Enjoy family time on the Isle of Wight this summer.
In partnership with RedFunnel
With the summer term fully in swing, thoughts turn to the summer holidays and if you've not booked anywhere yet, consider the nearby island of the Isle of Wight for some precious family time together. The island offers a variety of activities and events this year to suit all ages and interests; children and parents are guaranteed to have an amazing summer season on the Isle of Wight.
2019 is a jam-packed year, hosting endless family fun and adventures, especially this summer. Holiday activities include kayaking, tree-climbing, stargazing or even to discover the Island's dinosaur footprints and fossils. This summer will also see family-friendly festivals of all types, from Isle of Wight Pride in July to a brand new festival with TV legends Dick and Dom in August. Being only 13 miles from north to south and 27 miles from east to west, you’ll never be short of things to do on the Isle of Wight – with beautiful beaches, sites of Special Scientific Interest, royal palaces and foodie hotspots all just waiting to be explored.
Here's a Beginners Guide with plentiful recommendations for an action-packed visit to the adventure isle.
Places to See
Often dubbed ‘Dinosaur Island’, the Isle of Wight has the most substantial number of dinosaur remains in the UK - and significant dinosaur discoveries have been made by children as young as six years old! Once upon a time, the grounds of the island were part of a big river valley complex situated at the latitude of North Africa, where prehistoric creatures roamed the leafy lands and hid in rivers, ponds and swamps.
Together with GO Outdoors, Red Funnel has put together a Guide to Fossil Hunting on the Isle of Wight, which features the best fossil beaches on the island along with preparation tips and a list of guided fossil walks. redfunnel.co.uk/en/isle-of-wight-guide/dinosaur-hunting-guide
Jack Up The Summer Festival
Parents can enjoy a throwback and introduce their kids to the 80s at the hugely successful Jack Up The 80s Summer festival, perfect for lovers of 70s and 80s music. The event presents various great headline bands performing live in concert on two consecutive nights over the weekend of 10 and 11 August. Head line acts confirmed so far are Nick Heyward, Aswad and East 17 amongst others. For more visit: jackupthesummer.co.uk
West Wight Alpacas
Open all year round, West Wight Alpacas is the perfect half term activity for any animal-loving families. The farm is home to around 60 alpacas, 13 llamas and many other animals, and visitors can choose to either go on a trek with the adorable animals or just watch them roam around the farm. Entry to the farm is free for under 4s, £5 for 4-14 year olds and £7.50 for adults. Alternatively, visitors can choose from a variety of guided walks and activities such as llama agility, short and long farm walks or even, by prior arrangement, longer treks off the farm. The farm also has its own on-site bistro, The Llama Tree, which serves delicious wood-fired pizzas, perfect for a family-friendly day out. westwightalpacas.co.uk
The Isle of Wight has a diverse geology that contains a wealth of fossils just waiting to be found. There are giant dino footprints scattered around the Island’s shores and plenty of opportunities to take home a piece of history. Dinosaur Isle, Britain’s first purpose built dinosaur museum and visitor attraction, hosts guided fossil walks at sites of palaeontological interest on the Island – a fun activity for dinosaur enthusiasts young and old. There are two walks planned for this half term, each lasting around 1.5 hours. dinosaurisle.com
The Isle of Wight is one of the best places to see meteor showers in the UK, with dazzling ‘Dark Sky’ sites scattered around the south of the island revealing thousands of stars on crisp clear nights. During a meteor shower you will be able to spot ‘shooting stars’– these are in fact meteors streaking through the night sky as they burn up in the earth’s atmosphere. To enjoy this year’s meteor showers while they’re at their most beautiful, come and see them from the Isle of Wight. Red Funnel’s stargazing guide features insider tips on what to bring, where to go and how to stay safe. redfunnel.co.uk/en/isle-of-wight-guide/stargazing
Monkey Haven is a family favourite on the Isle of Wight. Visitors can enjoy heart-warming animal rescue stories, Keeper talks, Keeper for the Day experiences and much more. Tickets are just £8.95 for children (aged 3-14) and £10 for adults (aged 15-60), with a family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) costing £37. monkeyhaven.org
Visit a residence fit for a queen and not just any queen. The Isle of Wight was the favourite destination of England’s second-longest reigning monarch, Queen Victoria. At Osborne House, Victoria and Albert’s palatial holiday home, you can get a glimpse into what royal family life was really like for the much-loved sovereign and her nine children – from the nursery and family rooms to Victoria’s private beach, where the young princes and princesses learned to swim. 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the births of both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and there are special events planned at Osborne throughout
the summer. Find out more at
Things to Do
Afternoon tea at The Needles Old Battery
The Needles Rocks are one of the Island’s best-known landmarks and they create a stunning backdrop for a delicious afternoon tea. The menu includes a selection of cakes, sandwiches and scones, all served with tea or coffee. The quaint team-room will take visitors back to the 1940s with its décor and, paired with the breath-taking views of the Needles, there’s no better place to tuck into a tasty treat.
Get pampered at Liz Earle’s flagship store
Families can give Mum a pamper this holiday with a trip to the Liz Earle store in Ryde. The well-known beauty brand has its roots on the Isle of Wight, so visitors are sure to get five-star treatment in the Union Street store. With complimentary skincare consultations and mini treatments on offer, it’s a wonderful way for Mum to enjoy some quality time away. For added relaxation, families can book a special treatment such as a massage or facial for their loved ones. The full range of Liz Earle products is also available to purchase in-store, making it the best place for last minute pick me up. uk.lizearle.com/content/isle-of-wight
Explore the Island’s beautiful scenery by foot or bike
Half of the Isle of Wight is protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, making it the ideal location to enjoy a day out as a family. From rugged coastal paths to enchanting forest trails and magnificent beaches, the Island has a variety of landscapes that can be explored in a number of ways. There are plenty of walking routes available, from gentle strolls to harder clifftop hikes, as well as specially designed routes that include a historical element, such as the Dinosaur Safari, or those perfect for four-legged friends.
The Lonely Planet has recently named the Isle of Wight as one of the 10 best cycling destinations in the world. The diverse terrain offers a great variety of road cycling, touring and mountain biking. There are cycling routes, paths and trails for all levels of rider, from family leisure cycling to downhill mountain biking, dirt jumping to road racing. Hiring bikes on the Isle of Wight is easy. Most cycle hire companies have modern mountain, hybrid or road bikes and will include locks, pumps, puncture repairs kits and maps. Some hire companies also offer child seats, tag-a-longs, trailers and more. Red Funnel’s website has 12 you can try out:
Have a gastronomic experience
It’s best to arrive hungry to the Isle of Wight – it’s the ultimate foodie destination. Being the sunniest place in the UK means there is an amazing array of local produce on offer, from the juicy ripe tomatoes grown in the Arreton Valley and sold by the Tomato Stall, to the aromatic home-grown garlic found at the Garlic Farm. Climb aboard for a guided tractor tour to learn about garlic growing, or visit the Education Centre where you can learn about the history of the farm and how garlic came to the Isle of Wight. You can even try their famous garlic ice cream! thegarlicfarm.co.uk
Places to Stay
Seaview Hotel, Shanklin
The idyllic Seaview Hotel is situated in the heart of the beautiful sailing village of Shanklin. Seaview is offering a fabulous getaway at their coastal retreat. Just two minutes from the beautiful Isle of Wight coast, it’s the ultimate casual yet sophisticated Island break.
The Royal Hotel, Ventnor
Anyone looking for a grand gesture should look no further than The Royal Hotel. Situated in the town of Ventnor, the hotel is just a few minutes’ walk from the pretty seafront, filled with cafés and ice cream parlours. Ventnor is one of Britain's most famous Victorian health resorts due to its unique micro-climate, so it’s the perfect place to spend a relaxing family weekend.
Tom's Eco Lodges
Stunning sea views, space to roam, and sandy beaches nearby make Tom’s Eco lodge the perfect farm stay for a back-to-nature family holiday or a laidback group get together. Visitors can choose from a variety of accommodation such as modulogs, safari tents, eco pods and wood cabins that will help disconnect and downtools. All the accommodation is located at Tapnell Farm, a diversified former dairy farm which is now home to donkeys, goats, wallabies and much more – a no-brainer for families and nature-lovers.
There is a fast passenger ferry from Southampton to West Cowes and both vehicle and passenger ferries to East Cowes which depart hourly during the day. The car ferry crossing takes 55-60 mins, pre-booking is recommended and car fares include up to 7 people. For more information or to book, visit
Travelling to the Isle of Wight on foot gets 'Kids Go Free*' offers throughout 2019 with Wightlink during all school holidays in 2019.
*Based on Hampshire school holiday dates. Under 5s always travel free with Wightlink but when the schools break up, families can take up to two children aged 5-15 for free with every adult foot passenger day
With a brilliant offering of places to see, things to do, events and places to stay, families wanting to escape for a few days or more this summer need look no further than the Isle of Wight.