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10 reasons to visit the Isle of Wight

Great places to stay

Boats in Bembridge Harbour, isle of wight

Boats in Bembridge Harbour

The Isle of Wight offers a huge choice of hotels, bed and breakfasts, self-catering accommodation, and holiday parks. Most hotels and b & b’s are family owned and run, and can offer a much more personal and friendly service than some of the bigger chains you get elsewhere. There are some fantastic quality boutique hotels available. Much of the hotel and bed and breakfast accommodation is on the East side of the Isle of Wight in Shanklin and Sandown, which are also easy to get to by public transport. See our accommodation

Scenic walks

Cliffs near Freshwater Bay, isle of Wight

Cliffs near Freshwater Bay

With its miles of marked paths all over the Island, the Isle of Wight is the perfect destination for a walking holiday. The West side of the Island offers more rugged walking, with the Tennyson Trail offering fantastic views stretching to the Dorset coast and beautiful walks all around Freshwater Bay and along the coastal path. Walks around Ventnor can be steep and challenging, but there are also more sedate walks along the Esplanades of Sandown, Shanklin and Bonchurch. From Sandown walk past the white cliffs and on to Culver Down for magnificent views of Sandown Bay and the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth.

Beautiful beaches

Beach at Steephill Cove, Isle of Wight

Beach at Steephill Cove

Whether it’s the family-friendly sandy beaches of Sandown and Shanklin, or the more rugged beaches of West Wight, the Isle of Wight has a great selection of beaches. Steephill Cove is a small traditional fishing bay near Ventnor with a very relaxed ambience. Whitecliff Bay is a more unspoilt beach near Bembridge with shallow water and a long sandy beach stretching round the bay. Or try the beach at St Helen’s for lots of activities. rock pooling and a great cafe.

Sea and Sailing

Blue sailing boat, Isle of Wight

Blue sailing boat, Isle of Wight

You’re never too far from the sea on the Isle of Wight and there are many chances to get out on the water and to learn to sail. UKSA and the Medina Valley Sailing Centre offer courses in learning to sail and getting better at sailing. For kids there is the RYA Youth Sailing Scheme at the Island Youth Water Activities Centre (IYWAC) in Cowes and Wight Waters between Sandown and Shanklin beach offer dinghy racing lessons for both adults and children.

Great local food

Sun Inn, Hulverstone, Isle of Wight

Sun Inn, Hulverstone, Isle of Wight

There’s a huge variety of good quality food to choose from on the Isle of Wight. For characterful country pubs offering great food try the Pointer Inn in Newchurch, the Red Lion in Freshwater, the New Inn in Shalfleet, the Sun Inn in Hulverstone, the Bargeman’s Rest in Newport or the Crab and Lobster in Bembridge. There’s also many lovely cafes, such as the Beach CafĂ© Sandown, Edulis at the Ventnor Botanical Garden and the Quarr Abbey tea rooms near Ryde. And of course there are lots of great restaurants serving fresh locally sourced food, see our guide in Food and Drink.

A varied history

Mottistone Manor, Isle of Wight

Mottistone Manor, Isle of Wight

Given its location off England’s south coast, the Isle of Wight has been historically important for Britain’s defences. Visit the Needles Battery, Carisbrooke Castle and Fort Victoria to learn more about the Island’s history from a strategic viewpoint. Osborne House was Queen Victoria’s holiday home for many years, and gives a more intimate view of the Royal family at a time when the Isle of Wight became the destination that everyone wanted to visit. There are also Roman villas, ancient churches and old manor houses dotted around the Island.

Great for families

Shanklin seafront, Isle of Wight

Shanklin seafront, Isle of Wight

With its sandy beaches and family attractions, the Isle of Wight has been a popular holiday choice for families for many years. Robin Hill and Blackgang Chine are 2 theme parks aimed at younger children, there are several animal attractions on the Island, dinosaur walks, go-karting, and making ornaments filled with multi-coloured sand at The Needles. Sandown and Shanklin seafronts have traditional amusement arcades, but also several crazy golf courses, and many small rides to keep the children happy.

A traditional ambience

Vernon Cottage in Shanklin Old Village, Isle of Wight

Vernon Cottage in Shanklin Old Village

With its cream teas, beach huts and numerous thatched cottages, the Isle of Wight does have the feeling of going back in time to the Britain of 50 years ago. It’s a slower pace of life without the hustle and bustle of many places on the mainland, there are no shopping malls and only half a mile of dual carriageway on the whole Island! Shanklin Old Village and Godshill are full of old cottages, many of them thatched, mostly converted into tea rooms and gift shops. Seaview and Yarmouth are also quaint and picturesque but with more of a traditional seaside feel.

Perfect for a relaxing drink

Fisherman's Cottage on Shanklin beach, Isle of Wight

Fisherman’s Cottage on Shanklin beach

The Isle of Wight is a relaxed, laid-back kind of place and there are numberous spots to sit back with a relaxing drink and enjoy the view. Fisherman’s Cottage is a thatched pub on the beach in Shanklin or try the Met Bar in Ventnor for a beautiful sea view and more of a Mediterranean ambience. The Isle of Wight is a great place for traditional pubs, the Chine Inn and the Village Inn in Shanklin, the Spyglass in Ventnor and the Crab and Lobster in Bembridge.

Great sunshine record

The sunny Ventnor coastline, Isle of Wight

The sunny Ventnor coastline

Just off the UK’s south coast, the Isle of Wight is one of the sunniest places in the UK. Shanklin has the best sunshine record on the Island and south facing Ventnor is protected by the surrounding hills and has its own microclimate.