20 Things To Do In Willingdon Island

Things To Do In Willingdon Island

Willingdon Island, a picturesque man-made island nestled in the heart of Kochi, Kerala, offers a unique blend of natural beauty, historical significance, and cultural richness. As one of the largest artificial islands in India, it serves as a hub for various activities that cater to both locals and tourists. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, there are plenty of things to do in Willingdon Island. From exploring maritime museums and historic churches to enjoying scenic walks and sunset cruises, the island promises an unforgettable experience. Let’s dive into the best activities and attractions that Willingdon Island has to offer.

Things To Do In Willingdon Island

  1. Explore Cochin Port Maritime Heritage Museum

Located on Willingdon Island, the Cochin Port Maritime Heritage Museum is a treasure trove of maritime history. The museum showcases the evolution of Cochin Port, one of India’s oldest ports. Visitors can explore various exhibits that include old photographs, models of ships, navigation equipment, and documents detailing the port’s history.

The museum provides an insight into the maritime trade that shaped the economic landscape of the region. The displays highlight the technological advancements in shipbuilding and port management. Interactive exhibits make the visit engaging for children and adults alike. Informative plaques accompany each display, offering detailed descriptions and historical context.

For maritime enthusiasts, this museum is a must-visit. It not only reflects the rich history of Cochin Port but also emphasizes the importance of maritime activities in shaping global trade. The museum’s serene environment, coupled with its educational value, makes it an excellent stop for families and history buffs.

  1. Take a Scenic Walk Along the Marine Drive

Marine Drive in Kochi is famous for its picturesque views and tranquil ambiance. The walkway, stretching along the coastline, offers a refreshing escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. As you stroll, you’ll be greeted by the gentle sea breeze and stunning vistas of the backwaters and distant ships.

The walkway is lined with benches and shaded by trees, making it an ideal spot for relaxation. You can enjoy the sight of the sun setting over the water, painting the sky in vibrant hues. Street vendors selling snacks and refreshments add to the charm, providing a taste of local flavors.

Marine Drive is also a popular spot for boating. Various operators offer boat rides that take you through the serene backwaters, providing a unique perspective of the city. Whether you prefer a leisurely walk or an adventurous boat ride, Marine Drive promises a memorable experience.

  1. Visit the Kerala Folklore Museum

The Kerala Folklore Museum, located near Willingdon Island, is a cultural gem. This museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Kerala. It houses an impressive collection of artifacts, including traditional costumes, musical instruments, sculptures, and ancient manuscripts.

The museum is designed to reflect traditional Kerala architecture, adding to its charm. Each exhibit is meticulously curated, offering insights into the state’s diverse traditions and art forms. The museum also hosts live performances, where you can witness traditional dance and music.

Visiting the Kerala Folklore Museum is like taking a journey through time. It provides a deeper understanding of Kerala’s cultural roots and artistic expressions. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or a curious traveler, this museum offers an enriching experience that should not be missed.

  1. Enjoy a Meal at the Taj Malabar Resort & Spa

Dining at the Taj Malabar Resort & Spa is an experience in itself. Located on Willingdon Island, this luxury hotel offers a range of dining options, each providing a unique culinary journey. The Pepper restaurant, overlooking the backwaters, serves a variety of cuisines, from traditional Kerala dishes to international fare.

The hotel’s ambiance is a perfect blend of elegance and comfort. As you enjoy your meal, you can soak in the breathtaking views of the harbor and the city’s skyline. The service is impeccable, ensuring a memorable dining experience.

For those who love seafood, the hotel’s specialty restaurant, The Rice Boat, is a must-visit. It offers fresh, locally sourced seafood prepared with traditional spices and flavors. Dining at the Taj Malabar is not just about the food; it’s about the whole experience – the ambiance, the service, and the spectacular views.

  1. Discover the History at St. George Orthodox Koonan Kurish Old Syrian Church

A visit to the St. George Orthodox Koonan Kurish Old Syrian Church is like stepping back in time. This historic church, located on Willingdon Island, is one of the oldest in the region. It is renowned for its unique architecture, featuring traditional Syrian Christian elements.

The church’s interior is adorned with beautiful frescoes and ancient artifacts. Each corner of the church tells a story, reflecting the rich history and heritage of the Syrian Christian community in Kerala. The tranquil atmosphere offers a perfect setting for reflection and spiritual exploration.

Visitors can also learn about the significant events associated with the church, such as the Coonan Cross Oath, which played a pivotal role in the history of Christianity in Kerala. The church stands as a testament to the enduring faith and resilience of the local Christian community.

  1. Relax at the Wellington Island Beach

Wellington Island Beach offers a serene escape from the bustling city life. This hidden gem is perfect for a relaxing day out. The beach, with its golden sands and gentle waves, provides a tranquil setting for unwinding. Whether you want to take a leisurely stroll, sunbathe, or simply sit and enjoy the view, this beach has something for everyone.

The beach is relatively less crowded, making it an ideal spot for those seeking peace and solitude. The surrounding greenery adds to the scenic beauty, making it a great place for photography enthusiasts. You can also spot a variety of birds, adding to the charm of the place.

For families, the beach is a great spot for picnics. Children can play in the sand and splash in the shallow waters while parents relax. Wellington Island Beach is a perfect destination for a laid-back day by the sea.

  1. Shop for Souvenirs at the Mattancherry Bazaar

Mattancherry Bazaar is a bustling market located close to Willingdon Island. It is a haven for shoppers looking for unique souvenirs and local handicrafts. The bazaar is famous for its spice shops, antique stores, and handicraft emporiums.

Walking through the narrow lanes of Mattancherry Bazaar, you’ll be greeted by the vibrant colors and aromatic scents of spices. You can find an array of items, from traditional Kerala spices and teas to handcrafted jewelry and textiles. The market also offers a variety of antiques, including old coins, vintage furniture, and brassware.

Bargaining is a common practice here, so be prepared to haggle for the best prices. The friendly shopkeepers are always ready to share stories about their products, adding to the overall shopping experience. A visit to Mattancherry Bazaar is not just about shopping; it’s about immersing yourself in the local culture and traditions.

  1. Take a Backwater Cruise

One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Willingdon Island is by taking a backwater cruise. These cruises offer a unique perspective of the region’s scenic landscape. As you glide through the serene backwaters, you can enjoy the lush greenery, quaint villages, and abundant wildlife.

Most backwater cruises include a stop at various points of interest, such as traditional coir-making units and local farms. This allows you to witness the daily life and culture of the local communities. The cruises are typically conducted on traditional houseboats, which are equipped with all modern amenities for a comfortable journey.

The tranquil waters and the soothing sounds of nature make the backwater cruise a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. Whether you’re a solo traveler, a couple, or a family, a backwater cruise is a must-do activity when visiting Willingdon Island.

  1. Visit the Sacred Heart Church

The Sacred Heart Church, located on Willingdon Island, is a beautiful place of worship. This historic church is known for its stunning architecture and peaceful ambiance. The church’s interiors are adorned with intricate stained glass windows and elegant wooden pews.

Visitors can attend the regular masses and prayer services held at the church. The serene atmosphere provides a perfect setting for reflection and spiritual solace. The church also hosts various community events and festivals, which offer a glimpse into the local traditions and religious practices.

The Sacred Heart Church is not only a place of worship but also a landmark of cultural and historical significance. It stands as a testament to the island’s diverse religious heritage. A visit to this church is a fulfilling experience, offering both spiritual enrichment and historical insights.

  1. Indulge in Local Cuisine at Fort Cochin

Fort Cochin, located near Willingdon Island, is a food lover’s paradise. This historic area is dotted with numerous eateries and cafes, offering a wide range of local delicacies. From fresh seafood to traditional Kerala dishes, the culinary options here are endless.

One of the must-try dishes is the famous Kerala fish curry, prepared with fresh catch and local spices. You can also savor other traditional dishes like appam with stew, Malabar parotta with beef curry, and a variety of seafood platters. The local cafes offer a cozy ambiance, perfect for enjoying a leisurely meal.

Many restaurants in Fort Cochin also offer cooking classes, where you can learn to prepare traditional Kerala dishes. This is a great way to take a piece of Kerala’s culinary heritage back home. Exploring the food scene in Fort Cochin is a delightful experience, offering a true taste of the region’s rich culinary traditions.

  1. Visit the Kochi Naval Museum

The Kochi Naval Museum, also known as the Maritime Museum, is an excellent destination for those interested in naval history and maritime defense. The museum is dedicated to showcasing the rich history and evolution of the Indian Navy. It features an extensive collection of artifacts, including naval uniforms, weapons, models of ships, and informative displays on naval battles and strategies.

Interactive exhibits and multimedia presentations make the visit engaging and educational. The museum also has a section dedicated to the contributions of the Indian Navy during various wars, offering a glimpse into the bravery and valor of naval officers. A visit to the Kochi Naval Museum is both informative and inspiring, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts and families alike.

  1. Take a Sunset Cruise

A sunset cruise around Willingdon Island offers a breathtaking view of the sun setting over the Arabian Sea. These cruises are typically conducted on traditional houseboats or modern yachts, providing a comfortable and scenic ride. As you sail through the calm waters, you can enjoy panoramic views of the coastline, the bustling harbor, and the distant skyline of Kochi.

The vibrant hues of the setting sun reflecting off the water create a mesmerizing scene. Many cruises offer onboard refreshments and entertainment, adding to the overall experience. Whether you’re looking for a romantic evening or a peaceful retreat, a sunset cruise is a perfect way to end your day on Willingdon Island.

  1. Explore the Venduruthy Bridge

The Venduruthy Bridge is an iconic structure connecting Willingdon Island to the mainland. It offers a unique blend of engineering marvel and scenic beauty. Walking or driving across the bridge provides stunning views of the backwaters and the surrounding landscapes. The bridge is especially beautiful during sunrise and sunset when the lighting creates a picturesque setting.

The bridge is also a popular spot for photography enthusiasts, offering numerous vantage points for capturing the beauty of the island and the harbor. Whether you’re interested in engineering, architecture, or simply enjoying a beautiful view, a visit to Venduruthy Bridge is worthwhile.

  1. Relax at the Port Trust Garden

The Port Trust Garden is a well-maintained green space on Willingdon Island, perfect for relaxation and leisure activities. The garden features beautifully landscaped lawns, flowering plants, and shaded areas ideal for picnics or a peaceful stroll. It is a great spot for families and individuals looking to unwind amidst nature.

The garden also has several benches and walking paths, making it a pleasant place for a morning jog or an evening walk. The tranquil environment and the fresh sea breeze make the Port Trust Garden a lovely escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

  1. Visit the Indian Naval Academy

The Indian Naval Academy on Willingdon Island is one of the premier training institutes for naval officers in India. While it is primarily a training facility, the academy occasionally opens its doors to visitors, offering a rare glimpse into the rigorous training and lifestyle of naval cadets. Guided tours can provide insights into the academy’s history, training programs, and its significant role in the Indian Navy.

Visitors can explore the various training simulators, lecture halls, and the sprawling campus, which is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. The visit is both educational and inspiring, showcasing the dedication and discipline required to serve in the navy.

  1. Experience Traditional Art at the Kerala Kathakali Centre

Located near Willingdon Island, the Kerala Kathakali Centre is a cultural hub dedicated to promoting traditional art forms of Kerala. The center offers daily performances of Kathakali, a classical dance-drama known for its elaborate costumes and expressive gestures. Watching a Kathakali performance is a captivating experience, providing a deep dive into Kerala’s rich artistic heritage.

In addition to Kathakali, the center also hosts performances of other traditional art forms such as Kalaripayattu (martial arts) and Mohiniyattam (dance). Visitors can also participate in workshops to learn the basics of these art forms. The Kerala Kathakali Centre is a must-visit for those interested in experiencing the cultural richness of Kerala.

  1. Explore the Spice Market

The Spice Market near Willingdon Island is a vibrant and aromatic destination where you can immerse yourself in the world of spices. The market offers a wide variety of spices, including pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and more. These spices are essential ingredients in Kerala’s cuisine and are also popular for their medicinal properties.

Strolling through the market, you can witness the hustle and bustle of daily trade, with vendors showcasing their colorful and fragrant wares. Many shops also offer packaged spices, making it easy for visitors to take a piece of Kerala’s spice heritage back home. The Spice Market is a sensory delight and a great place to learn about the region’s spice trade history.

  1. Visit the Kochi International Marina

The Kochi International Marina, located on Willingdon Island, is India’s first full-fledged marina. It offers world-class facilities for yachts and sailing enthusiasts. Visitors can walk along the marina, enjoying the sight of luxury yachts and sailboats docked at the harbor. The marina also features a yacht club, providing various amenities and services for boat owners.

The area around the marina is beautifully landscaped, with cafes and restaurants offering stunning views of the harbor. It’s a perfect spot for a leisurely afternoon, whether you’re interested in boating or simply enjoying the scenic waterfront. The Kochi International Marina adds a touch of luxury and modernity to Willingdon Island, making it a unique destination.

  1. Take a Day Trip to the Bolgatty Island

Just a short ferry ride from Willingdon Island, Bolgatty Island is home to the historic Bolgatty Palace. This Dutch colonial mansion, built in 1744, is now a heritage hotel offering luxurious accommodations and beautiful views of the backwaters. Visitors can explore the palace’s well-preserved rooms, lush gardens, and the nine-hole golf course.

Bolgatty Island also features a marina and several recreational activities, such as boating and fishing. The serene environment and the historical significance of the island make it an excellent destination for a day trip. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or leisure activities, Bolgatty Island has something to offer.

  1. Attend a Cultural Festival

Willingdon Island and its surrounding areas host various cultural festivals throughout the year, showcasing the region’s rich traditions and vibrant community spirit. One of the most notable festivals is the Cochin Carnival, held in December. The carnival features a grand parade, music, dance, and various cultural performances, transforming the streets into a lively celebration.

Other festivals, such as Onam and Vishu, offer an opportunity to witness traditional rituals, folk dances, and elaborate feasts. Attending these festivals provides a unique insight into the local culture and allows visitors to experience the warmth and hospitality of the people. Check the local event calendar to see if any festivals coincide with your visit to Willingdon Island.


Willingdon Island is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. With its rich maritime history, cultural landmarks, serene beaches, and vibrant markets, there is no shortage of things to do in Willingdon Island. Whether you are soaking in the island’s tranquil beauty on a backwater cruise, exploring the fascinating exhibits at the museums, or indulging in the local cuisine, every moment spent here is sure to be memorable. This island is not just a destination; it’s an invitation to explore, learn, and relax. So, pack your bags and set out to experience the charm and allure of Willingdon Island – a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.

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