The Isle of Wight is a small island off the coast of Southern England. Packed with natural beauty, ancient history and unique attractions, it is an absolute must-see on your next trip to England. Perfect for a seaside getaway! Here are some of the best places to see on the Isle of Wight (also abbreviated as the IoW).
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How to Get to the Isle of Wight
There is an airport on the Isle of Wight but you can’t fly commercially to the island. This means your only way to reach it is via ferry.
You can enter the ferry on foot or with your car. There are public buses operating on the island with the main coach station being in Newport.
The easiest way to get the main IoW things to do done during your trip, is by joining a preplanned, guided tour. This way, you can lean back on a bus, hear interesting background information and have people help with your selfies. (Great if you’re travelling solo.)
It’s possible to do a day trip from London if you really are pressed for time. (Book it here.) However, the island has so much charm and it’s much less hassle if you are doing a three day trip. I did and loved it! On your tour you will stop at Osbourne House, the Needles, Quarr Abbey and do a tasting session at Bombay distillery. View the itinerary here.
What is a trip to England without a castle (or two or three?) Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight is a classic motte and bailey castle in the village of Carisbrooke.
Over the years, this castle has served as an Elizabethan fortress, a prison for King Charles I while he awaited trial and a royal summer home. At the castle, you can hang out with donkeys, visit the museum and wander around the gorgeous Edwardian gardens. In short, a visit to this castle makes for a well rounded stop on your day out on the Isle of Wight.
The beautiful Osborne House was Queen Victoria’s stunning holiday home. It was one of my favourite Isle of Wight experiences.
Here, you can get an intimate look at royal life by wandering around Victoria and Albert’s private quarters before exploring the children’s cottage (which Albert had recreated in a typical German style).
Then, stroll through the well kept garden terraces, take a selfie with the garden statues and relax on the private beach. Adult tickets cost 15 GBP, and children younger than 15 get in for 9 GBP. You can prepurchase them here to skip the queue.
The Needles Landmark Attraction
When you’ve had your fill of castles and decadent English houses, take a break to check out one of the most natural Isle of Wight attractions, the Needles Landmark Attraction. You’re on an island, so you gotta see the stunning coastline in all its glory.
The Needles are a row of three stacks of rock that rise 30m out of the sea off the west coast of the Isle of Wight. It’s a little bit like the 12 Apostles of Australia’s Great Ocean Road, only it’s with a lighthouse. Pretty cool!
At this beautiful sight, there’s something for everyone. Enjoy the view from the exciting chairlift ride down to the beach. Next, head to the 4D cinema to try out a movie going experience that’s a little different.
You can also learn about the fascinating art of glass blowing at Alum Bay Glass, and then top off the day with a visit to IW Sweet to learn about the art of making dessert and to satisfy that sweet tooth.
Blackgang Chine is the oldest amusement park in the United Kingdom and is one of the biggest Isle of Wight points of interest. The park opened in the 1840s and has been a beloved part of the country ever since.
Here you’ll find roller coasters, water slides, dinosaurs, cowboys, fairies, and so much more. Tickets start at 26 GBP, but there are discounts for frequent visitors.
Explore Dinosaur History
If you love dinosaurs, you are in for a big treat with these Isle of Wight activities. The Isle of Wight is considered to be the richest area for dinosaur history in all of Europe.
If you’ve always dreamed of discovering your own species of dinosaur, try your luck on a fossil tour. Compton Bay and Yaverland are both hot spots for finding new fossils. Join a guided fossil walk with one of the island’s many dinosaur experts.
For more places to see on the Isle of Wight to get your dinosaur fix, check out Dinosaur Isle. This is where you’ll learn everything you could ever want to know about these fascinating ancient creatures. Jurassic Jim is also not to be missed on your dino tour of the island as you’ll be able to see a wide range of fossils, minerals, and gems found in the region.
Shanklin Chine is one of the most beautiful places to go on the Isle of Wight. Located in the town of Shanklin, you’ll find waterfalls, luscious vegetation, towering trees and walkways to take you through it all. It’s perfectly gorgeous and you can really take a breather in these tranquil area.
There’s also have a heritage center to explain the area’s history and how it changed over time. After a long day of wandering, take a break for some traditional English tea at the tea garden. Entrance for adults is about 5 GBP.
Monkey Haven is a home for rescued animals, including but not limited to monkeys. Besides many different types of monkeys, they also have owls, meerkats, tortoises, boa constrictors, and more.
Here, you can learn about all these different animals, the problems they face in the world today, all while supporting a good cause. All of the money you spend here goes back to taking care of these beautiful animals.
Godshill Model Village
The best way to see the island from a birds eye view, is by going to the Godshill Model Village. Among intricately landscaped gardens, you find the most popular places to visit on the Isle of Wight in miniature form.
The name derives from the Godshill Old Vicarage, on which the model village was built. It’s a great starting place to figure out where else to go for even more IoW attractions. Entrance to the village is £4.95 for adults and £3.95 for children.
One prime spot on the IoW is Blackgang Chine. It’s the oldest amusement park in the UK, dating back to the 1840s. Before that, it used to be a coastal ravine.
The park is full of smaler themed lands, including Pirate Cove, dinosaurs, an Underwater Kingdom, a Fairy Village and a Cowboy Town.
To really speed things up and pump adrenaline into your system, put on a helmet and get into your kart. It’s fun for all (well most) ages.
Adults race along the 520m track in Ryde with up to 48mph. You can walk in or prebook a ticket. The local bus stop is outside, so it’s easy to reach. Entry prices start at £12.
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