Top places to live in Hampshire & IOW Bembridge
This pretty village on the east of the Island punches well above its weight when it comes to gorgeous scenery (families will love the three beaches) and seafood eateries. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.
Three great beaches, a picturesque pier and harbour, and a bustling community with plenty of indie cafes – you can see why Bembridge on the Isle of Wight’s most easterly point is so popular. It may be self-proclaimed as England’s largest village (you’ll join 4,000 other residents), but it still has peaceful living and buckets of charm.
Seafood fans will have a whale of a time (sorry) sampling the freshest catches the local restaurants and cafes. The Beach Hut on Forelands Beach is a total hidden gem – despite their teeny tiny kitchen, they always serve up delicious fish dishes to be washed down with a glass of chilled rosé while you watch the little ones frolic on the sand. Further up the road, tucked away on Bembridge Ledge is rustic pub The Crab & Lobster, which serves pub classics with a focus on seafood (try the hot and cold platters, they’re famous). Not a fish fan? Ganders restaurant, a short drive away in St Helens, is a well-loved family pub that’s popular for Sunday roasts.
It’s no Rodeo Drive, but there are enough quirky boutiques to keep you entertained in Bembridge. Like the rest of the island, the village is no stranger to antiques and retro shops – one of our favourites is Secret Garden of Bembridge, which is always a dead cert for a treasure or two. Brighten up your home with a posy from Bembridge Flower Shop, who sells gorgeous bouquets in pretty ceramic jugs and jam jars. For unbeatable fresh produce, head over to Captain Stan’s Bembridge Fishstore or The Farm Shop (also home to the cute No 8 Café).
If you can tear yourself away from the rock pools and sandy stretches of the beaches, head out to the island’s only surviving windmill, which inspired artists like Turner. Nunwell House, the only private country house open regularly to the public on the Isle of Wight, is just a 10-minute drive away.
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE
Pretty high as far as the rest of the island goes; some of the most desirable houses on the island are in this area. Properties in Bembridge had an overall average price of £339,149 in 2019. Detached properties sell for an average price of £416,709, and interestingly, terraced properties come in at a higher price point than semi-detached houses, at £321,450 and £265,300 respectively. Local estate agents include Hose Rhodes Dickson, the largest Estate Agent on the Isle of Wight, and Turnbull & Maton.
Littlies are taken care of with state schools Windmills Pre-School and Bembridge Primary School. For independents, nearby Ryde School with Upper Chine is a co-ed day and boarding school catering for ages 2 to 18 – if you’re boarding, one of the options includes Bembridge House on the outskirts of the village.
BEST KEPT SECRET
The late Queen Mother visited the Bembridge Coast Hotel to watch the yachts during Cowes Week – which isn’t the hotel’s only royal connection, as it was once owned by George V’s Lord in Waiting.
You’re relying on the bus services and then trains to get you to Portsmouth or Southampton – from there, it’s about an hour and a half train into London.
View the full Top 200 Places to Live