Newport's possition at the centre of the island and at the navigable head of the River Medina, made it a natural market town for the island's mixed agricultural produce, since Saxon times. Although the river is no longer the centre of the island's trade, the port area still retains many of its old riverside warehouses, including the Classic Boat Museum, which tells the history of the town as a once busy shipping centre.
Newport and Carisbrooke, Viewed from the Castle © Travel About Britain
Newport's central square and the classically designed Guildhall (circa 1816), were the work of John Nash, who designed London's Regent Street. Newport's oldest Inn, The Castle, can be found on the High Street. Built in 1684, it held regular cock fights until the early 19th-c. In Pyle street, running behind the High Street, is an 18th-c Grade II listed, chequered brick, Chantry House. The impressive Gothic style grey-stone church of St Thomas (Newport Minster) was built in the 1850s on the site of a much earlier church. The foundation stone was laid by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, who also donated a white marble of Princess Elizabeth - a daughter of King Charles I, who is buried in the chancel.
The remains of a Roman farmhouse, complete with a hypocaust heating system and Roman bath, was discovered in Cypress Road in 1926. Open to the public on certain days. You can experience a 360° virtual tour of the villa here via Google Maps.
To the west, the villiage of Carisbrooke merges with Newport, forming the largest conurbation on the island. A little further southwest sits the mighty Carisbrooke Castle. A formidable stone fortress where Charles I was imprisoned before his trial and execution in 1649. The great hall where the king was held prisoner can still be visited.
Built on the site of a previous 8th-c. Saxon fort, its Norman stone replacement is still a impressive fortress today, with a surviving keep, curtain wall and moat. The twin towered gatehouse was added in the 14th century.
In November 1647 Charles I went to the castle with some friends, hoping they could win the governor over to the royal cause. However, Charles soon discovered he was a prisoner! not a guest. He made two unsuccessful escape attempts, but finally left in November 1648, on the way to his trial and execution in London.
The old governor's lodge, located within the castle grounds, houses the county museum, which tells the history of the castle and the island. There is also the excavated remains of a Roman villa in the castle grounds.
Location: Castle Hill, Newport, IOW PO30 1XY
Tel: 0370 333 1181
Contains a collection of vintage buses, coaches and other old transport vehicles that were once used on the island.
Location: Park Road, Ryde, Isle of
Wight, PO33 2BE
Tel: 01983 567796
An award winning museum located on the waterside in the Isle of Wight. Contains a collection of over 50 craft, including sailing boats, power boats, canoes, rowing boats and a lifeboat.
Location: Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 2EH