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Ryde viewed from the Solent
|Population||32,072 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Fire||Isle of Wight|
|Ambulance||Isle of Wight|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
Ryde is an English seaside town and civil parish on the Isle of Wight, with a population of 32,072 at the 2011 Census. It lies on the north-east coast. The town grew in size as a seaside resort after the villages of Upper Ryde and Lower Ryde were merged in the 19th century. The influence of this era is still strongly visible in the town's central and seafront architecture.
As a resort, the town is noted for its expansive sands, which are revealed at low tide, making its pier necessary on the wide beach for a regular passenger ferry service. Ryde Pier is a listed structure, and the fourth longest pier in the United Kingdom, as well as the oldest.
In 1782 numerous bodies of men, women and children from HMS Royal George, which sank suddenly at Spithead, were washed ashore at Ryde. Many were buried on land that is now occupied by the Esplanade. A memorial to them was erected in June 2004.
The hovercraft to Southsea is operated by Hovertravel near the Esplanade close to Ryde Esplanade railway station and the bus station. A catamaran service run by Wightlink operates from Ryde Pier to Portsmouth Harbour which connects with both Island Line trains and mainland trains to London Waterloo.
A major bus interchange is situated between Ryde Pier and the Hover Terminal on the Esplanade with frequent services to many island towns and villages. Ryde is the second busiest place in the Southern Vectis network, smaller only than Newport. The most frequent service is route 9 to Newport, running every 10 minutes in the daytime. Other main routes include services 2, 3, 4, 8 and local route 37. An open top bus tour called "The Downs Tour" is also run in the summer.
The town's large and long esplanade area has always been an attraction for tourists, especially those day-tripping from the mainland, as the amenities are all available by walking from the pier. A swimming pool, bowls club, bowling alley, and boating lake are among the attractions, and there are various children's playgrounds, amusement arcades and cafés.
Ryde has few large public open spaces beyond the esplanade, but areas for public recreation include Appley Park, Puckpool Park, Vernon Square, Simeon Street Recreation Ground, St John's Park, St Thomas' churchyard, Salter Road recreation ground, and Oakfield Football Club.
At one time Ryde had two separate piers; the other being the Victoria Pier, no longer in existence. Ryde has its own inshore rescue service which mostly has to deal with people becoming stranded on sandbanks as the incoming tide cuts them off from the shore. The pier is also a feature of the 67-mile (108 km) Isle of Wight Coastal Path, which is marked with blue signs with a white seagull.
Ryde has a small marina located to the east of Ryde Pier. It is tidal and dries out at low water hence it is more suitable for smaller sailing (bilge keel) and motor cruisers. It has provision for up to 200 boats, either on floating pontoons or leaning against the harbour wall. It has a full-time harbourmaster who posts useful snippets of information on the noticeboard outside the harbour office including weather information, tide times, cruise liner movements and events that occurred on this day in history.
The twin church spires clearly visible from the sea belong to All Saints' (the taller) and Holy Trinity churches. All Saints' Church is located in Queens Road on a road junction known as Five Ways. It was designed by George Gilbert Scott and completed in 1872. The spire is 177 feet (54 m) tall. Holy Trinity Church is in Dover Street. It was designed by Thomas Hellyer and completed in 1845. Holy Trinity Church closed in January 2014 and the building became the Aspire Ryde community centre.
The town's Roman Catholic church, St. Mary's, is located in High Street. It was built in 1846 at a cost of £18,000. This was provided by Elizabeth, Countess of Clare. The church was designed by Joseph Hansom inventor of the hansom cab. Other churches include St James Church and St. Michael and All Angels, Swanmore. There are also Baptist, Methodist, United Reformed and Elim churches in the town.
Ryde Castle, situated on the Esplanade, was built c. 1840 as a private house in crenellated style and is now a hotel. It was left heavily damaged after a fire in 2012, and reopened after major restoration in 2013.
Beldornie Tower on Augusta Road was at one point a property of the Earl of Yarborough. The house dates back to the 16th or early 17th century. The house was virtually rebuilt c. 1840 in Gothic-Jacobean style with the addition of a west wing in 1880.
Sited on the Esplanade are an ice rink and a pavilion. The Ice rink is no longer open to the public, leading to the Isle of Wight's ice-hockey team, the "Wightlink Raiders" disbanding. The pavilion houses a bowling alley and nightclub.
The town's local football team was for many years Ryde Sports F.C., now replaced by Ryde Saints F.C. & Ryde F.C. SUNDAY.
Speedway is staged just south of the town at Smallbrook Stadium. The Isle of Wight Islanders started as members of the Conference League before moving up to the Premier League.
Ryde has five carnivals in a typical year: the Mardi Gras in June (established as The Arts Parade from 2003 to 2012); Children's, Main and Illuminated processions at the end of August, and a Lantern Parade in December. The Carnival at Ryde is the oldest in England. Ryde Carnival remains the island's largest carnival, with local crowds and mainland visitors totalling in excess of 50,000 spectators.
Ryde, seen from Ryde Pier and showing the twin spires.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Ryde.|
Media related to Ryde at Wikimedia Commons