Newport is the county town of the Island and has a population of around 24,000.
The town is situated slightly north of the geographical centre of the island. It took over from Carisbrooke as the main administrative focal point of the island when the harbour was established at the head of the River Medina in the late 12th century. The river splits the top of the Island in two between here and Cowes.
In 1377 much of the town was burnt down during the French attack on Carisbrooke. In 1608 the town became a borough absorbing Carisbrooke as a suburb.
One of the oldest buildings is the Old Grammar School in Lower St James Street dating from 1612. Charles I lodged here after leaving Carisbrooke for the conference with the Parliamentary Commissioners in 1648 during which he was swiftly removed to Hurst Castle before being taken to Westminster for his trial.
In St James’s Square, there is a monument to Queen Victoria and a bust of Lord Louis Mountbatten, a former governor of the island. Further down the High Street on the left is the Guildhall which was the former town hall built by John Nash in 1819. This now houses the Museum Of Island History. Just off the High street is St Thomas's Square where the weekly market takes place every Tuesday around the Church of St Thomas.