It is funny how you build up prejudices about places because you associate them with a single person or incident.
When I told my mother we were going to explore East Cowes Esplanade her head turned 360 degrees and she wailed in disapproval. After intense psychotherapy we discovered the cause of this feeling was a grim day out from Southampton when I was a child in the 1980s. They were living on the mainland and had taken a trip without a great deal of research into the weather or a car to explore (websites such as this offering rainy day ideas were clearly not an option...).
So, they spent the day in the rain on a tatty old playground in East Cowes and vowed never to return. She has kept her word in the subsequent decades and decided not to join us on this trip.
Nowadays, East Cowes Esplanade is much improved and is a useful spot if you have time to fill before a Red Funnel car ferry. There's a large paddling pool (certainly not heated but just about bearable) as well as lots of modern play equipment. It is mostly for younger children although there are a couple of climbing areas for older children.
There's also a cafe and toilet block. No idea if the cafe is any good, but it was busy which is a positive sign.
The beach at East Cowes is nothing special. It has an interesting view of a busy stretch of water with ferries coming and going, but it is a bit scrubby and on a bit too much of a slope for beach games. I could imagine sitting there on a summer’s evening with a tin of cheap lager discussing Tarantino films, but that’s about it.
The main problem though was the stench, which I assume was only temporary because of the way the wind was blowing. If it is a frequent thing then I would have expected to see local residents carrying pot pourri pouches or a man selling nose pegs by the side of the road.
Apart from that, it's a nice enough spot. Give it another decade and I'll persuade my mother to return to East Cowes.
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