London Mums go to the Isle of Wight

I recently spent a weekend at the Isle of Wight with my family. It’s my third time there … I have fallen in love with this amazing British island which has so much to offer including crystal clear waters (which is quite a rarity in the UK).

The Isle of Wight is only 2 hours (door to door) from South West London.

Wightlink ferry routes connect directly with Portsmouth. The weather is generally better on the island than in London. If you are not bringing the car with you, once ashore you can use the Island’s efficient network of buses. However with kids it is better to have a car. It is a destination which is not promoted very much but it is absolutely ideal for families.

First of all there is a lot of space for the children, the unspoilt scenery is stunning and the landscape very varied (rocky, sandy beaches, high hills, white cliffs), and the ferry trip alone is excellent. The holiday mood kicks in right there …

To be perfectly honest the Isle of Wight has something for everyone not just for families: from historic sites (the Castle is fantastic and the view from its hill is incredible) to natural delights, music festivals and major national events (there are a lots of meetings of Harley Davidson or Piaggio scooters drivers all the time, which are fantastic to photograph).


The Steam Railway – together with the Needles Park, this is the most evocative attraction on the island especially for little (and not so little) Thomas the Tank fans.

The Needles Park – The Island’s most famous and best value attraction for all the family. Very suggestive coloured sand cliffs overlook the Isle of Wight’s most famous landmark – The Needles Rocks and Lighthouse. The Needles Park offers a range of attractions including the spectacular chairlift to the beach, Alum Bay Glass and Sweet Manufactors

Other great must-dos: Blackgang Chine, Carisbrooke Castle, Sandown sandy beach, Dinosaur Isle, Dimbola Lodge & Amazon World.

The Isle of Wight has a whole host of places to explore, come rain or shine, from fun-packed theme parks to Queen Victoria’s favourite retreat – Osborne house.

Attraction park Blackgang Chine is really unmissable particularly for its location: in fact it is set in 40 acres of cliff-top gardens and has very entertaining activities for families, such as a Haunted Mansion, an exciting cliff-hanging roller coaster, Dinosaurland & Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Try the High Speed Water-Shoot Ride! Also visit Rumpus Mansion, the Wild West Town, Dinosaurland, Nurseryland, a Maze, the Gardens, a Smugglers Ship, a Pirate Adventure Fort and Animated Indoor Shows – so much to see and do! Don’t miss WaterForce – the Ultimate High Speed Boat Ride! Over 300ft of pure exhilaration and adrenaline at speeds of up to 40km/hr. In July the Wednesdays have long nights as it is pirates day. The pirates theme is everywhere at the Isle of Wight like in Cornwall.

USEFUL LINKS: this website includes EVERYTHING you need to know about the Isle of Wight.

If you miss a sailing, Wightlink are usually quite flexible and will fit you on the next sailing possible.

West Bay Club

I can’t recommend highly enough a stay in the Yarmouth area, located on the western side of the Island. This is the prettiest part of the island. The Harbour attracts many yachts and motor cruisers which take advantage of the estuary afforded by the River Yar.

The West Bay Country Club has an indoor 20 metre heated swimming pool, fully equipped gym, sauna/steam room, children’s daily activities, adult exercise classes, racket sports etc. Also onsite there is a very good Brasserie restaurant and a Spa.

The cottages are self catering and brand new. I have never stayed in a newer cottage before! They are very comfortable and spacious. And there are lots of organised activities for both parents and children of all ages.

THE CONS: There aren’t many.

Plan your journey in advance – this will save you some disappointment in the food department! Fish and chips is great everywhere as the fish is always fresh.

Sometimes there is no mobile reception on the hills (maybe not a bad thing after all!). Check with venues and attractions before leaving because the prizes are not always up-to-date online. In early June at 5pm all attractions close so you need to get very well organised to go to at least one attraction in a day. Depending on where and when you go you might find it difficult to park your car right on the beach. We guessed that during the summer it would be impossible.

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