Top 9 Things To Do In The Isle Of Wight For All The Family



Fancy a family holiday to the Isle of Wight? There’s something about the slower pace of life on this island that forces you to relax. But for those who prefer to be active, there’s still plenty going on find fossils at Alum Bay, meet the animals at Monkey Haven and take a rollercoaster ride at Robin Hill. With lots of kid-friendly activities and free things to do, a summer stay here doesn’t need to break the bank either. 

Here are the top things to do on the Isle of Wight for all the family.

One of the many stunning sea views on the Isle of Wight

Walk the Isle of Wight Coastal Path

When it comes to scenic strolls, not many places beat the coastal path around the Isle of Wight. The entire route can be split into six sections, and stunning views are all around whichever part you choose to walk. 

The route from Ryde to East Cowes is eight miles long and is particularly interesting. You’ll get to see some of the island’s strongest links to Queen Victoria, such as Osborne House – one of the most popular attractions locally – here. Amble along the 16-mile section from Cowes to Yarmouth and take some time to explore the placid backwaters of Newtown Nature Reserve enroute. 

The Isle of Wight coastal path is a marvellous way to familiarise yourself with the island while filling your lungs with fresh air. It also won’t cost you a penny, unless of course you’re tempted to stop at one of the cafés along the way…

Book your stay at one of our campsites or holiday parks on the Isle of Wight.

Visit Isle of Wight beaches

From the sandy stretches of Yaverland Beach to the pebble-covered Colwell Bay, the Isle of Wight has a pretty coastline. Take a look at the best beaches in the Isle of Wight to find out more.

West Wight beaches like Compton Bay, where the swell ranges from two to five feet, are particularly popular with surfers, windsurfers and kitesurfers. There are no regular lifeguards here, so head to the adjacent sands and calmer waters of Brook Bay if you’re a beginner.

Stargazing is a spectacular – and free – way to spend a night on one of the island’s beaches. The Isle of Wight has some of the darkest skies in the UK, so it’s worth staring up at the stunning sky during cloudless evenings. 

If you’re holidaying with your four-legged friend, take a look at which beaches on the Isle of Wight are dog-friendly so they can make the most of the sand and sea too.

Osborne house, the former private home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (Robert Anderson on Unsplash)

Tour Osborne House

Osborne House is the palatial former home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The seaside retreat, now owned and managed by English Heritage, was a place of solace and refuge for the royal couple for many years.

You can see this 19th-century holiday home’s Victorian towers as you approach the island by ferry, but to really appreciate it you’ll need to step inside. Soak up the history of the lavish ground-floor staterooms, the Indian-inspired Dubar Wing and the once very private family areas.

Afterwards, take a moment to stroll around the expansive grounds, admiring the ornate terraces and Victorian walled garden. Next, head to Swiss Cottage, a wooden chalet that’s particularly exciting for children to explore – it was built by Albert for his own young princes and princesses.

Take the kids to theme parks

Out of all the fantastic Isle of Wight attractions available, visiting one of the many theme parks is a particularly exhilarating way to spend a day. 

For starters there’s Tapnell Farm Park, an award-winning amusement park with a petting zoo. It’s a celebrated all-weather attraction with activities for every age, including miniature golf and go-karting.

Alternatively, step into the magical world of Blackgang Chine, the UK’s oldest theme park. Kids can let their imaginations go wild in this adventure-filled playground as they become a pirate-fighting captain, the top sheriff in town or the princess of their own castle.

Then there’s Robin Hill, an 88-acre theme park just outside Newport. With four main rides, including a quarter-mile downhill toboggan, this exciting spot is one of the most popular attractions on the Isle of Wight. It’s home to many of the island’s red squirrels too, so keep an eye out for those fluffy tails.

Explore The Garlic Farm

Deep in the Arreton Valley is The Garlic Farm, the UK’s largest specialist garlic grower. The island’s well-balanced, chalky soil and high light intensity help this pungent plant to thrive. There’s also a festival here each year dedicated to the locally produced favourite, with up to 25,000 people revelling in live music and all things garlic.

While you’re here, you can learn all about the history of the farm and how to grow the best bulbs imaginable. Before you leave, visit the farm shop to check out their garlic-infused treats… including beer and ice cream.

Ride the Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Regardless of whether you’re a train enthusiast or not, a trip on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway is an absolute treat (plus, kids under the age of 4 can travel for free).

After climbing on board at Wootton’s station, the steam train chugs its way to Havenstreet, where there’s a museum and Train Story Discovery Centre. The ticket price includes entry to these places, and if you time your visit right, you can catch one of the daily free flying displays led by Haven Falconry.

Venture to Ventnor Botanic Garden

Founded by Sir Harold Hillier in 1970, the Ventnor Botanic Garden has an unrivalled collection of more than 30,000 rare and subtropical plants and trees. The garden’s microclimate is, on average, around 5 degrees warmer than the rest of the UK.

During a saunter through the Tropical House you’ll see some of the world’s largest specimens of Amazonian giant water lilies. The leaves can get as big as eight feet across and their flowers can grow up to 12 inches wide.

The wildlife here is exotic too, with the occasional wall lizard seen scampering around and Iberian ants soaking up the sun. Missed the red squirrels at Robin Hill?  You’ll have another chance to spot them while exploring the 22 acres of land at this family-friendly attraction.

Take the family for a ride on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway (Ashley Richards on Unsplash)

Swing by Monkey Haven

Meet singing gibbons and cheeky lemurs galore at the Isle of Wight’s award-winning primate rescue centre. All proceeds from your visit will go towards caring for the happy animals you’ll meet throughout the day.

The two play areas and stamper trail will keep the kids entertained, plus they’ll each receive a free monkey puzzle booklet on arrival. It’s also worth going to one of the keeper talks or animal feeds to find out a bit more about the creatures.

The team at this popular sanctuary also rescue and rehabilitate injured owls that otherwise wouldn’t survive in the wild. If you keep your eyes peeled, you may catch sight of a meerkat or two as well. But don’t worry if you miss anything, as tickets are valid for a free return within one week.

The Needles and Lighthouse near Alum Bay (Shaun Wadham on Unsplash)

Gaze in awe at Alum Bay and The Needles

Alum Bay, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is at the most westerly part of the Isle of Wight. It’s surrounded by multicoloured sand cliffs and the chalk stacks of The Needles, an iconic landmark with a scenic chairlift ride to the beach.

Head south along the bay to hunt for fossils, most often found where the clay slumps onto the shore, or go for a refreshing swim in the clear waters. 

If you’re ready to visit this enchanting island, take a look at the best places to stay in the Isle of Wight.