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13 Things to do in the Isle of Wight

Date: 9th August 2018
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Author: Sarah Twist
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Publisher: Darwin Escapes
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Park: Woodside Coastal Retreat
Local Area


There are endless adventures to be had in the Isle of Wight, so we thought we’d give you the top 13 things not to miss out on…

Our own Woodside Coastal Retreat is ideally placed to explore the island, with luxurious accommodation to enjoy, breathtaking views of The Solent and unlimited access to 5 star facilities from our sister park, Woodside Bay Lodge Retreat. There is so much to explore on the island it can be hard to know where to start, so we created this list for that exact reason!

Happy Exploring!


Osborne House

PO32 6JX / 15 min drive / Adult £17.30 Child £10.30 / 10am – 6pm
Although it had a life beforehand, the Osborne House is most famous for being Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s summer home. The Royal couple bought the property in 1825 and it was a private home away from the court, being used for over 50 years. The rooms are still filled with the original furniture and works of art, with the planting in the gardens following Albert’s original designs, all of which you can see during a tour of the house and gardens on your trip.


Carisbrook Castle

PO30 1XY / 22 min drive / Adult £10 Child £10.30 / 10am – 6pm
For over 1000 years Carisbrooke Castle has been a central place for defence and power on the island and has had many lives over the centuries, including being a Saxon fortress and a castle of the Norman conquest. It was eventually remodelled during the Middle Ages under instruction from Elizabeth I, and during the British Civil War the castle famously held Charles I prisoner shortly before his execution.


The Needles Landmark & Attraction

PO39 0JD / 45 min drive / Parking £5. Extra costs involved / 10am – 5pm
The Needles rocks are the most photographed group of rocks in the world, they are a row of 3 distinctive chalk rocks, with a lighthouse to help guide approaching ships. The name is believed to have come from a needle-shaped rock, which was around 120ft high and unfortunately collapsed into the sea in 1764. A chalk ridge continues all the way towards Dorset’s Isle of Purbeck and it’s commonly believed the ride was once connected to the Old Harry Rocks. They really are a truly unforgettable sight.


Robin Hill Country Park

PO30 2NU / 12 min drive / Adult & Child £19 / 10am – 6pm
Explore 88 acres of beautiful countryside, which has endless adventures for the whole family to enjoy. There are a whole host of rides to get stuck into, including the traditional toboggan run, a colossus swinging galleon, a fun 4D motion cinema for all the family, as well as the canopy skywalk and giant maze to get lost in. Robin Hill also have fantastic Falconry experiences along with intimate and exciting owl display shows every day. Discover the perfectly landscaped gardens with its untold secrets and make sure to watch out for the wonderful wildlife that call it home. Robin Hill boasts a full events calendar all year round, from summer family days to fabulous music festivals, which includes international bands headlining.


Isle of Wight Steam Railway

PO33 4DS / 15 min drive / Standard: Adult £11.50 Child £3.75 / timetable available on website
Your trip on the island’s Steam Railway takes you through 5 miles of beautiful and unspoiled countryside, inside the quaint wooden-bodied carriages, which were once a regular sight during the 1950’s. These perky little tank engines have been brought back to life, as back in the day the island operated on old locomotives sent over from the mainland. Because of this, the Isle of Wight has a magnificent collection of 19th and 20th Century steam locomotives, which have been skilfully restored so a number of them can be in service today!


The Needles Battery

PO39 0JH / 50 min drive / Adult £7.50 Child £3.75 / 10.30am – 5pm
Although the Battery is on the other side of the island to Woodside Coastal Retreat, it’s definitely worth the trip. You’ll get the chance to see one of the most unusual buildings in the Isle of Wight, being almost perched on top of the exposed and windswept headland. The Battery enjoys views overlooking the picturesque Needles rocks and remains a reminder of our concern over a French invasion from Napoleon III. It was constructed in the early 1860’s to protect the naval dockyards in Portsmouth, however, it did play a key role during both World Wars, which you can learn more about in the exhibition.


Shanklin Chine

PO37 6BW / 30 min drive / Adult £5.06 Child £3 / 10am – 10pm (times vary depending on season. Check website for latest information)
Chine is a word only used in the Isle of Wight and Dorset, it means a deep, narrow ravine with water running down to the sea, which gives you an idea of the beauty that awaits you. Celebrating over 200 years as a popular tourist attraction, however, over the centuries the chine was mainly used for smuggling and it was such a problem during the 18th Century the customs officers were stationed in the Old Village. You can visit the breathtaking, tree-lined gorge day or night, and marvel at the stunning surroundings of the chine in the illuminations.


Isle of Wight Zoo

PO36 8QB / 25 min drive / Adult £11.35 Child £9.30 / 10am – 5.30pm
A well established and very popular wildlife centre on the island, which has been a family owned business for over 40 years. As the original zoo on the island, the centre is much loved by residents and tourists alike and has recently joined The Wildlife Trust, which is a charity that helps to secure a long term future for the zoo. The Isle of Wight Zoo is dedicated to providing a life-long and loving home to rescued big cats and other animals, making sure they all have an enriching and meaningful life. The zoo is locally famous for walking their tiger cubs along the beach, but their main focus is now looking after older tigers and giving them a happy retirement.


Ventnor Botanic Garden

PO38 1UL / 35 min drive / Adult £9.50 Child £6 / 10am – 5pm
These spectacular gardens are unrivalled for the collection of subtropical plants being grown unprotected outdoors. Ventnor Botanic Garden is located in its own remarkable microclimate at the heart of the famous ‘Undercliff’ on the island, meaning the colourful plants are protected from the cold northerly winds by the picturesque chalk downs. Travel through the derelict mineshaft that opens into the Tropical House with a large pool of heated water showcasing the stunning Amazonian Giant Waterlily.


Dinosaur Isle

PO36 8QA / 30 min drive / Adult £5 Child £4 / 10am – 5pm
This purpose built interactive museum is the ideal place to display and conserve the fantastically rich geological collections. The building was designed by talented local architects Rainey Petrie Johns and they chose the shape of a giant pterodactyl, the building is home to over 1000 fossils. Take a trip through time with a range of exhibitions that will take you through the Ice Age and all the way back to the Cretaceous period, when the dinosaurs lived. The fantastic displays include a range of real fossils, skeletal re-constructions and two animatronic dinosaurs to delight all ages.


St Catherine’s Lighthouse

PO38 2NF / 40 min drive / Adult £5 Child £3 / 1pm – 4.30pm
Located on the picturesque southern tip of the Isle of Wight and boasts the most beautiful views overlooking the channel, which can be seen from atop the lighthouse on your guided tour. The distinctive octagonal tower has provided a waymark for sailors since 1838 and you can take guided tours of the lighthouse and the adjoining visitor centre, which lasts around 40 minutes, and will show you the history of St Catherine’s Lighthouse. In 1997 the lighthouse was made fully automated and also became a weather station for the Met Office.


Shipwreck Centre

PO30 3AA / 20 min drive / Adult £5 Child £2.50 / 10am – 5pm
Founded in 1978, by Martin Woodward who had been diving shipwreck sites around the Isle of Wight since the 1960’s and created the Shipwreck Centre and Maritime Museum to showcase his impressive collection of artefacts to the public! In 2017 the Maritime Archaeology Trust took over management of the museum, the trust have 25 years’ experience in research and study of maritime cultural heritage. Explore all the hidden treasures on display, from various spectacular finds to the interesting history of underwater exploration.


Crave Ice Cream Parlour

PO38 1PD / 30 min drive / 9.30am – 6pm (closed on Tuesdays)
Crave Ice Cream Parlour has been named the best ice cream parlour in Britain by Trip Advisor in 2018! This beautiful parlour is run by husband and wife team, Chris and Tracey, who make all their ice cream on the premises and create fantastic new flavours every day. Crave has a range of gluten free and vegan choices to choose from, along with dairy free options for those who are lactose intolerant. Flavours change daily, but popular flavours in the past include Turkish delight, blackcurrant Eton mess, Jammie Dodger, sticky caramel brownie and the very popular, Lego ice cream, which includes white chocolate ice cream with different flavoured chocolate chips in the shape of Lego pieces. Find them on Facebook here.


Book your Woodside Coastal Retreat holiday and explore all the island has to offer using our top 13 things to do list above!

Photo Credits: Matt Brown, and Ronald Saunders

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