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Our guide to Isle of Wight holidays...
Less than 5 miles from Hampshire, the Isle of Wight shimmers in the English Channel. Notorious for its unspoilt beauty, leading sailing port of Cowes and many outdoor activities, the Isle of Wight holiday is perfect for getting away from it all - at any time of year whether you enjoy sunny days on the beach, portside pursuits or family days out.
Just half an hour via ferry from the mainland, the Isle of Wight is easily reached with ferries crossing up to 350 times per day. Those leaving the car at home can hop on the high speed passenger ferry and take advantage of the reliable transport network once on the island. Also, dogs are welcome on the ferries too. With over 60 miles of coastal path, holidays on the Isle of Wight are pure Heaven for those who enjoy exploring on foot! Choose from the hundreds of trails across the island to take in its beauty while you stroll.
The island hosts 3-day music festival, Bestival, in September and carnivals weave across the island throughout the summer and winter. The carnival season starts with the famed Arts Parade in Ryde, in which a lively parade shimmies through the centre of the town in an explosive spectacle of colour and noise! Ryde Carnival also ends the Isle of Wight’s carnival season at the end of August.
Things to do on the Isle of Wight
With more than half the island a Designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, one of the most popular things to do on the Isle of Wight is to take in the views with a good old walk. The wight’s long been a favourite with walkers, and that means there’s a whole selection of walks and trails to choose from when it comes to a bimble.
If you’re not sure which walk to choose to start taking in some of the Wight’s most recognisable landmarks, The Tennyson Trail’s a good one to start off with. This 15 mile route stretches from Carisbrooke Castle all the way to The Needles, and you’ll pass some of the views that have graced Isle of Wight postcards for generations along the way.
The Isle of Wight Walking Festival takes place each April and October, and it sees keen walkers pack their boots and head to the island in their droves. You’ll be able to join guided walks so you don’t miss a thing, or just enjoy the experience of walking one of the many trails at your own pace to join the event.
Isle of Wight attractions
As those of us who holidayed on the Isle of Wight as young 'uns know, it’s a great place to be a kid (even if you’re a grown up one now!), and that makes it perfect for family holidays. There are the sandy beaches with incredible views for bucket and spade days, family days out for all kinds of visitor and even a few surprises.
Let’s start with one of the most notorious…you’ll find Carisbrooke Castle in the village of Carisbrooke, and it’s famous for being the holding place of King Charles 1 during the Civil War. The castle’s stood on the island for a thousand years, and it’s still home to its famous donkeys who use the 16th century tread mill to raise water from the well house (only for demonstrations these days) and are always keen to meet friendly visitors.
Robin Hill Country Park’s another family favourite, and set in 88 acres of gorgeous Wight countryside it’s a great day out to let the kids let off steam. This award-winning attraction’s home to rides that’ll have the kids wanting to stay, as well as adventure play, falconry displays and some picturesque walks for those of you who like a slower pace to your day out!
Isle of Wight Restaurants
With so many walks and exciting days out on the island, we’d expect nothing more than some mouth-wateringly impressive Isle of Wight restaurants to choose from – and they don’t let us down. Thompson’s Restaurant has built up something of a reputation as the island’s number one place to eat in recent years, and its contemporary menu includes the best of British created using the flavours of life on the island.
Now, Lockslane Contemporary Bistro may be the new kid on the block when it comes to the restaurants on the Isle of Wight, but we have to say, it’s fantastic. Voted second on the Wight by the TripAdvisor reviewers, the restaurant serves up imaginative dishes in a friendly atmosphere, and we’ve started to see our guests return to it time after time during their holidays.
How could we brief you on the places to eat during your stay without mentioning the ever-popular Dan’s Kitchen? You’ll find this one beside St Helen’s Green, enjoying far-reaching views across the glistening Solent. Run by a husband and wife team, there’s a warm feel to this restaurant that compliments the innovative menu.
Dog Friendly Isle of Wight
As if we’d forget those of you who wouldn’t dream of travelling without your four-legged friends. Fear not, not only do we have a whole selection of dog friendly choices when it comes to your Isle of Wight holiday, but there are some great attractions that welcome doggies too.
Dogs are welcome throughout the Robin Hill Adventure Park (on leads), and as it’s home to rides, adventure play for the kids and walks this is a great one if you’ve got a mixed age group to entertain. They’re also welcome on leads throughout Blackgang Chine, another of the Wight’s popular adventure parks, as well as at the historic Carisbrooke Castle. If you were hoping to see the sights with a journey via steam train then you’re in luck, the Isle of Wight Steam Railway welcomes dogs aboard for £3 each.