Freshwater Bay at the Isle of Wight, UK

The Best Things to do on the Isle of Wight

There are plenty of things to do on the Isle of Wight, whether you want a holiday that’s totally relaxing or more active. With beautiful sandy coastline and lush countryside, it is popular with walkers and when you’ve worked up an appetite there are fantastic places to eat, including a garlic farm. For history lovers, there’s Osborne House and the steam railway to discover, while no trip to the Isle of Wight would be complete without seeing The Needles.

Feeling inspired? When you are ready to book your stay, choose from our handpicked collection of Isle of Wight properties.

The Needles white chalk stacks rising from the sea and the Needles Lighthouse on the Isle of Wight

The Needles

If there’s one landmark on the Isle of Wight that you must see, it’s the iconic Needles. The Needles, comprising three white chalk stacks rising from the sea and leading to The Needles Lighthouse, are striking.

The landmark is one of the most photographed in the world and a top attraction on the Isle of Wight. If you’re feeling adventurous, the best way to get a better look is a ride on the Needles Chairlift that will whisk you down the colourful cliffs of Alum Bay to the beach below. Or there are boat trips for even closer views of The Needles and the lighthouse.

Osborne House, a stately mansion on the Isle of Wight

Osborne House

Visit Osborne House, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s, seaside home. The royal couple and their children spent as much time as they could here and it’s easy to see why – the location is very pretty.

Follow in royal footsteps as you tour impressive state rooms and private family rooms, admiring Victoria and Albert’s personal collection of art, objects and furniture as you go.

Outside, explore the gardens and visit Queen Victoria’s private beach and see her bathing machine. Children can step back in time to the Victorian era at the Swiss Cottage museum, then there’s fun for all on the family-friendly outdoor trails.

Steam Train Moving Through The Countryside In The UK

Travel first class on the steam railway

All aboard the beautifully restored Victorian and Edwardian carriages for a ride through the countryside on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. For an extra special trip, treat yourself to a ticket for the first-class compartment. You will be transported back to the golden age of steam travel for a nostalgic experience.

If you’re celebrating a special occasion, why not upgrade to the Edwardian Hamper Experience? A picnic hamper of sandwiches, cakes and Prosecco will be ready for you to enjoy on your round-trip journey.

Standard tickets are available too and as well as being a fun thing for adults and children alike, there is much more to discover. The Havenstreet Station is where most visitors start the trip and where you will find the Train Story Discovery Centre, plus extra activities including a woodland walk.

An imprint of an ammonite fossil in the rock

Dinosaur discovery and fossil hunting

Dinosaurs roamed the island over 125 million years ago and the Dinosaur Isle Museum in Sandown is the best place to begin finding out more. This family-friendly attraction on the Isle of Wight offers an interactive display to really bring dinosaurs to life.

There are plenty of fossils, dinosaur bones, rocks and minerals to discover. However, going on a fossil hunt is a must for any adventurer. There are many beaches that are said to be good for finding fossils, including Compton and Yaverland.

However, nothing can beat some expert guidance, so booking a guided fossil hunting tour is a great idea. Don’t forget your wellies and a bucket to put your finds in.

Traditional British Fish And Chips With Potato And Lemon

Check out the local foodie scene

With a fantastic micro climate, fertile soil and the sea on the doorstep, the Isle of Wight produces excellent ingredients for local restaurants and artisan makers. One of the best restaurants on the Isle of Wight has to be The Hut in Colwell Bay, particularly if you are partial to good seafood. The setting, right beside the sea, is breathtaking.

For something with a twist, check out the Garlic Farm. The award-winning restaurant here features dishes like slow roasted garlic bulb with sourdough, monkfish scampi with garlic mayo and a salted caramel and black garlic sundae.

If you enjoy a tipple, do pop into the Mermaid Distillery near Ryde to sample some locally produced gin. Or visit the Adgestone Vineyard for a Grape to Glass Experience, a self-guided tour amongst the vines and cellars, followed by English wine-tasting.

The lush, green gorge at Shanklin Chine on the Isle of Wight

Shanklin Chine

Somewhat of a hidden gem, Shanklin Chine is a tranquil and verdant oasis. This tree-lined gorge is perfect for a leisurely walk and highlights include a waterfall that cascades over the edge of a cliff for 45 feet.

Shanklin Chine is also a sanctuary for wildlife, and foxes, red squirrels, herons and kestrels all call this place home. Artists, photographers and writers have long been drawn here too, with Jane Austen and Turner being amongst those who have found inspiration.

On summer evenings, at dusk, Shanklin Chine can be seen in a different light – literally. At this time, the chine is illuminated by hundreds of lights dotted around footpaths, streams and waterfalls creating a magical spectacle.

Hills and countryside of St Boniface Down On The Isle Of Wight

Walking and cycling

More than half of the island is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so getting out and about is a must. It is a popular destination with walkers and cyclists with 68 miles of coastal footpaths and around 200 miles of cycle tracks, byways and bridleways to explore.

So, leave the car behind and explore. For a lovely countryside walk head up to the highest point on the island, St Boniface Down. There’s a circular walk of abut 2 miles that includes Ventnor Down, Luccombe Down, Bonchurch Down and St Boniface Down that will reward you with incredible, far-reaching views to truly appreciate your surroundings.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about any of our cottages or if you’d like some help with your booking, you are very welcome to get in touch with us.

We are always happy to help and go out of our way to tailor your perfect UK holiday.

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