7 reasons to visit the Isle of Wight in 2023

If galloping across empty beaches, tramping across cliff tops and hunting for dinosaur fossils appeal, then the Isle of Wight is calling you…

Team Wanderlust
15 December 2022
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Isle Of Wight Travel

1. Feel miles from home in just a few hours

The mainland feels a long way away when you’re hurtling barefoot into the sea, yet the Isle of Wight is just 10 minutes by hovercraft from Britain.

But those 10 minutes make all the difference. As the UK’s sunniest destination, the southern isle feels far enough away for a sense of adventure and close enough to be convenient. It’s actually only 1.9km away – that’s 38 laps of an Olympic pool – but if the annual Solent Swim doesn’t appeal, take a ferry from Portsmouth, Southampton or Lymington to Ryde, Cowes, East Cowes, Fishbourne and Yarmouth on the isle.

On an escape from the capital, you can finish work at 6pm, hop on a train from Waterloo and be sipping sundowners on a sandy beach by 9pm.

2. Start your adventure as soon as you get off the ferry

With hidden caves and miles of cycle tracks, footpaths and bridleways, the Isle of Wight is made for outdoor adventures. Nothing beats feeling sea spray on your lips as you canter across sand on a horse or explore country lanes on two wheels. The 104km hilly Round the Island circuit takes experienced cyclists six hours. You could also complete it over several days with a pitstop at Adgestone Vineyard to enjoy wine tasting. Fit hikers meanwhile can loop the Island in 27 hours on a 109km coastal path, but why rush? Take your time and personalise your adventure by building in stops along the way. Alternatively, just pick one section; Brighstone to Niton is a particularly beautiful stretch across cliff tops.

Once you’ve explored on land, take to the water on a paddleboard, kayak or sail boat, or try surfing and kiteboarding.

3. Slow down and spend time in nature

More than half of the Isle of Wight is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so losing yourself in the countryside is one of the delights of exploring the isle. Clear your mind of emails and family commitments and make time for yourself as you discover the Island’s natural beauty. Its unspoilt landscape thrives with wildlife, from grazing sheep to birds flitting across mud flats and dragonflies buzzing between wildflowers carpeting chalky cliffs. No wonder the Island is just one of seven UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in the UK. 

Pack a picnic, relax in the great outdoors and you may spot eagles while hiking Tennyson Down, red squirrels on a woodland walk to Clamerkin Brook or osprey flying over the creek at the National Trust’s Newtown National Nature Reserve, low lying marshland between Yarmouth and Cowes.

4. Get a taste of local Island hospitality

Limestone cliffs, fresh sea air and an abundance of sunlight enriches the Island’s soil, resulting in nutritious local produce. This, coupled with space for animals to roam and the Island’s proximity to the sea, makes the Isle of Wight a foodie destination.

Sample Island ale over a Sunday roast in a pub, meet friendly cheese, chutney and rapeseed oil producers at a farmers market or dine on catch of the day at Aquitania, a Bib Gourmand restaurant in Seaview. Whatever you do, don’t leave without visiting The Garlic Farm, where you can stock up on black garlic mayonnaise in its deli and try the best garlic bread you’ll likely ever taste in its restaurant. As for dessert? Well, you can’t not try the black garlic ice cream.

5. Discover fascinating landmarks

The Island’s most recognisable landmark, the Needles, are scattered off the Isle of Wight’s most western tip. A candy cane lighthouse warns ships away from the jagged slabs of chalk, which jut out of the sea like shark’s teeth. But for a closer look, circumnavigate them in a speedboat or take the Needles’ chairlift across Alum Bay.

St Catherine’s lighthouse marks the Island’s most southern tip. In between you’ll find the Tennyson Monument, a marble Celtic cross built on the site of a beacon that once warned locals of impending invasion. Erected in 1897, the memorial honours the local Victorian Poet Laureate Lord Alfred Tennyson. It stands on the down’s highest point, a gorse covered ridge with views of the sea glittering into the horizon.

Amble further south and you’ll come to another landmark, the Longstone at Mottistone. The four-metre high sandstone pillar once marked the entrance to a 6,000-year-old burial chamber.

6. Hunt for fossils

Glance at a map and it’s not difficult to imagine that the Isle of Wight was once part of the mainland before it became a loose jigsaw piece separated by the Solent. It was also connected to mainland Europe, back when dinosaurs roamed the land – 120 million years ago.

Together with Dorset and East Devon’s coastline – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Island is one of the richest places in Europe for prehistoric remains. More than 25 species roamed what we now call the Isle of Wight, and if you look closely, you’ll discover dinosaur footprints at low tide and bones hidden inside crumbling rocks.

7. Find your home from home

Considering its size, the Isle of Wight offers a surprising variety of places to stay, from cosy cottages in Shanklin to a converted helicopter or submarine near Newport. If you want to stay close to nature, bed down in a safari tent nestled in a meadow on the River Yar with Glamping the Wight Way. You can also book a tree house at Woodside Bay Lodge Retreat near Fishbourne or sleep in Harbour Houseboat in Bembridge Harbour, which comes with a telescope for stargazing.

On a budget? Then opt to camp or sleep in a sustainable cabin or family-friendly holiday park. If you’d like to splurge, book a room at a stylish hotel or grand house such as Hillside, an 18th century thatched country hotel in Ventnor. You’ll feel miles from home, even if you’re just a ferry jaunt away from it.

What are you waiting for? 

For more information and to start planning your dream journey to the Isle of Wight, head over to the official website.


What are you waiting for? 

For more information and to start planning your dream journey to the Isle of Wight, head over to the official website.


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