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A Guide to Alum Bay

Alum Bay is a beautiful beach on the islands west coast. Not only is it stunning, but its famous for its jagged white rock formations out at sea known as The Needles and its peculiar coloured cliffs. As the cliffs erode, they sprinkle multi-coloured sands onto the beach in fact, there are 21 distinct shades! Read on to find out more about the lovely bay-come-visitors park.

What to Know

After viewing the amazing striped cliffs, visitors can capture their memories of this unusual spectacle by taking some of the sands home with them! Alum Bays glass shop offers empty jars in a variety of shapes and sizes. Customers can fill these up themselves with coloured sands. The shop also sells beautiful vases, homeware, and keepsakes. Alongside the sand shop, theres a sweet manufactory where you can see sweets being made using original 19th century machinery. Dont forget to sample some afterward! If you came to enjoy the pretty bay, there are plenty of ways to do so. Ride the chairlift from atop the cliff down to the seashore and take full advantage of the amazing photo opportunities as you go. Once on the beach, you can play in the waves and enjoy a picnic or take a boat tour. Needles Pleasure Cruises Ltd will take you out around the Needles rocks and lighthouse to view smugglers caves, which stored contraband spirits, tobacco, and tea in the 1800s. Entry and car parking are ticketed, so be sure to check the rates before you go on the Needles and Alum Bay website. Opening times year-round are 10 am to 5 pm, with later closing times during summer months.

Where to Stay

For easy access to Alum Bay, the Needles, and everything else the West Wight has to offer, youre best off staying in Totland, Freshwater or Yarmouth. Heres our pick of places to stay in the West Wight:
  • The Bay Colwell: lovely holiday cottages at affordable rates for all the family, including dogs! Rent a cottage with hot tub included for a luxurious stay.
  • Sentry Mead: This Victorian villa offers an array of rooms and a lovely outdoor terrace in Totland. Its highly rated by guests and in a gorgeous location with sea views.
  • Glamping the Wight Way: Ready-set safari-style tents with fire pits, cosy seating and countryside views? Yes please! Camp in true style with private bathrooms, double bedrooms, and even a bathtub in each canvas lodge.

What Else to Do on the Isle of Wight

While youre over on the western tip of the island, make the most of the countryside charm and laidback beach lifestyle.
  • Make a visit to Freshwater Bay, a picturesque pebbled beach with warm clear waters in the summer and a woodfired pizza van for snacking! Alternatively, surfers will want to head to Compton Bay for bigger waves and secluded sunbathing.
  • Get pampered at the West Bay wellness spa. Spa day packages are available as well as a one-off massage or facial.
  • Freshwater Bay Golf Club is home to a stunning clifftop golf course. Enjoy a game while breathing fresh sea air and admiring views for miles.
Check out our list of things to do on the Isle of Wight for more suggestions!

How to Get to Alum Bay and West Wight

Once youre off the ferry (and for passengers with cars and without, the nearest ferry is the Wightlink Lymington to Yarmouth), head west via car or bus! Need a car to cruise around the island? You can hire one in Southampton or Portsmouth before making your way over. Need help getting to the island? Trains run from all over the country and easy links can be made. Make your way to Lymington (best route to Alum Bay), Southampton Central, or Portsmouth rail stations for easy connections to ferry ports. If youre visiting from far afield, flying into London is a sure route. From there, hop on a coach or train, or rent a car at Gatwick or Heathrow. You can drive down to Portsmouth or Southampton from London in just an hour and a half!
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