Off Britain’s southern coast is the Isle of Wight, the largest island in England and the second most populated. Only four miles off the Hampshire coast, the journey takes 45 minutes by ferry from Lymington or Portsmouth, or just 20 minutes on the hovercraft.
For some, it’s even become a popular pastime to swim from the mainland to the Isle of Wight, which takes between 35 minutes and an hour. Personally, we think boating is more within our comfort zone, but each to their own!
The Isle of Wight is a quintessentially English island that has been a popular holiday destination since Victorian times. The island is full of quirky stories too. In a more obscure claim to fame, the Isle of Wight has recently been declared the dinosaur capital of the UK. This is because the island once had perfect conditions for dinosaurs: the remains of more than 25 species have been discovered so far. Five-year-old Daisy Morris unearthed the fossils of a previously undiscovered species in 2009. The species has since been named after her: Vectidraco Daisymorrisae.
Autumn is one of the best times to explore the Isle of Wight, with mild weather, attractions open seven days a week and less of a bustling feeling compared to the summer. This autumn, there’s a range of special events ideal for taking part in or spectating. The Isle of Wight Cycle Festival, starting 23rd September, involves a week of cycling events and activities for all abilities.
The Festival of Light, (30 Sept 2017 – 4 Nov 2017) inspired by Diwali sees the Robin Hill ancient woodland lit up with colours and sounds from the Indian sub-continent. Halloween season will also see a number of Isle of Fright events – not all of which are scary – celebrating the island’s reputation as one of the most haunted isles in the world.
Activities and adventures
At Whitecliff Bay, families with toddlers have access to plenty of activities, fit for tiring out the little ones before bedtime. There are dedicated parent and toddler swimming sessions, daily theatre shows and a regular Lollipops Disco for under-fives.
There are also daily play sessions, involving everything from nature trails and leaf collages to sock puppets and spaghetti art. A covered play area outside and an indoor soft play space are two spots kiddies get very attached to indeed. The indoor pool and toddlers splash pool are also firm favourites.
Elsewhere on the island, the Isle of Wight Zoo is cause for a lot of fun for the whole family, while Amazon World Zoo Park is home to some unusual and endangered species. Whether chattering monkeys or sleep-loving sloths sum up your family best, there’s something to suit all personalities. West Wight Alpacas offers fun-filled days alongside alpacas and llamas. If you’re still thirsty for more, the Isle of Wight Steam Railway offers excitement for the children and a chance for parents to rest their weary legs.
Those who want a little more rest and relaxation from their Isle of Wight break have it made at Whitecliff Bay. The resort is surrounded by sea, countryside and woodland – creating calming views whichever way you look.
Feel the sand between your toes on long walks along the idyllic beach that we have almost all to ourselves. Stop for a coffee at our beach café or have a crazy golf competition…the loser buys lunch at The Nab Bar!
Elsewhere on the island, The Garlic Farm – as featured on the BBC’s Kitchen Garden Live – is an inspiring spot for all the garlic related produce you can imagine. Believe it or not, this includes garlic beer and garlic ice cream. Perhaps not the best idea for a romantic day out… Make a stop at Osbourne House, formerly Queen Victoria and HRH Prince Albert’s favourite holiday home. Then head over to The Needles and take a chairlift to the beach or browse the cute artisan shops.
Back at Whitecliff Bay in the evening, there’s a rotating calendar of events, with everything from bingo and quizzes, to live music and visiting cabarets. Evenings spent feeding your competitive spirit, tapping your toes and avoiding your other half’s garlicky breath lay in wait!
Isle of Wight Breaks
Book your Isle of Wight break at Whitecliff Bay