With a sailing time of 15 from the mainland for foot passengers, and under an hour for those travelling with a vehicle, a weekend in Isle of Wight is closer than you think.
Brimming with retro charm, it was clear as soon as our car rolled away from the Red Funnel Ferry onto the cobbled streets of Cowes that very little had changed in this peaceful corner of England since my last visit in 1998 as an excited teenager about to embark on her 1st DofE Expedition.
This time though the car was filled with two excited youngsters of my own!
A Weekend in the Isle of Wight with kids
We sailed across for our weekend in the Isle of Wight aboard a Red Funnel ferry . Thanks to a crossing time of around 55minutes, and mini break friendly sailing times, Red Funnel are an excellent choice for a short break to the island.
Check-in and embarkation was reassuringly straightforward, and before we knew it were were feeling the wind it our hair as our ferry sailed along the glistening Solent waters towards our home for the weekend.
With on 48 hours on the Isle of Wight both location and amenities are important when booking somewhere to stay.
With this trip just a weekend in the Isle of Wight kids we opted for a stay on the Orchards Holiday Park in Newbridge. Being only a 30 minute drive from the ferry meant we were checked in and unpacked ready for dinner from the onsite take-away around 8pm, plus the onsite heated pools (both indoor and outdoor) and children’s play areas gave the kids something to do while we had a little down time late Saturday afternoon before dinner.
With just 48 hours to fill on your weekend in the Isle of Wight, you need to be mindful of how much you plan to do. The island is fairly small (you can drive from one side to the other in around an hour), however, as with all mini-breaks, it’s important to scedule in some down time as well as lots of sightseeing.
The Needles – The perfect way to fill your Saturday. These huge stacks of rock, which lie off the western point of the Island, area sight to behold. Originally they made up part of the cliffs but, over time, coastal erosion has separated them from the headland, leaving the views we know and love today.
Take the chairlift down to Alum Bay for the best views of The Needles, and then after spending some time on the beach, hop on-board with Needles Pleasure Cruises and take a trip out on the water to get a better look at the rocks, lighthouse and panoramic views of the cliffs. Once you are back on dry land then a walk to The Old Battery is a great way to see the coastline from above if you are feeling energetic.
Beach Road Trip – This is a wonderful relaxing way to spend your Sunday morning. Starting at Shanklin Beach for an early morning walk and coffee, drive East from there to see the beautiful coastline unfold ahead of you as you pass Sandown on the way to Ryde. Arriving in Ryde ready for lunch, you can treat yourself to Fish and Chips from The Cod Father (I LOVE a good Fish Shop pun) and sit on the benches across the street overlooking the sea.
“It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot” said Queen Victoria of Osborne House – and I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to end a weekend on the Isle of Wight with kids. Just minutes from the Cowes ferry port, this fascinating stately home is an intimate glimpse of royal family life.
Entrance is free for English Heritage members (tickets start from £9.60 for non-members)
On a rainy days the rooms and corridors are full of ornate furnishings and artefacts from The Royal Collection to keep you busy, and when the sun comes out walk down to Queen Victoria’s private beach to enjoy the magnificent views out to sea – the perfect place to watch the sun set on your weekend in the Isle of Wight before catching your ferry back to the mainland.
A Weekend in the Isle of Wight with kids is a partnered post – all views are my own.