Rainy day guide to the Isle of Wight
Yes it is true that even here in the sunniest place in the UK, with an average of 34.2 hours of sunshine a week, we occasionally get rain. And thank goodness or our verdant and bountiful Island wouldn’t be able to grow such amazing produce and offer such beauty to the eye.
That aside, here on the Island we are all geared up for sunny lazy days on the beach, at an attraction or just meandering, discovering the local countryside. So what to do when the heavens open and nature's natural sprinkling system kicks in?
Here’s our guide to making the most of the rainy weather:
For the creative minds…
Have some fun painting your own pottery at Chessell Pottery Barns or Fired Art before getting it fired to take home as the ultimate rainy day souvenir.
Or check out local potters like Molly Attril (make sure you pop into the Garlic Farm Café next door) at some of the fabulous Island galleries; Wight Light Gallery in Ventnor, Quay Arts in Newport (again with an amazing cafe!) and Anne Toms' Yarmouth Gallery to name but a few.
Take a look at Isle of Wight Arts for more info on Island creatives and open studio dates in July.
For the kids…
Luckily the Island does have some great indoor attractions too, so there is always something to keep the kids occupied while it pours down. Try Dinosaur Isle in Sandown for a prehistoric experience and the kids will love it - as they even get to smell dinosaur poo! Or the collection of attractions at Fort Victoria near Yarmouth are always a great way to while away a hour or two – our favourite is the Planetarium.
Tapnell Farm Park in the West Wight has a fantastic indoor play area complete with zip wire, soft play area and indoor go carts - as well as lots of animals to meet and pet. Or to burn off excess energy Isle Jump in Lake is a must visit for loads of trampoline fun.
For the heritage lovers…
Brading Roman Villa is a fascinating day out with mosaics comparable to any in Europe. The new Exhibitor and Visitor Centre is a must visit, as is it’s amazing café.
An Island classic, Osborne House is the perfect rainy day option and believe me to wander round and fully appreciate all the splendors of Queen Victoria’s reign you need a day to do it!
Or for an eclectic mix of arts and exhibitions and stunning homemade cake pop along to Dimbola Lodge in Freshwater Bay, with photography from Victorian pioneering female photographers to the Original Isle of Wight Festival.
For the shoppers…
Ventnor – take a brollie and check out the myriad second hand and antique shops – a treasure hunters paradise. It's also very hot for vintage too.
Cowes – boasting more than just sailing gear, Cowes has got some great shops like Live like This with its Orla Keilly bags, or try The Food Hamper for some yummy produce and condiments.
Ryde – an absolute must visit is Dig for Vintage for amazing vintage homewares, furniture and clothes. Mind you we also like Smith & Stephenson for all sorts of homely goodies.
Yarmouth – an interesting mix of local and just plain tempting stock The Beach Hut offers a range of beautiful things from Rapanui tops, to stunning door stops and framed mirrors made from old oak salvaged from Ryde Pier. Chilli & Spice opposite is also a great shop to browse, as is Harwoods yacht chandlers, who sell so much more than pulleys and tackle – checkout the country clothing section for that stylish deerstalker or buy brightly coloured kitchenware – they sell it all.
For the foodies (and drinkies)...
There are plenty of places providing delicious food and drink across the Island. The selection below have an open-fire, perfect for cosying up in the warm and enjoying a drink or two together:
The Buddle Inn - St Catherines Road, Niton, Isle of Wight, PO38 2NE
The Sun Inn - Main Road, Hulverstone, Isle of Wight, PO30 4EH
The Hog's Head - 20 High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1SS
The Royal Hotel - Cromwell Street, Stornoway, Isle of Wight, HS1 2DG
The Waverley - 2 Clatterford Road, Carisbrooke, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1PA
Crab & Lobster Inn - 32 Forelands Field Rd, Bembridge PO35 5TR
12 May 2016