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Isle of Wight Staycation: Our Ultimate Guide To Family Holidays in Isle of Wight

By Eloise Nelson
Posted 26 May 2021
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The Isle of Wright has been a top holiday destination in the UK for a long time, and you can definitely tell why! From visiting the UK’s oldest theme park to seeing the iconic landmark the Needle, there’s plenty of things for families to do in the Isle of Wight. 
We’ve put together our ultimate staycation guide, from the best areas to stay to ferry times for the Isle of Wight, plus the best days out once you get there too! 


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How to get there | Best places to stay | Days out | Top tips 

The Needles in Isle of Wight

How to get there

The Isle of Wight is the UK’s largest island, and you can easily reach the island by ferry!
Going to the island by boat is really simple and easy, and depending on which ferry you’re on, it can be as quick as ten minutes! The longest time can go up to an hour, so bring some onboard entertainment.
There can be up to 200 ferry crossings a day leaving from Portsmouth, Southampton and Lymington, and can arrive at 5 different ports on The Isle of Wight at Ryde, Cowes, Yarmouth, East Cowes, and Fishbourne.

Best areas to stay

The Isle of Wight is great for families, and there’s plenty of great areas to stay too. 

  1. Newport
    Newport is a very popular town in the Isle of Wight, so you’ll have everything you need on your doorstep on a family holiday here, plus it’s the perfect spot for traveling to the other areas of the island too. 

  2. Sandown 
    Sandown is the perfect spot for a family getaway, because you’ll be close to a lovely sandy beach, and you’re near some of the best days out in the Isle of Wight too so you won’t have to travel far. 

  3. Shanklin 
    If you’re looking to explore new places on your holiday, Shanklin is the one for you! There are all sorts of hidden natural gems you can discover, and there’s plenty of great walks to set off on too. 

  4. Freshwater 
    If you’re looking for a coastal escape, then Freshwater is definitely the place for you! You could stay right near the beach so you can paddle all day long, plus you’re close to The Needles too for some incredible views.

  5. Ventnor
    Looking to holiday like The Victorians did? Ventnor is often known for having its very own climate, and can often feel unusually warm compared to the rest of the island. You’ll feel like you’re in a tropical paradise!

Days Out in the Isle of Wight 

The Isle of Wight is packed full of plenty of epic days out, and we’ve rounded up 15 of the best days out in Isle of Wight for families to enjoy, from the oldest theme park in the UK to meeting adorable little monkeys, and you can even spend an afternoon climbing a tree too!

  1. Tapnell Farm, Yarmouth
    Looking for a place that really has it all? Tapnell Farm in Yarmouth is packed full of plenty of great adventures, from go-karts and an Aqua Park to archery and axe throwing, and the best thing is you can even stay there too for the ultimate Isle of Wight staycation. 

  2. Blackgang Chine, Chale 
    Blackgang Chine is the oldest theme park in the UK, and it still makes for a great day out! Explore the 6 Lands of Imagination, from Pirate Cove and Cowboy Town to the Underwater Kingdom and Restricted Area 5 (pst, it’s got dinosaurs!), plus don’t miss the thrilling rides and sides too! 

  3. Monkey Haven, Newport

    A baby monkey at Monkey Haven in Isle of Wight

    Ready to release your inner monkey? Head down to Monkey Haven, a great sanctuary full of, well, monkeys! From adorable squirrel monkeys and marmosets to impressive lar gibbons and cherry-crowned mangabeys, there’s plenty of primates you can meet. 

  4. Needles Park Sands Cliff, Alum Bay
    One of the Isle of Wight's most iconic landmarks, you’ll get to have a great view of The Needles from the coastline. Once you’ve taken in the incredible views, watch some gourmet sweets being made at the Sweet Manufactory, take a ride on the cable chairs, and loads more! 

  5. Dinosaur Isle, Sandown 
    Got mini dino fans? Step back in time at Dinosaur Isle, where you’ll get the chance to see over 1000 of the best fossils, animatronic displays, plus there’s even a working laboratory you can peep into! You’ll feel like you’re really walking with the dinosaurs too, thanks to all sorts of special lights and sounds too. 

  6. Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary, Wroxall
    If you’re looking for great animal days out, then look no further than the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary! Meet the gentle rescued animals as they graze in the fields of their new home, plus you could even adopt a donkey to remember your trip! 

  7. Butterfly and Fountain World, Wootton Bridge 
    Step into the jungle at Butterfly and Fountain World, where you’ll become surrounded by hundreds of free-flying butterflies! See the beautiful insects as they flutter around in the air, and you’ll even be able to see some sweet little caterpillars too, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for any cocoons! 

  8. Isle of Wight Zoo, Sandown
    Ready to meet some animals from around the world? Isle of Wight Zoo is home to lots of endangered animals, from ferocious lions and stripey tigers to cheeky monkeys and meerkats, plus you can even see all your farmyard favourites, including goats and pigs too!

  9. Shanklin Beach, Newport
    If you’re looking for a day out by the sea, then Shanklin Beach is definitely the spot for you! With golden sands and bright blue water, it's the perfect spot to go for a paddle or to make some impressive sandcastles.

  10. Robin Hill Country Park, Newport
    Robin Hill Country Park has 88 acres of natural parkland for you to explore, with stunning woodlands, rolling countryside, and an incredible curated water garden. Explore the treetop canopy walkways and discover the epic adventure nets, plus you can even go on a toboggan ride! 

  11. Shanklin Treasure Trail, Shanklin
    If you’re looking for a great way to explore the area, why not try out the Shanklin Treasure Trail? Put your thinking hats on and head off on an epic adventure to find the hidden treasure at the end, all you have to do is find the clues!

  12. Ventnor Botanic Gardens, Ventnor 
    Explore over 23 acres of beautiful space at Ventnor Botanic Gardens, with plenty of open spaces, subtropical plants and trees, and plenty of trails to head off on and explore. Check out the Lizard Safari too and see how many of the little reptiles you can spot along the way! 

  13. Goodleaf Tree Climbing, Ryde 

    Goodleaf Tree Climbing in the Isle of Wight

    Up for an adventure? Head up high and go tree climbing at Goodleaf Tree Climbing, a unique and fun family day out for everyone You’ll get harnessed up, all before clambering up into the canopy and taking in a spectacular birds-eye view, it’s the perfect day out if you’re looking for a mini thrill! 

  14. Isle of Wight Steam Railway, Ryde 
    What better way to discover the Isle of Wight than by steam train? Covering over 5 miles of the island, jump on board the Isle of Wight Steam Railway and take in the beautiful views, plus you can hop off and explore the villages along the way, and there’s even a great outdoor adventure play area to let loose in.

  15. Carisbrooke Castle, Newport 
    Feel like royalty at Carisbrooke Castle, a magnificent castle packed full of interesting history, and donkeys! See the infamous place where King Charles I was imprisoned, and say hello to the resident donkeys and learn all about how they played a very important part in the history of the castle. 

Top Tips 

The coastline at Isle of Wight

Come prepared for all weathers too, because lots of people talk about the Isle of Wight having its own microclimate, so come armed with sunscreen, sunhats, and waterproof coats too.
Don’t forget to check the ferry times in advance too to make sure you’re not ending up stranded!

Found this staycation guide helpful? Don’t forget to check out some of our others in this series, and if you’ve got a UK holiday planned this year, let us know where you’re going and we might even cover it!

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