Originally the private gardens to Rylstone House, the site has been a public park since about 1914.
Rylstone Gardens lie within the Shanklin Conservation Area. They are situated on the south side of Shanklin Chine and bordered by coastal cliff to the east. There are extensive sea views.
The house, Listed Grade II, is now Rylstone House Hotel. It dates possibly to the 1860s or 1870s, and is in the form of a cottage orne. It is constructed of stone rubble with decorative timber work.
The public gardens feature a number of mature trees. There is a café and a Crazy Golf course on the site of the former kitchen garden, and a memorial to Elvis Presley.
The gardens include a chalet (Listed Grade II) built in about 1880, constructed of stone rubble with a wooden verandah. The inspiration for this building was probably the Swiss Chalet at Osborne House. Stylistically it has affinities with the Keats Inn, Shanklin and may be by the same hand.
A site visit report by Isle of Wight Gardens Trust members in April 2001 noted a variety of tree and shrub species, including Pinus Radiata, Sequoiadendron gigantean and Cedrus Atlantica. It concludes that ‘there is an impressive list of exotic trees to be seen and admired here, some with historic credentials' and that the garden has much potential with regard to the shrubbery areas but that ‘its position so near the sea means that the range of shrubs chosen ...is naturally narrow'.
Site visit reports of the same date compiled by Gardens Trust members discuss the condition of the chalet.
Flower Bed, Specimen Tree, Bandstand
A property named as Rylstone is shown, surrounded by grounds with trees along the southern boundary and a kitchen garden, on the Ordnance Survey (OS) 25" map of 1898. A subsidiary building marked on this map is in the same position as the present Swiss Chalet.
The present gardens were originally the private gardens to Rylstone House - a cottage orné dating from the 1860s. Within the grounds is a chalet of Swiss style dating to about 1880. The gardens were purchased by Shanklin Urban District Council in about 1914 ('The Story of Victorian Shanklin', Allan Parker, 1977). They are now public gardens owned and managed by the Isle of Wight Council.