Measuring just 23 miles by 13 with over half designated an Area of Outstanding Beauty, the Isle of Wight is easy to get to and a wonderful year-round destination.
Charming seaside resorts include Sandown which shelters in a beautiful bay and has long stretches of golden sandy beach, a traditional British seafront and pier. Popular Shanklin’s enticements range from the long wide sandy beach to the wooded ravine which is Shanklin Chine and the Old Village with its independent shops, restaurants and pubs. Ventnor’s sand and shingle beach, which is lined by huts converted from Victorian “bathing machines”, is ideal for sunbathing and family swimming. Ryde tempts with a long expanse of sandy beaches along with boutique shops, museums and galleries. Bembridge boasts three beaches, a harbour and in 2019, won “Village of the Year” in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards.
Possibly the island’s most notable landmark is The Needles and a ride on the chairlift between the beach and sand cliffs is spectacular. Family-friendly attractions include Blackgang Chine Theme Park, Tapnell Farm Park, Monkey Haven and Robin Hill Country Park to name a few.
History and heritage can be uncovered at castles and monuments, ancient burial grounds and Osborne House, the holiday residence of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
The island is also one of Europe’s finest sites for dinosaur remains and enthusiasts can explore the Dinosaur Isle Museum, join an organised fossil hunt, visit Brook Beach where you may even dig up your own stegosaurus or T-Rex.
If you have the nautical know-how, the Isle of Wight is one of the best places to sail, with Cowes being the island’s maritime gateway. Kayaking, surfing, bodyboarding and coasteering may also appeal, while on dry land options include cycling, golf, horse riding and over 500 miles of footpaths.
The Isle of Wight is fast becoming the foodie capital of the south coast and as soon as you step off the ferry you’ll find yourself spoiled for choice with an abundance of tea rooms, country pubs, quality restaurants and beachside cafes.