The island’s tiny, just 23 miles by 13, but you could never accuse it of being small fry when it comes to putting on an event or two. Whether you’re a foodie or a history-lover, keen to visit an historic pub or enjoy the atmosphere of a local festival, you’ll always find something new to enjoy.
Although it’s less than an hour’s ferry journey across the water from England’s south coast, the Isle of Wight often feels like it’s a whole world away. It’s blessed with outstanding sandy beaches, many of them regularly rated among the best in Europe, if not the world. Inland, castles and historic houses are the keepers of hundreds of years of stories and memories.
The island’s sheltered south coast even enjoys its very own microclimate with an average five hours of sunshine a day. It makes the area around Ventnor ideal for viniculture and exotic blooms and is the reason why the island is affectionately known as the ‘Garden Isle’.
With high paths and low tides, kings’ castles and sand castles, quaint pubs and street carnivals, our handy guide picks out all the best sights, attractions and activities to enjoy, day and night, during your time on the Isle of Wight.
Events to enjoy on the Isle of Wight
Classic Beer, Buses and Walks
A classic combination of free transport, real ale and autumnal walks in one glorious weekend. Up to 100 vintage and classic buses offer heritage services between a selection of pubs serving real ales, and there are bespoke historic beer and pub walks.
12-13 October 2019
The Tennyson Trail
Queen Victoria’s poet Laureate, Alfred Lord Tennyson, found the island the inspiration for much of his work. It’s said he composed poetry during long walks here. The 14-mile Tennyson Trail starts at Carisbrooke Castle, where Charles I was held before his execution. It then swings over Brighstone Down and onto Tennyson Down, finishing at the Tennyson monument overlooking the Needles, and just along the coast from Norton Grange Coastal Village.
Great activities on the Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight’s such a little place, but it’s got such a lot going on. From the beaches on the east to the dramatic Needles rocks on the west coast, from Newport’s culture to Godshill’s thatched cottages, no two days need ever be the same.
For bucket and spade fun and sand-between-your-toes walks, the Isle of Wight delivers in well, spades. Compton has been named among the top eight beaches in the world. No surprise, really, given its two-mile stretch of soft sand backed by multi-coloured sandstone cliffs. It feels lovely and private, too, and the sunsets are amazing. For other Isle of Wight day trips to the beach, the sands at Shanklin, Whitecliff Bay, Yarmouth, Bembridge and Sandown, to name just a few, offer everything from fossil hunting to safe swimming and watersports.
For enjoyment on as well as in the water, one of the best ways to discover the Isle of Wight coastline is from a boat. There’s everything from leisurely sightseeing cruises around Alum Bay to high-speed rib trips and kayaking under cliffs and into secret caves. There’s even more hands-on sailing tuition with learn to sail and dinghy sailing courses. Charter boats also offer fishing adventures into the deep blue, starting with two-hour mackerel trips all the way through to full days of angling.
The Isle of Wight’s just as appealing for a golfing holiday, with half a dozen golf clubs, some with parkland courses, others paired with sea views. Whether you’re an absolute beginner or more experienced, they all offer the opportunity to practise your swing and putting in some spectacular settings.
Nightlife on the Isle of Wight
Days spent exploring the great outdoors can be paired with evenings tasting the island’s local beers and farm-grown produce. Plus, there are also plenty of opportunities to become part of the local entertainment – perhaps at an open mic night or a street carnival.
For traditional entertainment on the stage, the Shanklin Theatre and the Medina Theatre are the Isle of Wight’s go-tos, both with touring productions, comedy nights and music. Less structured but certainly no less fun, many musicians and comics find their spotlight in family-run pubs and restaurants in the likes of Newport, Sandown and Ventnor.
If that’s piqued your interest, book your dream Isle of Wight break today with Warner Leisure Hotels. Find out more about our holiday village at Norton Grange Holiday Village and Bembridge Coast Hotel.