Best dog-friendly attractions on the Isle of Wight holiday cottages

Days out

Best dog-friendly attractions on the Isle of Wight

Ed Roberts 31 January 2020

Doggy days out are unlimited in number on the Isle of Wight. A growing number of attractions welcome hounds to join you on your day trips and visits – from historical estates to grassy downs, uphill gardens and toasty pubs – you don’t have to leave them cooped up indoors when you are out and about. The Isle of Wight is a great holiday destination to take your dog along; it’s a natural haven full of contrasting habitats brilliant for dog walking and discovery, with trails and byways galore.

Iow dog

Read on to discover our favourite places to explore with your four-legged chum all across the wonderful Isle of Wight.

Why not rent one of our dog-friendly self-catering holiday homes during your stay on the Isle of Wight? Our cottages all feature handy additions to make life easier for dogs and their owners.

Dog-friendly beaches on the Isle of Wight

Compton Beach 

Compton Beach

Compton Beach is along the wild southern stretch of the Isle of Wight. This part of the island is characterised by chalk grasslands and the long and undulating Military Road that unscrolls away along the coast. About half a mile between Blackgang Chine and Freshwater Bay is the rough appeal of Compton Beach; a few miles from the nearest town or village, this is a doggy lover's favourite as there aren’t any restrictions and there is a lot of space to exercise and play. Compton Beach is also used by surfers and fossil hunters too.

Why your dog will love this: This beach is as nature intended; the wind and the sea are its architects.

Best for: Unspoiled sea views. A quieter beach for those that prefer to hide away from the crowds.

Stay at: Moonfleet Cottage | Sleeps: 1 dog and 2 humans  

Ryde Beach  


This beach is for bouncy dogs!!! To the east of the pier at Ryde, there is a massive swathe of golden sandy beach for dogs and their owners. It’s nice and close to the town centre and there are some amazing views across the busy Solent back towards Southampton Water and Portsmouth. Facilities and a high number of places to eat and drink along Ryde’s promenade and hilly High Street are nearby too. Check out the Appley Tower landmark, apt for great photo opportunities when visiting the beach with your pooch.

Why your dog will love this: A wide sandy beach to dig holes and run on at low tide.

Best for: Convenient facilities and it’s great to people watch and meet other dog owners.

Stay at: Carpenters Cottage | Sleeps: 2 dogs and 3 humans 



Play and relaxation for Dog & co. at this amazing beach! Sandown is popular with young families and older fans of traditional seaside resorts. The town has a great pier and an almost endless choice of places to eat with your pooch be it a cheeky bag of fish and chips or a pleasant sit-down meal at a gastropub. Although there are some restrictions on beach access for dogs at Sandown, there are still huge areas where dogs can play all year round. Head to the southern end of the beach or the north at Yaverland for wide sand and shingle sections of beach for play and tomfoolery with the dog.

Why your dog will love this: There’s scope to spend time lying in the shade on the beach, cooling their feet in the shallows and enjoying tasty leftover scraps for dinner.

Best for: One of the best beach days to be had in the British Isles.

Stay at: Two Mead Cottages | Sleeps: 3 dogs and 4 humans  

Dog-Friendly family days out on the Isle of Wight

Shanklin Chine

Shanklin Chine

Let the night lights draw you and your lovely pooch in. A cool dog-friendly destination for a lovely day or evening is Shanklin Chine. A chine is a shallow ravine that runs to the sea, and they are characteristic of the Isle of Wight. Shanklin Chine has been repurposed as a beautiful temperate garden where certain plants can endure because they are protected by the shelter of the gully. There are walkways up through the chine that wind around, allowing for some lovely spots to sit and watch the water below. Shanklin Chine is open after night falls where you can enjoy the garden illuminations - a real treat for children, adults and doggies alike.

Why your doggy will love this: There are trails and walkways to explore galore.

Best for: A short walk with sealed paths and a wonderful array of plant species.

Stay at: Boniface Cliff Villa | Sleeps: 2 dogs and 8 humans  

Yarmouth Castle  

Yarmouth Castle

Make your hound king or queen of the castle. Most dogs don’t know that Yarmouth Castle was the last fort built during Henry VIII’s reign, but then neither do most humans. What you’ll be happy to discover about this great outdoor attraction is that behind its sturdy ramparts, Yarmouth Castle is an easygoing place to learn some history in the company of your dog.

If you arrived on the Isle of Wight via the port of Yarmouth, it’s likely that this is one of the first structures you’ll have noticed from the water. You can see the waters of The Solent from several viewing points along the walls and discover what a prime, defensive position this small but strong fort occupies for yourself.

Why your doggy will love this: There are plenty of people to meet and fresh sea air to sniff.

Best for: A good combination of history, a great family day out and dog-friendly attraction.

Stay at: The Wendy House | Sleeps: 2 dogs and 2 humans 

Quirky dog-friendly attractions on the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight Steam Railway 

IoW Steam Railway

Choo-choo means something altogether for dogs on this occasion. So if you dog wants to trade dog chews for choo-choos this is the day trip for you. The Isle of Wight has several quirky railway lines. The main line running from Ryde to Shanklin is traversed by former rolling stock from the London Underground. A peculiar sight to see, although it’s business as usual for the Isle of Wight.

Even better is the steam railway that’s been restored to its former glory and welcomes humans and canines alike, so climb aboard the Isle of Wight Steam Railway and travel the gorgeous line through the lush green hills of the inner island. The stations are Smallbrook Junction (near Ryde) to Wootton (near Newport), and the trains range from steam locomotives to obscure diesel engines; it’s a train enthusiast’s heaven.

Why your doggy will love it: Brave doggies will love to watch the sights and sounds of the trains as they puff through the countryside.

Best for: A day trip with a difference where you can see a new part of the island the old fashioned way.

Stay at: Langonnet Lodge | Sleeps: 1 dog and 8 humans  

Historical dog-friendly attractions on the Isle of Wight

Osborne House – gardens only 

Osborne House

Does your furry bounder have royal blood. Well if they are 'to the manor born' they will love Osborne House, which is a former royal residence and firm favourite of Queen Victoria. The estate is vast and dogs are welcome throughout its gardens. No pets can enter the house, however, but a turn around the considerable gardens is quite a treat and by no means a consolation prize. 

All year round, the gardens yield joy in the form of the mass plantings that have taken place over the years. Visit the Durbar lawns, the arboretum and the Swiss Cottage meadow.  The huge Italianate-style house is surrounded by terraces and pristine formal gardens full of colour and fragrance. Walk through the parklands down to Queen Victoria’s private beach and have a paddle with your dog. It’s an idyllic spot and should be high up on your list of places to visit on your holiday to the Isle of Wight.

Why your dog will love it here: The scents will drive your dog to distraction and it’s also a lovely place for gentle on-the-lead walkies.

Best for: Easy going, level walks and especially interesting for gardeners and horticulturalists.

Stay at: The Indian Summer House | Sleeps: 2 dogs and 2 humans

Carisbrooke Castle

Carisbrooke Castle

Guard dogs get ready! Let them peer out across the island from the ramparts to see if any biscuit marauders or on the prowl! Close to Newport, the largest town on the Isle of Wight, Carisbrooke Castle is a great place for a day out! A former fortress from Elizabethan times, a prison for Charles I and a royal residence, the site has been occupied since Saxon times by older fortifications.

Atop a hill that dominates the centre of the island, there is a rotunda-like Norman castle as well as the towering keep and Elizabethan additions. Dogs are allowed on the leads around the outside sections of the castle, which are considerable; kids can enjoy donkey rides at Carisbrooke too, a major draw for young families. 

Why your dog will love it here: Your dog will love the castle wall walk where it’s possible to look over the ramparts to see the surrounding countryside fall away in all directions.

Best for: This is a considerable tick off the list for castle baggers because of its fascinating pedigree and history. You can also walk the dog around much of the castle estate.

Stay at: Middle Barn | Sleeps: 2 dogs and 8 humans  

Dog on the beach

Outdoor attractions on the Isle of Wight

Parkhurst Forest  

Parkhurst Forest

CHARGE!!! Active dogs will love hopping in and out between the avenues of Parkhurst Forest’s  with its long conifer tree-lined avenues will be hard for your dog to resist and he'll have hours of fun sniffing out new adventures. This large fir plantation is close to Newport and is a superb choice of place to let your dog have a supervised run.

The forest is teeming with wildlife and birds, and there are hides where you can watch red squirrels and other animals in their natural habitat - that's if you can keep Muttley quiet for long enough! Look out for garden warblers, nightjars, woodcocks, and woodpeckers. There is on-site parking but no other facilities here so make sure you're prepared.

Why your dog will love it here: Fun woodland walkies.

Best for: It’s a wonderful wildlife haven close to Newport.

Stay at: Pebbles | Sleeps: 1 dog and 2 humans 

Cowes Promenade  

Cowes Promenade

The sound of lapping waters, birds on the wing and high skies make this a gentle yet splendid level walk for more discerning dogs and puppies. Cowes Promenade is a lovely way to be close to the water’s edge without walking over sand or shingle. Follow Queens Road out of town and the seafront merges into Egypt Esplanade and further west, Prince’s Esplanade before reaching Gurnard Bay, just over 1.25 miles away. Being on the north side of the island you can see the busy waterway of The Solent; take a ringside seat and watch yachtsmen wrangle their crafts; listen to sails whip and pulleys jink as the boats cut through the deep waters between the island and the Hampshire coastline.

Why your dog will love this: A nice, easy-going level walk for pups and older hounds.

Best for: Watching ships, boats and yachts!

Stay at: Medham Farm Cottage | Sleeps: 1 dog and 2 humans 

Tennyson Down

Tennyson Downs

At the south-western end of the Isle of Wight, up above The Needles, is Tennyson Down, a lovely walk along a high, grassy plateau above the English Channel. Chalk cliffs unfurl down to the blue and green waves; the 7-mile trail takes you past a monument to the poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson too.  Other highlights are Cold War battlements – the Old and New Batteries, and views of The Needles. It’s a fantastic breezy walk and should be your first choice for you and your pooch.

Why your dog will love it here: A fresh open space for you to exercise and spend quality time together.

Best for: Exceptional sea views and grasslands nature.

Stay at: Milton Stables | Sleeps: 1 dog and 4 humans 

Explore the Isle of Wight

We have self-catering properties that welcome all dog owners as well as your canine companions throughout the Isle of Wight. Superb properties in wide and varied locations such as Ventnor, Shanklin, Seaview, Bembridge, Cowes, Freshwater Bay and more await you. When we say our properties are dog-friendly we mean it; they have been carefully chosen and added to our range because they have handy features that really do make a difference to dogs and their owners. These extras could include dog beds, blankets, baskets, exercise areas, enclosed gardens, outdoor hoses, and for well-behaved scamps, treats on arrival!

Isle of Wight cottages


We love dogs just as much as you do, that’s why we make sure our dog-friendly holiday homes are more than that: they’re dog-lovely. Take a look at our full guide to dog-friendly holidays on the Isle of Wight and start planning your next adventure.

Isle of Wight guide

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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