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Living in Yarmouth: the local area guide

Yarmouth is a small historic port town on the Isle of Wight, and is one of the main gateways to the island. It is full of beautiful architecture, with many prominent listed buildings, and is a popular tourist destination during the summer months.

Yarmouth has been a site of human habitation since the late 10th century AD, when it was known as 'Eremue' which loosely translates as 'muddy town'. Thankfully, it has improved since then - not in the least due to the influence of the Normans, who after their invasion implemented a grid-based town plan that is still present today. Thanks to their work, the town grew quickly and earned its Charter as a town in 1135.

It was an important military point of contention throughout the middle ages and the waters around the town were the site of many naval skirmishes with the French. Raids continued right into the 16th century, until Henry VIII constructed the castle which is still present today to deter unwanted vessels. The castle is now a popular tourist attraction - maintained by English Heritage, it is a great spot for a picnic and offers some beautiful views over the water.

Also of note is the pier. The longest in the country accessible to the public, it was constructed in the 1870s and is now Grade II listed. It is a popular fishing spot, and is also the site of celebrations during the annual Gaffers Festival.

Demographics

Under 900 people live in Yarmouth, which makes it one of the smallest towns in the UK. For that reason, meaningful demographic data is rare but there is plenty of data about the island as a whole.

The residents of the Isle of Wight are, on average, 5 years older than those on the main land. Education levels are generally slightly lower, with a relatively high proportion having no or very few formal qualifications. The unemployment rate is very slightly higher than that of the mainland at 3.4%, and a lower number of people belong to the ABC1 social grades. That means that there are fewer households which qualify for the Higher or Intermediate administrative, managerial or professional occupational classification.

However, more than 70% of the locals own their own home which is a larger proportion than the mainland, and self-reported state of health is high.

Yarmouth itself has a lively, friendly and warm culture that is showcased in their annual events. The most notable of these is the Yarmouth Gaffers Festival - a regatta and general celebration involving live music, craft fairs, street performances and more.

Between events, popular activities include fishing, walking and cycling, as well as exploring the nearby 'Sights of Special Scientific Interest'.

Education

The town's primary school, Yarmouth CE Primary School, has a good reputation and is willingly helped out by the locals. It aims to offer children a rounded education that includes plenty of real world experience, and the population of the town are more than willing to assist with this.

For older children, or if parents would prefer more choices, the towns of Cowes and Newport are within easy reach and have plenty more schools. And a short ferry ride away, on the mainland, there are plenty of excellent institutions.

Transport

For on-island travel, Yarmouth is relatively well placed. While there has been no railway since the 1950s, busses run by Southern Vectis provide good, regular links through Totland, Album Bay, Freshwater, Newport and Shalfleet.

Drivers will find it easy to get around, too. The A3054 runs past the town and offers a 20 minute connection to Newport and Cowes.

To get to the mainland, the Wightlink car ferry offers regular trips from Yarmouth to Lymington in Hampshire and is easy to use.

Amenities and shopping

As a small port town, Yarmouth is well served by local grocers, butchers, bakers, fishmongers and craft stores. However, it is not a town of high fashion, so for more recognisable brands Cowes is your best bet, just 12 miles away.

Serious shoppers, though, will find themselves drawn to the vast shopping centres on the mainland in Portsmouth and Southampton - these are within easy reach by car ferry.

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Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact editor@primelocation.com

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.

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