Take a trip to Bembridge, Isle of Wight
If you are looking for a new destination to visit. How’s about visiting Bembridge on the east end of the Isle of Wight. A surprisingly busy little harbour, Bembridge is one of the Isle of Wight’s best kept secrets. It is, unsurprisingly, fairly up-market and a favourite ‘hideaway’ for celebrities, attracted by the relaxed atmosphere, excellent facilities and quality of the hospitality.
Bembridge and the surrounding areas are full of hidden gems, stunning beaches, as well as great places to explore on walks or outdoor activities. The Harbour is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and nearby Brading Marshes are home to the first RSPB site on the Island. We have listed a few things you might enjoy whilst visiting Bembridge.
Take a look at our guide below to ensure you make the most of your visit.
Where to moor
A sand bar extends between buoys 1, 2, 2a and 3 at the start of the main outer Entrance Channel as you approach from seaward. The outer harbour limit is marked by a "Tide Gauge" post situated NW of St Helens Fort. This post previously displayed height measurements, but these have been removed in favour of an electronic live feed tide height gauge, showing the depth of water over the bar, displayed on the Harbour website and updated every 60 seconds. If you are unsure of the minimum depth in the channel give the harbour staff a call on channel 80 call sign Bembridge Marina
On spring/medium tides, 1.5m draft vessels can enter approximately 3 hours +/- HW. From the tide gauge post a course of approximately 240 degrees brings you to the start of the buoyed channel. Vessels MUST stay within the channel at all times and there is a max 6 knot speed limit in the entrance channel and harbour. Anchoring is not permitted in the entrance channel. A handy pictorial navigation guide can be viewed or downloaded here - http://www.bembridgeharbour.co.uk/content/files/Bembridge%20Harbour%20Navigation%20Guide.pdf
On approach please call the harbour staff on VHF channel 80 (call sign Bembridge Marina) and remain on this channel whilst using the harbour to listen to any special instructions from the harbour staff. Pontoon berthing is available in 4 areas of the Harbour: the Duver Marina, Bembridge Marina, Fisherman's Marina and Selwyn Marina which can be seen on the photo below. Visitors are directed to the Duver Marina and short stays are charged on a “per tide” basis.
The Duver Marina
The Duver Marina is the main mooring area for visiting yachtsmen. There are approximately 140 visitor berths available. Online booking for the Premier Finger pontoons is available from 1st April to mid-September.
A water taxi service operates all year round (reduced service during the winter) with drop off points around the Harbour. WiFi is available with the first 1/2 hour free of charge - please ask at the Berthing Office for details.
Fisherman's Marina, formally Fisherman's Wharf, was completely replaced in 2012. This pontoon is home to the Bembridge fishing fleet which is famous for lobster and crab. At the southern end of this pontoon is The Best Dressed Crab, a floating processing plant and seafood cafe well worth a visit.
Bembridge Marina, home to 80 permanent berth holders, has a taxi landing spot and is the stop off for the Brading Haven Yacht Club. The shower / toilet block and laundry are available to visiting yachtsman on the Duver Marina.
Selwyn Marina, formerly known as Wades Pontoon, has been replaced and an access bridge has been installed.
What to see and do
Bembridge Windmill is the only surviving windmill on the Isle of Wight and is now in the hands of the National Trust. Built in the 1700s, the windmill was active throughout the Victorian period, before closing in 1913. Most of the original machinery is still in place at the windmill, accessed via steep steps which cover four floors, and make for great viewing. Opening days are selected depending on the time of year, but if you have an interest in history and machinery, you’ll enjoy your visit to Bembridge Windmill.
If you’re looking to see some of the sights around Bembridge, there are plenty of walks to choose from - most of which offer stunning scenery of the surrounding area. The Culver Down walk takes approximately two hours to complete - taking you up and across the cliff face - with views across Sandown - before heading down towards Bembridge. Once up on top of Culver Down, you’ll have the chance to enjoy an ice cream, or even refuel at The Culver Haven Inn - ready for the walk back down.
Before heading on the descent down towards Bembridge, take time to visit the Earl of Yarborough Monument - which is hard to miss at 75ft tall - and is situated close to the Culver Haven Inn. The monument is a prominent figure atop the cliff - and was previously used as a guide for ships passing by at sea. The three beaches Lane End, the Ledge and Bembridge Beach are very popular for exploring with contrasting coastlines, rock pools and stunning panoramic views out to sea including the well photographed RNLI station.
The village itself has two main shopping areas; both are vibrant and attractive with an excellent choice of restaurants and pubs to choose from. It is also a favourite with aviation enthusiasts. Bembridge’s small airport attracts light aircraft pilots from all over Europe tantalised by the chance to get an Arial view of one of the most beautiful Islands in the UK.
Bembridge may not have the razzamatazz of many of the other harbour towns along the Solent but as a relaxing yet fulfilling getaway it pays in dividends.