East Cowes, Isle of Wight - isleofwight.com Quick Tour
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About East Cowes
Queen Victoria used to holiday here with her family and
when her husband Prince Albert died, she made the Island her
main home. Osborne House is now owned by English Heritage,
given to the State by Edward VII. Standing in an elevated
position, surveying its grounds, the Solent and southern coast
of the mainland, Osborne gives an insight into the opulent
lifestyle of perhaps the country’s greatest Monarch.
East Cowes has long been established as one of the major industrial areas of the Island. It was the home of British Hovercraft for many years and the large sliding factory doors on the shore, painted with the Union Jack, adorn postcards and are often one of the first major landmarks visitors see. Westland’s, who now own the site, have digressed into other fields and much of the former shoreline which was used for ship building and industry is being re-developed with marina facilities and luxury properties. East Cowes is fast re-generating itself from an industrial area into a major yachting facility.
Also at East Cowes is a long promenade which allows you to have a stroll and watch the boats battle for position as they enter and leave the mouth of the River Medina. East Cowes also has a castle - Norris Castle - and it was this, which Princess Victoria visited, that started her love for the Island. When she couldn’t buy it she settled for Osborne. Next to the main house (of Osborne) is Barton Manor, which was a medieval manor, used by Prince Albert as an experimental farm. Though it is not open to the public now, the gardens are open on various dates throughout the summer, raising much needed funds for The Earl Mountbatten Hospice.
St. Mildred’s Church at Whippingham was the church favoured by the Royal family when they visited and stayed at Osborne. Located on the right hand side as you are leaving East Cowes, this superb and ornate structure is a “must to see”. The detailed stone work and interesting features are fascinating.
East Cowes is the home of Red Funnel Car Ferries. They shuffle back and forth to the mainland, travelling up Southampton Water, where they dock approximately 15 minutes walk away from the main shops. Another ferry offers communications across to East Cowes, and that is the floating bridge, a chain link ferry which runs across the Medina, between Cowes and East Cowes.
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