Top things to do for families


Island living is perfect for families, whether they love swimming, adventure parks, cycling, sight-seeing or history.

For beachy days: The island has the highest number of award-winning beaches in England. For plenty to keep the young ones occupied, head to Shanklin, where the golden sands back onto a traditional English seafront promenade. Sandown Beach is one of the island’s most popular beaches, with miles of sand and the pleasure pier. At Ventnor, the red shingle and golden sand beach has vintage beach huts that can be hired daily. For families who want something a little quieter, seek out Mount Bay below the Ventnor Botanic Garden, Rocken End Beach at the southern end of Chale Bay, St Helens Beach in Ryde, and Steephill Cove just outside Ventnor.

For adventure days: Let the imagination run riot at Blackgang Chine, the UK’s oldest theme park, and Robin Hill Adventure Park and Gardens, its sister site. Go wild at Tapnell Farm Park near Yarmouth, where you can meet the animals and explore the play barn, and swing by the Monkey Haven animal sanctuary in Newport. Then there’s a host of trails for walking, cycling and horseriding, as well as kayaking, paragliding, surfing and sailing.

For hungry days: Every town and village across the island will have something to tempt you, from fish and chips on the beach to cream teas in pretty gardens, roast lunches in country pubs, and fine dining in award-winning restaurants.

For shopping days: There’s plenty for shoppers on the Isle of Wight, with large high street chains as well as local boutiques, delis, and craft shops. There are weekly farmers’ markets where you can pick up a variety of fresh Island produce.

For historical days: The island is one of Europe’s finest sites for dinosaur remains, and there are plenty of organised fossil hunting trips to join. Dinosaur Isle is Britain’s first purpose-built dinosaur attraction and is very child-friendly, with lots of things to prod and poke. Return to a bygone era by hopping on a steam train at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway just outside Ryde. Settle back in one of the beautifully restored Victorian and Edwardian carriages and watch the island pass by your window.