From fish and chips on the beach to a Michelin-starred eaterie, from the prestige of Cowes Week to the delights of llama trekking, there is something for everyone.
Sailing from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight there are three options. The foot passenger Hovertravel hovercraft from Southsea beach is quickest (and the world’s longest-running hovercraft service.)
Wightlink ferries run two foot passenger catamarans from Portsmouth Harbour (Gunwharf Quays) to Ryde, and a car ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne.
Where can I go?
- Take your car on the Isle of Wight ferry and the Island’s network of country roads opens out before you. Try Freshwater Bay to the west, the sandy beaches of Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor on the southern coast or Cowes in the north.
- Foot passengers can make the most of a go-as-you-please Rover Ticket and explore from the top deck of a Southern Vectis bus. A London tube train runs the Island Line rail service from Ryde to Shanklin.
Best of the Isle of Wight
- The Needles: A famous UK landmark, these rocky outcrops jut westwards out into the sea with a lighthouse at their tip. There are swooping views from a chairlift, and youngsters will enjoy the multi-coloured sand cliffs at nearby Alum Bay.
- Surfing: The Isle of Wight calls itself one of England’s best-kept surfing secrets, with the southern shoreline collecting considerable swell. There’s also the stunning backdrop of white cliffs and open farmland.
- Tennyson’s Point: Climb up the hill from Freshwater Bay in the footsteps of the great poet to the impressive memorial at the top, for spectacular vistas of coast and countryside. Take a packed lunch for a family expedition with a sense of achievement.
- Blackgang Chine: Thrills and spills with the Waterforce fast boat slide, Cliffhanger roller coaster and Crossbones adventure playground. This old smugglers’ haunt is now a fun park with eccentric extras such as a musical pet shop and the new Fairy Village opening in 2011.
- Royal Osborne and Carisbrooke Castle: Heritage through and through at Queen Victoria’s Italian-style palace with sumptuous décor and exotic tastes, while Carisbrooke has witnessed 800 years of history.
Did you know?
- If hotels seem too tame, visitors can stay in a Mongolian-style yurt, complete with wood-burning stove and double bed; alternatives are nights in a VW campervan or American airstream caravan, an icon of the 50s and 60s.
- Charles I was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle, which was also the official residence of the Island’s Governor, Princess Beatrice, right up until 1944.
- The Round the Island Race is an annual one-day yacht spectacular, attracting more than 1,700 boats and 16,000 sailors, making it one of the biggest such events in the world.
- The Isle of Wight Garlic Festival is the chance to taste garlic-flavoured mussels, sausages, ice cream and beer (if you dare), as well as watch sheep dog trials and enjoy some live music.
See our Operators & sailings page for more information.
For more information on the Isle of Wight visit www.islandbreaks.co.uk