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paddleboard in the sea

Completed it mate… Tick something off your Island bucket list in 2024

Whether your Island bucket list is filled with outdoor activities that take you out of your comfort zone, or opportunities for you to learn and immerse yourself in culture – make 2024 the year to stop dreaming and start doing, with experiences you’ll remember forever!      

Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to surf, walk the length of the Island, or ride a horse along a sandy beach. Perhaps you’re a thrill seeker looking to push yourself to the limits paragliding off a clifftop, running the 106km Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge, or camping under the stars?

Or maybe you’re simply looking for the ultimate holiday experience and a little indulgence… waking up in a cosy country cottage to the sound of the birds, feasting on fresh seafood with views of the glistening sea, and walking hand in hand with your toes in golden sands at sunset.      

Whatever your preference and whatever the time of year, the Isle of Wight offers a whole host of exciting events, interesting places to visit, and unique things to do – perfect for building a bucket list!

Here’s 11 unique Island experiences to add to your 2024 bucket list:

1. Run, walk, or jog the 106km Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge

As many as 2000 keen adventurers are expected to take part in this year’s Ultra Challenge, with options for a full ultra marathon through the night, a 2-day daylight marathon and shorter options at 82km and 46km. This event is a real test of endurance, a chance to meet likeminded people and an opportunity to see the beauty of the Isle of Wight on foot.


2. Explore by Steam Train

Get swept away in nostalgia and travel back to the golden age of steam at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. Relax in Edwardian elegance in the beautifully restored carriages, as the majestic steam engine powers through picturesque countryside. Hop on and off as you please along the way, and don’t forget to visit the museum and falconry centre at Havenstreet. For a special treat, why not book in for Afternoon Tea with scones, cream & jam at the station before riding the train. 

Steam Train

3. Enjoy seafood by the sea

For great tasting seafood and service with spectacular views of our surrounding water, you’re spoiled for choice. Whether you’re in the mood for a luxurious seafood platter washed down with a crisp white wine at sunset, a proper Island crab pasty or good old fish and chips on the beach, we recommend; The Crab & Lobster, The Waterfront, Best Dressed Crab, Corries Cabin, The Smoking Lobster, The Old Fort, The Spyglass and The Crab Shed

4 people sat outside eating food

4. Learn to surf

If learning to surf is on your bucket list, we’ve got you covered. The Island offers several beaches great for surfing, whether you’re well-seasoned or still learning the ropes. Compton is the go to beach for big waves and swell, for confident beginners try Yaverland, Lake and Shanklin. For surf lessons, we recommend iSurf and Eddie’s Surf Academy, offering 1:1, group, and family sessions. Both are mobile surf schools, ensuring you get the best conditions and surf on the day of your session.

Person with surfboard looking out to sea

5. Walk the Wight

An annual event for charity, Walk the Wight is a right of passage for locals and visitors to the Island. Every year the event attracts thousands of walkers, braving blisters and achy legs to raise money for Mountbatten Hospice. The full walk covers 26.5 miles from Bembridge on the most easterly point to The Needles on the most westerly point and takes between 8 and 12 hours. There are also shorter walks to break yourself in gently, with a popular ‘Half Wight’ 14 miler from Carisbrooke to The Needles, a shorter flat walk, children’s walk and more. There’s a walk for everyone, whatever your age or mobility. This year the walk takes place on Sunday 14th May. 
Tap to register.

A group of walkers smiling and posing for a team photo with Carisbrooke castle in the background

6. Discover the Isle of Flight

If taking to the skies is something you’ve always dreamed of, there’s no better place to make your dream a reality than flying high above the Isle of Wight. With over 50% of the Island classed an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, aerial views above land and sea are simply breath-taking. Isle of Flight offers flying experiences and sightseeing tours in their nifty microlights, as well as a training course for wannabe pilots. Or why not get beneath your own set of wings and try paragliding! Launch off from a hillside and float lighter than air above the Island landscape, with tandem flights and day courses available at High Adventure Paragliding. For tandem flights and accommodation, visit Butterfly Paragliding offering pitches for camping and motorhomes, static caravans or ‘The Lookout Shack’, just £95 per night with unrivalled sea views over the cliff.

paragliding over the sea

7. Make an Alum Bay Sand Sculpture

The ultimate Isle of Wight Souvenir, the Alum Bay sand sculpture is a holiday tradition dating back to the mid-1800s. Made from 21 shades of sand from the cliffs overlooking The Needles, Queen Victoria was presented with her own very own sculpture while holidaying on the Island. Still as popular a pastime today as it was with the Victorians, visitors can fill a glass or plastic shape with colourful layers of sand from the iconic Alum Bay cliffs below. Choose from Isle of Wight shapes and landmarks, or animals and shapes for children. 

sand sculpture

8. Ride a horse on the beach

There’s no need to jet off to tick this one off your bucket list when you can do it right here. Take a peaceful meander on horseback through the shallows at Seagrove Bay or set off on an exhilarating gallop across the miles of Appley sands at low tide. Whether you’re a novice or experienced equestrian, the Island’s riding centres cater to all abilities. We recommend Sally’s Riding School and Trotters Riding School for summer beach rides. If you’d like to bring your own horse on holiday, you can make the most of the Red Funnel 20% Livestock offer and stay at The Island Riding Centre with holiday cottages, safari tents and holiday livery for your horse. 

two horses with riders on the beach

9. Visit the UK’s oldest theme park

Did you know that the Isle of Wight plays home to the UK’s oldest theme park? Blackgang Chine was born in 1943, when Island resident Alexander Dabell purchased the carcass of a giant whale that had washed up at The Needles. He stripped the carcass and moved the skeleton to Blackgang Chine, becoming the first attraction at the park popular with Victorian visitors. Today, the attraction boasts a number of fantastical attractions, including a Cowboy Town, Pirate Cove, Nursery Land, a hall of mirrors, a Musical Pet Shop, a crooked house, life size snakes and ladders, Restricted Area 5 (dinosaurs), Dodo Valley, Underwater Kingdom plus more, including a 3D cinema and rides! The original Island attraction, Blackgang is the perfect mix of kitsch and fantasy making it popular with all members of the family. A must visit on the Island.

family sat at theme park

10. Ride The Needles Chairlift

Unique to the Isle of Wight, ride a vintage ski lift from The Needles down to Alum Bay. The chair lift was first opened in 1973, with capacity for 500 passengers per hour and having transported over 12 million people to date. Journey down the coloured cliffs towards the bay, with views across to the iconic Needles landmark. On a sunny day, the water in the bay looks almost tropical, with the perfect place for a picnic on the pebble beach below or simply hop off and back on to take the chairlift back up the cliff. 


11. Taste the Wight

Whether you’ve got a sweet tooth or salivate for savoury, the Isle of Wight boasts an impressive variety of local produce to try. Set off on a foodie adventure discovering everything from rustic farm kitchens and local producers to modern bistros and gastronomic experiences - you can literally eat your way around the Island! For a real flavour of the Isle, we recommend sampling our delicious locally grown garlic and sunshine tomatoes, creamy cheese and dairy products from the milk of rare Guernsey cows, crisp and refreshing Mermaid gin, full bodied local ales and a sparkling blue wine, the original donut created here on the IOW, crab pasties, sweet golden honey, the world’s best sausage roll (no lie) and our signature Mr Blobby biscuit! 

For IOW produce try – The Garlic Farm, Harvey Browns, Briddlesford Farm
For something to sip try – Adgestone Vineyard, Isle of Wight Distillery, Goddards Brewery
For the world’s best sausage rolls try WW Woodford & Sons butcher
For Mr Blobby Biscuits try Scarrots Lane Bakery
For the original Isle of Wight doughnut try Grace’s Bakery
For crab pasties try The Crab Shed

picnic full of isle of wight produce