Appley Tower in Ryde in the autumn

Top Isle of Wight experiences this Autumn

The Isle of Wight is a great place to visit in the Autumn. The countryside transforms from green to reds, russets and golds so it’s the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors or stop in a cosy pub with a view. So start planning your autumn break itinerary with our handy guide to the top things to do…

A couple standing on a grassy hill overlooking the coast of the Isle of Wight

Leaf Peeping

Autumn is the perfect time to strap on your walking boots and explore our wonderful woodlands. With trees turning from green to gilded gold, when the sun shines through the canopy and bathes the woodland in its warm light you could easily think you’re in a Hallmark movie with scenery that rivals that of New England.

Parkhurst Forest and Brighstone Forest are two particularly beautiful spots to see the autumn leaves, and with trails winding through the whole forest you can easily while away a couple of hours. Parkhurst Forest is a family favourite. Thanks to many ‘made’ pathways it has accessible routes so the whole family can enjoy the outdoors.

Kicking up piles of fallen foliage is always great fun and the wooded area is a joy to explore as you wind your way through the trees. If taking little ones, pretending to go on a Gruffalo hunt will get their imaginations running wild! Collect fallen leaves to take home for leaf rubbing and autumnal collages… a great gift for grandparents.

You may even be lucky enough to see a famous Island resident, the red squirrel, scurrying around the forest floor burying nuts for the winter season. They may be harder to spot at this time of year as their russet-coloured fur perfectly blends with the changing foliage.  If it’s not too chilly, pack a picnic and stop off at one of the many benches and clearings and listen to the birdsong as you dine in nature.

A brown and white dog carrying a ball on Appley Beach Isle of Wight

Treat the dog

Autumn and winter gives us more dog-friendly beaches across the Island. Even though there are designated pooch-friendly beaches throughout the year, even more open up to your four-legged pal in the cooler months.

There’s nothing quite like a soggy doggy diving in and out of the surf and getting sandy fur, the pure enjoyment on their faces. Beaches such as Appley in Ryde and Compton towards the west of the Island are wonderfully long and sandy so you can enjoy the stroll as much as Fido. Remember to leave nothing behind but footprints and clean up after yourself and your dog.

Echiums at Ventnor Botanic Garden

Get tropical

Ventnor Botanic Garden is sheltered by the Niton Undercliff so plants grow here that won’t grow outdoors anywhere else in the UK due to its unique microclimate. The garden is split into sections dedicated to various countries from around the globe.

Watch how the different plants thrive in Autumn; from the evergreen trees in the Australia garden that keep a youthful, green look to the deciduous trees in the Americas where they have the richest autumnal colour palette. If the sun shines, sit on the terrace with a cup of tea and slice of cake overlooking the majestic beauty of this ‘hot’ spot.

A woman wearing a jumper at a pub with a plate of food in front of her with a dog looking at the food

A walk to the pub

What’s better than a bracing, blustery walk and stopping off at a local pub to warm up by the fire with hearty food and a pint of local beer? With footpaths taking you all around the Island’s coastline and even more winding throughout the centre of the Island, passing through chocolate box villages and bustling towns, you’re never too far from a great pub.

The coastal path from Brighstone to Niton (running alongside the famous Military Road) is around four miles. With The Wight Mouse in Chale enroute, along with two more pubs in Niton at the finish line (The White Lion and The Buddle Inn), your only problem will be choosing which one to stop at.

A steam train passing through the countryside on the Isle of Wight

Steam through the countryside

There’s nothing quite like taking a steam train through unspoiled countryside, passing fields and wooded areas ablaze in a multitude of autumnal reds, yellows, oranges and browns.

You’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, which is open most weekends in autumn. Relax in the beautifully restored Victorian and Edwardian carriages, with gleaming brass handles and vintage droplight windows, and admire the view.

A cheese souffle at a restaurant, pictured with a white plate and tablecloth, made from Isle of Wight Gallybagger cheese

Indulge in local delicacies

With an abundance of seasonal food from the field, farm, and sea you can sample what the Island has to offer at the brilliant local restaurants. The Isle of Wight is famous for its tomatoes and garlic – you can find these on many a menu nationwide – and autumn favourites such as squash and pumpkin, as well as local cheese and game, feature in Island restaurant dishes around this time.

If you’re staying in self-catering accommodation you can make your own take on the famous dishes – there are a wealth of local farm shops dotted around the Island including Harvey Browns Food Hall in the Arreton Valley and Briddlesford Farm near Wootton.

Get on your bike

According to Lonely Planet, the Isle of Wight is a ‘cyclist’s paradise’ and the world’s top place to go for a spin. Here’s what they said: “Home to some of the UK’s most varied terrain: lush velvet hills rolling into the sea, narrow lanes through tidy hedgerows, deep and mysterious green gullies, and the island’s most striking feature, the ridge of white chalk cliffs stretching across its breadth.” Our 200 miles of cycle routes are open every day.

And with numerous businesses now catering for your every cycling whim; from hiring bikes, to providing free maps and ideas for rides, to foodie pitstops on popular routes, there’s no excuse not to go for a spin.

Donkeys at Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary

Hang out with donkeys

A few of the larger attractions close in the winter months but the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary welcomes visitors all year round and what’s more, it is completely free to enter (donations are welcome though as the money goes towards keeping the donkeys fed and warm). Lace up those boots and wander the walkways through the paddock.

Escape the winds and give rosy cheeks a rest while you pop in to the barns and give one of the rescued donkeys a well-deserved scratch behind the ear. If there’s a little autumn sun, why not stop for a picnic? There’s a pretty clearing to the side of the paddocks with a few benches to enjoy a sandwich. If the rain sets in or it’s simply too chilly, the café is a great pitstop and with a mezzanine deck there’s plenty of seating.

Donkeys are worth a visit all year round, not just in the autumn, so why not give the gift that keeps on giving by adopting a donkey? Packages start at just £25 a year and you can pick your favourite member of the herd.

Aerial view of Quarr Abbey, Ryde, Isle of Wight

Visit a monastery

Just a five-minute drive from our Fishbourne port is Quarr Abbey. A working benedictine monastery, the grounds are open to the public and it is free to enter. Park in the onsite car park and make your way towards the chapel. En route, you’ll see pens to the side of the path which are home to a collection of adorable pigs. During spring you’ll get to see newborn piglets, but no matter the age these porcine beauties enjoy a scratch to say hello (if you hit the right spot they’re almost dog-like and push into your hand).

Take in the pretty surroundings as you discover the woodland walk, art gallery and farm shop. Pay your respects at the chapel, you may see a Monk at prayer. Quarr Abbey is also the ideal place to pick up a few gifts or foodie treats. The onsite farm shop is filled to the rafters, so you can give someone a real taste of the Isle of Wight .

An aerial shot of a coastal nature reserve - Newtown Nature Reserve Isle of Wight

Visit a nature reserve

Much of the Isle of Isle of Wight is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the National Trust has a whole host of places you can visit, some at no cost at all. The Island is lucky enough to have a few nature reserves and Newtown National Nature Reserve is a jewel in the crown.

Due to its estuary location, Newtown Creek can get a little blustery in the winter months and soggy underfoot (some of the pathways are through fields so on wet days they are not ideal for those with accessibility needs). Pull on those wellies and layer up… don’t forget the binoculars and a flask of tea. Head to the bird hides and huddle up as you peer through your scopes to see the familiar flash of green from a teal duck or the striking legs of a redshank. There are also a few regular visiting harbour seals who may show their big brown eyes as they break through the chilly grey water.

ℹ️ Visiting at a different time of year? Find out what else you can do during your time on the Isle of Wight on our Things to Do web pages.

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