By Parkdean Resorts on 23/07/2019
Only a short ferry ride away, the Isle of Wight is a peaceful haven ideal for those seeking a slower pace. With 500 miles of footpaths as well as beautiful beaches to explore, you’ll be rewarded with some truly spectacular sights.
To help you plan your next trip, we’ve put together the perfect 7-day itinerary of things to do on the Isle of Wight. It's packed with the most unmissable experiences to help you make the most of your visit.
Heading to the Isle of Wight for a weekend break? Check out our 48 hour itinerary.
Travelling to the Isle of Wight couldn’t be easier thanks to the regular ferry services connecting the island to the mainland – we can even arrange your ferry crossing for you when you book your next holiday with us. If you’re departing from Portsmouth, you’ll dock in Fishbourne to the east, or if you’re leaving from Lymington, you’ll arrive in Yarmouth to the west.
Day 1: Wootton or Yarmouth
If you’ve chosen the Portsmouth to Fishbourne ferry, hit the ground running and explore the pretty village of Wootton - which is just 5 minutes down the road from the ferry terminal. This charming town will offer you the opportunity to refuel amidst lovely surroundings. You can park in Brannon Way car park free for 5 hours which is ample time to discover Wootton’s charms.
From Wootton Station you can hop on the nostalgic Isle of Wight Steam Railway and journey into the past, discovering more about these majestic engines. Little ones will love the Train Story Discovery Centre, where they can dress up and incite their imaginations as train guards and drivers.
Isle of Wight Steam Railway
Don’t forget to stop by the farm shop at Briddlesford Lodge Farm to stock up on treats for your caravan, including Isle of Wight gin and cheese.
If you’re still full of energy, why not pay an afternoon visit to Monkey Haven - a heart-warming rescue centre for monkeys and birds of prey. You’ll be able to meet lots of marvellous animals including meerkats, capuchins, and owls. Try the treasure hunt or attend the informative keeper talks and animal feeds throughout the day - you might even get the chance to hold a snake or owl!
If you’re catching the Lymington to Yarmouth ferry, take some time to walk the charming cobbled streets of this historic town. Here you’ll find a bustling port with plenty to occupy you. Drop the car off at River Road Car Park and explore on foot. Just a five minute walk away and you can stroll along the Yarmouth Pier; the longest wooden pier in England!
Whatever the weather, you can spend the afternoon getting hands-on with some wonderful animals at Tapnell Farm Park. The park is perfectly situated close by to Yarmouth with stunning views of the surrounding areas. Lively indoor and outdoor play areas will keep the kids entertained, and they’ll love meeting the friendly wallabies in Wallaby Walkabout.
If you’re feeling hungry after a day of travelling and exploring, head over to The Llama Tree Bistro and Pizzeria which is situated on the well-known West Wight Alpaca Farm, for a slice of delicious wood fired pizza made fresh to order. After dinner, take a stroll around the farm and enjoy watching these unique animals roam.
Day 2: Compton Bay
Day 2’s activities have you heading out for a day of Jurassic proportions. Considered one of the richest areas in Europe for dinosaur discovery, the Isle of Wight has earned its nickname ‘Dinosaur Island’ thanks to its abundance of fossils.
Head to one of the island’s best kept secrets, Compton Bay, which is located less than 45 minutes’ drive away from all four of our Isle of Wight holiday parks. With endless golden sands and an impressive cliff face, it provides a stunning backdrop for a day spent fossil hunting along the shore.
It’s remarkable to think that over 20 different species of dinosaur fossils have been found at Compton Bay. So keep your eyes peeled for remnants of dinosaur bone and teeth that have fallen from the cliffs above as they’ve eroded over time. To round off your visit, don’t forget to see the large foot casts of an Iguanodon just at the base of the cliffs – kids and adults alike will be amazed by the sheer size of the three-toed footprints!
Fossil hunting is hungry work, so finish off your day with a trip to The Red Lion. Located in the picturesque village of Freshwater, this traditional country pub will transport you back in time whilst serving up delicious local ingredients and ales.
Day 3: Osborne House
Day 3 takes you inside historic Osborne House. Once an opulent holiday home for Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their nine children, this grand house has been beautifully preserved. Spend your time here admiring the decadent interiors and lavish furnishings from the royal collection.
The little ones will love exploring the life-size playhouse built by Prince Albert to help give his children life skills such as cooking and growing vegetables. Inside they can learn more about the individual personalities of the royal-children and see the collection of jaw-dropping specimens they collected. For adults, Osborne’s gardens provide a peaceful haven, filled with a tremendous variety of seasonal colours and striking views across the Solent.
For a bite to eat head over to the neighbouring town of Cowes on The Cowes Floating Bridge ferry. A historic town, Cowes is well known as the home to the oldest and biggest sailing regatta in the world. Within Cowes head to HK Café – Harbour Kitchen, located in the heart of the town, serving up a wide range of tasty meals made with locally sourced ingredients.
Day 4: Shanklin Chine
Day 4 of your trip takes you to Shanklin Chine, one of the Isle of Wight’s oldest and best loved attractions. Shanklin Chine is just a 20 minute walk or short 6 minute drive from our Landguard and Lower Hyde holiday parks. There’s no parking at the location, so drop the car off at either Vernon Meadow car park or on Shanklin Esplanade.
Carving its way from Shanklin Old Village down to the beach and Esplanade below, the chine covers 3 acres of beautiful tree-lined gorge. Inside you’ll find a world of enchanting waterfalls, lush vegetation, and unique flora and fauna. Grab a Nature trail leaflet from the Shanklin Chine office and identify some of the extremely rare plant life living inside the chine.
Waterfall at Shanklin Chine
Shanklin Chine has a fascinating history to discover too, and was once a favourite haunt of smugglers within the area. For an extra special visit, why not head down after dusk, where you’ll be able to witness the magic of the Chine Lumierè. Take in the breath-taking spectacle as hundreds of little lights illuminate the waterfalls and paths throughout the summer months.
After you’ve explored the ravine, head along into Shanklin Old Village to rest your legs at Pencil Cottage. This 17th century thatched cottage teashop charms visitors whilst offering a range of light lunch options. To make your visit really special, try a traditional Victorian cream tea!
Day 5: Blackgang Chine
Today’s activity is guaranteed to be a huge smash with the little ones, it takes you to Blackgang Chine – the oldest amusement park in the UK. Opening its doors in the 1840s, this world of adventure is set amongst the clifftops with stunning views of the coastline.
Let your imagination run wild in each of the park’s themed lands, including a Cowboy Town, Pirate Cove and Restricted Area 5 where you can get a glimpse of the largest animatronic dinosaur in the country.
Blackgang Chine provides entertainment for all ages and little ones will love the chance to meet some of the eccentric characters like Cedric the dragon. You’ll find plenty to do here whether you’re a thrill-seeker looking for adventure rides, or you’d prefer a gentler stroll through the Valley of the Dodos.
Blackgang Chine by drone - Video courtesy of: Blackgang Chine – Land of Imagination
If you’re craving even more adventure, head also to Blackgang Chine’s sister park, Robin Hill and step inside 88 acres of beautiful countryside packed with a variety of fun-filled experiences. Like the thrilling swinging galleon for the kids, and tranquil wooden gardens for the adults. If you’re planning ahead, you can purchase joint park tickets for both locations and this will give you unlimited entry into both parks for 7 days!
On your way home, make a stop at The Garlic Farm which is a haven for garlic lovers. Visit the shop and take home some unique souvenirs or learn more about the rich history of the farm. And if you’re feeling peckish, The Garlic Farm Restaurant offers a menu filled with delicious dishes made with their very own fresh garlic.
Day 6: Carisbrooke Castle
A 12 minute car journey from Thorness Bay and you’ll be at the well-preserved historical site of Carisbrooke Castle. Standing pride of place on the Isle of Wight for over 1,000 years, you can now walk the halls and feel the castle’s eclectic and tumultuous history.
This history famously includes the imprisonment of King Charles the 1st who attempted to escape the fortress many times. During your visit, climb all the way to the top of the ancient castle keep to enjoy the stunning panoramic views and take a moment of tranquillity in the chapel.
Kids will also love seeing the castle’s donkeys, who’ve been on-hand drawing water for the castle for hundreds of years, with daily demonstrations using the 16th century tread wheel.
After a day of exploring head to nearby Newport to re-fuel at The Bargeman’s Rest. Located on the Newport Quay, the character of this pub comes from the quayside’s buzzing industrial past. Have a well-deserved drink here, and if you’re feeling peckish attempt to conquer one of their massive portions of tasty fish and chips.
Day 7: The Needles
Round off your trip with a visit to the iconic Needles Landmark Attraction, a spectacular chalk cliff formation on the western tip of the Isle of Wight - and a favourite amongst visitors.
The best way to see the landmark is using the chairlift starting from the top of the impressive Alum Bay cliffs and taking you down to the beach below. Taking the chairlift will offer you amazing panoramic views of the Needles rocks and lighthouse. You can also take a boat trip out to the landmark and lighthouse, giving you the opportunity to view the extraordinary structure close-up.
Needles Landmark Attraction and Lighthouse
You’ll find more than just breathtaking views on offer at the Needles though, including a dinosaur themed jeep safari, traditional fairground rides, and even a sand shop where you can make your own Alum Bay multi-coloured sand souvenir – a tradition that has been around since the Victorian era.
Finish off your visit by stopping off at The Freshwater Coffee House. A vibrant and welcoming coffee house, well-known for its passion for fantastic coffee, tasty breakfasts and home-made cakes – the perfect way to end your holiday!