The Isle of Wight

Island adventure on the Isle of Wight

In Travel Inspiration, UK by Kirsti

Stand Up Paddleboarding at The Needles
Header photo: Visit Isle of Wight

A hop, skip and jump away from mainland England lies the Isle of Wight. A short ferry ride across the Solent and you will arrive unruffled and ready to start your island adventure. The car ferry is the most popular mode of transport for families travelling to the Isle; simply drive on and switch off. There’s no need for car hire or transfers at the other end: as soon as you drive off, your holiday begins.

Isle of Wight
Photo: Visit Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is an ideal holiday destination year-round, boasting a wealth of attractions along with 57 miles of award-winning coastline. This year alone it’s racked up a total of 17 Blue Flag and seaside awards, more than any other UK destination. Of course the fact that it’s is one of the most southerly points in the UK ,with a milder sub-climate than most other British holiday destinations helps.

Ventnor Down, Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight Council sums the island up perfectly on their website: “From historic sites to natural delights, major international events; the Isle of Wight is a unique holiday destination”
I’ve selected five fantastic attractions to share with you, but this is just a starter to whet your appetite. For more ideas and a complete guide to what’s on, check out Visit Isle of Wight.

1. Seaview Wildlife Encounter

Seaview wildlife park
Photo: Dippy Seaview

I am starting with a truly unique experience at Seaview Wildlife Encounter. Situated on the outskirts of the yachting village of Seaview, with beautiful open parklands and stunning sea views, this Isle of Wight treasure is a big hit with visitors. In fact it’s ranked number one by Trip Advisor out of the island’s 100-odd attractions.

So what makes Seaview Wildlife Encounter such a hit?

Seaview wildlife
Photo: Dippy Seaview

The centre owes its success to the unique experience it delivers – one that consistently captivates visitors. There are nine daily wildlife events which are structured to encourage as much hands-on interaction as possible. There are also bookable personal experiences – two that take my fancy are the meerkat encounter and the penguin encounter.

We all love meerkats and a chance to meet one in person (in animal?) promises to be truly special. You will receive an overview of the meerkat clan, spend time in the enclosure and be given the opportunity to offer your new furry friends some treats. Your guide will also take pictures of you with these cute creatures as a special memento to take home.

Swimming with Dippy the penguin - Sea View Wildlife
Photo: Dippy Seaview

Dippy is a very special penguin – in fact he is something of a celebrity, with his own website and Facebook page. He is currently working on his first book and I am sure Hollywood will come calling in the near future. Dippy is the head Humboldt penguin; taking part in a penguin encounter will not only grant you an understanding of their natural habitats and behaviours but will provide an opportunity to feed the penguins, meet Dippy and have more photos taken. How can you resist the chance to have a picture taken with with such a notorious penguin?

Seaview Wildlife Encounter is just that, a unique encounter with creatures that you don’t usually get the chance to see up close. A trip to the island isn’t complete without a visit to this wonderful attraction.

2. Isle of Wight Adventure Activities

Isle of Wight Adventure Activities
Photo: Isle of Wight Adventure Activities

Next on my list of Isle of Wight attractions is Isle of Wight Adventure Activities. The island is perfect for outdoor adventure and Isle of Wight Adventures provide a plethora of activities to pursue. Whether it is on water, on land or out in the wilds, there is something to suit all tastes and passions.

Surf Kayaking
Photo: Isle of Wight Adventure Activities

Being an island, you are never far away from the beach and ocean. A few of the aquatic activities on offer are kayaking, surfing, stand up paddleboarding and coasteering. All activities are led by highly qualified and experienced instructors, with sessions or one-to-one lessons that cater to all levels.

Back on land, choose from zorbing, archery (which both of my boys love) and mountain boarding. However you like to get your thrills, Isle of Wight Adventures are sure to deliver!

Zorbing with Isle of Wight Adventure
Photo: Isle of Wight Adventure Activities

Out in the wilds and for something a little different there’s the prospect of bushcraft sessions, a great family activity which includes fire building, survival skills and shelter building – it’s a really fun way to spend a few hours together as a family.

From historic sites to natural delights, major international events; the Isle of Wight is a unique holiday destination Isle of Wight council

Staying with adventure, and the Isle of Wight is also the dinosaur capital of Britain. A fossil hunting walk is the perfect opportunity to learn about the island’s natural history. A palaeontologist will share with you the geological history of the island and dispense fascinating facts about the animals that roamed here millions of years ago. This promises to be a captivating experience for all the family.

3. Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Isle of Wight Steam Railway
Photo: Visit Isle of Wight

For something a little more nostalgic, the Isle of Wight Steam Railway supplies a very pleasant blast from the past. What better way to enjoy the stunning countryside than climbing on board one of the Victorian or Edwardian carriages and gliding along the five miles of track behind a vintage steam locomotive?

Havenstreet Station Isle of Wight steam railway
Photo: Jon Curnow

There are four stations along the line where you are welcome to hop on and off to explore at your leisure. Your ticket allows for all day travel so you can really make the most of your journey.

Havensheet is the railway’s focal point, its platform and station buildings dating back to 1926 when the railway was originally built. The souvenir shop is a treasure trove for train enthusiasts and the museum houses many interesting artefacts from yesteryear. There is a viewing gallery in the carriage and wagon workshop and plenty of opportunity to admire the locomotive fleet while they are maintained at Havensheet.

There are varied events throughout the year along with packages to privately charter a train for special occasions or celebrations. Isle of Wight Steam Railway delivers much more than just a train ride.

4. Haven Falconry

Haven Falconary
Photo Haven Falconry

Havenstreet station and the Isle of Wight steam railway brings me nicely to my fourth attraction, Haven Falconry. Paul and Sally Martin founded the falconry many years ago and are passionate about preserving and sharing the art of falconry with future generations. They have an impressive collection of owls, falcons, eagles and white doves which, during operating days at Havenstreet Station, take part in two flying displays and a static display every Wednesday and Sunday when there are opportunities to hold one of these majestic creatures.
From the station you can also take part in more personal encounters with The Bird of Prey experience, Take a ‘Hawk Walk’ and savour the Owl Encounter. The focus of all three of these experiences is on you and the bird: walking in the beautiful surrounding countryside and learning how to handle and fly the hawks or learning about the various breeds of owl and how they fly under the watchful eye of the expert falconers.
There are many other ways that you can enjoy the birds of Haven Falconry, from varied events throughout the year and private displays to children’s birthday parties.

5. Fort Victoria’s Aquarium

Spider Weed crab
Photo: Fort Victoria Country Park

From birdlife to sealife at Fort Victoria’s Aquarium. Fort Victoria is located on the north shore of the Isle of Wight and was originally built to guard the Solent. Nowadays it houses the marine aquarium, an underwater archaeology centre, a planetarium and a model railway. If that’s not enough to keep you going, the fort is surrounded by country parkland where you can enjoy woodland and seashore walks.

Fort Victoria Aquarium
Photo: Fort Victoria Country Park

The aquarium’s focus is mostly on native fish; I am told that visitors are often surprised at the breadth of species that are found around the Isle of Wight. Local species include pipefish, colour changing cuttlefish, spider crabs and graceful rays. The aquarium is also home to some more exotic species – a popular inhabitant these days is the clownfish. Dogs are welcome at the aquarium, so if you’ve brought your pooch along he is welcome to join in with the fishy fun!

That sadly brings me to an end, but there is so much more to do on the Isle of Wight; I’ve not even touched on festivals! I’ll leave it to you to discover its other delights on your island adventure – wherever you may roam, I’m positive you won’t be disappointed.

Adventures on the Isle of Wight

Visit Isle of Wight  Seaview Wildlife  Isle of Wight Adventure  Isle of Wight Steam Railway  Haven Falconry  Isle of Wight Aquarium

Island adventures

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Kirsti Banyard lives in Hampshire and loves nothing more than spending time with her two sons and husband whether exploring Cornwall or perhaps further afield to enjoying a roast meal on a Sunday.



KirstiIsland adventure on the Isle of Wight