Cowes Week is and has been a big deal for a long time… Well, since 1826 if we’re being exact! Cowes is host to many great sailing events, races and regattas throughout the year but Cowes Week truly is the jewel in the crown – Queen Victoria’s would be apt, as HRH was a fan of the event, awarding the first Queen’s Cup at the 1897 event. Every August, Cowes is a bustling beauty and treat to the senses, with music in the streets, people flowing out of every doorway and the smell of fish and chips caught on the sea breeze. With all that going on, it can be a little hard to make a decision about where to refuel, line your stomach or keep the little ones entertained and happy. Here’s our tasty guide to Cowes Week eats…
Picnic inspiration – taking the sand and stress out of your lunch…
Want to do a picnic but don’t want the hassle of having to prep it all? The chefs at The Yachtsman will whip up a packed lunch to takeaway. Bring your own blanket and eat it on the green, past the Royal Yacht Squadron – not only a prime viewing location for both racing and the fireworks display, but a great place for the kids to burn off some energy.
Grace’s Bakery is perhaps one of the freshest options you could choose as the in-house bakers bake the bread for the most fresh and fabulous sandwiches. Named after the owner’s grandmother Grace – Grace’s has recently been awarded the accolade of ‘Best Island Bakery’ as voted by locals, so you won’t be disappointed. Along with fresh baked sandwiches they do a range of wraps and salad bowls not to mention fresh baked cakes and sweet treats.
Ice cream is a staple of any time spent by the sea – Cowes Week is no exception. For this seaside staple; Bliss have got you covered. serving up local Isle of Wight ice cream, milkshakes, smoothies alongside gourmet confectionery. So grab a cone to go and eat it whilst you watch the yachts sail past the Parade.
Sit down and enjoy something proper…
If you’re up and about earlier in the day then start it right with one of the locally famous breakfasts from Sails Café. The team serves up a range of hearty options from pancake stacks and waffles to the traditional full English. For late risers try out Lucy’s Legendary Chilli or the soup of the day for something more substantial to fuel up with over lunch.
Gastronomy Cowes, one of the newer kids on the block, is the perfect place to go and try a varied menu exploring flavours from around the world, which is made using fresh local produce. Don’t go without sampling a cocktail or two from the cocktail list. We’ve heard on the grapevine that the pornstar martini is so popular that it has even inspired a pornstar posset on the dessert menu, served up with a shot of prosecco granita on the side.
Whatever the time of day The Coast Bar & Dining Room is an old faithful, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or a three course dinner. Offering fresh and seasonal dishes made with local produce; the relaxed style of the bar and dining room is designed for everyday eating. They too have a killer cocktail list – try the smoked Coast Bloody Mary with Isle of Wight tomato juice a great accompaniment to brunch.
Catch of the day – get your fishy-fill…
Do we even need to tell you why fish and chips* should be on the cards on your visit to Cowes Week. Whether it’s to line your stomach before you head out dancing or to soak up the Pimms at the end of the evening, Corries Cabin (recently visited by Great Wonderfest hosts Dick n Dom) is the popular choice for Cowes Week goers so expect a bit of a queue but it’ll be worth it. Don’t scrimp on the salt and vinegar we’ll have a side of tartar sauce with that, ta!
*Note: it’s common knowledge that fish and chips tastes better consumed with the sea in sight and in the case of Cowes Week a few yachts sailing by too.
A typical Basque menu includes fresh line caught fish, shellfish, seasoned steaks, hearty winter soups, fresh salads, tapas, cold beers and fine wines. The Basque Kitchen lives by these principles, making it the perfect place to enjoy some seafood during your Cowes Week soiree. There’s a varied menu packed with Basque flavour and a legendary specials board, so try a few of the seafood tapas dishes to start and something fresh that takes your fancy from the specials board. If the paella is on then this is a must try.
An old favourite with the sailing community, locals and visitors alike, Tonino’s, have been satisfying taste buds for 40 years. Offering up a delicious rustic Italian menu with a dedicated ‘Pesce’ or fish menu alongside traditional pizzas and pasta dishes. The restaurant can seat up to 80 and caters well to large groups with the friendly and laid back atmosphere.
Where to get a round in…
At The Anchor Inn expect a party when you visit, known for its live music year-round, the atmosphere during Cowes Week will not disappoint – often with people flowing merrily out onto the pavement in front. Pop in for a local tipple of the Isle of Wight Distillery’s Mermaid Gin or if you’re feeling fancy try the pink gin, released earlier this year and made with Isle of Wight strawberries.
Cowes landmark, The Globe Sports Lounge and Kitchen is ideally situated on The Parade, giving it quite possibly some of the best views in town. The recently refurbished roof terrace is the ideal place for a cold drink sat on the deck chairs and bean bags. Enjoy a range of beers, lagers and ciders as well as craft spirits and an impressive wine list. Inside you’ll also find sports screens and a pool table, if you’re feeling a bit sailing-ed out!
If you are looking for a proper pint of real ale and a relaxed cosy atmosphere then head to The Duke of York. From the moment you walk in the door, there is an air of charm, with memorabilia and signs celebrating Cowes and its association with yachting and the sea. With a well regarded beer offering, the pub also offers two real ciders on tap. Discounts for CAMRA members.