Here's my guide to some cheap and free places to park on the Isle of Wight including free parking in Ryde, Newport, Sandown, The Needles, Ventnor and Shanklin. It is ideal for anyone - like my mother - who is willing to walk some distance to avoid paying to park. I really don't like paying to park, but I usually cough up now that we have children and 14 bags on every beach outing.
It is also worth trying Your Parking Space and Just Park for events such as Cowes Week or for parking near a ferry port. You can rent out someone's driveway for a few hours or days via the website.
Quite a lot of Isle of Wight seafront parking is free in the depths of winter but I won't bother listing all of those, as most people visit the Island in spring, summer and autumn. I've focused on the places where you might have a day out.
There's also the controversial topic of whether it's acceptable to park in a permit-free residential area as long as you aren't blocking someone's drive. Personally, I have no problem with this (and don't mind people parking near my house) but I do whoosh off pretty quickly when I return to the car in case an angry resident has been waiting for me with a rolling pin...
This guide will probably go out of date before I hit publish, so please comment at the bottom if a) somewhere is no longer free or b) you've found somewhere else free or cheap to park on the Isle of Wight. Also, please check signs for yourself when you park somewhere as I may have got things wrong. And for any grandmas reading, the best way to suck an egg is at the pointy end.
Free and cheap parking for Alum Bay and The Needles
Let's start with one of the trickiest places to visit without paying for parking.
The road which leads to Alum Bay and The Needles has double yellow lines which seem to go on for miles. Last time we visited, the only car park was £6. That's not exorbitant for all day parking but it's a bit pricey if you only stay for 10 minutes before one of the children has a meltdown.
Free and cheap parking in Bembridge and St Helens
Free parking in Brighstone
Free parking at Colwell Bay
Free and cheap parking at Compton Bay
Free parking in Cowes and Gurnard
Cowes gets pretty ruthless when it comes to summertime parking, particularly in Cowes Week.
Free and cheap parking at Freshwater Bay
Free parking in Godshill
Free and cheap parking in Newport and Carisbrooke (including Isle of Wight Festival parking)
There are some residential roads on the edges of the town centre which are free, but a lot are now resident permit areas.
Free and cheap parking in Sandown
Free and cheap parking in Shanklin
Parking on Shanklin Seafront is a competitive and expensive experience. We once stayed in a flat on the seafront which didn't have parking and I spent the whole week moving the car or driving round looking for a space whilst crying (and I spent £50 on parking). Some options:
Free Parking in Ryde
Free Parking at Totland Bay
There are a couple of good options for those who don't want to pay for seafront parking at Totland Bay. It was free a few years ago, which makes paying for it all the more painful.
Free parking in Ventnor
Free parking in Yarmouth
Free parking in Yaverland
Free parking near Isle of Wight ferry ports
If you're looking for free or cheap parking in Southampton, Portsmouth, Lymington or Southsea for a trip to the Isle of Wight then that is covered in our ferries guide. (Spoiler alert: there isn't much).
If you're hoping to find somewhere free or cheap to park near to the ferries from Fishbourne, Cowes, East Cowes, Yarmouth or Ryde then you face a bit of a challenge. Some suggestions:
Isle of Wight Guru's Blog