Your Isle of Wight must-do list… 30 Jan 2024
The Island has plenty to see and do, it can take time to choose sometimes. So we’ve asked our offices to let us know their ‘Isle of Wight must-dos’ for the year ahead…
Fish & chips on the beach
Whether you are on holiday here or are lucky enough to live here, nothing beats a fish and chip supper on the beach in the summer months. Grab them and sit on the sea wall at Appley Beach in Ryde where you can look out across the Solent to the Portsmouth skyline. As the evening grows darker, watch the twinkling lights come on, including the famous Spinnaker Tower.
Climb to Tennyson’s Monument
The Tennyson trail is not for the faint-hearted, being a long and fairly arduous walk. But you can take a much shorter route which will still reward you with one of the best views on the Island. Either park at Freshwater Bay and start the steady climb from there, or park at the Highdown car park where a short, sharp and very steep climb up a path and steps will take you right out alongside the monument. Standing on the highest point of the down, you have 360-degree views, out over the English Channel, towards The Needles, Hurst Spit and back across the coastline.
Camp under the stars
The Island has very limited light pollution and over on the west coast of the Island where there are no mainland city lights to interfere, the number of stars to view at night can be breathtaking. The best time to stargaze is during or just after a new moon when the sky is incredibly dark. Head to The Planetarium at Fort Victoria where you can spend the day finding out what is going to be in the sky that night before you begin your night-time stargazing adventure. One of our favourite spots to stargaze is at Compton Farm, set in a valley where AONB, National Trust and SSSI land meet. Super dark with very limited lighting on site, it is a great place to pitch your tent and take your telescope.
Spot a red squirrel
Surviving only on the Isle of Wight and Brownsea Island, spotting one of the natives is a must! Our woodland can provide habitat for around 3,500 squirrels at their peak so spotting them is not as tricky as you might think, it’s knowing where to look.
One of the best sites for red squirrels on the Island is the Alverstone Mead Nature Reserve complex. This group of reserves, managed by the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, is home to a thriving red squirrel population where you can see them leap from tree to tree from a dedicated squirrel hide. Or try a walk through Parkhurst Forest and look for signs. You can follow the trail and spend a bit of time in the hide to spot this distinct red creature.
Have a go at watersports
Being an island, it’s little wonder that watersports are so popular here. Whether that’s a leisurely paddle, an exploring kayaking trip or a high-adrenaline-fueled spot of kite surfing, there’s plenty to try.
One of the most fun watersports for all the family to enjoy is body boarding. All you need is a small bodyboard which you can pick up at most of the local beach shops. Then head to Compton Bay and get stuck in – the waves here are always fin, with kids playing the shoreline and the more serious surfers paddling out further, it’s a great spot for all abilities.