Access to Bembridge is possible roughly HW Portsmouth +3 hours with 1.5 metres draft. The beaches around Bembridge are great for the kids and there are good walks around the shoreline. If you can take the ground you can anchor in fairly sheltered water just outside the harbour, close to the beach, and avoid all charges. You can pull up onto the (fairly steep) beach inside the harbour on the port hand side and you are close to the outer beaches. There is a charge here, but it's reasonable.
Further up the harbour is a very long visitors pontoon which is now (2002) connected to the shore. It's a bit of a trek round to the marina, along the bund wall, if you want to use the facilities. There are disturbing reports that the charges on the pontoon are now in the extortionate range (2003). If this proves true it will sadly be one less place to visit.
Well, in the interests of accuracy, we visited Bembridge early August 2003 and, tragically, the pontoon is now called 'Duver Marina'. There is a portacabin Loo/shower unit (out of order when we visited) and an office to take your money. It cost us a whopping £17 (28ft) for an overnight stay... (Electricity is available at £2.50 and there are plans for a dedicated shower/loo block and a shop. The original marina is now purely for berth holders.[thanks DM]) Further news from Peter F puts the price at £2.20/metre/night for 2006 (about £20 for 28ft.) ...Sadly, yet another destination has priced itself out of our market...
Almost. When the May Bank Holiday (2006) promised to be blown out we decided to make a quick dash over to Bembridge, this being the only viable place without a hard beat in strong wind. Others had the same idea so we were four out from the pontoon and were charged £18.70 per night. The permanent loo block and shop are now in operation. There are a couple of gas barbecues close by the cash office which can be used by visitors for a contribution toward the gas.
The Brading Haven Yacht Club open their doors to visiting crews and a good meal and a drink can be enjoyed in the clubhouse or on the terrace overlooking the harbour. Walking further round the harbour, past the house boats, brings you to a fairly well stocked chandlery then the Bembridge Sailing Club. Opposite BSC is a pub, the Pilot Boat Inn, which is reportedly worth a visit.
From here you can take a footpath over the hill that will bring you to the lifeboat station. The 'Lifeboat view' cafe on the sea wall serves all sorts of refreshment. The walk back, along the beach, completes the circuit.
From the landward end of the bund, a right turn takes you up the hill to the village of St Helens with it's village green. Sunday mornings in summer you will sometimes find a car boot sale to peruse. PF says there is a 'gourmet' pub called The Vine on the green, which has recently been refurbished under new owners and serves excellent food.
The harbour operates a water taxi, it runs a regular service (April - September) between landing points at the marina, the Duver Boat Yard, Bembridge Point beach, Brading Haven Yacht Club, and Bembridge Sailing Club, subject to tides. Single:£1.00 Children:50p
The view from the beach, entrance on the right of the picture.