Cowes started out as a small fishing village on the mouth of the River Medina. It began to grow when Henry VIII ordered twp forts to be built there. Cowes is best known as the home of the international yachting festival known just as Cowes Week and the Royal Yacht Squadron, one of the world’s most exclusive sailing clubs. Cowes Week is a high society event, where crowds of people go to try and catch a glimpse of royalty visitors. The Cowes Maritime Museum has exhibits with model ships, and shipbuilding tools, in addition to prints, paintings, and maritime literature.
Northwood House is a classical mansion built in 1837. Surrounded by Northwood Park, it has tennis courts, a croquet lawn, and lawns, which are open to the public.