PALM TREES, WHITE BEACHES AND FAMILY-FRIENDLY ATTRACTIONS ALL COMBINE TO CREATE AN IDYLLIC ISLAND PARADISE JUST ACROSS THE SOLENT.
In 400BC, the Celts gave the island its name which means ‘place of division’ because it divides the Solent as it flows out into the English Channel. Today, its unique placement to the south of Britain and surrounded by the sea makes it one of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK.
It’s ideal for families searching for a seaside holiday, couples after a walking retreat or big groups looking for a place to celebrate a special occasion. We have a range of fantastic Isle of Wight holidays for you to peruse; keep reading for five of the most amazing places on the Isle of Wight.
Walk along one of the island’s best beaches: Freshwater Bay
While on a holiday to the Isle of Wight, many people automatically head to Shanklin or Ventnor, both beautiful beaches, leaving the peaceful sandy coast of Freshwater seriously underrated. This hidden gem is perfect for families and groups looking for a seaside location where they can spend their time on the island.
A mixture of grey flint and chalk pebbles covers much of the beach while there is sand below the low water mark and some sandy places to sit. Go rock pooling here or explore the caves that were once used by smugglers – you can walk inside at low tide but be careful not to get cut off by the sea. The best way to see these caves is by kayaking along the coast.
You can also try surfing or paddle boarding; water sports are popular in the bay. When you are done, eat at the beach cafe or head to one of the cosy pubs.
Stay in: Little Halt Cottage, Freshwater (sleeps 10)
This quaint cottage offers a wonderful getaway for a large group. It’s less than a mile from Freshwater Bay beach so you can spend every day of your holiday down by the waves.
As it’s set in the tranquil western part of the island, it’s a wonderful spot for a private gathering, whether that’s an anniversary, birthday or simply the chance to have a get-together with friends. It would also suit a big family plus one dog as there’s a secluded garden to run around in, as well as a patio area and outdoor furniture for dining alfresco.
Visit the iconic landmark: The Needles
If this is your first time on a holiday to the Isle of Wight, you mustn’t miss a trip to The Needles. Take a coastal walk across the beautiful Tennyson Down, a landscape that inspired the poet himself. The Tennyson Monument is a great pitstop; take a picnic and sit at the bottom of the huge granite cross while breathing in the salty sea air and taking in those spectacular coastal views.
Follow the National Trust’s Meander with Maud walk which takes you past historic sites and even a tearoom where you can grab a coffee and cake. Keep an eye out for rabbits and wildflowers as you set out across the Downs and when you reach the wonderful vantage point that is the Tennyson Monument, you might even be able to spot yachts out to sea.
If you don’t want to walk, you can even take the Needles Breezer bus from Yarmouth, saving you valuable time which could instead be spent lying on a beach. For those more comfortable on two wheels, there’s also a cycle route to The Needles Battery.
Stay in: Milton Stables, Freshwater Bay (sleeps 4)
The perfect family-friendly escape, this cottage is 3 miles away from The Needles, allowing you the opportunity to enjoy an hour or so’s walk directly from the property itself. It is also less than half a mile’s walk from Freshwater Bay making it a great location for a beach holiday.
An open-plan kitchen/diner with French doors is the hub of the house. It’s a cosy and welcoming holiday home with touches of colour and there’s a delightful outdoor patio area for lunches in the sunshine. You’re welcome to bring one dog along with you and there are plenty of walks across the Downs and along the coast that you and the canine companion can enjoy.
Discover the secrets of an Elizabethan fortress: Carisbrooke Castle
Existing on the Isle of Wight for over 1,000 years, Carisbrooke Castle is a magnificent fortress and is now open for the public to explore. Famously the prison for the deposed Charles I, you can see the well-preserved castle and find the room where he was held and attempted to escape. Kids will love meeting the resident donkeys who live here and have drawn up water in the well-house for hundreds of years.
The Princess Beatrice Garden was opened by Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter as a memorial museum to her husband. Designed by TV gardener Chris Beardshaw, the garden still evokes the old Edwardian style and has plants and colours that pay homage to Princess Beatrice. There are water features, an orchard and battlement for you to enjoy.
While here, you’ll also come across the Carisbrooke Castle Museum, chapel and tearoom – learn more about its fascinating history before enjoying a well-deserved lunch break.
Stay in: Virginia Cottage, Carisbrooke (sleeps 6)
A picture-perfect family retreat, this beautiful cottage is just half a mile from the castle, making it an easy day out, and there are plenty of restaurants, shops and parks for you to explore.
It’s a Grade II-listed property due to the beautiful old features found throughout, including wooden beams, deep-set windows and characterful feature fireplaces. Sympathetic design has led to a warm and welcoming space full of soft furnishings so you can enjoy a cosy and relaxed holiday getaway. Fire up the wood burner in the lounge and everyone can curl up together around a crackling fire. The south-facing garden includes furniture and a BBQ for you to dine outside on a sunny day or during the evening under the stars.
Have fun at the UK’s oldest amusement park: Blackgang Chine
This place opened in the 1840s and is still going strong. Calling itself the ‘Land of Imagination’, this amusement park has tonnes of fun rides and attractions to keep little ones and big kids entertained all day.
There’s a dinosaur park, fairyland and pirate cove, while rides include the Cliffhanger roller coaster and the Waterforce slides. Let the kids enter Rampus Mansion, where goblins and trolls have taken over or enter The Musical Pet Shop where animatronic animals sing on command. There’s a hall of mirrors and a Crooked House that will throw you off balance. Discover a whole world of fascinating and magical intrigues at Blackgang Chine.
Stay in: Park Lodge, Ventnor (sleeps 6)
A very pretty cottage set in the centre of the Ventnor Park area, 6 miles from the fantastic Blackgang Chine.
This charming Swiss-style lodge was built in 1881 and still retains some of that old-world style. The long open-plan kitchen/diner offers two tables and plenty of space for the group to get together. Big windows let in lots of light while the lounge is a cosy space for everyone to gather together. The holiday home would be great for a family on a escape to the Isle of Wight as the parkland just outside the door provides plenty of space for running around and playing games. There’s even an 18-hole putting green nearby and it’s less than a mile down to the shingle and sand at Ventnor Beach.
See the boats head out to sea: Ryde Harbour
The seaside tow of Ryde is a great place for a holiday escape with its many attractions and miles of sandy beach. While here, we’d recommend a stroll along the harbour, watching the boats come and go or sitting on the front while the sun sets. It’s the perfect way to wind down while on a break to this scenic island.
While staying in town, there are a whole range of activities to keep you busy during the day, with Quarr Abbey, a bus museum, go-karting and a vineyard to visit as well as the opportunity to get involved in plenty of watersports.
After a busy day, why not head to a waterfront restaurant? There are delightful eateries by the harbour where you can enjoy spending your evenings.
Stay in: Iona Cottage, Seaview (sleeps 8)
From this pretty seaside holiday escape, it’s just 3 miles into Ryde and as it’s located to the eastern side of the town, the cottage is within easy reach of southern Isle of Wight attractions that include Bembridge Fort (7 miles) and the Isle of Wight Zoo at Sandown (6 miles), as well as beautiful shingle and sand beaches.
A stylish lounge, lit by a skylight and French doors, offers a wonderfully central space in this seaside escape. There’s a second lounge for you to enjoy while a quirky table and chairs set creates a beautiful centrepiece to this open-plan space. A BBQ and furniture can be found outside where a lawned garden and terrace awaits.
Which of these amazing places will you visit during your holiday to the Isle of Wight? With beautiful beaches and the UK’s oldest amusement park, there’s a tonne of excellent attractions and natural spots for you to seek out.