Isle Of Wight holidays

Experience Isle Of Wight

Best Places to Visit

The Isle of Wight has long been a popular and easily accessible seaside destination for holiday makers from around the UK. With a mild climate suitable for a host of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, swimming and sailing, it is easy to understand why the island is such a popular getaway.

Ryde is the largest town on the Isle of Wight and is the first stop for many visitors. This Victorian town attracts tourists with its long stretch of beach, perfect for that sun-soaked summer holiday that many British vacationers seek out. The Esplanade area is a favourite spot for its cafés and recreational areas.

Ryde features a steep high street which is lined with traditional retail and souvenir shops, a cinema, and pubs and bars. A day could easily be spent ambling downwards from the top of Ryde’s high street, stopping off at the pubs, eateries and bars along the way before hopping back on a ferry in the evening.

In the centre of the island, the administrative capital of Newport is an interesting town filled with shopping areas and great restaurants. Although it is located inland, the River Medina connects the town to the northern coast. Along this river is Newport Quay, which has recently been developed into an area of art galleries, cafés and hang-out spots.

Those visiting during the first week of August may want to head to Cowes on the northern coast to witness Cowes Week, the world's oldest regatta. This large event hosts 8,500 competitors, from weekend sailors to Olympic professionals.

Families on Isle of Wight holidays can visit Sandown, as it offers many things to see and do which are geared towards children. The Isle of Wight Zoo with its tigers, lions and jaguars, as well as the dinosaur museum of Dinosaur Isle, can be found in Sandown.

Holidaymakers seeking a secluded holiday spot will want to explore Steephill Cove, located in the southernmost part of the Isle of Wight, close to Ventnor. The cove can only be accessed on foot, thus making the bay noise- and pollution-free. Along the bay is a nice restaurant, along with a bed and breakfast.

As for beaches, it does not get better than Shanklin, located in the south-east of the island. This seaside resort town has a sandy beach, along which are hotels and restaurants. Other attractions in Shanklin include the Old Village and the Shanklin Chine, a ravine filled with lush vegetation and waterfalls.

Top Landmarks

There are many tourist attractions on the Isle of Wight which are worthy of a visit. To explore the Isle of Wight's historical structures, travellers can visit Carisbrooke Castle, located close to Newport, in the centre of the island. This historic castle is home to the Isle of Wight Museum, which features exhibits about King Charles I, who was once imprisoned here.

Another large historic structure on the Isle of Wight is Osborne House, the once beautiful provincial retreat of Queen Victoria. The complex features a walled garden, a reception area filled with exhibitions and a dining and display room with many Indian artefacts.

As far as natural landmarks go, the Isle of Wight has plenty to fill any holidaymaker's itinerary. The Needles are a row of chalk stacks that rise out of the water near Alum Bay. The name comes from the fourth rock formation, called Lot's Wife, which before it sank to the sea was the most prominent feature of the site.

Alum Bay is famous because when conditions are right, the picturesque sands, cliffs and rock formations here show distinct layers of vivid colour. The island is famous for its coloured sands, which can be purchased as souvenirs in many shops.

While in Ventnor, it’s worth paying a visit to the Ventnor Botanic Garden, which has its own warm microclimate, allowing plants such as banana trees, cactus and palms to flourish. The area is often used as a substitute film shooting location for the south of France and is a must-see on package holidays to Isle of Wight.

Entertainment

As a popular holiday destination, the Isle of Wight has plenty of entertainment options. The island is home to cinemas and theatres, play areas, sports and leisure centres, but night entertainment venues are hard to come by.

Many of the cinemas and theatres on the Isle of Wight are located in the two major towns of Ryde and Newport. In Ryde, visitors can watch films at the Commodore Cinema, hear live music at the Venue Ryde Theatre and even play bingo at the Commodore Bingo Club. In Newport, Medina Movie Theatre and the modern Cineworld Multiplex Cinema area are popular cinemas; the latter with luxury stadium seats as well as bar and games.

Nightlife on the Isle of Wight is limited, however, visitors can still treat themselves to night-time entertainment in some venues. In Ryde, they can go to the Qube Nightclub, a huge music venue perfect for parting the night away.

Families on holidays to Isle of Wight can take children to a couple of play areas, namely the Appley Kids Play Area and the Peter Pan Playground, both of which have rides. Both of these play areas are located in Ryde.

Finally, the more sports-minded of holidaymakers will be glad to know the Isle of Wight has an array of sporting locations on offer. There are bowling venues, yacht clubs, golf courses, football centres and horse riding clubs – plenty to keep the whole family busy on Isle of Wight holidays.

Dining Out

There are some excellent locations to dine and drink on the Isle of Wight. Visitors are afforded a host of local and international cuisine, from local fare, continental, Indian, Thai, tapas, French, kebab, steak and fine dining, all the way to simple and reliable fast food.

Wherever holidaymakers are on the Isle of Wight, traditional tea houses are a good choice to relax and unwind. In many tea shops, visitors are encouraged to while away the hours, sipping tea and snacking on scones with clotted cream and jam.

For value for money, it does not get any better than a traditional English pub, which not only serves beers but also hearty pub food. Here, tourists can enjoy pies, steaks, and fish and chips. Visitors will want to take advantage of the bakeries on the island, too, where they can get bread, sandwiches and rolls to take to beach for a picnic.

The best dining on the Isle of Wight can be had, however, at the many seaside bistros and restaurants, as they naturally offer visitors magnificent vistas of the coast. In Ryde, seaside establishments can be found on Union Street, where classy eateries and fine dining restaurants abound.

Beach

Beaches on the Isle of Wight are located mainly on the eastern and northern coasts, with a couple of beaches in the far west. The most popular ones are Alum Bay with its multi-coloured sands and rocks, and Shanklin's three beaches - Appley, the Esplanade and Hope - which are each good for swimming and sunbathing on package holidays to the Isle of Wight.

Romance

While the Isle of Wight is a widely popular family destination, couples on a romantic holiday will still be able to find seclusion here. The peace and quiet offered by Steephill Cove comes highly recommended. Dinner at any of the island’s seaside restaurants is a great way to spend a romantic date in spectacular surroundings.

Family

Families holidaying on the Isle of Wight can simply head to the island's many beaches to let the kids play in the shallow waters. The long sandy beaches of Sandown are perfect for relaxing family activities. When done with the beaches, a daytrip to the Isle of Wight Zoo and Dinosaur Isle is recommended. Whatever your preference, there’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained on package holidays to Isle of Wight.

Adventure

The words 'sports' and 'holidays' come together in the perfect setting on the Isle of Wight. Sailing is especially popular on the island, owing to the fact that the oldest regatta in the world is hosted by the town of Cowes. Other sports visitors can engage in include rowing, hockey, football and cricket.

Need to know

Language

As the Isle of Wight lies within the United Kingdom, English is the main language spoken here. Locals have a distinct accent, however, which is related to the traditional Hampshire dialect. Consonants are sometimes dropped and long vowels emphasised. Distinct local vocabulary is used here as with many regional areas in the UK, for example, a ‘grockle’ is the name given to a visitor.

Currency

The currency used in the Isle of Wight is the British pound (GBP). For those not familiar with English slang, a British pound is very often called a quid by the locals on the Isle of Wight, and indeed throughout the UK. ATMs are widely available around the island and machines dispense in £10 and £20 notes. Maestro, Visa and MasterCard are accepted at many establishments, including hotels, restaurants and shops. As cashpoints are as accessible on the island as they are in most regional towns in the UK, travellers shouldn’t need to worry about bringing extra cash on holidays to Isle of Wight.

Visas

The Isle of Wight is a part of the UK, so entry requirements for the UK apply. British citizens do not need to present any documentation to travel to the Isle of Wight. Nationals of other countries should check visa requirements with the UK Border Agency before arrival in the UK.

Climate

The climate of the Isle of Wight is characteristic of the southern climes in the UK. Although the UK isn’t renowned for good weather, summer months can see very pleasant days and the weather here is milder than the rest of the country. High temperatures in the summer average at 23°C, while the winter sees low temperatures average at 8°C. This mild weather has made the Isle of Wight a popular seaside holiday spot in Britain, especially as an enjoyable alternative to costly summer holidays abroad. The best time to visit is in the summer when activities like swimming, camping, hiking, biking and sailing are possible, and tourist spots are open longer.

Main Airports

Although the Isle of Wight has a couple of airports, they don't receive commercial flights. The closest commercial airports to the Isle of Wight are in London, including London-Heathrow and London-Gatwick, and at Southampton. Passengers arrive at these airports using buses, trains or car hire to connect with ferries which cross the Solent.

Flight Options

The airport closest to the Isle of Wight is based in Southampton. It receives flights from Aberdeen, Belfast, Dublin, Durham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne and the Channel Islands, as well as from flight hubs in Europe such as Barcelona and Amsterdam. The main carriers flying to and from Southampton are low-cost regional airlines. London's airports offer an even wider selection of flights.

Travel Advice

Because the Isle of Wight is a popular tourist destination, hotel prices can be extremely competitive. During the summer months, in particular, it can pay to shop around different hotels for a deal.

Other Transport Options

Because the Isle of Wight is not connected to the UK by road or train, holidaymakers should make use of the ferries that cross the Solent. There are several points on the UK’s mainland from where ferries can be boarded.

Getting Around

There are no domestic flights on the Isle of Wight, as the island is small enough to be covered overland. Buses are a good way to get around and are reasonably comfortable. The Isle of Wight’s rail network serves the towns of Ryde, Brading, Sandown, Lake and Shanklin. Driving a private or rented vehicle is a good way to explore the island without having to rely on public transport on package holidays to Isle of Wight.

Car

A great way of exploring the Isle of Wight is to use a private or rented vehicle. Ferries from the mainland can carry cars. Otherwise, there are local companies that rent cars, vans, motorbikes and bicycles.

Train

The Isle of Wight has a single public rail service running north to south in the eastern portion of the island. The rail service is run by Island Line.

Bus

Buses are a popular way of getting around the island, as the network covers many towns. The main bus line is run by Southern Vectis. Its open-top buses are a good option for sightseeing. Buses are also run by Wightbus to Ventnor, Havenstreet and Brading.

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ISLE OF WIGHT`S WEATHER TODAY

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FACTS

  1. The Isle of Wight is host to two huge annual festivals – Bestival and the Isle of Wight Festival – along with a few smaller ones, too. Previous stars to grace the island’s festivals have included Outkast, Fleetwood Mac, Blur and the Prodigy.
  2. Many believe the island’s name to be a different spelling of the word ‘white’, referring to the colour of its cliffs. In fact, “Wight” derives from the Saxon word “whit”, meaning a creature or living thing.
  3. Due to its separation from the mainland, a maximum-security prison was established on the island in 1863 (HM Prison Parkhurst, now part of HMP Isle of Wight).

FACTS

  1. The Isle of Wight is host to two huge annual festivals – Bestival and the Isle of Wight Festival – along with a few smaller ones, too. Previous stars to grace the island’s festivals have included Outkast, Fleetwood Mac, Blur and the Prodigy.
  2. Many believe the island’s name to be a different spelling of the word ‘white’, referring to the colour of its cliffs. In fact, “Wight” derives from the Saxon word “whit”, meaning a creature or living thing.
  3. Due to its separation from the mainland, a maximum-security prison was established on the island in 1863 (HM Prison Parkhurst, now part of HMP Isle of Wight).

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