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Might you like a stay on Wight? In a swish and fully-furnished retro bell tent where everything’s supplied including the kitchen sink? OK, it’s a washing-up bowl rather than the kitchen sink, but the point still stands…the bell tents at Wight Bells near Shanklin and Sandown are for travelling light, with everything there for you when you arrive from duvets and pillows to crockery and cutlery (you can hire bed linen too if you don’t want to bring your own).
As they’re made of canvas, these Isle of Wight tents are cool by day and warm by night, and they’re strong enough not to leak whatever the weather (always handy for British hols, we find…). Each bell tent comes with a double bed, double futon and storage space, and has similar floor space to a tipi or yurt so will suit families as well as couples. Pack your fairy lights too: the tents are hooked up with electricity for cuppa-making and gadget charging, and each is on its own deck with seating outside. Communal showers, loos and washing-up facilities are a short walk away.
Wight Bells is on a quiet corner of The Old Barn Touring Park campsite, named after the seventeenth century barn at the entrance which is now a games and TV room – kids should also have a quacking time flapping around the duck pond or swinging about the play area. For food, there’s a garden centre with café just at the entrance of the park and a supermarket just down the road.
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Many sites set a maximum occupancy of 6/8 people per pitch, so try breaking your booking down into smaller groups to generate more results. For example, if you’re a group of 10, enter 5 people in your initial search and then book 2 pitches.
However, where the pitch or accommodation occupancy allows it, you can now make a booking for up to 30 adults and 30 children on one pitch.
To book multiple pitches or accommodation, use the 'Special requests' box on the booking page to ask to be sited together. Complete the booking form for the first booking (you can add a password and save your card so that we remember your details). Then click "Make another booking like this" at the top of the confirmation page to make the next booking.
Large groups: check the listing page for any group restrictions set out in the terms and section titled ‘Please note’.
Large tents/caravans: check the restrictions on unit dimensions to ensure your unit is suitable for the space you will be provided with.
Leisure on site
Bar or club house
Indoor swimming pool
Outdoor swimming pool
Amenities on site
Ice pack freezing
Parent & baby washroom
Pick-up from public transport
Tents for hire
Gas cylinders available
Commercial vehicles allowed
Leave the car at home
Cycle hire nearby
Horse riding nearby
Indoor pool nearby
Leisure/theme park nearby
Mountain biking nearby
Outdoor pool nearby
Surf school nearby
Single-sex groups welcome
Student groups welcome
Nearby farmers' market
Public transport nearby
Small (11-25 pitches)
- Coach stations
Southsea: Clarence Pier Coach Stop — 10.4 miles
10.4 miles Portsmouth: The Hard Interchange — 11.1 miles
11.1 miles Portsmouth: Southsea Coach Stop — 11.1 miles
- Train stations
Shanklin Rail Station — 1.0 miles
1.0 miles Lake (Isle of Wight) Rail Station — 1.0 miles
1.0 miles Sandown Rail Station — 1.4 miles
- Ferry ports
Fishbourne IOW Ferry Terminal — 6.0 miles
6.0 miles Ryde Hoverport — 6.1 miles
6.1 miles Ryde Pier Head Ferry Terminal — 6.5 miles
Southampton Airport — 22.3 miles
22.3 miles Bournemouth International Airport — 29.6 miles
There are frequent ferry services from Portsmouth, Southampton and Lymington.
By car from Ryde Pier - head south toward Esplanade/A3055, turn left onto Esplanade. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Marlborough Road. At the next roundabout, take the 1st exit onto High Road. Keep going until the next roundabout and take the 2nd exit onto Broadway. Turn right onto Newport Road. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on Newport Road and you will find Wight Bells on the left.
If you don't want to bring the car there are frequent train services from London to Portsmouth and Southampton. On the island, local trains run to Lake (just over a mile away) and buses run by the entrance to the campsite.
Wight Bells is on the south-east side of the Isle of Wight and about five minutes’ drive from the beaches of Shanklin and Sandown, both with clear clean water and surrounded by shops, pubs and cafés. Stop off at Shanklin for its Old Village (and cream teas) and the waterfalls of Shanklin Chine; Sandown has a more family feel with fairground rides, a Victorian pier, amusements and pleasure flights from the nearby airport. The Isle of Wight Zoo is also at Sandown to say hi to Casper the lion and the rest of the menagerie, and the exotic inhabitants of Amazon World Zoo Park can be found near Arreton between Sandown and Newport.
Half the Isle of Wight is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and there are award-winning paths, more golden sandy beaches and clifftop walks to make your way around, including 70 miles of coastline and over 500 miles of footpaths; the owners at Wight Bells can give you info on local walks and bike rides. There’s heaps of history to see on the island too: Queen Victoria’s old holiday home Osborne House; Carisbrooke Castle to learn how to fire cannons, and Roman villas at Brading and Newport – just to start you off...
The kids might be more up for a day’s or week’s worth of shrieks at Blackgang Chine with its cliff-edge rollercoaster, rides and themed worlds, or another day/week at Britain’s first ever purpose-built dinosaur museum, Dinosaur Isle – if you have mini fossil hunters in the family there are guided fossil hunt tours from Brighstone.
The Isle of Wight Steam Railway near Ryde puffs from Havenstreet Station, where there are also woodland walks, a play area and a falconry centre where birders of all sizes can learn to hold their own falcon. There’s more falconry – and theme park tomfoolery – at Robin Hill Adventure Park and Gardens near Newport, and the Isle of Wight Falconry Centre is at Appuldurcombe House in Wroxhall.
More? Try trips around the fifteen Isle of Wight towns, taking to the waves for watersports, turning up to one of the many island festivals or munching your way around the island at award-winning restaurants, beachside cafés and the farmers’ markets at Ryde and Newport.
- Dinosaur Isle (2.2 miles)
- Isle of Wight Steam Railway (4.2 miles)
- Ventnor Botanic Gardens (5.9 miles)
- Bembridge Windmill (4.9 miles)
- Brighstone Shop and Museum (9.0 miles)
Find local routes on the National Cycle Network - over 12,000 miles of cycling routes.