Explore attractions & places to visit
Just across the waters of the Solent, the Isle of Wight is England’s largest island and is often described as the jewel in the south coast’s crown. With a scattering of charming towns spread between lush green countryside and surrounded at all sides by dramatic cliffs and sweeping Isle of Wight beaches, it’s not hard to see why.
If you’re planning a holiday on the island, you’ll find there’s plenty to do on the Isle of Wight and many attractions and places to keep you and all your family busy.
Popular Isle of Wight points of interest include everything from sea views to zoos to castles, farms, and gardens, making it an excellent spot for a family holiday. The Isle of Wight Zoo is one of the island’s most popular attractions and offers a real treat for animal lovers in general especially of the feline nature as it is a well-known centre for rescued big cats.
History enthusiasts will also discover many interesting places when visiting the fortification of the island, that provides strong insights about the island’s function in history. Attractions such as its Carisbrooke Castle, and Yarmouth Castle bring much of the island’s history alive.
For those looking for new experiences, the island is also gathering world-famous and Grammy-winners musicians and bands during the annual Isle of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park in Newport.
Going back even further in time, you’ll find the playful and interactive Dinosaur Isle museum, just 7 miles from Whitecliff Bay absolutely fascinating. If you run out of ideas, you’ll find below something for everyone to do on the Isle of Wight in our selection of exciting attractions.
A playful and interactive museum dedicated to the island’s fossil and geological heritage.
Whether you’ve got kids who are fascinated by T-Rexes or you fancy yourself a bit of an amateur paleontologist, Dinosaur Isle is a fantastic place to spend a few hours. You’ll find it on the Isle of Wight’s east coast and it’s the only purpose-built attraction in the UK to solely focus on dinosaurs!
Did you know that the Isle of Wight was once home to five species of dinosaur? There’s no better place to discover more about them than the Dinosaur Isle museum that’s jam-packed with fossils dating back millions of years! You’ll find it housed inside a fun pterodactyl-shaped building perched above the beach just outside of Sandown.
Step foot inside the attraction and prepare to be transported back to the Jurassic era. The entire museum has been laid out like the original landscape of the island when it was still home to mighty dinosaur species like the Iguanodon, the Neovenator, the Eotyrannus and the Ploacanthus. The museum was once located in Newport, but relocated to just outside the coastal village of Sandown in 2001.
Check out life-size models of huge dinosaurs and gaze at fossils exhibited in giant sand pits which tell a rich story of the island’s geology. If you’re lucky, you might even be at the museum when a new fossil is being installed! There’s an introductory exhibit as you enter the building which takes you on a walking tour through the ages of the dinosaurs, plus you’ll find numerous interactive attractions throughout, including an awesome robot dinosaur.
After you’ve finished exploring the museum’s incredible exhibits, why not grab a bite to eat in the cafeteria or wander down to the beach for some fresh sea air? You could also take part in a guided fossil walk – you’ll find more details about these on the Dinosaur Isle events page.
Dinosaur Isle is situated on the coast between Sandown and Yaverland. From Newport, the journey by car will take roughly 20 minutes. You’ll want to head east along Staplers Road and then take a right turn onto Long Lane.
Drive on until you reach Downend and then take the third exit on the roundabout heading south. Turn off at the next left and continue down The Downs Road. Carry on for a few minutes and then turn right onto Brading Down Road.
When you reach Morton, turn right on The Mall and then immediately left on Marshcombe Shute. Drive for about half a mile and then take the right hand turn towards Yaverland. Drive through the village and look out for Dinosaur Isle on your right.
A sprawling zoo home to fascinating creatures from around the globe.
Nestled on the sweeping coastlines of the Isle of Wight, a truly wild family day out awaits. The Isle of Wight Zoo has been entertaining guests for decades, and is home to an incredible array of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects from across the globe.
Despite previously being in private ownership, the zoo is now a member of The Wildheart Trust, a charitable organisation committed to the conservation of wildlife and animal rescue. Alongside meeting the zoo’s very special residents, the attraction teaches visitors how they can empower themselves and play a part in preserving our natural world.
The Isle of Wight Zoo even boasts a rather spectacular setting; within the ruins of a Victorian coastal fort, facing down upon one of the island’s most beautiful and best loved beaches.
The zoo is home to a huge host of animals from across the globe, but it specialises in two particular areas – tigers and lemurs. To learn more about what you’ll find and where, download an Isle of Wight Zoo map. Some species you can look forward to meeting include:
The Isle of Wight Zoo can be found on the south-eastern coast of the island in Sandown, directly opposite the beach on Yaverland Road. If you’re driving over from Ryde it’s a short drive south along the A3055, while you’ll be best taking the A3056 from Newport and Cowes.
As for public transport, the 2,3 and 8 bus services which run between Newport and Ryde all stop in Sandown, at a stop that’s only 12 minutes’ walk to the zoo gates. There’s also a railway stop, Sandown Station, which is served by trains going between Ryde Pier Head and Shanklin. From the station it’s around 25 minutes’ walk to reach Isle of Wight Zoo.
A classic pleasure pier complete with play zones, dodgems and tenpin bowling.
A perfect place for day-long fun, Sandown Pier is a must-visit if you’re planning a family trip to the Isle of Wight. From rides and adventure play to an arcade and miniature golf, there’s something at Sandown for all ages. Did we mention the bar? Whether you walk, cycle, or hop in the car to the island’s pleasure pier, get ready for a memorable day with the people you love.
Extending 875-feet out from the shoreline, Sandown Pier has been one of the Isle of Wight’s premier visitor attractions since its first season in 1879. While there have been many renovations since the opening, including the closure of Sandown Pier theatre in the 90s, the spot’s old-timey charm, and traditional atmosphere are still visible to this day.
With so many exciting things to do at Sandown Pier, you might feel spoilt for choice. Lost World Adventure Golf is a fantastic fun experience for kids and adults alike. Enter the ancient Aztec ruins for Sandown Pier crazy golf and putt against family and friends in an experience like no other. Light, sound, and smoke effects will carry you through the tropical rainforest as you play.
Rainy day? Magic Island indoor children’s play area is a perfect place to exert a little energy, with ball pits, slides, swings, and a café area for parents to relax. If you’re visiting Sandown with older kids or adults, head to the Superbowl for classic ten-pin bowling.
If you’re looking for refreshment at Sandown Pier, you won’t be disappointed. You can find the seaside snacks you’d expect, like freshly made doughnuts, candy floss, and ice cream, as well as a café serving hot and cold snacks and meals.
Sandown Pier sports bar, Scruffy Jacks, is popular among locals and visitors for its laid-back atmosphere and showing all the biggest sports games. There’s also a weekly quiz on Wednesday nights and entertainment night on Friday.
Like everywhere on the Isle of Wight, getting to Sandown Pier is easy. If you’re driving, follow directions to the A3055 to Sandown.
If you’re travelling by bus, get on the number two, three, or eight services and hop off on Broadway for a couple of minutes’ walk to get to the seafront.
An outdoor family-orientated theme park with rides, slides and playgrounds.
The Isle of Wight is no stranger to spectacular green spaces, including the Robin Hill Country Park just outside of Newport. The 88-acre site is home to lush gardens as well as a fun-packed adventure park ideal for keeping both kids and adults entertained.
Robin Hill is one of the most visited attractions on the Isle of Wight and offers up plenty of things to do in the great outdoors.
Explore the park’s natural woodlands which are crisscrossed with stunning trails. Look out for innovative sculptures, beautiful botanicals and the park’s colourful resident peacocks. If you’re holidaying with your pooch, you’ll be glad to know that some areas of Robin Hill are dog-friendly, too.
Those visiting with kids should make sure they spend an hour or so at the Jungle Heights play park that’s suspended 30+ feet up above ground in the canopy of the trees. You’ll also be able to enjoy numerous other exciting attractions and rides at Robin Hill Country Park, including:
Note that some of the rides at Robin Hill have height restrictions and there may be a small extra fee to use them.
Robin Hill is a six minute drive from the centre of Newport. Simply head east out of the town on to Staplers Road and then merge onto Long Lane. The entrance to the park is straight over the roundabout at the end of the road. You could also jump on the number 8 bus from Furlongs Bottom and arrive in under 15 minutes.
A spectacular gorge to explore with waterfalls and rope bridges.
Get ready to explore some incredible natural attractions during your holiday on the Isle of Wight, including the mesmerising Shanklin Chine. ‘Chine’ is the local name for a narrow ravine which cuts all the way down to the sea and this one on the outskirts of Shanklin village is truly spectacular. Peaceful and serene, it’s the ideal spot for a quieter day out.
Shanklin Chine is the island’s oldest attraction and has been fascinating visitors ever since 1817. Take a walk through the stunning natural gorge, meandering down lush, green pathways flanked by sheer cliffs and tranquil waterfalls.
The top of the gorge is accessed from the idyllic Shanklin Old Village and the trail ends at a sandy beach and spacious esplanade which are particularly special on sunnier days. In addition to enjoying the calm surroundings, you could learn more about the Isle of Wight’s role in WWII at the PLUTO (Pipeline Under the Sea). It’s situated within the Chine and was famously used to transport petrol to France beneath the Channel during the war. Shanklin Chine was also used as a training ground for Royal Marine Commandos and you’ll spot a monument within the gorge commemorating the troops.
If you get peckish, tuck into afternoon tea at the venue’s pretty Victorian tearoom or visit Shanklin Chine pub, The Fisherman’s Cottage, which is housed in a charming thatched building overlooking the sea.
Holidaying with a four-legged friend? At Shanklin Chine, dogs are welcome if they’re well-behaved and kept on a lead.
You can reach Shanklin Chine from Newport in under half an hour. Jump in your car and take the A3020 south until you reach Blackwater. At the junction, continue straight on the A3056 to Lake.
When you reach the T-junction with the A3055/Sandown Road, turn right and drive straight on until you reach Shanklin. Turn left onto Queen’s Road and continue straight on. Next, turn left on to Chine Avenue – the Shanklin Chine car park is at the end of the road.
Alternatively, you can hop on the number 2 bus from Newport Bus and Coach Station. The journey to Shanklin takes approximately 30 minutes. Get off at the library stop and then walk down Victoria Avenue to the High Street. Continue south and then turn off on to Chine Avenue.
One of the island’s best loved sandy stretches, with lots of activities to enjoy along the waterfront.
Head to the southeast during your time on the Isle of Wight, and you’ll find beautiful Shanklin Beach. This a safe, sandy spot is complete with traditional beach huts and plenty of space to roam around, making it a perfect choice for a memorable day out.
Whether you’re visiting the island with kids or adults, there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy when you take a trip to Shanklin Beach. Protected from winds by Dunnose Point, the beach also boasts clear water and lots of activities for the whole family.
Many of us visit the beach to kick off our shoes and relax on the sand, and there’s plenty of space to do just that at Shanklin. Lay down a towel and relax or take a stroll along the promenade and enjoy the holiday atmosphere that surrounds this popular spot.
If you’re looking for something a little more exciting, why not head to the considerable amusement arcade for some traditional seaside fun? There’s also a crazy golf course, bowling, go-carting, and even an indoor play area at Shanklin Beach.
When it’s time to refuel, you’ll find lots of options at Shanklin that mean you won’t need to travel too far. While some visitors choose to bring picnics along to the beach, you might like to grab hot and cold food from Esplanade Gardens Café, which is opposite the beach kiosk.
There’s no need to worry about a lack of facilities when you pay a visit to Shanklin Beach. Public toilets are signposted and available at three points along the promenade. First aid supply kids are also available throughout the summer months.
Unfortunately for dog owners, canine companions aren’t allowed on Shanklin Beach from May to September. If you’re visiting with your pet out of season, you can enjoy the convenience of dog bins provided.
There’s plenty of car parking at Shanklin Beach, which means arriving by road is easy and convenient. Just look for an on-street spot or head into one of three pay-and-display car parks when you arrive. It’s just a couple of minutes’ walk to the beach from there.
The nearest train station is Shanklin, which is around 30 minutes’ walking distance from the beach. If you don’t feel like the stroll, you can also hop on a bus which will take you right to the promenade.
The Garlic Farm is a free to enter family attraction providing the full garlic experience and access to beautiful farmland in the Arreton Valley.
For gourmands and garlic lovers, the Isle of Wight’s Garlic Farm is renowned for the quality of its produce and the wealth of knowledge of its owners. Grown from the love of garlic, the family business has been growing garlic on the Isle of Wight for over 60 years. With a farm shop, restaurant, and play area on site, the Garlic Farm makes a brilliant day out for all the family.
Come and see shelves groaning under the weight of the most amazing relishes, pickles and chutneys. Roam the beautiful Arreton Valley and indulge your senses in the Garlic Farm’s very own taste experience room. There’s even an education centre to learn about the history of the farm as well as the basics of garlic growing!
It takes approximately 15 minutes to drive from Whitecliff Bay to The Garlic Farm via Brading Down Rd.
An exotic zoo that’s home to over 100 rainforest species, with a focus on habitat conservation.
Set among rolling green countryside on the Isle of Wight, Amazon World is a world away from this tranquil corner of England. This incredible zoo is home to some of the world’s rarest and most endangered creatures, many of which you won’t find in other zoos around the country and even across Europe.
As you travel around the park, you’ll learn all about rainforest habitats and the importance of conservation work. Derek Curtis founded the zoo after seeing the destruction of natural habitats on a trip to South America, with the aim to provide shelter for endangered species and educate the public as to what they can do to protect these spectacular animals in the wild.
There are just shy of 100 different species to meet at Amazon World Isle of Wight. Some you may want to keep an eye out for include:
Amazon World is located a little in land from the island’s south east coast, in open countryside beside the villages of Winford and Newchurch. If you’re travelling to the zoo from Newport and Cowes you’ll be best taking the A3056 road, while those coming from Ryde will follow Ashey Road until it ends at The Downs Road, before taking a left along Knighton Lane towards the zoo.
As for public transport options, the number 8 bus stops immediately outside Amazon World, following a largely coastal route that connects Newport, Sandown and Ryde. Meanwhile, there’s no railway station in the immediate vicinity of the zoo, however you could always get off at Lake Station which is an hours’ walk or 10 minutes in a taxi from the zoo.
An award-winning sanctuary for monkeys, birds and reptiles.
Animal lover? Whether you’re visiting the Isle of Wight by yourself or with the whole family in tow, stop by Monkey Haven for an afternoon hanging out with some beautiful rescued primates and birds of prey.
In 1999, Monkey Haven was nothing more than another muddy field on the Isle of Wight. Founder Don Walser had big plans for his animal rescue centre, which would develop into the attraction we know today with the support of local communities throughout the following decade. This award-winning animal sanctuary has rescued hundreds of animals in need, from the tiniest songbirds to Indonesian gibbons and more.
Plan your visit and show support for this incredible animal centre. There are lots of things to see and do at Monkey Haven, including daily talks, feeding times, and opportunities to get close to some of the residents.
There are lots of beautiful rescued primates and birds of prey to meet when you visit Monkey Haven. Animals have come to the centre for various reasons, whether they were unable to fend for themselves or experienced bullying in their original groups. Make sure you get there early to see as much as possible and make the most of your day.
Monkey Haven’s star monkeys and apes include silky black Muller’s and Siamang gibbons, fluffy-eared marmosets, and sweet white-throated capuchins. There are also some breathtaking barn owls and impressive Bengal eagle owls to check out while you’re there.
Wherever you’re staying on the Isle of Wight, you can get to Monkey Haven quickly by car or bus. If you’re driving from central Newport, take the Ryde exit off the main roundabout and turn right onto Staplers Road. The rescue centre is just over a mile on the left.
To get there by bus, hop on the number nine, which stops about 200 yards from the main entrance.
A classic steam locomotive adventure that passes through nine kilometres of beautiful countryside.
Journey back in time, and through the beautiful English countryside, when you take a ride on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. The heritage railway speeds across 9km of rural scenery and is a fantastic place to visit for a memorable family day out!
Unsurprisingly, the most popular thing to do at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway is climb aboard a train! The site has several beautifully restored trains dating back to the 1800s and the short-yet-scenic route was even used by Queen Victoria herself whenever she stayed at Osborne House.
As you travel through serene fields and woodland, keep an eye out of the window for local wildlife such as red squirrels or deer. You’ll also stop off at historically preserved train stations like Wootton, a traditional Edwardian building complete with an old-fashioned ticket office. For the full route, take a look at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway map.
The attraction’s main station at Havenstreet dates back to the 1940s and is where you’ll find the Train Story Discovery Centre. The museum is packed with interesting exhibits and gives you the chance to explore beautiful old locomotives which are no longer in use.
If you get hungry during your day out at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, Havenstreet has a large picnic area in addition to a Refreshment Room selling sandwiches and homemade baked treats. Don’t forgot to check out the gift shop for fun themed keepsakes, including model trains!
Havenstreet Station is the best place to begin your Isle of Wight Steam Railway adventure. You’ll find it approximately 10 minutes by car from Newport. Head east along Staplers Road for three minutes and then turn onto Blacklands Lane.
When you reach the T-junction, turn right onto Briddlesford Road and then take the first left down Combley Road. Continue to Havenstreet village and look out for signs for the station on your left. Once you arrive, you’ll find ample parking outside of the station.
A charming model village set across two acres of landscaped gardens.
A visit to Godshill Model Village is a must if you’re on the Isle of Wight with kids, and a great idea if you’re part of an all-adults group too! This intricately designed model village has been one of the most popular attractions on the island for decades, and it’s not hard to see why.
The Thwaites family bought the rundown model village in the 1960s. Their loving restoration in the decades since has made this unique Godshill spot the exciting attraction it is today. Godshill Model Village is in the Old Vicarage grounds, a peaceful escape from the lively world outside.
Visitors can indulge in the Isle of Wight as it once was with a visit to this miniature village. Godshill Model Village is complete with 1/10th scale models of 50s bathing huts, vintage busses, and sweet steam trains that will transport visitors back to a slower pace of life. Everything you’ll see is made using authentic materials and methods, a real treat for any visitor to the island.
There’s plenty to see when you visit this miniature village, from perfectly manicured trees to scaled-down buildings, vehicles, and even tiny people figures! The collection of conifers and trees are something the Godshill team are immensely proud of, for a good reason. The collection includes over 3,000 specimens, many of which are sculpted to offset the models with an ideal backdrop.
Look for houses, churches, pubs, and more, some complete with real thatched roofs.
The model village is easy to find, situated on the High Street in Godshill. Look for the big white house on the corner, and you’ll struggle to miss it! If you’re arriving by car, you can leave it in the free car park opposite the Griffin pub, which is just up the road. Alternatively, hop on the number two or three buses from Newport, Shanklin, Ryde, or one of the many stops along the way.
A stunning, grade I listed monastery on the island’s north east coast.
When you’re ready for a break from the Isle of Wight seafront, head to Quarr Abbey for a different kind of scenic escape. This monastery nestles on the shoreline, just visible to passengers arriving on the island by boat. It’s well worth a visit whether you’re a keen historian, interested in architecture, or just looking for a day out.
One of the island’s most atmospheric spots, Quarr Abbey is a significant example of religious architecture and home to an order of Benedictine monks to this day. The story starts in 1132 when the Cistercian order founded the original abbey and thrived for over four centuries.
Henry VIII’s dissolution of monasteries in the sixteenth century meant ancient Quarr Abbey was sold and dismantled. However, you can still explore the ruins of these lost buildings during your visit. The Quarr Abbey of today stands proudly alongside its predecessor. The new structure was rebuilt in the early 1900s by French Benedictine monks, who arrived seeking solace from laws banning religious orders in France.
There are lots of reasons to visit Quarr Abbey. Start with a stroll about the grounds, taking in the ancient ruins and contrasting red-brick architecture of the new abbey from all angles. Afterwards, explore the bookshop and gallery of local art, a great place to pick up a souvenir for someone back home. Be sure to finish your visit with refreshments from the peaceful Quarr Abbey café, which is a perfect place to reflect on the day.
Quarr Abbey is easy to get to, whether you’re arriving on the Isle of Wight by boat or travelling by car from elsewhere on the island. A stone’s throw from Fishbourne car and passenger terminal, you can enjoy a short stroll to the abbey when you come into the dock from Portsmouth.
By car, head towards Quarr Hill in the northeast of the island and follow signs to the abbey. Thanks to its size and structure, the monastery will be hard to miss! You can also take one of the island’s frequent bus services from central Ryde. Just catch the number nine and hop off at the Quarr Abbey stop.
A largely-intact motte-and-bailey castle which can be explored.
If you’ve settled on the Isle of Wight as your next holiday destination, you’ll find an abundance of natural and historical attractions to fill up your itinerary with. That includes Carisbrooke Castle, a magnificent medieval stronghold in the town of Newport which was famously used to imprison Charles I during the English Civil War.
As an English Heritage site that’s defended the Isle of Wight from enemy invaders for nearly 1000 years, you can expect to soak up plenty of history at Carisbrooke Castle. The formidable fort has been rebuilt many times over the centuries and those with a keen eye for architecture will spot numerous Saxon, Norman, Elizabethan and Edwardian features.
Begin your visit by strolling along the castle’s walls and climbing up to the top of the Keep to awe at panoramic vistas of Newport and beyond. Next, head indoors to see where Charles I was kept captive and to explore the extensive Carisbrooke Castle Museum. Set up in the early 1900s by Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice, it’s packed with fascinating exhibits on the castle’s lengthy – and sometimes tumultuous – heritage.
If you’re an animal lover or are holidaying with kids in tow, don’t skip saying hello to Carisbrooke Castle’s famous donkeys or watching them draw up water from the castle’s ancient well. You’ll also have access to a beautiful Edwardian-style garden bursting with vibrant blooms and the peaceful St Nicholas’ Chapel that’s home to the island’s main WWI memorial. Top off your visit to Carisbrooke with an indulgent homemade cake or a refreshment at the castle’s cosy tearoom.
Carisbrooke Castle is located just southwest of Newport. You can reach it by car from the town centre by driving along the B3323/Castle Road and then taking the Castle Hill road up to the venue’s carpark. Look out for signs to Carisbrooke village and then for the castle itself.
If you’d rather take public transport, the 6, 7, 12 and 38 Southern Vectis bus services all pass within a quarter of a mile of the castle’s entrance.
Osborne is the palatial former holiday home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, located on the Isle of Wight.
As Royal love nests go, nowhere on earth quite compares to Osborne House. It was Queen Victoria’s and HRH Prince Albert’s favourite holiday home and you can get a glimpse of the private life of these fascinating characters. Step inside the grounds and rooms of the estate for a fascinating insight into historical royal family life. You can even admire the incredible views across the Solent or embark on a peaceful woodland walk as you make your way to Queen Victoria’s Beach.
As well as its historical beauty, Osbourne House is home to two exciting playgrounds perfect to explore after a day of learning about how the royals lived. There’s even a café’ and gift shop on site too.
Originating from the early 18th century as the seat of the Worsley family, Appuldurcombe was once the grandest house on the Isle of Wight.
Appuldurcombe was a masterpiece of English Baroque architecture, and though now a graceful shell, still retains more than a ghost of its former dignity, and many fine architectural details. The celebrated landscape designer ‘Capability’ Brown enhanced the rolling grounds in the 1780s.
Embark on a peaceful stroll through the 11 acres of grounds and admire the outstanding elegance of the building. With wonderful views across the surrounding countryside, Appuldurcombe House is a fantastic location to explore on the Isle of Wight.
A beautiful and wonderfully-maintained garden that’s home to plants, scrubs and trees from across the globe.
Whether you’re a keen gardener after some inspiration for your own home, or you just love looking at beautiful blooms, don’t skip the Ventnor Botanic Garden. It’s one of the most beautiful outdoor attractions on the Isle of Wight and a wonderful place to spend a sunny day surrounded by lush greenery and unique tropical plants.
You’ll find the beautiful Ventnor Botanic Garden on the Isle of Wight’s south coast. It’s surrounded by the dramatic Ventnor Undercliff which shelters it from chilly coastal winds. The attraction has even been labelled “Britain’s hottest garden” as it’s in its own microclimate that’s thought to be about 5˚C warmer than the rest of the UK!
Once the site of the Victorian Royal Hospital for Diseases of the Chest, the gardens themselves were opened in 1971 and are now teeming with fascinating flora and fauna. Wander along secret pathways and pass exotic plant species sourced from far flung destinations such as New Zealand, Japan and the Caribbean.
Don’t miss the Tropical House which houses some of the largest Amazonian waterlilies on the planet in its pools! The Ventnor Botanic Garden’s tunnel is also an unmissable sight. Accessed only on guided tours (usually beginning at 2:00pm), it’s a 350 feet long passage cut through the rock that leads from the old hospital site down to the sea.
Animal lovers are also well-catered for at Ventnor Botanic Garden; spot wall lizards scuttling along the cliffs in the Mediterranean Garden and look out for red squirrels climbing in the trees. Visiting the island with your pooch? Well-behaved dogs are welcome in the gardens, too!
If you’re feeling peckish during your visit, make a beeline for the Ventnor Botanic Garden café where you can tuck into sandwiches or light snacks on its sun-soaked terrace. Fan of craft beer and ale? Make sure you check out the hops garden which is used to make the garden’s own beer and ale during the summer months.
Ventnor Botanic Gardens even has a wonderful art gallery which exhibits work from local artists, plus a great gift shop where you can buy seeds, plants and other botanical-themed souvenirs.
Ventnor Botanic Garden is nestled on the Isle of Wight’s south coast and is just outside the village of Ventnor. You can reach it from Newport in 25 minutes by taking the A3020 south.
Once you reach Blackwater, turn right and continue down the A3020 until you get to the junction at Rookley. Turn off on to Niton Road and stay on it for approximately seven minutes before turning on to Southford Lane. At the next junction, head south along High Street which then merges into Whitwell Road.
After a few minutes, you’ll come to a triangle intersection; turn right down St Lawrence Shute. Take the next left onto Seven Sisters Road and follow it all the way down to Undercliff Drive. Turn left and look out for the garden on your right-hand side.
The UK’s oldest amusement park, with a host of classic rides and attractions.
One of the Isle of Wight’s most popular destinations, Blackgang Chine offers up fun for all the family. The historic theme park gets its name from its location near Blackgang village and a nearby chine (coastal ravine) that’s now collapsed into the ocean. It’s approximately 15 minutes west of Ventnor and on the doorstep of St. Catherine’s Down, a stunning seaside area and a protected National Trust site.
Blackgang Chine is the UK’s oldest amusement park and is jam-packed with exciting rides to thrill every visitor! You’ll find it’s divided up into several themed lands of imagination, with each one featuring its own unique attractions.
Head to Restricted Area 5 to spot Blackgang Chine dinosaurs looming out of the undergrowth, or delve into an ocean cave full of animatronic sea creatures in the Underwater Kingdom. Kids can also dress up as young swashbucklers at Pirate’s Cove and then catch marauding outlaws in Cowboy Town.
Blackgang Chine even has a nursery rhyme themed area perfect for younger kids, plus a Fairyland complete with an enchanting castle. Scattered throughout the park are various rides, including the exhilarating Cliff Hanger rollercoaster and a 100ft long waterslide which you whoosh down in small wooden boats.
What’s more, the park is home to beautiful gardens if you fancy a break from all the excitement. It’s also dog-friendly, so why not bring your four-legged friend along on your family day out?
The theme park is located in the village of Blackgang on the Isle of Wight’s southwest coast. You can reach it from Ventor by car in 15 minutes by driving west along Whitwell Road, then turning off onto Kemming Road. Continue on to the village of Niton and turn left at the crossroads onto High Street. Next, take the first right onto Blackgang Road and drive on until you see signs for Blackgang Chine on your left.
Blackgang Chine is also on the number 6 bus route which goes between Ventnor and Newport. If you’re leaving from Ventor, the journey will take approximately 22 minutes.
A fun and interactive visitor farm with lots of lovely animals to meet.
Set yourself up for an educational yet incredibly fun day out on the Isle of Wight when you make a beeline for Tapnell Farm. The working dairy farm is one of the newest attractions on the island and you’ll find it just 10 minutes from Yarmouth or 20 minutes from Newport by car.
Tapnell Farm is located near Afton Down, the site of the legendary 1970 Isle of Wight Festival where Jimi Hendrix, The Who and Leonard Cohen performed to a crowd of nearly 600,000 people!
There’s so much to see and do at this all-weather, family-friendly venue! Begin your visit at the Tapnell Farm Park where you can get up close and personal with animals. In addition to meeting traditional farmyard residents, the park is also home to wallabies, meerkats and alpacas. Kids and adults can enjoy a hands-on experience with all of them and have a lesson in animal care from one of the park’s friendly keepers.
Elsewhere at Tapnell Farm, you’ll find a soft play barn for little ones, in addition to the Straw Bale Adventure Barn where older kids can scramble over straw mountains, race each other on a go kart track or whizz down the longest zipwire on the Isle of Wight. A brand-new attraction is also due to open at Tapnell Farm in 2020 – an amazing Aqua Park obstacle course on a nearby lake!
If you get hungry during your visit, book a table at Tapnell Farm restaurant Cow Co to sample delicious home-cooked dishes. The eatery is situated in an atmospheric barn and has a wide menu, including plenty to please vegetarians and vegans.
It couldn’t be easier to reach Tapnell Farm by car or bus from Newport. If you’re driving yourself, take the B3323 out of the town towards Carisbrooke and join the B3401/Newport Road. Continue for approximately 6 miles (the road will merge into the B3999). Before you reach Afton, you should spot signs for Tapnell Farm on your righthand side.
If you’re using public transport, note that you can only catch a bus to Tapnell Farm during the summer school holidays. You’ll want to take the route 27 bus from Newport to Yarmouth which stops off at the farm on request.
A historic, coastal fortress with stunning views out over the Solent.
Perched on the beautiful coast of the Isle of Wight, overlooking the soothing waters of The Solent, Yarmouth Castle is one of the island’s best loved historic attractions.
Completed in 1547, it was the final and most sophisticated addition to a coastal defence system constructed at the order of King Henry VIII. When you visit, you can explore the castle and enjoy atmospheric recreations of how each room and quarters were used almost 500 years ago. The grounds are the perfect spot for a picnic too, with magnificent sea views and the chance to spot shipwrecks.
Yarmouth Castle is perched on the north east coast of the island, overlooking the waters of The Solent. The town of Yarmouth is not far from the western tip of the island, and boasts a harbour, green and small beach area. The town is easy to reach, directly along the A3054 if you’re coming from Newport. If you’re based in Cowes, Ryde or Shanklin, you’ll be best travelling towards Newport then heading west from there.
As for public transport, there’s a bus terminal right on the harbour, served by the number 7 route which bus through the town and runs between Newport and Totland. Unfortunately, there are no railway stops on this side of the Isle of Wight
Surrounded by stunning scenery and the remarkable tourist area The Needles there will be no chance of you getting bored.
These three distinctive chalk stacks are named not particularly for their own shape, but for the shape of the fourth Needle – Lot’s Wife – that collapsed in stormy weather in the 18th Century. You can take one of the popular boat trips from Alum Bay to see The Needles closer up, including the famous Needles Lighthouse. The area was featured in a 2005 documentary, “Seven Natural Wonders” and they are certainly viewed that way by all who come to see them.
Take a chairlift to Alum Bay suspended high in the air, down to the Needle Park to see the beautiful coloured sands, watch craftsmen at work in the Glass Studio, browse the shops or ride on a real, old-fashioned carousel. So many atmospheric choices.
The Needles is abouts 30-minutes drive from Newport along the B3401 and B3399. You can park your vehicle at The Needles Car Park and from there it’s just a small walk.
A beautiful sand beach celebrated for its clear waters.
Go of the beaten track on the Isle of Wight, with a visit to the quiet and pristine beach at Colwell bay. Sandwiched between Totland and Norton Green, this sandy stretch on the island’s west coast is the perfect spot for a seaside picnic, sandcastle building session or even a refreshing dip in the calm and clear waters of The Solent.
As well as feeling the sand between your toes and paddling in the shallows, visits to Colwell Bay offer up plenty of opportunities to enjoy fun water sports such as canoeing, windsurfing and jet-skiing.
The entire bay at Colwell looks out across the Solent and provides panoramic vistas of Hurst Castle on the mainland. You can settle down right on the sand or rent traditional deck chairs from a beach vendor during the peak summer months. The bay is sheltered enough for swimming (although you may want to wear a wetsuit), plus you’ll find rock pools perfect for curious kids who are keen to learn all about the local marine life.
Visiting on a cooler day? Take a stroll down the promenade which links Colwell Bay to Totland Bay to the south. You’ll pass colourful beach huts and enjoy fantastic views of the ocean. From October to April, you can even bring your dog along, too!
If you fancy trying some fresh seafood, head to The Hut Colwell Bay. It’s a bistro-style restaurant with views across the bay and it serves up delicious homemade dishes made from locally sourced produce from both the sea and the land. There’s also a beach shop nearer the carpark where you can pick up everything from postcards to ice creams!
Colwell Bay is positioned in West Wight and about half an hour by road from Newport. To get there, you’ll want to head southwest towards Carisbrooke Castle and then north through Gunville to join onto the A3054 to Yarmouth.
Once you reach Yarmouth, continue past the town on the A3054. After about five minutes, you’ll pass through Norton Green. Look out for Colwell Chine Road on your right-hand side – Colwell Bay and its car park are at the end of it.
A spectacular sandy beach famous for its multi-coloured cliffs and blue waters.
If you’re craving a day at the seaside, you’ve definitely come to the right place! The Isle of Wight is teeming with glorious coves where the whole family can paddle, play, relax and soak up sensational views. Alum Bay on its most westerly tip is perhaps its most beautiful beach, plus it’s only a stone’s throw away from the world-famous Needles.
The Needles Alum Bay is one of the Isle of Wight’s most iconic sights and it’s made up of several limestone stacks which jut out from the sea and help shelter the area. The cliffs around the bay are particularly eye-catching due to their vibrant colours which are also reflected in the pebbles and sand on the beautiful beach below.
On hot days, Alum Bay is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a refreshing dip in the calm, crystal-clear water. If the weather is cloudy, visit the region for a spectacularly scenic walk and to gaze out across the Solent. The bay is also directly below The Needles Park where you’ll spot a number of attractions, including:
If you want to take a piece of your time at Alum Bay away with you, don’t just fill up your camera roll with brilliant photos! You can also visit the Alum Bay sand shop where you’ll be able to fill a bottle or unique object with sand from the beach. Sand gifts have been a tradition in the region since the 1860s when Queen Victoria was presented with some of the Alum Bay coloured sand on an official visit.
Alum Bay is a 30-minute drive from Newport along the B3401 and B3399. If you’re travelling from Yarmouth, it’s just 15 minutes south west along the A3054 and B3322. Park up at The Needles Car Park and then reach Alum Bay by foot through the dramatic chine (seaside ravine).
Alternatively, you can hop on the chairlift at The Needles Park which sweeps you all the way down to the beach while providing you with jaw-dropping views of the sea and cliffs.
After enjoying all of what the Isle of Wight has to offer, you’ll need somewhere serene to rest your head. At our Isle of Wight holiday park – Whitecliff Bay, all of our stylish glamping tents and cosy cabin-style lodges are situated just metres from one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. When it’s time to pick up the pace, there’s activities on-site that’ll entertain all members of your family, from swimming and cycling to open-air cinema.