A family walking across a sandy beach with the sun and a pier in the background, Isle of Wight

Top summer family experiences on the Isle of Wight

Make family memories to last a lifetime on the Isle of Wight this summer. With attractions galore, long sandy beaches, dinosaur fossils and the best ice cream EVER, your children will thank you for years to come.

A woman and a girl on a sandy beach at Shanklin, Isle of Wight, with a pier in the background

Time at the beach

57 miles of coastline means the Isle of Wight has beaches for everything you could possibly want. Sandy beaches for all the family, beaches perfect for learning (or excelling at) watersports, dog-friendly beaches and some of the most famous coloured sands in the country.

For a traditional family experience, you can’t beat Shanklin and Sandown. Wide sandy beaches lend themselves perfectly to a bit of bucket and spade fun, while the promenades are lined with cafes, souvenir shops, ice cream parlours and arcades.

A boy dressed as a cowboy outside a wooden shop at Blackgang Chine, Isle of Wight

A day at Blackgang Chine

Got a whole day to spare? Then head over to Blackgang Chine – the UK’s oldest theme park.

You can walk the dinosaur trail, search for your favourite characters in Nurseryland, enjoy a cowboy adventure, explore the Crooked House and reflect on life in the Hall of Mirrors. Blackgang has plenty of great rides and slides, including the Waterforce and the Cliffhanger rollercoaster. During the school summer holidays you’ll find daily shows and roaming characters.

 

A fountain in front of a sandstone-coloured building, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight

Visit Osborne

With nine children to entertain, Queen Victoria practically invented the family holiday, right here on the Isle of Wight. And her former home at Osborne has kept up the tradition splendidly. Younger children will marvel at the Swiss Cottage, the ultimate playhouse, built to small scale by Prince Albert so his children could learn how to garden and cook and run a home. It also has its own museum packed with curios to interest every young mind.

Then there’s Queen Victoria’s beach where you can sample some Minghella Ice Cream and picnic on the same sands where she’d watch her children play while she sketched. You can go inside her personal bathing machine and watch a traditional Punch and Judy show.

Child descending a tree with Goodleaf Tree Climbing, Isle of Wight

Climb a tree

Join Goodleaf Tree Climbing to climb a beautiful, mature oak tree and create amazing memories in the historic Appley Park in Ryde. With experienced staff on hand to help, Goodleaf offers families a fantastic day out in stunning, natural surroundings with panoramic views. There are even some treetop hammocks to stop and admire the views!

The tree is about 15 metres high and you’ll use rope and harness to climb it – meaning this experience is suitable for children aged eight and above.

Dinosaur footprint on the Isle of Wight

Discover dinosaurs

The Isle of Wight is one of ‘richest source of dinosaur remains in Europe’. Head to Compton Bay or Yaverland for your best chances of finding some fossils with the family.

And, if your young explorers don’t strike lucky this time, whisk them along west to Hanover Point where they can ‘discover’ huge fossilised foot casts preserved in the rocks on the beach.

After that, explore Dinosaur Isle and find out everything you need to know about the magnificent creatures that once walked the Island. The museum is the perfect stop if there are any breaks in the sunshine too!

Two young girls sitting on a grassy hillside overlooking The Needles rock formation on The Isle of Wight
Photography James Bridle, www.FestivalPhotography.co.uk

Marvel at The Needles

There are plenty of natural beauty spots on the Isle of Wight but perhaps none more famous than The Needles. These chalk rocks rise majestically from the sea; once part of the headland, they were separated due to erosion. Possibly the most photographed rocks in the UK, a visit is a must.

For unique and breathtaking views, take the beach chairlift down to Alum Bay – it’s such an amazing experience for families. You’ll find it at The Needles Landmark Attraction alongside a sweet factory, a jeep safari and sand shop – where you can take home 21 shades of the sand of the bay.

A family walking through the Isle of Wight Festival

Have fun at a festival

No matter the time of year, there is always something on, but the Island’s events scene is in full swing during the summer months.

Family-friendly music festivals sit alongside country shows and carnivals, local live music is played in most pubs and there are plenty of unique events for the whole family.

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