Newest Review: ... there are limited. In fact all over the Island the tourist information shops have been closed as a cost cutting measure by the Counc... more
Great by day, bad by night!
Ryde (Isle of Wight)
Member Name: charlie1979
Ryde (Isle of Wight)
Advantages: Loads to do!
Disadvantages: Anti social behaviour, steep hills!
Ryde is one of the largest towns on the Isle of Wight and is a popular tourist destination. It's popularity is helped by it's location as it is on the North coast of the Island and can be accessed from the mainland by either the hovercraft operated by Hovertravel or the catamaran operated by Wightlink. There is also a train station, bus station and many large car parks making it easy to access when on the Island.
I personally do not live in Ryde but have family and friends who do so I frequent the town on a regular basis and even went to school there so I have had many years experience of this town. Ryde is certainly a town with divided opinions both among it's residents and Islanders from other towns. It has a bad reputation for its nightlife and there is often trouble on the streets, mainly on a Friday and Saturday night. There are often problems in large towns with many pubs due to anti-social behaviour and I don't think Ryde is any worse, it is certainly no worse than our overseas neighbour Portsmouth! I have had many a good night out in Ryde over the years however I must admit I do tend to avoid it now for nights out unless it is a special occasion!
Ryde is a typical Island seaside tourist town. Along the esplanade there are many amusement arcades, cheap cafes and tacky gift shops with hotels to match. The sandy beaches are very popular in the summer and there is even an area for beach football which makes for entertaining viewing in the summer! I believe the sand is imported (don't ask me where from!!) to top up the natural sand and is an amazing golden colour, just like a tropical beach! At low tide you can walk for a good ten minutes out to sea in water less than an inch deep. I absolutely love walking along the beach in the summer with ice cream in hand!
Appley Park is another popular attraction in Ryde. Here you can play mini golf, grab a bit to eat in the café or just relax in the grounds with a picnic or bbq. It can get quite busy here at peak times so it is worth while turning up early if you are planning a day out to make sure you can get a parking space. There is a boating lake in Ryde complete with pedal powered swans, oh, and real ones! I swear some of the real swans get a bit too friendly sometimes with their plastic counterparts! You certainly know that summer has arrived when you hear the characteristic creaking of the pedals in the background when sat on the beach! Next to the boating lake is a council run swimming pool. This pool has a retractable roof which they slide back in the summer. I am pleased to say they keep it firmly closed in the winter though!
Ryde does not have the best selection of shops on the Island and every time I drive down the main street I see shops closing and new ones opening! The shops are there to satisfy your basic needs but if you need to go clothes shopping Newport has much more to offer. Ryde probably struggles a bit due to the fact that Portsmouth is only a 15 minute ferry trip away! Ryde does however have a large Tesco superstore on its outskirts which people travel to from all over the Island, including myself! If you can't find what you are looking for in town I am sure you will be able to here, it's massive!
One thing to bear in mind with Ryde it is very hilly! The esplanade is flat however Union Street (known locally as Onion or Bunion Street!) is very steep and here is where you will find all the shops and pubs. Union Street leads on to the High Street which is not as steep but still an uphill climb none the less! When I have gone out on pub crawls in the past I have always started at the top of the hill and worked my way down! It's a real pain though if you run out of money at the bottom of the hill as the cash point is at the top so withdraw before your descent!
In summary I would say that Ryde has everything to offer tourists and residents alike. There is a swimming pool, mini golf, ice skating rink, cinema and plenty of pubs and restaurants. It has a bad reputation for it's night life and anti social behaviour which does affect my overall rating for this town. Visit in the day and you will have no problems!
Summary: A popular Island town