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Family on Beach

Swap Screen Time for Scene Time this February Half-Term

Step away from the iPad, turn off the Switch and say “Thank Yew Bye” to social media this February Half Term. Set sail with the kids on an offline adventure to the UK’s biggest Island, just 1 hour away from Southampton by ferry. 

Just across the water you’ll find beaches for blustery walks, skimming stones and rock pooling. You’ll discover ancient woodland for finding giant sticks, squirrel spotting and games of “It!”. Dig out your winter wellies and coats for stomps through the countryside, puddle jumping and playing “Pooh Sticks” in the stream. 

From the cheeky residents at Monkey Haven to the roar of the steam train, the Isle of Wight is jam-packed with great family attractions whether your kids love animals, dinosaurs, trains, ponies, football, buses, fantasy and more!

Ferry travel starts from just £29.50 each way for a car and up to 7 people, or £44.90 for up to four people (1 must be a child) travelling on foot or with bikes. Find out more and book.

With so much to do and see, we’ve compiled a list of adventures to set sail for this February. 

Tapnell Farm

TOP ATTRACTIONS

There are over 50 top attractions to choose from on the Island, all less than an hour's drive from one another, so you can really make a day of it. From days out on the farm to walking the battlements of a castle, unforgettable adventures are guaranteed. 

Family favourite attractions include Tapnell Farm Park, a one-stop-shop for playtime and fun with football golf, a soft play area, an animal barn, a jumping pillow and more. You’ll find places to eat and drink on the farm, as well as ‘The Cow’ - a casual restaurant specialising in burgers. 

For the ultimate fantastical and kitsch experience, head to Blackgang Chine – the UK’s oldest theme park. The land of imagination, discover Cowboy Town, the Underwater Kingdom, home of the dinosaurs ‘Restricted Area 5’, Pirate Cove, Fairy Land, and new rides for bigger kids. 

No trip to the Island is complete without a trip to one of our popular sanctuaries. Monkey Haven, the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary and Wildheart Animal Sanctuary are all great days out for animal lovers.

And who could forget the Needles, the Island equivalent to the Eiffel Tower. Head to the most westerly tip of the Island to marvel at the towering chalk stacks and enjoy the Landmark Attraction, offering mini golf, rides, a café, and the chance to build your own sand sculpture – a traditional Isle of Wight souvenir. 

Love Week at Monkey Haven

EVENTS

This half-term we celebrate everything creative at the Isle of Wight Story Festival, with stories, poetry, plays and games for young people. The event takes place at the Quay Art Centre in Newport between 15th and 17th February. Make the most of a great ferry offer to get to this event. 

Discover more about the Romans at Brading Roman Villa this half term, taking a walk around the ancient ruins, learning more about Island life “way back when”, and making your own mosaic. There’s also a bird watching activity, as part of the Twitchers Museum Adventure by Kids in Museums and Walker Books. 

Head to the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary to meet the big eared residents, get the chance to groom a donkey, pamper a pony and take a tour of their home. Meanwhile it’s Love Week at Monkey Haven, your chance to meet and learn all about the rescued gibbons, monkeys, owls, meerkats and other creatures and the things they love – like bromances between the animals, and Djimmy the Cherry Crowned Mangabey’s obsession with his toy pigs. 

For all these events and more, see our website

Compton Dino Dog

GET OUTSIDE

The Isle of Wight is the perfect place to disconnect from technology and screens and reconnect in the great outdoors. There are over 500 miles of trails waiting to be explored on foot or by bike, along beautiful and varied coastline, and countryside. 

Pack up the car with bikes, scooters, surf boards, and the dog and head on over to start your adventure. For family cycling set off on the Red Squirrel trail, a 32 mile mainly off-road cycle track connecting Cowes to Newport and through to Merstone, where the trail loops round to Shanklin and Sandown via Godshill or Alverstone. Many families start in Shanklin, cycling the loop back to Sandown and the esplanade back to Shanklin. 

The Island boasts 70 miles of beaches and coastline, so you’ll never be far from the sea. In February the majority of beaches are dog-friendly, with Appley and Yaverland particularly nice places for your four-legged friends with plenty of room to run on the sand. If you’re brave enough for a dip, the water at Sandown or St Helen’s is ideal for swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding. 

There are plenty of interesting landmarks to discover along the way, with great walks to St Catherine’s Lighthouse, St Catherine’s Oratory (a medieval lighthouse called The Pepperpot), Carisbrooke Castle, the Longstone and The Needles – all offering spectacular views and interesting landscapes, and lots of hills for tiring out the kids! Or maybe you fancy a walk with a difference… with an alpaca at West Wight Alpacas.

And finally, they don’t call us the ‘Dinosaur Isle’ for nothing, the Island is the fossil finding capital of Europe with over 20 types of dinosaurs having been found on our shorelines and in the cliffs. You can set out on your own fossil finding missions at Brook and Compton Bay – don’t forget to look out for the fossilised dinosaur footprints at low tide. You’ll find the Dinosaur Isle Museum in Sandown, and can even book in for a guided fossil hunt with Island Gems, Wight Coast Fossils or Dinosaur Expeditions.