even a model of the model village! We did look up at this point to see if any giant dogs were looking down on us!
All dogs are welcome on leads and can enter for free with a paying human (entry tickets are £6.50).

If you prefer a steam train that's actually big enough to sit on, then head to Havenstreet near Ryde where you will find The Isle of Wight Steam Railway.
All pooches are welcome, they just ask that we don't sit directly on the seats. We took our blanket so we could see out of the window and feel like we were back in the 1940s.
The return journey takes around an hour and stops for 15 minutes at 2 other stations where you can get refreshments and take photos.
At the station in Havenstreet there is also a museum, restaurant and gift shop.
Adult return tickets are £18 (£16.50 if you book in advance online) and dogs travel for free.

Our humans love donkeys so they were delighted to discover a sanctuary on the island. At the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary in Wroxall you will find over 100 donkeys over the 55 acre site.
Entrance is free (donations welcome) and all dogs are welcome, even ones like Nacho who barks at them!
You can find out all about the donkeys backgrounds and even adopt one (don't worry, they don't come to live with you).

If you're worried about vampires or your humans just love the taste of it in their food, then you will want to visit The Garlic Farm in Sandown.
Entrance is free and is a lovely walk around the farm and woods (we saw our first red squirrel here) with a free audio tour.
After your walk, try out some garlicky dishes in the restaurant (they even have garlic ice cream) and stock up on everything you might need from the shop, just in time for Hallowe'en!


As you can imagine there are lots of beaches. Many have seasonal restrictions for dogs so check here to see which are good all year.
Our favourite was the huge expanse of sand at Ryde as I love the feel of sand on my paws and Nacho loves to run around like a maniac!
The esplanade at Ryde is a lovely walk with many cafes along the way.
We walked all the way to Appley to see the Tower which looks like a giant chess piece.

Duver Beach, St. Helens is a small, mostly sandy beach with Instagrammable beach huts and a café right on the beach where you can sit and relax by the sea.

Where to eat:

Obviously, we spent a lot of time in dog friendly pubs, restaurants and cafes but
The Smoking Lobster on Ventnor Esplanade was top of the list for the humans.
The restaurant is very unassuming from the outside, but don't be fooled. Inside is simply but tastefully decorated with an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs work their magic.

The menu is heavily seafood based with an oriental vibe but there are some meat and veggie options too and of course there is always lobster!
You can also find Smoking Lobster in West Cowes. A definite must visit for all foodies visiting the area!

The restaurant at Foresters Hall is very stylish and the humans enjoyed looking at the art on the walls. We were more interested in the art on their plates.
The menu is seasonal and once again seafood heavy - but what else would you expect on a small island! All the dishes were beautifully presented and delicious.

The humans said it's definitely worth a visit even if you are not staying there.
They also do afternoon tea, which would be lovely on their terrace in summer.

If your humans like cocktails then a visit to Drunken Lobster in Ventnor town is a must. Humans can soak up the alcohol with beautifully presented delicious Asian small plates.

Another must visit place for seafood lovers is The Crab and Lobster in Bembridge. The inn has a lovely terrace overlooking the sea and a cosy interior for days where the weather isn't so kind. Dogs are welcome everywhere (except in rooms overnight).

Here's a few other places dog friendly places we enjoyed visiting:
IOW Pearl (cafe and shop) - Brighstone
Toni's Tea Room - Ventnor

We highly recommend our four legged friends visit the Isle of Wight.
Check out Visit Isle of Wight for more inspiration and guidance.


Unknown member
Apr 14, 2021

Heidi will certainly be following in Archie’s footsteps and eateries in June. J


Unknown member
Oct 08, 2020

What a brilliant read Archie! Very interesting and informative thank you !

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