Plan your

Tour of Britain visit

Tour of Britain - a family weekend itinerary

The biggest professional cycling event in the UK, the Tour of Britain, comes to the Isle of Wight on Sunday, 11 September. The final stage of the Tour will start in Ryde and work its way around the Island, with the finish line right by the IOW’s most iconic landmark, The Needles.

If you’re interested in watching some of the world’s best cyclists compete at the peak of their game, then you may be considering a visit to the Island to catch Stage Eight as it unfolds. To really make the most of the Isle of Wight, though, we’d recommend making a weekend of it, so below we’ve put together an example itinerary some of the things you could squeeze into a Friday to Sunday stay.

Your family-friendly weekend itinerary

  • Friday, 9 - Sunday, 11 September

  • Portsmouth - Fishbourne

  • East Wight

By taking a weekend break on the Isle of Wight, not only will you have the chance to watch the final Stage of the Tour, you’ll also have time to visit some of the Island’s famous landmarks, relax on one of its many glorious, sandy beaches and maybe even do a bit of cycling of your own.

We recommend using the East of the Island as a base for your weekend away. Around Bembridge, Sandown and Shanklin, you’ll find an excellent selection of places to stay and things to do but, on top of that, you’ll be within easy reach of the Stage Eight cycling route on the Sunday.

Book your accommodation as early as you can to guarantee your room. Away Resorts’ Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park in Bembridge is a great family-friendly place to stay – take your pick from quirky caravans, luxury lodges, chic chalets and pitches for your own traditional tent.

Day one - explore Bembridge and grab some dinner

To make the most of the Friday evening on the Island, book the earliest ferry you can on the Friday. We have ferries running every 40 minutes in the daytime on our Portsmouth – Fishbourne route, so picking the right one for you should be easy.

Depending on which ferry you catch, you may have time to explore the beautiful village of Bembridge before the sun goes down. The village’s harbour is about as picturesque as it gets and Bembridge Windmill, the only surviving windmill on the Island, is well worth a visit, if only for the photographs.

Dinner will be high on the agenda and you won’t be short of options within Bembridge. Fox’s Restaurant, only a few minutes’ walk from the harbour, is a popular choice – they have an extensive menu of delicious dishes and cater for children as well.

After that, it’s back to Whitecliff Bay to catch some shut eye ahead of a busy Saturday.

Day two - fun in Sandown

You’re free to make Saturday as relaxing or as jam-packed as you like, but we definitely recommend nipping down the road from Bembridge to Sandown, one of the Island’s most well-known seaside resorts.

As a popular holiday destination throughout the summer, the town is full to the brim with family-friendly things to do and places to see.

If you have an animal lover in the family, Wildheart Animal Sanctuary is a great place to start the day. Formerly known as Isle of Wight Zoo, the sanctuary is a family-run wildlife haven that specialises in looking after big cats and Madagascan animals.

If, in true Tour of Britain style, you’ve brought your bicycles along to the Island with you, there’s a great cycle route that you can start from Sandown that is perfect for a family ride. With easy terrain and only a five mile distance, the route should only take around half an hour to complete and there are some great places to stop off for a bite to eat and something to drink.

Then it’s time for the beach! The warm weather should still be lingering in early September and Sandown is home to one of the best stretches of beach on the Island. Long, sandy and lined with all the amenities you could ever want – from ice cream parlours to amusement arcades – you’ll easily while away the hours.

Before you know it, it’ll be time to grab some dinner and head back to your accommodation, ready for the big Tour of Britain day in the morning.

Tour of Britain 2022 on the Isle of Wight

Find out more about the Stage Eight of the Tour of Britain, which is taking place on the glorious Isle of Wight. Discover route information, some history about the UK’s most prestigious professional cycling race and details of how to get across the Solent to the Island.

Discover the Tour of Britain
Cycling on Military Road, Isle of Wight
Day three - take in The Tour

It’s the final but most important day of your long weekend away – Tour of Britain day!

It’s worth getting up early so you can settle in a good spot to catch the cyclists. Sandown is a great location to watch the race as it winds down from its starting point in Ryde and along the north east coast of the Island.

Once again, head for the Wildheart Animal Sanctuary, as the riders will pass along the main road to its front, adjacent to the sea. You’ll witness the race kicking into gear in this section, as breakaway riders attempt to build a gap in front of the main peloton.

Unfortunately, the cyclists will pass through Sandown pretty quickly but the nature of the Island, and the route the Tour takes, means you’ll be able to catch the race as it enters its latter stages only a few minutes down the road in Shanklin Old Village. You’ll even have time to grab some food before making a move as the cyclists will have to cross the entire width of the Island and back before they return to the east coast.

There will be a definite urgency as the riders whizz through Shanklin Old Village because they’ll be building up as much speed as possible before hitting the south coast of the Island, home to the final straight towards The Needles.

After they’ve passed through, you may want to head into a local pub – there are plenty of options within Shanklin – to watch the final few miles of the race unfold on TV. Or you may just want to explore the village – one of the Island’s most picturesque locations, there are plenty of quirky shops, eateries and landmarks to visit, Shanklin Chine being one of the most popular.

If there’s time left in your day, there’s still plenty of activities in Sandown left to tick off the list. Dinosaur Isle, a museum dedicated to all things dino, is great fun for any Jurassic fans in the family. Sandham Gardens is full of things to do for the kids, too, including crazy golf, go-karting and skateboarding.

Once the children have been tired out, it’s back to Fishbourne for the ferry home. Make sure to pick up a locally-sourced bite to eat at the port and book in your next visit to the Island while you’re at it!