04 Sep

Great things to do on the Isle of Wight!

Looking for a great day out on the Isle of Wight?

The Isle of Wight attracts many thousands of visitors each year even though it is only 13 miles from top to bottom and 23 miles side to side!

There are over 60 different and varied attractions on this tiny island and it offers over 500 miles of footpaths, bridleways, downs and beaches.

There are lighthouses, theme parks, country parks, havens for mammals, castles, pubs, botanic gardens, zoo, gift shops, boat trips, water sports, clubs, shopping, esplanades, golf and historic sites! If you still don’t find anything you like then just go to imbibe the natural splendour.

1.  Ventnor Botanic Gardens

A great place for a romantic ramble among the sub tropical and exotic plants stopping for refreshments at the cafe and perhaps take a break in the small cove nearby.

2.  Isle of Wight Zoo

This zoo specialises in the care and conservation of big cats and Madagascan animals.  It’s situated at Yaverland near the sea and the staff are really friendly and encourage visitors to participate as much as possible.

Offering a ‘close encounter’ with a big cat is a brilliant way to get people to appreciate these gorgeous creatures and have a once in a lifetime experience with tigers or a lemur. Well worth a visit and the kids will love it!  They are open seven days a week including bank holidays from 10am.

3.  Carisbrooke Castle

This castle is a great family attraction with a lot to experience inside and out.  King Charles 1 was imprisoned here before being executed and you can visit the keep and battlements as well as explore the remainder of the castle and feed the famous donkeys.

4.  Owl and Monkey Haven

This primate sanctuary is near Newport and is a family run project where the owners provide a safe haven for primates and birds of prey who have been abandoned by their owners.

Here you will meet cheeky monkeys, lazy lemurs and noisy gibbons as well as a selection of owls and some buzzards!

5.  Walks

Walking on the island is a must.  Around every corner there is a new delight to be discovered and the walks are varied allowing for short walks, long walks, coastal walks, forest walks, easy walks and hard walks. Some you will enjoy include:

  • A walk into Parkhurst Forest
  • Ventnor Park with a putting green {see picture opposite}
  • A short walk to St. Catherine’s Lighthouse or St Catherine’s Oratory
  • A short but steep walk to the Tennyson monument.
  • A short and popular walk between The Spyglass Inn, and Steephill Cove
  • A walk up or around St. Boniface down.
  • A walk to Luccombe Chine and Luccombe Beach
  • A walk up Mottistone Down to The Long Stone
  • A visit to Culver Cliffs {and The Culver Haven pub}.
  • A short circular walk at Bembridge Ledge

6.  Boat Trips

There are some pleasure trips available from various coastal locations on The Island and one that is recommended is the boat trip from Alum Bay to The Needles Lighthouse.  It is not too long and you will find it interesting because you can see a lot more from a boat than you would peering from Alum Bay! See The Needles, some of those pictures were taken from the boat on our trip.

7.  Esplanade walks and browsing

A favourite esplanade walk is Shanklin Esplanade.  It’s a good length and gets quieter as you walk toward the South end near to The Fisherman’s Cottage pub and Shanklin Chine.  There are some amusements and cafe’s and the usual beach shops, pitch and putt with crazy golf on the esplanade.  Car parking is easy with three 3 car parks and Esplanade parking and the facilities are good with two lots of toilets.

Ventnor Esplanade is shorter but is Victorian and very attractive with cafes and arcades for the kids.  There are a few antique shops and pubs with beach shops dotted in between.  Again, excellent facilities and car parking.

Sandown Esplanade and Pier is very big and commercialised but still a lot of fun to amble around and explore there and then there is Ryde which even has a funfair which will amuse the youngsters.

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