Our guide to Shanklin holiday cottages
Just as Sandown, its near neighbour, Shanklin is a continuation of the superb gently sloping sandy beach. There are pitch and putt, amusement arcades, cafes, pubs and all you would expect to find on a seafront Esplanade. Shanklin beach is a very safe place and enjoyed by all manner of water users. Where necessary, there are allocated areas to keep bathers apart from jet skiers and other motorised water users. On the Esplanade, you'll find Pirates Cove Fun Park where you can try your skills in the water zorbs, or on the trampolines or the mini go-karts. There is a new rollercoaster too with some great views over the sands. If you prefer something a little more sedate, why not try your hand at the 18-hole Pirates Cove Crazy Golf? With lots of challenging features including waterfalls, palm trees, caves and a fully rigged pirate ship to test your skills.
Places to visit in Shanklin
Should the fancy take you, you could pay a visit to Shanklin Chine. It’s easy to imagine you are in a sub-tropical rainforest as you follow the leafy gorge. The steep sides and waterfalls are magical alongside the rare plant life. There is a written guide so you can see areas of special interest or where there are seats. The heady scent of rhododendrons fills the air and the range of tree species encourage a wide range of wildlife such as cockatiels, Senegal parrots, Asian blue quail, and island bred chipmunks, and, if you are really lucky, you might spy a kestrel on the cliffs, or one of the many species of butterfly. There is a hide with lots of educational materials for the children.
There is also a live-feed camera watching for the red squirrels that inhabit the chine. New for 2017, the Chines bicentenary year, is a new exhibition telling the chines story. The route of the Chine takes you from Shanklin Old Village all the way down to the seafront Esplanade. Shanklin Chine has an entrance next to the Crab Inn in Shanklin Old Village and another on the esplanade, both well signposted.
Another lovely area to visit, other than the amusements on the seafront, is Shanklin Old Village. Here you will find some of the oldest houses on the island with their thatched roofs and chocolate box frontages. Vernons Cottage tea room has lots of information leaflets and guides to help you plan your stay on the Isle of Wight. You can take advantage of their patio and seats to peruse your maps or talk to the helpful staff on where to visit next.
For a good old fashioned seaside meal, it has to be fish and chips and you won’t have any regrets if you pay a call at The Happy Haddock in the High Street of Shanklin Old Village. All their food is cooked so order so is piping hot and delicious. If you happen to be a pensioner then do tell them as there are special reductions. As with a lot of island establishments The Happy Haddock is dog friendly too.
For a meal with a sea view then it has to be The Waterfront Inn on the Esplanade. Here you will find very helpful and friendly staff and some of the tastiest food. The Waterfront Inn is also dog friendly, has an outside terrace and a wide ranging menu which includes sharing platters, breakfasts, snacks, seafood, vegetarian meals and childrens meals. All this and a lovely view over the golden Shanklin beach.
Things to do in Shanklin
Shanklin is also the terminus for the island's only railway. The train runs from Ryde Pier head through to Sandown, Lake and Shanklin. Follow Regent Street to its end and you will see the railway station in front of you. The carriages are refurbished London underground carriages. For an afternoon of seated country views you could take a round trip from Shanklin to Ryde and back. There are beautiful countryside views along the route with the advantage of sitting down all the way.