Buckler’s Hard, a most attractive and unusual village, was created in the early 18th century by the second Duke of Montagu as a free port for the import and export of sugar from the West Indies. From the 1740’s over fifty wooden ships were built for the Royal Navy.
Yarmouth, established as a settlement circa 991, was on the front line during the 100 years war with the French. The town has been honoured with seven Royal Charters, the first in 1135 during the reign of Henry I, the last one in 1609, the Great Charter of James I. Yarmouth Castle was built in the 1540s to defend the town and St James’ Church was consecrated in 1626; both are open to the public. The Harbour breakwater was constructed in 1847 and in 1863 the first road bridge was opened across the River Yar. In 1876 the pier was built and is reputed to be the longest timber pier in the country still open to the general public.
Cowes is the Island’s main port. It grew from a huddle of fishermen’s shacks around two coastal forts built by Henry VIII and was named after the two off-shore sandbanks or cows. A tradition of fine shipbuilding dates from the reign of Elizabeth I. In 1854, the Royal Yacht Squadron was moved into Cowes Castle, the former Tudor fort and the name of Cowes has been synonymous with yachting ever since. East Cowes is where you will find the magnificent Osborne House, former seaside holiday home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and preserved much as it was when the Queen died here in 1901.
Home to thousands of yachts, Hamble River is the heart of the South Coast Sailing scene. Recognised as the home of British yachting, there are several marinas on the river with fantastic facilities and excellent restaurants. Banana Wharf located at Port Hamble is a fantastic seaside eatery, relaxed dining at its finest with superb riverside views.
Follow the sailing, go with the tide or explore the coast.