Yarmouth, Isle of Wight

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Yarmouth isle of wight.jpg
Yarmouth town centre
Isle of Wight UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within the Isle of Wight
Population865 (2011 Census) [1]
OS grid reference SZ356896
Civil parish
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town YARMOUTH
Postcode district PO41
Dialling code 01983
Police Hampshire and Isle of Wight
Fire Hampshire and Isle of Wight
Ambulance Isle of Wight
UK Parliament
List of places
Isle of Wight
50°42′14″N1°30′00″W / 50.704°N 1.500°W / 50.704; -1.500

Yarmouth is a town, port and civil parish [3] in the west of the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England. The town is named for its location at the mouth of the small Western Yar river. The town grew near the river crossing, originally a ferry, which was replaced with a road bridge in 1863. [4]



The Harbour, c. 1920, by A. R. Quinton A. R. Quinton, Harbour, Yarmouth I. of Wight.jpg
The Harbour, c. 1920, by A. R. Quinton
Yarmouth Town hall Yarmouth Town Hall - geograph.org.uk - 1915399.jpg
Yarmouth Town hall

Yarmouth has been a settlement for over a thousand years, and is one of the earliest on the island. The first account of the settlement is in Æthelred the Unready's record of the Danegeld tax of 991, when it was called Eremue, meaning "muddy estuary". The Normans laid out the streets on a grid system, a plan which can still be seen today. It grew rapidly, being given its first charter as a town in 1135. [4] The town became a parliamentary borough in the Middle Ages, and the Yarmouth constituency was represented by two members of Parliament until 1832. [4]

Until the castle was built, raids by the French hurt the town; in 1544 the it was reputed to have been burned down. Legend has it that the church bells were carried off to Cherbourg or Boulogne. [4]

Yarmouth Castle was built in 1547, and is now in the care of English Heritage. [5] It is effectively a gun platform, built by Henry VIII to fortify the Solent and protect against any attempted invasion of England.

For many years Yarmouth was the seat of the Governor of the Island. Yarmouth Town Hall was built in 1763. [6]

In St. James's Church, there is a monument to the 17th century admiral Sir Robert Holmes who was at Yarmouth. He obtained it in a raid on a French ship, when he seized an unfinished statue of Louis XIV of France and forced the sculptor to finish it with his own head rather than the king's. [7]

In 1784, most of Yarmouth's ancient charters were lost: A ship's captain, drunk after a court dinner, stole what he thought was a case of wine, as he returned to his ship. When he discovered it was a case of books, he threw it overboard.

Entrance to Yarmouth Pier, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight (2014) by L S Wilson Entrance to Yarmouth Pier, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight - geograph.org.uk - 4559757.jpg
Entrance to Yarmouth Pier, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight (2014) by L S Wilson

Yarmouth Pier was opened in 1876. It received Grade 2 listed status in 1975. Originally 685 ft (207.5m) long, it's now 609 ft (186m) but is still the longest timber pier in England open to the public, and also a docking point for the MV Balmoral and PS Waverley.

Several Sites of Special Scientific Interest lie close to Yarmouth, including Yar Estuary SSSI & Bouldnor And Hamstead Cliffs SSSI.


Yarmouth Harbour Yarmouth Harbour, Isle of Wight - geograph.org.uk - 1720429.jpg
Yarmouth Harbour
Yarmouth Pier Yarmouth Pier, Isle of Wight,UK.jpg
Yarmouth Pier

As a port and market town Yarmouth has had local commercial significance. It still has some boat yards and chandlery, and although relatively small it still supports a number of shops, hotels, pubs and restaurants, supported partly by passing trade from the ferry terminal and visiting boat owners.


Passenger ferry Solent waiting at Lymington Pier in 1910 (postcard) Lymington pier.jpg
Passenger ferry Solent waiting at Lymington Pier in 1910 (postcard)

The Wightlink car ferry sails from Yarmouth to Lymington (Lymington Pier) in Hampshire.

Southern Vectis operate bus services from Yarmouth bus station, a small building near the ferry terminal, the main route being route 7 serving Totland, Alum Bay, Freshwater, Newport and Shalfleet as well as Yarmouth. [8] To reach Yarmouth, route 7 uses Pixley Hill, which has caused some controversy amongst local residents who do not believe the road is large enough for buses. [9] The controversy was initially started by former route 11 being extended to serve Yarmouth and using the lane in September 2008. [10]

In the spring and summer, Southern Vectis also operate an open top bus called "The Needles Breezer" that runs through Freshwater Bay to Alum Bay and onto the Needles Battery down a bus and pedestrian-only road along the cliff edge; returning to Yarmouth via Totland and Colwell. [11] For the more athletic, Yarmouth is on the Isle of Wight Coastal Path.

The parish was once served by Yarmouth railway station, with services to Newport. Passenger services ended in 1953, and the track has long since been removed; the trackbed between Yarmouth and Freshwater has been converted into a bridleway. In August 2014 the converted and expanded railway station opened as a restaurant.

Size and population

Yarmouth is one of the smallest towns in the United Kingdom. The 2011 census reported the parish of Yarmouth having 865 usual residents. [1] In 2001, the population was just 791 [12] (compared with about 600 at the beginning of the 19th century).


Yarmouth hosted the popular biannual Old Gaffers festival which included several days of entertainment and shows, [13] but in September 2018 it was announced that the event would no longer be held. [14]

Yarmouth marina is the landing point for the Royal Navy's Solent Amphibious Challenge, held in June each year. [15]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Isle of Wight</span> County and island of England

The Isle of Wight is an island, English county and unitary authority in the English Channel, 2 to 5 miles off the coast of Hampshire, across the Solent. It is the largest and second-most populous island in England. Referred to as "The Island" by residents, the Isle of Wight has resorts that have been popular holiday destinations since Victorian times. It is known for its mild climate, coastal scenery, and verdant landscape of fields, downland, and chines. The island is historically part of Hampshire. The island is designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alum Bay</span>

Alum Bay is a bay near the westernmost point of the Isle of Wight, England, within close sight of the Needles rock formation. Of geological interest and a tourist attraction, the bay is noted for its multi-coloured sand cliffs. The waters and adjoining seabed form part of the Needles Marine Conservation Zone and the shore and heath above are part of the Headon Warren and West High Down Site of Special Scientific Interest.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Needles</span> Sea stacks off the Isle of Wight, England

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lymington</span> Seaside town in Hampshire, England

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Freshwater, Isle of Wight</span> Human settlement in England

Freshwater is a large village and civil parish at the western end of the Isle of Wight, England. The southern, coastal part of the village is Freshwater Bay, named for the adjacent small cove. Freshwater sits at the western end of the region known as the Back of the Wight or the West Wight, a popular tourist area.

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Wightlink is a ferry company operating routes across The Solent between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in the south of England. It operates car ferries between Lymington and Yarmouth, and Portsmouth and Fishbourne and a fast passenger-only catamaran between Portsmouth Harbour and Ryde Pier. It is jointly owned by Basalt Infrastructure Partners and Fiera Infrastructure.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lymington branch line</span>

The Lymington branch line is a railway that runs from Brockenhurst to Lymington in the New Forest, England. The line is around 5.6 miles (9 km) long, and is single track throughout its length. It diverges from the South West Main Line at Lymington Junction. At Lymington Pier, trains connect with Wightlink ferry services to Yarmouth, Isle of Wight. The Lymington branch line is electrified using the 750 V DC third-rail system.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ningwood</span> Human settlement in England

Ningwood is a village on the Isle of Wight. It is on several lanes about three miles east of Yarmouth in the northwest of the island. In the 2011 Census the population of the village was included in the civil parish of Shalfleet.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Totland</span> Village on the Isle of Wight in England

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Colwell Bay is a bay in the west of the Isle of Wight. It is located between the towns of Totland and Yarmouth. The bay's northernmost point is Cliff's End the closest point of the Island to the British mainland, with Hurst Castle lying at the end of a long peninsula just 1500 metres to the northwest. The southernmost point is Warden Point.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wightbus</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tennyson Down</span> Hill on the Isle of Wight, UK

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  1. 1 2 UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Yarmouth Parish (1170212058)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics . Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  2. "Yarmouth Town Council".
  3. English Parishes & Welsh Communities N&C 2004 Archived 9 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. 1 2 3 4 A Timeline History of Yarmouth Archived 21 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine compiled by Ian Dallison on behalf of The Yarmouth Society
  5. English Heritage
  6. Historic England. "The Town Hall (1292635)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  7. BBC DNA page about Robert Holmes
  8. "Southern Vectis route list". Southern Vectis. Archived from the original on 30 November 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
  9. "Road row rumbles on". Isle of Wight County Press . Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  10. "We could be in line for a wonderful hoo-ha". Isle of Wight County Press. 23 January 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
  11. "Southern Vectis Needles Tour". Southern Vectis. Archived from the original on 28 April 2008. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
  12. "2001 Census" . Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  13. "Yarmouth Old Gaffers Festival". Yarmouth-harbour.co.uk. 22 July 2002. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  14. "Old Gaffers Festival cancelled due to rising costs". BBC News . 18 September 2018. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  15. "Solent Amphibious Challenge 2012". Royal Navy. Archived from the original on 24 December 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2022.