Camping is one of the best ways to experience the Isle of Wight, and for many families the experience of getting on a ferry (even if it is for only 30 minutes long) makes camping on the Island a true adventure. With over half the Island designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it's an ideal place to camp, explore and get close to nature.
There are two Best of British Holiday Parks on the Isle of Wight offering a great selection of camping and caravan accommodation – The Orchards Holiday Park and Whitefield Forest Touring Park. Both sites offer high quality facilities and suitable for families and dogs.
The Orchards Holiday Park is an award winning holiday park that celebrates the Practical Motorhome/Practical Caravan Top 100 sites overall winner for the second year running! (2015, 2016). They were also awarded The "AA Campsite of the Year" for the SE region for 2015.
Situated in Newbridge on the West of the West of the Island, The Orchards sits in a small rural village and is on the edge of an AONB so there are amazing countryside views from all over the park. The Orchards is only 10 minutes drive from Yarmouth and the Wightlink ferry terminal. An hourly bus service from the entrance of the park to Newport and Yarmouth.
Whitefield Forest Touring Park is situated in a tranquil forest setting just outside of the coastal town of Ryde. They have a mix of grass and all-weather hard standing pitches all with electric hook up and some of which are fully serviced with water and grey waste disposal, ideal for caravans, motorhomes and tents.
The sandy beaches of Ryde and Sandown are close by and the campsite is an ideal base to go off and explore the rest of the Island. There is a good bus route on the main road just outside the site for campers who want to leave the car or motorhome behind for the day.
Most people think that the island is a very small place – but at 25 miles long and 13 miles wide there is an amazing amount of history and things to do. Here’s a few ideas for a day out exploring the Isle of Wight:-
Popular with visitors since Victorian times, the vibrant towns of Cowes and East Cowes make for an interesting and enjoyable day out from the mainland.
Queen Victoria's much loved summer retreat, Osborn House and the historic St Mildred's church at Whippingham are both within easy walking or cycling distance. So Cowes is a good place to base yourself if you are looking to go exploring.
Cowes is situated on the west bank of the Medina River and is the larger of the two towns. There are lots of boutique-style shops, some great places to eat and plenty of pubs. Most of you will have heard of the famous Cowes Week, and although it can rightly claim to be the home of the world's first yacht club and the spiritual home of international yacht racing, there's much more to Cowes than speed and adrenalin.
Take the floating bridge across the river to East Cowes for a small fee, the chain ferry carries foot passengers and up to 20 cars.
On this side of the river you will find the Cowes Classic Boat Museum – a fascinating collection of over 50 sailing and power boats of local and national interest to both family visitors and maritime enthusiasts alike.
For anyone interested in the town’s shipbuilding, aeronautical, royal and wartime past the East Cowes Heritage Centre is worth a visit.
The Needles are one of the Isle of Wight’s most iconic sights. These three white chalk stacks leading up to the Needles Lighthouse are the first thing that many people think of when they hear to words ‘Isle of Wight’. The Needles are more than just a beautiful sight, however. There’s plenty to do here, from the world-famous chairlift and the 4D cinema to the Needles Old Battery and much more.
Today, the Needles are a major draw, bringing thousands every year to the Isle of Wight. The Needles and their surrounds have managed to maintain their natural beauty and grandeur despite also playing host to a number of fantastic family attractions. If you only have the chance to visit one place on the Isle of Wight, make it the Needles.
In the grounds of Godshill Old Vicarage, visitors can be charmed by the beautiful Isle of Wight Model Village. The Model Village is a timeless place to escape the busy world outside and to see two of the Island’s most popular tourist towns in 1/10th scale.
The Model Village is open every day from 10am between the 6 March and the 29 October 2017.
The Isle of Wight zoo has a special interest in big cats, and in Madagascan mammals. Madagascan wildlife is under threat from human activity, so the Isle of Wight Zoo’s breeding programme is extremely important for preserving some of the planet’s most endangered species. The Zoo has been successful in breeding a number of at-risk animals, including the near-extinct Madagascan black-and-white-ruffled lemur.
The Isle of Wight Zoo is open throughout the year, but opening times vary. During the summer, it is usually open from 10am until 5.30pm, but opening hours are shorter during the winter.
Overlooking the stunning south coast of the Island and set in beautiful cliff top gardens, Blackgang Chine is the Isle of Wight’s most entrancing experience. There’s no other park like Blackgang Chine in the United Kingdom! Let your imagination run wild as you venture on a journey of discovery – fighting pirates on board your own ship, discovering the life-size Blackgang Chine dinosaurs or rounding up the outlaws as a sheriff in a Wild Western town.
Filled with an eclectic mix of magical theme worlds and exciting rides – including waterforce water slides, a cliff hanger roller coaster and pirate barrel ride – you’ll find adventures around every corner. Blackgang Chine has rides and attractions for the whole family. It’s a beautiful place too, with artistically designed gardens and plenty of peaceful places for parents to relax while the kids have the time of their lives.
Blackgang Chine is open from 10am until 6pm on most days during the peak season.
Carisbrooke Castle is one of the Isle of Wight’s most fascinating attractions. Its long story includes a murdered king, a ghost princess, mysterious Roman foundations, charismatic donkeys, and much, much more. With over 1000 years of history, panoramic views right over the Island, and plenty to see and do, it will provide a truly memorable family day out.
Today, the Castle is operated by English Heritage, who open it to the public through the spring and summer. Full opening times can be found on their website. Visitors are welcome to relax in the gardens, or climb the Castle battlements and enjoy the views over the Isle of Wight.