The sun is out, the Round the Island Race has been and gone (though slowly) and the schools have broken up for the long summer holiday. All this means it must be time for Cowes Week again! I know that everything seems to go by faster these days but wasn’t it just the other day we were celebrating the end of a busy regatta with the Cowes Week fireworks? Having said all that, I’m really glad that it’s time for all the excitement and crowds of this famous event yet again.
Unsurprisingly, I love Cowes! I love it on a cold winter’s day when the shops are closed and nobody’s about. I love it when it’s buzzing with the people who live and work here, rushing to and from the Red Jet to get home to loved ones. I also love it when it’s packed to the gunwales with tourists and sailors, marching up and down the High Street between the marinas and the sailing clubs, the shops and the pubs, wearing rufty tufty sailing gear or bright pink trousers.
Of course I love East Cowes too, with its slightly more industrial and sensible look. It reminds me of my organised, older brother when I was growing up and all I wanted to do was mess around and have fun. East Cowes is where you can see real boats being built that end up transporting people around in far flung corners of the world. East Cowes is where the trucks arrive on the ferry whereas the Red Jets arrive in Cowes full of people in a hurry to have a good time.
Each of our towns has loads to offer though. From restaurants to pubs, museums to guest houses, relaxation to frenetic fun. It all happens on both sides of the Medina, thankfully joined by our famous floating bridge which lets us taste both sides of life in one evening.
If you’re visiting Cowes or East Cowes for the first time then make sure you do your research so you don’t miss anything. Have a look on ilovecowes.com, for instance, and you’ll find all sorts of advice about where to stay, where to eat and what to do. Don’t fall for the trap and believe that Cowes Week is just about sailing. Far from it! Once the boats go out on the water the fun begins!
How about a leisurely stroll down through either town and enjoy all the interesting shops selling everything from antiques to film memorabilia to clothing. Maybe you might want to eat in a different establishment every day and enjoy live music at a number of different places. You could even take up the challenge of completing our newly revived Rope Walk which takes you on a historical, self-guided tour along both sides of the river.
Once the sailors are back safely ashore the towns really burst into life with specially laid on race villages with everything to entertain the thirsty crews. There’s live music, great food and plenty of places to have a drink and catch up with the day’s excitement. If that’s all a bit too much for you, why not head over to East Cowes, where it’s sometimes a little quieter, and try out one of the many relaxing restaurants and pubs. There’s plenty of time to cross the river as the floating bridge runs till late and there’s no need to drive anywhere as everything is a short walk away.
As you can see, Cowes and East Cowes have so much to show you and I hope that you’ll come to realise that you love Cowes too!