Sandown is a seaside resort and civil parish[1] on the south-east coast of the Isle of Wight, England, with the town of Shanklin to the south and the settlement of Lake in between.

Sandown is the northernmost town of Sandown Bay, known for its long stretches of easily accessible, sandy beach. The outer Bay is also used as a sheltered anchorage, with ships requiring salvage periodically towed there (such as the Tarpenbeck). The wreck of a salvage tug could be seen until recently at low tide under Culver Cliff, (the Harry Sharman) which had been assisting the stricken tanker Pacific Glory in the 1970s.

Together with Shanklin, Sandown forms a built-up area of 21,374 inhabitants.[2]

Sandown’s eastern beach

One of Sandown's sandy beaches
Sandown is located in Isle of Wight
Location within the Isle of Wight
Population11,868 (2011 Census)
OS grid referenceSZ600843
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townSANDOWN
Postcode districtPO36
Dialling code01983
FireIsle of Wight
AmbulanceIsle of Wight
EU ParliamentSouth East England
UK Parliament

Natural interests

Red Cliff and Culver Cliff at the northern end of Sandown Bay
Sandown's impressive sandstone and chalk cliffs at the northern end of the Bay
Sandown Pier (2), IW, UK
Sandown Pier, with Culver Cliff behind

Sandown is a Victorian seaside resort surrounded by a wealth of natural features. To the north is Culver Down, a chalk down accessible to the public, mostly owned and managed by the National Trust. It supports typical chalk downland wildlife, and along with seabirds and birds of prey which nest on the adjoining cliffs.

Nearby are Sandown Levels in the flood plain of the River Yar, one of the few freshwater wetlands on the Isle of Wight, where Alverstone Mead Local Nature Reserve is a very popular spot for birdwatching. Sandown Meadows Nature Reserve, acquired by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust in 2012, is a place to spot kingfishers and water voles [3]. Further inland, the woodland of Borthwood provides delightful woodland walks, with bluebells aplenty in the Spring.

The area's most significant wildlife designation is the Special Area of Conservation which covers the marine sub-littoral zone, including the reefs and seabed. At extreme low tide, a petrified forest is partially revealed in the northern part of the Bay, and fragments of petrified wood are often washed up on the beach.


The walls of Sandown Barrack Battery
Sandown Barrack Battery completed in 1863, a Palmerston Fort on the town's western cliffs and a scheduled monument since 2000
Deckchairs at Sandown, Isle of Wight
Looking out to the English Channel from the town's main beach
Sandown Town Hall
Sandown's former Town Hall, a Grade 2 listed mid-Victorian building in Grafton Street
A performer at Sandown Carnival 2018
A performer at Sandown's popular summer carnival

Until the 19th century, Sandown was on the map chiefly for its military significance, with the beaches of the Bay feared to offer easy landing spots for invaders from the continent. It is the site of the lost Sandown Castle. While undergoing construction in 1545, the castle was attacked by a French force which had fought its way over Culver Down from Whitecliff Bay, resulting in the French being repelled. It was built too far into the sea and constantly suffered erosion, until now reduced to a pile of rocks. Later forts in the town include the Diamond Fort (named after its plan), built inshore to replace the castle and which fought off a minor attack from privateers (probably French) in 1788, and the present "Granite Fort" at Yaverland, now the zoo.

One of the first non-military buildings was "Villakin", a holiday home leased[4] by the radical politician and one-time Mayor of London John Wilkes in the final years of the 18th century.

The arrival of the railway in 1864 saw Sandown grow in size, with the town's safe bathing becoming increasingly popular. In the summer of 1874, the Crown Prince and Princess of Germany and their children rented several properties in the town and took regular dips in the Bay. Sandown's pier was built in the same decade, opening in May 1878. The town laid further claim to becoming a fashionable English resort when the Ocean Hotel opened in 1899. However, Sandown's destiny in the 20th century was to be a favourite bucket-and-spade destination for all classes. The Canoe Lake opened in 1929, followed by Brown's Golf Course in 1932 offering 'Golf for Everybody'. The golf course and its ice cream factory were adapted in the 1940s to disguise pumping apparatus for Pipe Line Under the Ocean (PLUTO) designed to pump oil to the D-Day beaches. The Art Deco Grand Hotel, now closed and awaiting demolition, was built next to Brown's in the late 1930s.

Today, Sandown esplanade has a mixture of Victorian and Edwardian hotels and their modern counterparts overlooking the beach and the Bay. Sandown Pier hosts an amusement centre with arcade games, children's play areas and places to eat and drink. The pier is also used for sea fishing, with designated areas for anglers. Further north is the Isle of Wight Zoo (also known as Sandown Zoo) which specialises in tigers. Nearby is the Dinosaur Isle geological museum and Sandham Grounds, offering a skate park, children's play park, crazy golf and bowls.

Sandown Town Hall

Commissioned and built by the Local Government Board in 1869, Sandown's Grade-2 listed former Town Hall is situated in Grafton Street. The present-day Sandown Town Council no longer use the building and moved to new headquarters in 2018.

Sandown Carnival

The town's summer carnival has been entertaining visitors since 1889. Today's organisers put on a series of events including the popular Children's Carnival and Illuminated Carnival, as well as November Celebrations later in the year with entertainment and fireworks.

Since 2017, a further Sandown event called Hullabaloo has been held over two days in May, organised by Shademakers UK Carnival Club in collaboration with local businesses and charities.

Pubs and dining

Sandown offers an assortment of pubs and restaurants. The pubs range from the more traditional offering a selection of local ales and ciders, to more family-friendly 'gastro-pubs' with a wider menu. Restaurants in the town offer a varied cuisine and there are a variety of traditional tea rooms on High Street. A full listing of places to eat and drink in Sandown is now available online.


Sandown Railway Station, Isle of Wight, UK
Sandown railway station, opened in 1864
The plaque marking the site of John Wilkes' villa in Sandown, Isle of Wight
A plaque marks the site of John Wilkes' 18th century cottage, just off the High Street
Família de Frederico III da Prússia
The family of Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Victoria of Germany, who spent the summer of 1874 in Sandown
The Bandstand restaurant and cafe, Culver Parade, Sandown.jpeg
The Bandstand restaurant and cafe on Culver Parade, an example of the town's regeneration
Christ Church, Sandown, IW, UK
Christ Church, Sandown's parish church consecrated in 1847

Sandown railway station is on the Island's one remaining public railway line from Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin.

As well as the Island Line Railway, Sandown is served by regular buses run by Southern Vectis on routes 2, 3 and 8. Destinations which can be directly reached include Bembridge, Newport, Ryde, Shanklin and Ventnor. Night buses are run on Fridays and Saturdays, along route 3.[5] Local bus services previously run by Wightbus have now been re-absorbed by Southern Vectis.

Sandown is on the Isle of Wight Coastal Path, between Niton and Ryde.


The TV series Tiger Island chronicles the lives of the more than twenty tigers living at Isle of Wight Zoo.

Cities links

Sandown is twinned (jumelée in French) with the town of Tonnay-Charente, in the western French département of Charente-Maritime. Its American twin town is St. Pete Beach, Florida.

Famous connections

  • John Wilkes (former Lord Mayor of the City of London) stayed regularly in Sandown in the late 18th century at the place he called 'Villakin', also known as Sandham Cottage. A memorial plaque marks the site of the cottage close to the present-day High Street. On Sunday mornings, Wilkes would go to Shanklin Church, and after the service would walk across the fields to Knighton with David Garrick and his wife. [6]
  • Naturalist Charles Darwin worked on the abstract which became the On the Origin of Species when staying at Sandown’s King's Head Hotel in July 1858. He later moved on to Norfolk House Hotel in nearby Shanklin. [7] Darwin also visited the Isle of Wight on other occasions, and was photographed there by Julia Margaret Cameron in 1868. [8]
  • The writer George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) stayed in Sandown during a two-week visit to the Isle of Wight in June 1863, having recently published her novels Romola and Silas Marner. Her celebrated work Middlemarch was published nine years later. [9]
  • The author Lewis Carroll, the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, spent successive summers on Sandown sea front in the 1870s, staying first at the King's Head Hotel and later at Culverton House. In 1875, while he was writing The Hunting of the Snark, he met 9-year old Gertrude Chataway whose family was staying next door. The first edition of The Hunting of the Snark is dedicated to Gertrude. [11]
  • HMS Sandown is the name ship of the Sandown class of mine countermeasures vessels. It commemorates a wartime namesake, which served as a minesweeper, having formerly been a passenger ferry.

Other notable people

  • James Dore (1854-1925), a noted photographer who recorded hundreds of late Victorian and Edwardian images of Sandown and the Isle of Wight. The Isle of Wight Heritage Service holds a collection of his work [18] Dore was also a local councillor, Justice of the Peace and Sandown's Chief Fire Officer [19]
  • Mary Ellis, ATA Pilot 1941-1945, later managing director of Sandown Airport. Mary died in July 2018 aged 101 [21]

See also


  1. ^ English Parishes & Welsh Communities N&C 2004
  2. ^
  3. ^ . [1] Sandown Meadows Nature Reserve web page
  4. ^ The correspondence of the late John Wilkes: with his friends, printed from ... - John Wilkes - Google Books. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  5. ^ "Southern Vectis route list". Southern Vectis. Archived from the original on 30 November 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
  6. ^ [2] John Wilkes on the Isle of Wight by Jan Toms, JanTomsBriefBiographies, July 2018
  7. ^ [3] Darwin Correspondence Project, letter to W D Fox, 21 July 1858.
  8. ^ [4] Charles Darwin by Julia Margaret Cameron, V&A Collection
  9. ^ [5] Project Gutenberg's George Eliot's Life, Vol. II (of 3), by George Eliot
  10. ^ [6] Queen Victoria's Journals, entry for 31 July 1874
  11. ^ Lewis Carroll, A Portrait With Background by Donald Thomas (Chapter 10 'Dreaming as the Summers Die'), John Murray, 1996 ISBN 0-7195-5323-7
  12. ^ Richard Strauss: Man, Musician, Enigma by Michael Kennedy, Cambridge University Press 1999
  13. ^ [7] The Life of Sir Isaac Pitman (Inventor of Phonography) by Alfred Baker p172, Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons 1919
  14. ^ [8] John Hannam archive interview with Frankie Howerd about working on the Isle of Wight (25 mins of audio)
  15. ^ [9] IoW Beacon feature about Sandown Pier and its performers, June 2017
  16. ^ [10] Tributes to Anthony Minghella, BBC Hampshire and Isle of Wight, 28 October 2014
  17. ^ [11] Renegade in Springtime by Rod Mengham, Times Literary Supplement, March 22nd 2017
  18. ^ [12] The photographs of James Dore
  19. ^ [13] Profile of James Dore by the Isle of Wight Fire Brigades Federation
  20. ^ "Thomas Gibson & Thomas Field Gibson". Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  21. ^ [14] Mary Ellis obituary, The Guardian, 29 July 2018

External links


Alverstone is a village 2 miles from the east coast of the Isle of Wight, near Sandown. When Richard Webster became Chief Justice of England in 1900, he chose the title Lord Alverstone because it was the title he was permitted to choose which was "closest" to Sandown, one of his favourite locales. It has ever since been the ancestral home of the Alverstones, the social wing of the Cambridge University Athletics Club, named after Webster a prominent figure in the club when a student there. Alverstone Manor is located here.

Prince Albert was instrumental in creating a 'model' brickworks in Alverstone in the middle of the 19th century (but that is a different 'Alverstone', east of Whippingham Isle of Wight, on the southern edge of QV's Osborne Estate). There is evidence from an archaeological dig in Alverstone of a Roman military presence in the area.The Newport Junction Railway opened a station at Alverstone in the 1870s, and the station first appeared in a public schedule in June 1876. Alverstone railway station finally closed 2 June 1956. The original wooden station was replaced with one built with earth and clinkers, with wood siding.

There are many wetlands around Alverstone. Nature lovers enjoy visiting the Alverstone Marshes.

The Alverstone Mead is a 55-acre (220,000 m2) woodland and nature reserve about 1-mile (1.6 km) from Sandown. Alverstone Mead is southeast of Alverstone, and south of the cycleway between Sandown and Newport. Since 1993 the lease is held by the Wight Nature Council. It was once part of the Lower Borthwood Farm.Transport is provided by Wightbus route 23, running between Newport and Shanklin.

EML Admiral Cowan

EML Admiral Cowan (M313) is a Sandown-class minehunter. Formerly HMS Sandown, lead ship of her class of the Royal Navy, she is now an Estonian Navy ship. Renamed EML Admiral Cowan, she is the flagship of the Estonian Navy and part of the Estonian Navy's mine sweeping flotilla. Admiral Cowan is the lead vessel of the Estonian Navy Mineships Division and also the first of the three modernised Sandown class minehunters received.

Eclipse Stakes

The Eclipse Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race in Great Britain open to horses aged three years or older. It is run at Sandown Park over a distance of 1 mile, 1 furlong and 209 yards (2,002 metres), and it is scheduled to take place each year in early July.

Enduro Cup

The Enduro Cup (formally known as the Pirtek Enduro Cup for sponsorship reasons), is an award given out to the highest points scorers over the three endurance events in Supercars; the Sandown 500, Bathurst 1000 and the Gold Coast 600.

HMS Bangor (M109)

HMS Bangor is a Sandown-class minehunter commissioned by the Royal Navy in 1999. Designed to hunt mines in depths of upto 200m using the Sonar 2093 Variable Depth Sonar (VDS) meaning that she can conduct mine clearance operations throughout the continental shelf. She is named after the Northern Ireland seaside town of the same name, and the second Royal Navy vessel to bear the name.

HMS Penzance (M106)

HMS Penzance is a Sandown-class minehunter commissioned by the Royal Navy in 1998. She is named after the seaside town of Penzance in Cornwall, and is the fourth vessel to bear the name.

HMS Shoreham (M112)

HMS Shoreham is a Sandown-class minehunter of the British Royal Navy. She is the fifth vessel to bear the name.

Hampshire Premier

Hampshire Premier is an English level 9 Rugby Union league for teams based in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Up until the 2017-18 season it was known as Hampshire 1 but was changed to Hampshire Premier due to restructuring of the Hampshire leagues, which would see the re-introduction of a third division as well as 2nd and 3rd XV sides joining for the first time. Each year some of the clubs in this division also take part in the RFU Junior Vase - a level 9-12 national competition.

Promoted teams move up to London 3 South West with the league winners going straight up and the runners up playing against the runners up from Surrey 1. Relegated teams drop down to Hampshire 1. Only 1st XV sides can be promoted up into London 3 South West, although any side can be relegated to Hampshire 1.

The points system is as follows.

4 points awarded for a win.

2 points awarded for a draw.

0 points awarded for a loss.

1 "bonus" (+) point awarded for scoring 4 tries (or more).

1 "bonus" (+) point awarded for losing by 7 points (or fewer).No team can get more than 5 points in a match. Points awarded are the same regardless of outcome at home or away. The new point system has been in effect since 2010-11 season.

List of British National Hunt races

A list of notable National Hunt horse races which take place annually in Great Britain, under the authority of the British Horseracing Authority, including all races which currently hold Grade 1, 2 or 3 status.

List of British flat horse races

A list of notable flat horse races which take place annually in Great Britain, under the authority of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), including all conditions races which currently hold Group 1, 2 or 3 status in the European Pattern.

Sandown, New Hampshire

Sandown is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 5,986 at the 2010 census.

Sandown-class minehunter

The Sandown class is a class of fifteen minehunters built primarily for the Royal Navy. The Sandown class also serve with the Royal Saudi Navy and the Estonian Navy. The first vessel was commissioned into Royal Navy service on 9 June 1989 and all the British ships are named after coastal towns and cities. They have a secondary role as offshore patrol vessels.

Sandown 500

The Sandown 500 is an annual endurance motor race which has been staged at the Sandown Raceway, near Melbourne, Victoria, Australia since 1964. Historically it was held in September, the month before Australia's premier endurance race, the Bathurst 1000. However in 2019 it will be held in November.The event's name, distance – and the category of cars competing in it – has varied widely throughout its history. Currently, the event is held as a championship event for Supercars and is formally known as the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 for sponsorship reasons.

Sandown Classic Trial

The Sandown Classic Trial is a Group 3 flat horse race in Great Britain open to three-year-old horses. It is run over a distance of 1 mile, 1 furlong and 209 yards (2,002 metres) at Sandown Park in late April.

Sandown Park Racecourse

Sandown Park is a horse racing course and leisure venue in Esher, Surrey, England, located in the outer suburbs of London. It hosts 5 Grade One National Hunt races and one Group 1 flat race, the Eclipse Stakes. It regularly has horse racing during afternoons, evenings and on weekends, and also hosts many non racing events such as trade shows, wedding fairs, toy fairs, car shows and auctions, property shows, concerts, and even some private events. It was requisitioned by the War Department from 1940-1945 for World War II. The venue has hosted bands such as UB40, Madness, Girls Aloud, Spandau Ballet and Simply Red. The racecourse is close to Esher railway station served by trains from London Waterloo.

Sandown Raceway

Sandown International Raceway is a motor racing circuit in the suburb of Springvale in Melbourne, Victoria, approximately 25 kilometres (16 mi) south east of the city centre. Sandown is considered a power circuit with its "drag strip" front and back straights being 899 and 910 metres long respectively.

Sandown railway line

The Sandown Line is a short former industrial railway line in the western suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It began life as the Bennett's Railway, opening on 17 November 1888. The line branched from the Carlingford line at Camellia Junction, just north of Rosehill station. It was electrified in 1959.In its final years the railway was used by occasional freight trains only, usually carrying empty containers to and from storage at Sandown; but, when electrified, it carried an infrequent electric suburban service to serve the surrounding industrial area, operated by single-deck 3-car trains (marshalled as Y-sets). The line had three simple stations: Sandown, Hardies and Goodyear (a platform called Cream of Tartar Works closed prior to electrification). The closure of Goodyear station preceded the closure of the remaining two. All stations were unattended by staff members.The overhead wires were removed in December 2002. Traffic was officially suspended and a Stop Block placed across the tracks on the Sydney side of Access Rd level crossing in October 2016.

The western end of the line will be used by the Parramatta Light Rail project to provide access to a tram stabling and maintenance facility. This saw the line officially closed which was gaztted for 1 July 2019. The section of the Carlingford line from where the Sandown line diverges to the Parramatta Road level crossing will also be closed.


Shanklin () is a popular seaside resort and civil parish on the Isle of Wight, England, located on Sandown Bay. Shanklin is the southernmost of three settlements which occupy the bay, and is close to Lake and Sandown. The sandy beach, its Old Village and a wooded ravine, Shanklin Chine, are its main attractions. The esplanade along the beach is occupied by hotels and restaurants for the most part, and is one of the most tourist-oriented parts of the town. The other is the Old Village, at the top of Shanklin Chine.

Together with Lake and Sandown to the north, Shanklin forms a built up area of 21,374 inhabitants (2011).


Yaverland is a village on the Isle of Wight, just north of Sandown on Sandown Bay. It has about 200 houses. About ​1⁄3 of a mile away from the village is the Yaverland Manor and Church. Holotype fossils have been discovered here of Yaverlandia and a pterosaur, Caulkicephalus. The White Air extreme sports festival was held annually at Yaverland pay and display car park between 1997 and 2008, but moved to Brighton for 2009.The older part of the village is spread along the road to Bembridge by the Norman Church. The newer part is along the seafront, consisting entirely of a bungalow estate. The name appears to come from a local rendition of "over land" - being the land over the once-tidal causeway. An alternative derivation is from "Yar Island".

In the fields below Yaverland the archaeological television programme Time Team discovered a Roman smithy.

In 1545 a battle took place in Yaverland between French forces and local levies. The French were crossing Culver Down from their landing at Whitecliff Bay in order to attack Sandown Castle and link up with a force from Bonchurch. The French fought their way into Sandown but were defeated at Sandown Castle, then under construction in the sea.

The Isle of Wight Zoo is in Yaverland. The zoo is noted for its collection of rescued tigers and increasingly realistic and spacious enclosures for them. The zoo inhabits much of the converted buildings of the Granite Fort built by Lord Palmerston as a defense against the French in 1860. The grounds were used by the military during World War II as part of the Pluto pipeline to send oil under the English Channel to France to fuel the Allied war efforts.

By the sea is the Yaverland Sailing and Boat Club and along the seashore are fossil-bearing beds, which may be explored by guided walks from Dinosaur Isle. A holiday camp is located further north in the village, and was once the site of Yaverland Battery.

In November 2008, the Isle of Wight Council opened a new public toilet block which runs completely from renewable energy generated on-site. It is thought to be one of the "greenest" facilities in the UK.Southern Vectis bus route 8 links the village with the towns of Newport, Ryde, Bembridge and Sandown, including intermediate towns. Wightbus run route 22 around Culver Way to Sandown, after Southern Vectis withdrew route 10 from the area.

Unitary authorities
Major settlements
Settlements on the Isle of Wight
Civil parishes
Other villages
and hamlets
See also


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