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Isle of Wight Guide

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Planning a staycation? Cross the Solent to the idyllic Isle of Wight. Its about the furthest away from mainland Britain you can get while staying in the UK! A pretty summer holiday spot, the rural island has plenty to keep the whole family entertained if you know where to head.

Read on for the best places to stay, eat, and play on this southern British isle!

Where to Stay

After youve hopped off the ferry, youve got an array of different accommodations to suit every party and budget. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Compton Farm:Just atop the cliff at the beautiful Compton Bay is Compton Farm campground and caravan park. Rent a caravan or pitch your own tent for a real outdoor experience!
  • Toms Eco Lodge: Too posh to camp? Glamp! Toms Eco Lodge offers a variety of dwellings, from ready-pitched tents to eco-pods and charming cabins, most of which come with a private jacuzzi. Situated at Tapnell Farm in Yarmouth, visitors benefit from the kids play areas and restaurants on the farm, plus the resident animals!
  • Enchanted Manor: A beautiful Victorian house serving as a B&B out in the sticks of Niton, its perfect for a romantic getaway. The enchantment comes in the form of fairytale-themed suites, gorgeous grounds, and decor that brings in the outdoors.
  • The Seaview Hotel: This hotel and restaurant in Seaview is just a short journey from the ferry port in Fishbourne or the passenger boats that dock in Ryde. Serving local seafood and offering a range of nautical-themed rooms, your stay is sure to go swimmingly.
  • North House: This 4-star hotel in Cowes Old Town has 14 rooms as well as a guest dining room, restaurant, bar, library, and even an outdoor heated pool! Relax in the evening with a cocktail on the terrace overlooking the pool.

Where to Eat

As you might have guessed, the Isle of Wight has seafood in plentiful supply. Expect delicious fresh fish, crab, and lobster dishes wherever you go. However, there are amazing cafes and restaurants to suit all palates, including:

  • Thompsons: Helmed by the youngest chef in the UK to achieve a Michelin Star, Chef Robert Thompsons restaurant in central Newport is a must-visit for fine-diners. A mix of traditional and modern cooking with an emphasis on freshness, Thompsons offers up plenty of local ingredients in their beautiful dishes.
  • ADA Meze Kitchen: This lovely Mediterranean restaurant in Carisbrooke (near the islands castle) serves hot and cold meze plates as well as pizza, pasta, and traditional mains. Their falafel and humous cant be beat!
  • Tansys Pantry: Nestled in Godshill is this cute and cosy vegan caf serving up plant-based treats. Try their vegan take on fish and chips and sample a dairy-free waffle and ice cream!
  • The Folly: a charming pub on the waters edge with an outdoor terrace and balcony. Perfect for a refreshing drink and traditional pub grub all year round.
  • The Spyglass Inn: This freehouse by the sea in beautiful Ventnor has two indoor seating areas and a large outdoor patio with sea views. Enjoy locally caught seafood and live music before a walk along the beach.

Nightlife

The Isle of Wight doesnt exactly offer a party lifestyle, but theres plenty of great nights out to be had! Try some of these:

  • Fever & Boutique: Lets start with the islands one and only club. Fever & Boutique in the centre of Newport is the go-to spot for grooving to pop music and getting the drinks flowing.
  • The Balcony: The Balcony Bar in Ryde hosts themed nights and live music most weekends. Start at the top of Ryde high street and work your way down to this venue on the seafront!
  • Strings Bar & Venue: For live music fans, this hidden gem right next to Newport bus station is the place to go. Strings showcases local talent as well as touring UK acts.
  • Club Moocow: This modern bar in Cowes has an extensive cocktail menu and hosts lots of events throughout the summer, from discos to BBQ nights.
  • The Cow Co.: The Cow Co. restaurant, bar, and venue at Tapnell Farm hosts shindigs and soirees every now and again with live music and specially mixed cocktails. If youre visiting when theyre having a bash, be sure to grab a ticket!

What to Do on the Isle of Wight

Need inspiration for days out with the family? Try these popular events and attractions. Click the links to read our full guides.

  • The Isle of Wight Festival: This famous UK music festival happens every year in June and brings huge headline acts like Biffy Clyro, Fleetwood Mac, and Paul McCartney.
  • Alum Bay: Home of the picturesque Needles cliff formations, Alum Bay park has attractions for all the family plus a chairlift that takes visitors down to the beach.
  • Blackgang Chine: The Isle of Wights answer to Thorpe Park is a small clifftop amusement park thought to be the oldest in the world, dating back to 1843. Enjoy some of the original attractions plus plenty of modern ones, including a rollercoaster and a water slide!
  • Cowes Week: This world-famous sailing regatta brings sailors from across the globe to take part in boating activities and races for one week every August. Come down to watch the races, the closing firework display, and all the festivities throughout Cowes Old Town.
  • Osborne House: Formerly Queen Victorias holiday residence, the stately home and manicured gardens are splendid for a day trip. Explore the grounds and enjoy the Queens very own private beach.

3 Fun Facts About the Isle of Wight

  1. It has a spooky reputation as being the most haunted island in the world. If you love the supernatural, get down to Ventnor Botanic Gardens, the site of an old hospital, or Freshwaters Golden Hill Fort, which are said to be some of the islands most-haunted sites
  2. Its the sunniest spot in the UK and on average gets more hours of sunlight than some parts of Spain!
  3. One of its biggest exports is garlic. A trip to the Isle of Wight isnt complete without trying some local garlic dishes at its very own Garlic Farm. Theres even an annual Garlic Festival in August!

How to Get There

Of course, the way to access the island is by ferry! There are a few options to choose from:

  • Lymington-Yarmouth IOW car ferry
  • Southampton-East Cowes IOW car ferry
  • Portsmouth-Fishbourne IOW car ferry
  • Southsea-Ryde IOW passenger hovercraft
  • Portsmouth-Ryde Pier IOW passenger catamaran
  • Southampton-Cowes IOW passenger jet

You can take all ferries on foot, but only the larger car ferries can take vehicles across. Rent a car in Southampton or Portsmouth so you can drive across the island at your leisure!

Taking the train from different parts of the UK is easy. Hop on a train to Lymington, Southampton, or Portsmouth on the south coast and book a ticket on one of the ferries from there!

Most people flying into the UK come into London. From there, there are easy links to trains, coaches and car hire. Hire a car from London Heathrow or London Gatwick for a short hour-and-a-half drive down south to board a ferry.

Once on the island, driving is your best mode of transport. Its a mostly rural place with limited bus services, especially in the evening. Alternatively, you can hire bicycles in many places to check out the local areas. Its even possible for keen cyclists to cycle around the island in a day!