EAST COWES A Gateway To The Isle of Wight

East Cowes is a town and civil parish to the north of the Isle of Wight, on the east bank of the River Medina next to its neighbour on the west bank, Cowes.

The two towns are connected by the Cowes Floating Bridge, a chain ferry operated by the Isle of Wight Council.

East Cowes is the site of Norris Castle, and Osborne House, the former summer residence of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The Prince had a major influence on the architecture of the area, for example on the building of St Mildred's Church in nearby Whippingham, which features distinctive turrets imitating those found on a German castle.


In recent years the town has undergone some major developments bringing in a fresher look to the town and a brand new Waitrose store and other new businesses.

The East Cowes Redevelopment Project was set up by SEEDA for the flagship project for the Cowes Waterfront Initiate, which includes redeveloping the town centre of East Cowes. It was intended that such changes would create better employment opportunities and a better environment for residents and visitors alike, providing a unique opportunity to improve East Cowes and create better investment for businesses.

On 6 April 2010, work started on the new Waitrose store on Well Road on the old site of the hovercraft development building. Recruitment for jobs for the new Waitrose Store started during August/September 2010; there were 160 jobs available throughout the store and over 800 people applied.

Part of the redevelopment also included the building of more houses known as "Victoria Walk" and David Wilson[9] was chosen to be the builder. Advertising boards were placed on Old Road in East Cowes with building work commencing soon after.

In 2013, work began to create a new 300 berth marina inside a new breakwater. The plan included a new hotel, restaurant and 100 new homes.

During August 2012, a new Medical Centre opened at Church Path, near Waitrose. The former Medical Centre at Down House (the former home of respected local GP Dr Down), on York Avenue, was closed.[10]


Local industry in both Cowes and East Cowes has always centred on the building and design of marine craft and materials associated with boatmaking, including the early flying boats, and sailmaking.

East Cowes was also once home to the aircraft manufacturer Saunders Roe, who built the large, advanced, flying boat The Saunders-Roe Princess, as well as the Black Knight rocket and the Black Arrow satellite carrier rocket. They also developed and tested the first hovercraft, the SR.N1.

The former Saunders-Roe factory at Venture Quays now produces wind turbines, which can be seen laid on the quay for shipping out. Due to local objections no wind turbines have been allowed to be erected on the Isle of Wight.


During the reign of Queen Victoria, who made her summer home at Osborne by acquiring and rebuilding Osborne House, East Cowes was the subject of planned estate of grand houses, groves and parks. The scheme, not finding the finances it needed, was folded, but a few residences built in the early stages still survive to this day such as the former Albert Grove residences of Kent House and Powys House on York Avenue.

East Cowes is linked to the mainland by Red Funnel’s vehicle ferry service. The Cowes Floating Bridge links East Cowes with Cowes throughout the day. It is a chain ferry, and is one of the few remaining not to be replaced by a physical bridge.

Southern Vectis operate bus route 4 linking the town with Ryde and bus route 5 linking the town with Newport including all the intermediate villages.


Across the river, Cowes has became the spiritual home of yacht racing and is home to many Yacht Clubs. The sport remains at the heart of both East and West Cowes, supporting yacht building and maintenance and a hive of social activity with many keen sailors, socialites and spectators visiting the town for the summer regattas.

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