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Ryde is an English seaside town and civil parish on the north-east coast of the Isle of Wight, with a population of 32,072 at the 2011 Census.[1] It grew in size as a seaside resort after the villages of Upper Ryde and Lower Ryde were merged in the 19th century. The influence of this era is clearly visible in the town's central and seafront architecture. As a resort Ryde is noted for its expansive sands revealed at low tide, making the listed pier necessary on the wide beach for a regular passenger ferry service. The pier is the fourth longest in the United Kingdom, as well as the oldest.[2]

Ryde viewed from the Solent
Ryde is located in Isle of Wight
Location within the Isle of Wight
Population32,072 (2011 Census)
OS grid referenceSZ591923
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townRYDE
Postcode districtPO33
Dialling code01983
FireIsle of Wight
AmbulanceIsle of Wight
EU ParliamentSouth East England
UK Parliament
List of places
Isle of Wight
50°43′38″N 1°09′42″W / 50.7271°N 1.1618°W / 50.7271; -1.1618Coordinates: 50°43′38″N 1°09′42″W / 50.7271°N 1.1618°W / 50.7271; -1.1618



In 1782 numerous bodies of men, women and children from HMS Royal George, which sank suddenly at Spithead, were washed ashore at Ryde. Many were buried on land that is now occupied by the Esplanade. A memorial to them was erected in June 2004.[citation needed]


Hovercraft leaving Ryde

The hovercraft to Southsea is operated by Hovertravel near the Esplanade close to Ryde Esplanade railway station and the bus station. A catamaran service run by Wightlink operates from Ryde Pier to Portsmouth Harbour which connects with both Island Line trains and mainland trains to London Waterloo.

The Island Line Trains service runs from Ryde Pier Head via Ryde Esplanade to Shanklin, a distance of 8 12 miles (14 km). Ryde St John's Road railway station lies further south in the town.

A major bus interchange is situated between Ryde Pier and the Hover Terminal on the Esplanade with frequent services to many island towns and villages. Ryde is the second busiest place in the Southern Vectis network, smaller only than Newport. The most frequent service is route 9 to Newport, running every 10 minutes in the daytime. Other main routes include services 2, 3, 4, 8 and local route 37.[3] An open top bus tour called "The Downs Tour" is also run in the summer.[4]


Ryde Pier seen from Ryde
Union St

The town's large and long esplanade area has always been an attraction for tourists, especially those day-tripping from the mainland, as the amenities are all available by walking from the pier. A swimming pool, bowls club, bowling alley, and boating lake are among the attractions, and there are various children's playgrounds, amusement arcades and cafés.

Ryde has few large public open spaces beyond the esplanade, but areas for public recreation include Appley Park, Puckpool Park, Vernon Square, Simeon Street Recreation Ground, St John's Park, St Thomas' churchyard, Salter Road recreation ground, and Oakfield Football Club.

At one time Ryde had two separate piers; the other being the Victoria Pier, no longer in existence. Ryde has its own inshore rescue service which mostly has to deal with people becoming stranded on sandbanks as the incoming tide cuts them off from the shore. The pier is also a feature of the 67-mile (108 km) Isle of Wight Coastal Path, which is marked with blue signs with a white seagull.

Ryde has a small marina located to the east of Ryde Pier. It is tidal and dries out at low water hence it is more suitable for smaller sailing (bilge keel) and motor cruisers. It has provision for up to 200 boats, either on floating pontoons or leaning against the harbour wall. It has a full-time harbourmaster who posts useful snippets of information on the noticeboard outside the harbour office including weather information, tide times, cruise liner movements and events that occurred on this day in history.


Ryde is a well-known place to shop on the Isle of Wight. The town centre is situated on a large hill, with local shops and major retailers such as Sainsbury's, Co-operative Food, Carphone Warehouse and Peacocks.


The twin church spires clearly visible from the sea belong to All Saints' (the taller) and Holy Trinity churches. All Saints' Church is located in Queens Road on a road junction known as Five Ways. It was designed by George Gilbert Scott and completed in 1872. The spire is 177 feet (54 m) tall. Holy Trinity Church is in Dover Street. It was designed by Thomas Hellyer and completed in 1845. Holy Trinity Church closed in January 2014 and the building became the Aspire Ryde community centre.[5]

St James' is a further Church of England church in the centre of Ryde, on Lind Street. It was constructed in 1827 as a proprietary chapel and continues to be active, with services at 10:30am and 6:30pm each Sunday and a range of youth and mid-week groups.

The town's Roman Catholic church, St. Mary's, is located in High Street. It was built in 1846 at a cost of £18,000. This was provided by Elizabeth, Countess of Clare. The church was designed by Joseph Hansom inventor of the hansom cab. Other churches include St James Church and St. Michael and All Angels, Swanmore. There are also Baptist, Methodist, United Reformed and Elim churches in the town.[6]

Ryde Castle

Ryde Castle, situated on the Esplanade, was built c. 1840 as a private house in crenellated style and is now a hotel. It was left heavily damaged after a fire in 2012, and reopened after major restoration in 2013.[7]

Beldornie Tower on Augusta Road was at one point a property of the Earl of Yarborough. The house dates back to the 16th or early 17th century. The house was virtually rebuilt c. 1840 in Gothic-Jacobean style with the addition of a west wing in 1880.[8]

Ryde School With Upper Chine is opposite All Saints' Church. The chief building, Westmont, is Grade II Listed.


Sited on the Esplanade are an ice rink and a pavilion. The Ice rink is no longer open to the public, leading to the Isle of Wight's ice-hockey team, the "Wightlink Raiders" disbanding. The pavilion houses a bowling alley and nightclub.

The town's local football team was for many years Ryde Sports F.C., now replaced by Ryde Saints F.C. & Ryde F.C. SUNDAY.

Speedway is staged just south of the town at Smallbrook Stadium. The Isle of Wight Islanders started as members of the Conference League before moving up to the Premier League.


Ryde has five carnivals in a typical year: the Mardi Gras in June (established as The Arts Parade from 2003 to 2012);[9] Children's, Main and Illuminated processions at the end of August, and a Lantern Parade in December. The Carnival at Ryde is the oldest in England.[10] Ryde Carnival remains the island's largest carnival, with local crowds and mainland visitors totalling in excess of 50,000 spectators.[citation needed]

Notable residentsEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Town Population 2011". Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  2. ^ BBC – "Pier-ing into the future"
  3. ^ "Southern Vectis route list". Southern Vectis. Archived from the original on 30 November 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
  4. ^ "Southern Vectis Downs breezer". Southern Vectis. Archived from the original on 5 May 2008. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
  5. ^ "Aspire Ryde". Aspire Ryde. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  6. ^ [1]; [2]; [3] All three retrieved 2011-09-25.
  7. ^ "BBC News – Ryde Castle Hotel partially collapses after fire". 18 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  8. ^ "Quick Facts on Beldornie Tower". Go Historic. Go Historic. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  9. ^ "Ryde Mardi Gras". The New Carnival Company. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  10. ^ Ryde Social Heritage Group. "History of Ryde Carnival". Ryde Carnival Association. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  11. ^ Song information – "Ticket to ride"
  12. ^ Laurence, A. E. (November 1985). "Karl Marx on the Isle of Wight". Society. 23 (1): 54–60. doi:10.1007/BF02695870.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Ryde at Wikimedia Commons