Guide to Great Days Out
Whether you’re staying on the Isle of Wight or coming over on a day trip, there are some great days out to be had here with the family or just the two of you. And you might like to bring your bikes or hire them here for a day out by bike among our rolling hills or sloping coastlines.
Great Family Days
The Isle of Wight’s attractions are always a great family day out, from the dinosaurs and water slides and rides at Blackgang Chine, the woodlands and lakes and 3D simulator of Robin Hill; the animals and play barns at Tapnell Farm or the chairlift to the beach and boat ride to the lighthouse at the Needles Landmark Attraction, plus the fairground rides at the top of the cliff.
The Isle of Wight Zoo at Sandown/Yaverland has amazing big cats that are all lovingly cared for and cute monkeys and lemurs. Have a picnic on nearby Yaverland Beach, search for dinosaur fossils and take them to Dinosaur Isle just down the road to be identified. Amazon World has an indoor rainforest full of birds, caimans and sloths and outside you can meet the Giant Anteater and wander through the lemur experience.
Monkey Haven has rescued monkeys from private ownership and zoos, and they now have fabulous lives being cared for at this superb centre. Plus there are owls and cute little marmosets. Just down the road from here is Butterfly World full of beautiful butterflies and huge moths such as the Atlas Moth. And they have Fountain World where kids can jump among the jets.
Fancy something a bit more cultural? Then opt for a visit to Queen Victoria’s former home Osborne House, an Italianate style palace with stunning gardens. Or pay a visit to Carisbrooke Castle in the centre of the Island that has donkeys that bring up the water from the well, history back as far as the Romans and hear of Charles I’s escape attempts when he was imprisoned here. Both have special activity days throughout the summer or families.
Days Out For Couples
A romantic walk followed by a lovely meal would be the ideal date on the Isle of Wight. Wander down to the old salt pans at Newtown via the pretty wooden pedestrian bridge across the estuary and see the water birds taking off across the creek. Then make your way to the nearby New Inn at Shalfleet for great food and local ales and you could explore the ancient church across the road – its tower was once a stronghold against the invading French.
Beach walks are always atmospheric and a perfect date – take a picnic and make a day of it. Compton is one of the best and most unspoilt beaches on our coastline, walk down to the Compton Farm end and it’s far less crowded. Dimbola in nearby Freshwater is an interesting visit where you can find out all about the pioneer photographer Julia Margaret Cameron who lived and worked here, plus you can learn about the pop festival of 1970 that was held just up the road. Afterwards take a meal or afternoon tea in their pretty café and garden, with views down to Freshwater Bay.
The beaches from Puckpool, through Seaview to Priory Bay are a lovely romantic walk on a summer evening. Park at the Puckpool end by The Boathouse pub, which does great food, and walk along to the pretty seaside town of Seaview. Here you’ll need to get up onto the stone pathway to get to Seagrove Bay and you’ll be rewarded with a ‘secret’ beach. Around the headland, via the wooden walkway, you’ll find the privately owned Priory Bay where you can only walk below the high water mark – even more secret! Then go back to The Seaview Hotel for a sumptuous seafood supper. Yum.
Days Out By Bike
It’s great to experience the rolling countryside of the Isle of Wight by bike and we’re not called ‘Cycle Island’ for nothing. If you’re brave you have to see the Island from the downs – the highlands of the Island. Cycle from Newport to Brading along the spine of the chalk downs and you will have some of the best views across the Island, even as far as the mainland in the distance. At one end is the Hare and Hounds pub and at the other you can find The Culver Haven pub on top of Culver Down. If you’re brave enough to make it up the steep road to the top of this highpoint there are old fort and gun emplacements to explore as well.
If you prefer flat cycling then follow our miles of former railway line that connect most of the main towns. The cycle path from Cowes to Newport is especially popular and there’s a designated cycle way to take you across our capital town to the continuation of the railway line that picks up again at Shide and can take you all the way to Sandown. Stop off and explore Newport and take swimming gear for a dip at the end at Sandown or Yaverland Bay.
The West Wight is wonderful to explore by bike – if you like to go offroading you can cycle across the downs here too. Or peddle your way via the pretty country lanes, stopping off at local watering holes for refreshment. A cycle path along the old railway line from Yarmouth to Freshwater is particularly pretty with views across the Yar estuary. Make sure to pay a visit to the pretty seaside port of Yarmouth, where there’s a small castle built by Henry VIII to explore as well.
5 August 2017