Located off the south coast of England, the Isle of Wight is a small island with a big heart and plenty to see and do. Renowned for its beautiful beaches like Shanklin Beach and Ventnor Beach with its quaint, vintage beach huts, and elegant seafront promenades along which crowds stroll, the Isle of Wight is a popular tourist destination in the summer. The isle is also known as the Dinosaur Capital of Great Britain with remains and fossils of dinosaurs in areas like Compton Bay and Yaverland Beach. Other interesting features on the island to explore include three huge white chalk rocks known as The Needles, which are located on the island’s western point and guarded by a 19th-century lighthouse. Here are some more things to see and do on a visit to the Isle of Wight.
© Ian Woolcock/stock.adobe.com
The Needles is an iconic landmark attraction on the Isle of Wight that offers a range of attractions and rides for all ages. The most popular attraction is a chairlift which takes visitors from high above the beach on the Alum Cliffs all the way down to the golden sands below, offering spectacular panoramic views of the picturesque Needles Rocks and Lighthouse, as well as the multi-colored sand cliffs of Alum Bay. Other attractions include traditional Victorian games, Jurassic Adventure Golf, a vintage Carousel, open top bus rides, and boat trips around the bay. Families can also enjoy interactive 4D cinema experiences, fascinating glass-blowing demonstrations, and shopping at several retail outlets.
Alum Bay New Rd, Alum Bay, Totland Bay PO39 0JD, UK, Phone: +44-19-83-75-24-01
Alum Bay is a picturesque beach on the westernmost point of the Isle of Wight that is framed by multi-colored sand cliffs and dramatic views of the Needles rock formation. The naturally sheltered shingle beach has crystal-clear waters which are shallow and safe for children and attract fishermen in the early evening in search of dinner. The beach can be accessed on foot through the picturesque chine or via a ride the iconic chairlift from The Needles Park. Other attractions near the beach include restaurants, cafés, and retail outlets in the nearby Needles Park.
Alum Bay, Totland Bay, Isle Of Wight, PO39 0JD
3.The Pepperpot (St. Catherine's Oratory)
St. Catherine's Oratory is a medieval lighthouse on St. Catherine's Down. Overlooking the southern coast of the Isle of Wight, the lighthouse was built by Lord of Chale Walter de Godeton and is Britain's only surviving medieval lighthouse. Locally as the ‘Pepperpot’ because of its likeness, the four-story-high stone structure has octagonal exterior walls and a four-sided interior and is all that survives of the oratory built here in 1328. The Pepperpot is part of a series of linked cliff-top monuments known as the Tennyson Heritage Coast, and a lighthouse that was built later can be seen nearby.
Ventnor PO38 2JB, UK, Phone: +44-37-03-33-11-81
The Ryde Seafront is a promenade in the town of Ryde, the largest town on the Isle of Wight, the runs from the hovercraft terminal to the end of the town’s beautiful sandy beach. Resting on the northeast coast of the Isle of Wight, the seafront lies parallel to miles and miles of sandy shores which begin after the harbor, stretch past the magnificent Gothic structure of Appley Tower and end at Puckpool. The beach has several access points from the Ryde Seafront Promenade, deckchairs, sun loungers, windbreaks, and watersports equipment can be rented towards the eastern end of the beach. Other attractions near the Ryde Seafront include an amusement arcade, a bowling alley, and Peter Pan's Playground.
Esplanade, Ryde, Isle Of Wight, PO33 1JA
© Nicky Rhodes/stock.adobe.com
Wight Karting is a popular family action attraction on the Isle of Wight that offers all-weather, outdoor, adrenaline-fuelled racing driver experiences for all ages. Wight Karting features a 520-meter purpose-built track with challenging curves that are suitable for all levels of drivers from absolute beginners to advanced riders. Friendly experts provide full tuition and safety equipment before hitting the track, and there are different types of karts available that cater for all ages and levels. The facility offers Arrive-and-Drive sessions, Junior Track Days during the school holidays, and specials for groups, and friends and families can watch the adrenalin-rushing fun from the balcony of the La Babalu Licensed Bar.
Westridge Centre, Brading Rd, Ryde PO33 1QS, UK, Phone: +44-19-83-56-53-66
The Mottistone Longstone is a megalithic monument situated high up on Mottistone Down that is thought to be the remains of an ancient burial chamber known as a long barrow. Located near the village of Mottistone, the monument dates back several thousand years and is made up of two large slabs of local greensand sandstone that were once revered as sacred objects during the Neolithic period. The Mottistone Longstone is the only megalithic monument on the Island and is in the care of the National Trust. The stones and their surrounding land are open to the public to explore.
Newport PO30 4EB, UK
7.The Shanklin Theatre
© Sergey Nivens/stock.adobe.com
The Shanklin Theatre is a Victorian theatre that hosts a full program of professional and amateur productions throughout the year. Founded in 1879 as The Institute, the Shanklin Theatre has a seating capacity of 615 and a Box Office next to the main front entrance where tickets can be bought for the more than 150 shows which are presented each year. Programs and shows range from dance and music performances, comedy shows and dramatic theatre to local amateur dramatics, a Christmas Pantomime, and a children's stage school. The theatre also hosts the annual Isle of Wight Dance Festival and workshops for visiting school parties.
Prospect Rd, Shanklin PO37 6AJ, UK, Phone: +44-19-83-86-80-00
8.Isle of Wight Water Sports
The Isle of Wight Water Sports offers a wealth of watersports equipment, and activities to enjoy on the calm waters in and around the island. Visitors can explore the beautiful coastal areas and little inlets on canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards, paddle around the famous ‘Needles’ rocks and lighthouse, or have lessons with professional tutors. Other sports that can be enjoyed include bodyboarding, surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, dinghy sailing, powerboating, jet-skiing, and sailing, including the world’s largest sailing regatta, which takes place at Cowes Week during August. Underwater activities include scuba-diving courses and excursions, snorkeling, open water swimming.
Dunroamin Beach, Lake Midway between Shanklin & Sandown, Phone: 0-19-83-40-49-87
© Dusan Kostic/stock.adobe.com
The Isle of Wight has hosted an array of incredible festivals, ranging from arts, comedy, literary, music, food and family-friendly festivals since the late 1960s. The island’s main festival is the award-winning Isle of Wight Festival, which is steeped in history and world-renowned for combining iconic legendary artists with new up-and-coming artists and acts. The festival features multiple stages and attracts hundreds of thousands of free-spirited festivalgoers every year who flock to enjoy the spectacular location, great music and entertainment, and a classic festival atmosphere.
Boasting miles of golden sands, an esplanade lined with quaint seaside cafés, souvenir and beach shops, and great surfing waves, Sandown Beach is one of the island’s most spectacular beaches. The beach offers a typical bucket-and-spade seaside holiday with deckchairs, sun loungers, and windbreaks for hire, and trampolines for children, and there are several hotels with palm-filled gardens and decked areas with charming sea views. A bustling High Street runs parallel to the beachfront and features major supermarket chains, boutique stores, restaurants, and pubs, and nightclubs provide evening entertainment.
10 Pier St, Sandown PO36 8JP Pier St, Sandown PO36 8JP, UK
11.Hambrough Hotel and Pond Cafe
© Hambrough Hotel and Pond Café
Boasting breathtaking views of Ventnor’s stunning coastline from high atop a cliff, the Hambrough Hotel and Pond Café is an elegant award-winning luxury boutique hotel and restaurant on the southern tip of the Isle of Wight. The seven-room hotel offers modern and sophisticated accommodations with en-suite bathrooms, spacious living areas, and chic amenities, along with a highly acclaimed café and restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner against a backdrop of spectacular ocean views. The hotel also offers three self-catering properties for larger groups or guests wanting extra levels of privacy, and the hotel is a short drive away from the Ventnor Botanic Garden and the Appuldurcombe House.
Hambrough Rd, Ventnor PO38 1SQ, UK, Phone: +44-19-83-85-63-33
12.Garlic Farm Restaurant
© Garlic Farm Restaurant
Garlic Farm Restaurant is a specialist farm shop with a restaurant that focuses on home-grown garlic and garlic-inspired products and fare. The renowned shop and restaurant offer a unique and memorable experience where visitors can learn about the history and origins of the farm, taste a wide range of garlic-inspired products, buy garlic goodies from the farm shop, and savor exceptional gourmet food prepared from locally sourced ingredient and regional produce. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and tasting experiences are offered daily. The farm also provides overnight accommodations in the form of seven charming self-catering holiday cottages and five luxury yurts, along with a range of recreational facilities such as a football pitch tennis courts, and a games room.
Mersley Ln, Newchurch, Sandown PO36 0NR, UK, Phone: +44-19-83-86-53-78
13.Lockslane Contemporary Bistro
Based in the heart of Bembridge village, the Lockslane Contemporary Bistro is a warm and welcoming bistro in Bembridge that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a homely and relaxed atmosphere. Owned and operated by a 'two-woman band,' Lockslane offers a seasonally changing menu of creative dishes with both classic and modern twists, prepared with locally sourced ingredients from the nearby village. The cuisine is accompanied by a hand-curated selection of fine wines from around the world, craft beers, imported spirits and cocktails, and other drinks. The Lockslane Contemporary Bistro is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week.
9 Foreland Rd, Bembridge PO35 5AF, UK Phone: +44-19-83-87-52-33
© Royal Hotel
The Royal Hotel is an elegant hotel surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens and grounds close to the Ventnor Esplanade and beach on the Isle of Wight. Originally built as a coaching house in 1832, the hotel is one of the island’s top overnight destinations, and offers stylish guest rooms with airy living spaces, en-suite bathrooms with walk-in showers and bathtubs, modern amenities, and charming views of the hotel’s formal gardens. Hotel facilities include a heated outdoor swimming pool, a highly-acclaimed Michelin-star restaurant and a casual bar with a lovely terrace, and the hotel is a short walk from the Ventnor Botanic Gardens.
Belgrave Rd, Ventnor PO38 1JJ, UK, Phone: +44-19-83-85-21-86
15.Farringford Garden Restaurant
Based in the historic estate of Farringford, former home of Lord Alfred Tennyson, the Garden Restaurant is a highly-acclaimed restaurant that serves seasonal modern British menu in an elegant, relaxed setting. Helmed by award-winning executive chef, Justin Brown, the restaurant features candle-lit, white-tableclothed tables and revolving art exhibitions from local and foreign artists, a crackling fireplace for cozy winter dining, and a charming outside terrace for alfresco-style summer dining. A traditional wood-fired oven produces the perfect pizza and other Italian-style baked dishes, and all dishes on the menu are prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients from the restaurant’s kitchen garden. A fully licensed bar serves global wines, craft beers, handcrafted cocktails, and other libations, and traditional Sunday lunch with all the trimmings can be enjoyed on the weekends.
Farringford Bedbury Lane Freshwater Bay Isle Of Wight PO40 9PE, Phone: 0-19-83-75-25-00
16.The Red Duster
The Red Duster is a renowned restaurant in Cowes on the Isle of Wight that serves an exciting menu of seasonal and traditional cuisine in a warm and welcoming ambiance. The cozy restaurant features laminate flooring, atmospheric lighting, and beach-themed photographs, and serves a seasonally changing menu of classic dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients. Signature plates include fresh sea bass on red pesto linguine, honey-glazed duck on crushed sweet roots, thyme-roasted chicken on blue cheese and bacon dauphinoise, and rare-cooked fillet of beef with Yorkshire flats, bubble and squeak and crunchy bacon. Dishes are paired with globally-inspired wines from around the world, local and imported craft beers, handcrafted cocktails, and other liquors and spirits. The Red Duster is open for lunch, Thursday through Sunday and dinner, Monday through Sunday.
37 High St, Cowes PO31 7RS, UK, Phone: +44-19-83-29-03-11
17.Priory Bay Hotel
Set on a beautiful 60-acre estate overlooking the sandy shores of the Isle of Wight, the Priory Bay Hotel is an elegant, upmarket hotel based in a country house dating back to the 14th century that offers luxurious accommodations and award-winning cuisine. Located a short drive from the HMS Victory and Spinnaker Tower observation deck, the stylish hotel features well-appointed guest rooms with romantic four-poster beds, en-suite bathrooms, and 15th-century wood paneling detailing. The hotel also offers self-catering cottages with kitchenettes and glamorous yurts with en-suite bathrooms. A laid-back brasserie serves fresh seafood, and a refined restaurant and cozy lounge is the perfect place for a quiet dinner for two. Hotel facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, a six-hole golf course, and a private beach.
Priory Dr, Seaview PO34 5BU, UK, Phone: +44-33-33-70-05-55
18.The Little Gloster
© The Little Gloster
The Little Gloster is a family-run restaurant in Gurnard, just west of Cowes, that offers seasonally changing menus of highly acclaimed cuisine, and charming overnight accommodations with beautiful ocean views of the Solent. The family-owned and operated restaurant specializes in fresh seafood which is sourced from local fishermen daily and served in an elegant, inviting space against a backdrop of panoramic sea vistas. Signature dishes include Thai red seafood curry with king prawns, South Coast hake, smoked haddock and saffron velouté, and fresh Porthilly oysters, accompanied by a selection of global wines and local craft beers. The Little Gloster caters for private parties and groups of up to 22 people in a cozy room next to the restaurant’s open kitchen and is open for lunch on Friday through Sunday, and dinner Wednesday through Sunday.
31 Marsh Road, Gurnard, Isle of Wight, PO31 8JQ, Phone: +44-19-83-29-87-76
© Thompsons Restaurant
Thompsons Restaurant is a contemporary ‘open kitchen’ restaurant in Newport that is helmed by award-winning Chef Robert Thompson. The restaurant serves three menus – a seasonal set menu, an a la carte menu and a special tasting menu, all of which feature chef-inspired cuisine accompanied by fine wines from around the world. Signature dishes include croquettes of braised ox tongue with pickled heritage carrots, risotto of beetroot and granny smith apple with salt baked beets, grilled fillet of sea bream with nage of local tomatoes, nasturtium, and almond pesto, and roasted breast of corn-fed chicken with roasted chicken vinaigrette. Thompsons Restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Saturday.
11 Town Ln, Newport PO30 1JU, UK, Phone: +44-19-83-52-61-18
© The Crab
The Crab is a quaint, thatched pub in the heart of the old village of Shanklin that serves a delicious menu of locally sourced cuisine and craft ales in a warm and welcoming setting. The family dining pub seats 85 guests in a warm and welcoming atmosphere and serves a seasonal menu of classic pub fare such as cod and chips, slow-cooked lamb shoulder, sea bass, and scallop risotto, mac ‘n cheese, lasagne, and hearty Ploughman’s platters. The pub serves an extensive menu of libations ranging from craft beers by the bottle and on tap, global wines by the glass and bottle, and handcrafted cocktails, and a weekly quiz and live music are hosted throughout the week. The Crab is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
94 High St, Shanklin PO37 6NS, UK, Phone: +44-19-83-86-23-63
© Fisherman’s Cottage
Fisherman’s Cottage is an iconic dining destination on the Isle of Wight and one of the longest standing pubs on the island. Located at the far end of Shanklin Esplanade with beautiful ocean views, Fisherman’s Cottage is Shanklin’s original dining pub on the beach and is renowned for its hearty home-cooked lunches and dinners. Diners can enjoy a variety of traditional pub classics such as homemade chili, fisherman’s pie, burgers and fries, and breaded scampi, along with delicious seafood dishes, including the famous fish and chips, which are hailed as being the best on the island. The dog- and the child-friendly pub is open on a seasonal basis, from April through October, and serves lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Sunday.
The Esplanade (furthest end), Shanklin, Isle of Wight PO37 6BN, United Kingdom, Phone: +44-19-83-86-38-82
22.King Harry’s Bar
© Stuart Monk/stock.adobe.com
King Harry's Bar is a charming 19th-century thatched pub that was built in 1954 and features a cozy, Tudor-themed restaurant with two fully licensed bars that serves a wide range of ales, locally brewed fruit wines, whiskeys and single malts on a weekly rotation. The warm and welcoming pub features a low-slung ceiling, dark wood finishes, lavish carpeting, and walls lined with historical memorabilia, flags, coats of arms. The casual menu offers classic pub fare such as breaded scampi, sirloin steak, jacket potatoes, and salmon fillets, all of which are accompanied by a large selection of libations ranging from easy-drinking wines by the glass or bottle, craft ales and beers, and handcrafted cocktails prepared with imported spirits and liqueurs. King Harry's Bar is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
6 Church Rd, Shanklin Old Village, Shanklin PO37 6NU, UK, Phone: +44-19-83-86-31-19
© The George
Set on the water's edge between Yarmouth Castle's 16th-century fortress and the pier, The George is an elegant hotel based in a charming 17th-century townhouse with picturesque harbor views. The lovely hotel offers individually decorated guest rooms and suites with romantic four-poster beds, en-suite bathrooms with showers and tubs, modern in-room conveniences, and private balconies with sea views. A high-end restaurant serves traditional British cuisine in a refined atmosphere, while a more casual and contemporary brasserie with a lovely conservatory and terrace with views of the Solent serves seasonal European cuisine. The hotel is ideally placed for exploring the island, with local activities such as kayaking, paragliding and sailing to enjoy, as well as several English Heritage sites to visit in the surrounding area.
Quay St, Yarmouth PO41 0PE, UK, Phone: +44-19-83-76-03-31
24.The Dairyman’s Daughter
© The Dairyman’s Daughter
Nestled in the heart of Arreton Barns, the Dairyman’s Daughter is a traditional pub that serves a wide range of ales on tap and by the bottle, a delicious menu of classic home-cooked food, and hosts great local live music. Named after a local girl called Elizabeth Wallbridge who was famous for her contemporary book Annals of the Poor, the Dairyman’s Daughter is beautifully decorated in original memorabilia and features a lovely outdoor courtyard and sheltered seating area for alfresco dining in the summer. The extensive menu of home-cooked dishes boasts a variety of dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients and regional produce, and the pub hosts live music from island artists and bands throughout the week, along with folk and jazz evenings, and weekly quizzes. The Dairyman’s Daughter is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week.
Arreton Barns, Main Rd, Newport PO30 3AA, United Kingdom, Phone: +44-19-83-53-93-61
24 Best Things to Do on The Isle of Wight
- The Needles, Photo: Ian Woolcock/stock.adobe.com
- Alum Bay, Photo: philipbird123/stock.adobe.com
- The Pepperpot (St. Catherine's Oratory), Photo: lemanieh/stock.adobe.com
- Ryde Seafront, Photo: acceleratorhams/stock.adobe.com
- Wight Karting, Photo: Nicky Rhodes/stock.adobe.com
- Mottistone Longstone, Photo: laurencebaker/stock.adobe.com
- The Shanklin Theatre, Photo: Sergey Nivens/stock.adobe.com
- Isle of Wight Water Sports, Photo: artifirsov/stock.adobe.com
- Music Festivals, Photo: Dusan Kostic/stock.adobe.com
- Sandown Beach, Photo: acceleratorhams/stock.adobe.com
- Hambrough Hotel and Pond Cafe, Photo: Hambrough Hotel and Pond Café
- Garlic Farm Restaurant, Photo: Garlic Farm Restaurant
- Lockslane Contemporary Bistro, Photo: Leonid/stock.adobe.com
- Royal Hotel, Photo: Royal Hotel
- Farringford Garden Restaurant, Photo: puhhha/stock.adobe.com
- The Red Duster, Photo: gkrphoto/stock.adobe.com
- Priory Bay Hotel, Photo: pooretat/stock.adobe.com
- The Little Gloster, Photo: The Little Gloster
- Thompsons Restaurant, Photo: Thompsons Restaurant
- The Crab, Photo: The Crab
- Fisherman’s Cottage, Photo: Fisherman’s Cottage
- King Harry’s Bar, Photo: Stuart Monk/stock.adobe.com
- The George, Photo: The George
- The Dairyman’s Daughter, Photo: The Dairyman’s Daughter
- Cover Photo: b27photo/stock.adobe.com