Cowes, Isle of Wight, England, UK
Royalty, Racing & Rigging: A Walk through Cowes
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Approximately 3½ Hours
Enjoy this delightful afternoon's exploration of both modern Cowes and the Cowes of yesteryear with a friendly local guide to lead the way.
Walk along quaint cobblestone streets as you head uphill from the Esplanade. Two commemorative plaques marking the diamond jubilees of Britain's two longest-reigning monarchs -- Queens Victoria and Elizabeth II.
Wander up the charming high street to the pretty pink Prospect Building. It houses the Max Aitken Museum. You will stop for here a visit, learning a little of Cowes' incredible maritime history. Many artifacts on view were saved from Britannia -- King George V's Royal Yacht -- along with numerous other fascinating gems.
Watch for Ratsey & Lapthorn -- reputedly the world's greatest sailmakers -- and Westbourne House. Across the River Medina, you will spy the former J. Samuel White building -- the world headquarters of a giant shipbuilding empire whose yachts, clippers, lifeboats, seaplanes, hovercraft and warships have plied the world's seas and oceans.
Keep an eye out for the Floating Bridge -- a chain ferry now on its ninth iteration. It is a very original and unusual method of crossing the river that has been in operation since 1859.
As you continue down the Esplanade, your guide will point out the Royal Yacht Squadron -- the most exclusive yacht club in the world -- and the Green's prestigious houses.
The route to Egypt Point -- the northernmost tip of the island -- takes you past Rosetta Cottage, where Winston Churchill's father proposed to the beautiful and wealthy American heiress, Jenny Jerome.
Walk to Northwood House, home to the Ward family and a former party palace where royals and high society reveled.
Any remaining time can be used to explore Cowes' atmospheric and exciting main street. The refreshingly individual and upmarket shops yield some great buys before you head back to the Esplanade.
Please note: Wear comfortable walking shoes.