Long days on the beach, extreme sports, wine tasting and a top foodie scene – whatever your age, whatever your passion, it turns out there’s something special waiting for you on the Isle of Wight!
My relationship with the Isle of Wight began around 20 years ago. I was at primary school and about to embark on my biggest trip yet. Along with 25 other kids, I hopped on a coach, then a ferry and spent a few days on the seemingly exotic island. I was 10, and for me, this was like the Caribbean. We played games on Shanklin beach, visited Osborne House, and spent a day at theme park Blackgang Chine. I have very happy memories from the trip. Flash forward 20 years and here I was boarding WightRider 2 (the ferry) from Portsmouth to Ryde. Over the next 3 days I’d be reliving some childhood memories and, fingers crossed, be creating a few new ones!
Isle of Wight: Watersport and Adrenaline Lovers
From sailing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding to segwaying, airwheeling and mountain biking, Tackt-Isle Adventures is THE place on the island for trying something new! I spent a whole afternoon there and while I was pretty nervous as I hopped on a Segway for the first time, within a few minutes I was flying around the place and getting competitive in drills and races!
After that I took to the water for a few hours of relaxed kayaking, while my partner hopped on a stand up paddle board. It’s a beautiful area to explore on the water, and even when it bucketed it down, our spirits weren’t dampened! The instructors were young, fun, patient and super enthusiastic.
Isle of Wight: Wine Lovers
I spent February exploring vineyards in Chile and Argentina, then just a few weeks ago I enjoyed a day wine tasting in California… but what’s this? There’s a top winery on the Isle of Wight?! Rosemary Vineyard is run by a dedicated team and happens to be one of the largest producers of English Wine in the country. Along with top wines, they also produce some of the most delicious apple juice you’ll ever taste (the flavour reminded me of apple pie!) along with fruit liqueurs and gin. Whatever your tipple, you’ll find something you like! They’re located in a picturesque spot in the middle of the island where the climate is perfect for the grapes, and after taking a wine tour you can enjoy a casual wander through the lush vineyards.
Isle of Wight: Vintage Lovers
During our visit, several locals referred to island life as ‘going back in time by 30 years’. In some ways, that’s true, and it’s part of what makes it such a charming place. 30 years is nothing though, so for a real vintage touch we stayed in a 1960s American Airstream. Helen from Vintage Vacations bought her first Airstream in 2004, and fell in love with the quirky trailers. Since then, she and husband Fraser have expanded their fleet into an uber-cool glamping experience. With tonnes of vintage knick-knacks (from Coca Cola trays and Babycham, to retro curtains and bedding) staying here really did give a flavour of the swinging 60s.
Isle of Wight: Food Lovers
Where to start?! It turns out there’s a buzzing foodie scene on the island. I’ll go into more detail in a future blog but whether you’re after fish and chips on the seafront, tapas, a restaurant with a view or high end fine dining, there’s something for everyone. For the freshest seafood on the island, head to The Best Dressed Crab in Bembridge Harbour. You can watch the lobsters and crabs being delivered straight from the fishing boats.
The Shed in Bembridge offers international cuisine in tapas form – perfect for those who love to share! The Seaview Hotel is home to one of the best restaurants on the island, serving gourmet food at very reasonable prices.
It’s hard to beat the amazing view over Appley Beach in Ryde from Three Buoys, plus it has a delicious menu featuring fresh seafood and a great selection of cocktails. The Garlic Farm is another stunning spot to spend an afternoon. After checking out the beautiful gardens filled with garlic plants, head to their garlic-themed restaurant. I loved the mezze platter as it offered a chance to try plenty of their garlicky specialities, including delicious buttery mushrooms, a whole roasted garlic, and some of the best garlic bread I’ve tasted in a long time!
Isle of Wight: Beach Lovers
You just can’t beat a great British beach holiday! We were based towards the north east of the island, and loved checking out Shanklin, Ryde and a few other beautiful sandy beaches. Even when the sun was hiding we had plenty of fun things to do including checking out the cute shops, cafes, amusement arcades and paying a few rounds crazy golf!
Isle of Wight: History Lovers
From dinosaur remains and Norman Conquests, to Queen Victoria’s holidays – the island is packed full of history. Queen Victoria spent a lot of time on the island, and said of Osborne House, “it is impossible to imagine a prettier spot.” She used the house as her holiday home and these days it’s open to the public. You can explore Victoria and Albert’s private apartments, their bathing beach and children’s play-cottage along with the beautiful gardens.
Isle of Wight: Nature Lovers
The island is a top destination for anyone with a love of walking, cycling and nature. 500 miles of footpaths, beautiful lush countryside, sweeping coastlines, sandy beaches and plenty of natural wonders will have you reaching for your camera over and over again. Voted as one of the top sights in the UK, The Needles are one of the must-sees. If you’re feeling brave, you can even take the chairlift!
Opened in 1817, the waterfall at Shanklin Chine is one of the island’s oldest tourist attractions. Not only is the waterfall beautiful, it’s set within a deep gorge covered in trees – a magical place to spend an afternoon. While we visited during the day, they also illuminate the waterfall at night over the summer months, just to add to the magic!
And for a great way to see the island, head to the top of the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth before or after your ferry. At 170m, the architectural wonder is designed to sway slightly in order to withstand high winds. Feeling brave? You can even abseil down the tower while taking in the incredible panoramic views of Portsmouth, the Solent and the Isle of Wight!
There are plenty more amazing things to see and do on the Isle of Wight. You can find out more here.
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