infobox UK place
country = England
map_type= Isle of Wight
official_name= Ryde
latitude= 50.7271
longitude= -1.1618
population = 26,152 (1991 Census)
unitary_england= Isle of Wight
lieutenancy_england= Isle of Wight
region= South East England
constituency_westminster= Isle of Wight
post_town= RYDE
postcode_district = PO33
postcode_area= PO
dial_code= 01983
os_grid_reference= SZ591923

Ryde is a British seaside town, and the most populous town and urban area on the Isle of Wight, with a population of approximately 30,000. It is situated on the north-east coast.

The town grew in size as a seaside resort following the joining of the villages of Upper Ryde and Lower Ryde in the 19th century. The influence of this era is still strongly visible in the town's central and sea facing architecture.

As a resort, the town is noted for its expansive sands that occur at low tide, making its pier necessary on the wide beach for a regular passenger service. Ryde Pier is a listed structure which is the fourth longest pier in the United Kingdom, and also one of the oldest. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6527705.stm BBC - "Pier-ing into the future"] ]


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.

Transportation and amenities

The hovercraft to Southsea operates from 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. The Island Line train service runs from Ryde Pier Head via Ryde Esplanade to Shanklin, a distance of 8½ miles - Britain's smallest railway franchise. A major bus interchange is situated between Ryde Pier and the Hover Terminal on the Esplanade with frequent departures and arrivals from all the island's main towns and villages, run by Southern Vectis. The main service is route 9 to Newport, running every 10 minutes in the daytime. Other main routes include service 2, 3, 4, and 14. [ [http://www.islandbuses.info/routes.shtml Southern Vectis - Bus routes] ] An open top bus tour called "The Downs Tour" is also run in the summer. [ [http://www.islandbuses.info/downs.html Southern Vectis - Downs Tour] ]

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 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 tall. Holy Trinity Church is in Dover Street. It was designed by Thomas Hellyer and completed in 1845.

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.


Sited on The Esplanade is an ice rink and a pavilion, converted to house a nightclub and bowling alley feature on the Esplanade, the former being the home of the Isle of Wight's ice-hockey team, the "Wightlink Raiders". Many bars, pubs and restaurants can be found on the Esplanade and on the town's main shopping street, Union Street [ [http://mattandcat.co.uk/reviews/index.php/ryde/ Matt and Cat's Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide: restaurants and pubs in Ryde] ] .

The town's main live music venue, Ryde Theatre, is enjoying a growing reputation and has in recent years presented many popular artists. Despite this the future of the theatre is uncertain. [ [http://www.iwcp.co.uk/News/DRAMA_OVER_THEATRES_HAS_A_HAPPY_ENDING.aspx Isle of Wight Country Press - "Drama over theatres has a happy ending"] ]

The town's local football team was for many years Ryde Sports F.C., now replaced by Ryde Saints F.C. & Ryde FC SUNDAY.

Speedway is staged in the town. The Isle of Wight Islanders started as members of the Conference League before moving up to the Premier League.


Ryde is noted for its carnivals. There are five throughout the year - an Arts Parade in June; 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, although its popularity had been decreasing until the millennium.

In 2001 a London carnival group called Kinetica was brought to the island to teach carnival skills to adults and young people in community workshops. Since Kinetica's input the carnival has been expanding, with its effects felt throughout the island's other carnivals.

Ryde Carnival remains the island's largest carnival, with local crowds and mainland visitors totalling in excess of 50,000 spectators. Performers consist of community groups, schools, multiple samba and brass bands, stilt walkers and family groups, with over 2,000 performers taking part in August 2006.

Famous connections

* David Icke - is a Ryde resident.
* Sam Browne - the soldier after whom the belt was named, retired and lived the last years of his life in a house called Argosy on East Hill Road, Ryde.
* Philip Norman - the writer who attended Ryde School and has written about his childhood on the island.
* Karl Marx visited Ryde for health reasons in the summer of 1874.
* Michael Sheard - the actor who played Mr Bronson in "Grange Hill" and appeared in "Star Wars", lived in Ryde and died there in 2005.
* Raymond Allen - the TV writer who attended Ryde Secondary Modern School and wrote the BBC series Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em.
* William Hutt, the colonial administrator, was educated in Ryde.
* William Booth - the founder of the Salvation Army spent the first part of his honeymoon in Ryde.
* Mark King - the Level 42 musician, originally from Ventnor, opened a pub, Joe Daflos, in Union Street, Ryde in the 1980s.
* Anthony Minghella - the Hollywood director was born in Ryde in 1954. His parents are well-known local residents, and own an ice cream factory in Wootton (about 2 miles away). At the time of his birth they ran a cafe in Ryde High Street.
* Albert Pollard - the historian was born in Ryde on 16 December 1869.
* John Lennon and Paul McCartney- the title of the song "Ticket to Ride" was inspired by a trip they took to Ryde in the 1960s [ [http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=76 Song information - "Ticket to ride"] ] supposedly visiting Paul’s cousin who worked in the "Bow Bars" public house in Union Street. Paul also mentions the Isle of Wight in the song "When I'm 64."
* M J Trow - the British military historian and detective fiction writer, who used to teach history and politics at Ryde High School.


External links

* [http://www.rydedevelopmenttrust.org/ Ryde Development trust]
* [http://www.islandbreaks.co.uk/ Isle of Wight Tourism]
* [http://www.rshg.org.uk/ Ryde Social Heritage Group]
* [http://www.rydeharbour.co.uk/ Ryde Harbour]
* [http://www.bartiesworld.co.uk/postcards/ryde.htm Pictures of old Ryde]
* [http://www.ryde.shalfleet.net/ Ryde Old Postcards]

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