Weekend Beach Break on the Isle of Wight!
Weekend Beach Break on the Isle of Wight!
With a direct 2.5 hour drive from London and an hour-long ferry ride, holidaymakers can be transported from the bustle of the city to the sandy beaches of the Isle of Wight for a weekend getaway. Festival goers may know the island for the annual June festival held in Newport, but there are plenty of activities to keep families happy all summer long. The Isle of Wight Zoo provides both cute and cuddly, and fierce and ferocious animals at which families can marvel, The Sandown pier will provide an afternoon of entertainment and views of the coastal cliffs, and the miles of beaches will allow for even the most ambitious of sandcastles!
Located within easy walking distance of Sandown Pier and the main promenade, Isle of Wight Zoo features the rare white lion and white tiger species, along with monkeys, lemurs, porcupines, and other animals. Tours are conducted every day, with varying interests being catered to at different times. At 10.30am visitors can go on a Meet the Monkeys tour or learn about the Tiger Sanctuary at 12.30pm. Zookeepers are on hand to answer questions from the curious, both young and old. Another popular zoo attraction is Meet the Wallabies (£2 surcharge, space limited) where visitors can attempt to feed the wallabies by hand. More hands-on activities include Zoo at Home and the zoo’s very own mini-farm, with friendly goats and Winston the pig. Isle of Wight Zoo has summer hours from 10am-6pm, daily. Admission for two adults and two children on a Family Ticket is £29. www.isleofwightzoo.com/
Sandown pleasure pier is located centrally along the main promenade and features the usual pier amusements—crazy golf, an arcade, and bowling, among other attention grabbers. There are also cafes and a children’s play area. While the attractions lean heavily towards pleasing children’s interests, everyone can enjoy the view from the landing stage at the end of the pier.
Blackgang Chine amusement park began in 1843 and is located on the southern coast of the Isle. It features a number of rides, including the Cliffhanger roller coaster and Waterforce, a slide-based raft plunge. There is also a shrub maze, and a life size game of Snakes and Ladders.
Blackgang Chine is open 10am-5pm, daily. Admission is £39 for four people, when purchasing a freedom saver ticket. www.blackgangchine.com
Robin Hill Adventure Park
Robin Hill Adventure Park, sister attraction to Blackgang, offers a country-style attraction that packs in fun in an assortment of ways. Falconry displays, woodland gardens, small-scale amusement rides, a safari-themed play area called Adventure Zone, and Toboggan Run, a ride comprised of a chute and wheeled sled that the rider controls. The sled goes down a grade, flying around tight corners and climbing steep banks (£1.50 surcharge per ride).
Robin Hill is currently open 10am-6pm. Admission is £37.50 for four people, when purchasing a freedom saver ticket. www.robin-hill.com
Both Blackgang Chine and Robin Hill can be accessed on a joint ticket for £66.50 for a family of four.
From London, it’s an easy 2.5 hour drive down the M3 to Southampton, where families can hop on a Red Funnel ferry (£78 return for car crossings, £48.60 return for foot passengers) to East Cowes, Isle of Wight. The ferry ride takes approximately one hour. www.redfunnel.co.uk
For those looking to have some fun in Sandown, a short 30 minute drive to the other side of the Isle is required. The four hour total journey time is reasonable for a weekend break and children will be happy to explore the cafe and decks of the ferry in order to give their legs a stretch.
Hotels are dotted along the seaside, with a few found inland. The Belmore Guest House in Sandown (£220 for a weekend stay for a family of four), is centrally located for Sandown Pier, Dinosaur Isle, and Isle of Wight Zoo, among other attractions. Belmore Guest House, 101 Station Avenue, Sandown, PO36 8HD, Tel: 01983 404 189. www.thebelmore.co.uk
For the budget conscience family, there are a number of holiday parks, both near Sandown and around the rest of the isle. During the summer high season, many parks have a 7 night minimum stay requirement. Fairway Holiday Park, located near Sandown, has a 3 night minimum stay (£55 per night for a caravan that sleeps 6), allowing for a long beach weekend. Fairway amenities include a licensed clubhouse, heated outdoor swimming pool, arcade, and playground. Fairway Holiday Park, Sandown, Isle of Wight PO36 9PS. Tel: 01983 403 462. www.fairwayholidaypark.co.uk/default.aspx
For further information on accommodations and attractions visit www.isleofwight.com
Pond and beach photos courtesy of isleofwight.com
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