You may not be able go on an activity holiday at the moment, but there’s plenty of adventure to be had in a day on the Isle of Wight.
Hop on two wheels
If you’re into cycling, hop on two wheels and you’ll soon discover why it’s called the Bicycle Island. One of just seven destinations awarded UNESCO Biosphere Status, the Isle of Wight is recognised for its unspoiled landscape, thriving wildlife and sparkling blue waters – and travelling on two wheels is the perfect way to get up close.
With around 200 miles of cycle routes, you can take your pick from leisurely paths to challenging tracks to experience it all, at your own pace.
For a great sightseeing route, hit the nine-mile ride through Newport, East Cowes and past the grand Osborne estate. Part of the Red Squirrel Trail (a 23-mile ride in total) the route tours stunning countryside, verdant woodland, picturesque farmland and boasts breath-taking views of the coast and Medina River. You may even spot one of the Isle of Wight’s native Red Squirrels en route!
The Round the Island Cycle Route is likely one of the most ridden Sustrans cycle routes in the UK; its beautiful scenery and interesting roads make for a fantastic bike ride. However, if you fancy something a little bit more challenging, try Tim Wiggins’s ‘Wight Knuckle Round the Island Route’. At 80 miles long, and with 2,000+ metres of climbing, it is a challenging ride for any cycling enthusiast – not for the faint-hearted. Head over to our Wightlink Explorer for more routes and downloadable maps.
Adventures on the water
The Isle of Wight has 57 miles of coastline with sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs, tranquil coves and 67 miles of coastal path from which to enjoy them.
Check the weather, check the tides, then grab your costume or your wetsuit and just jump in for some superb open water swimming. Sandown, Shanklin, Seagrove and Springvale beaches have all won clean water awards in recent years.
If you’d rather release your inner surf dude you’ve come to the right place – the Island has some of the UK’s most consistent waves (hello Compton Bay). A rugged bay lined with cliffs concealing prehistoric treasures, Compton and the west coast of the Island is the perfect place to feel at one with nature, the power of the water and the force of the elements.
As well as the sheltered bays, the Island also boasts several winding rivers perfect for stand-up paddle boarding. Lazily make your way down the River Yar on the west side of the Island, or paddle down the River Medina to the very centre of the Isle of Wight.
Walking and hiking
If you prefer life on foot, blow off the cobwebs along more than 500 miles of public footpaths – not bad for a place that’s only 23 miles by 13 in size!
You can walk round the entire coast, taking anything from 24 hours (if you are super-fit and want to walk 24/7!) to a whole week, but four or five days is the amount of time most experts think you need to allow for.
Or go walking with dinosaurs – the Isle of Wight is one of Europe’s top dinosaur discovery spots – or with gangsters; the Jail Trail takes you to Parkhurst Prison, former home to the notorious Kray Twins, as well as Carisbrooke Castle, in which King Charles 1 was incarcerated before being sentenced to death.
Savour some spectacular views and learn more about the story of the real War Horse on the Warrior Trail, a six-mile circular walk. It celebrates General Jack Seely and his steed, Warrior, dubbed the ‘horse the Germans could not kill’ after he survived some of the First World War’s bloodiest conflicts. The trail follows much of the route where Warrior was once exercised, running from Carisbrooke Castle to the beach at Brook Bay, where he learned to confront the dangers of battle in the surf there.
The Tennyson Trail is one of the island’s best-loved walks, a 14-miler from Carisbrooke to The Needles and partly follows the route of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s daily stroll, which inspired some of his best-loved poems.
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