7 Family Days on the Isle of Wight
By Ben Farrelly
Fancy recapturing your childhood in one long lovely day? A fantastic excuse to do this is to get yourself and your family over to Blackgang and the most southern tip of the island and enjoy a day in the UK's oldest theme park. Cowboy towns, smugglers, life-like dinosaurs, haunted mansions and fairy villages and castles are just the beginning of your trip down memory lane when you enter this theme park, its biggest selling point being its charm and character it is easy to spend the full day watching the children immerse themselves whilst you yourself are titillated by the bottomless eccentricity of the surroundings. Age is no barrier at Blackgang Chine and there are an abundance of things to do for everybody, all this with the breath-taking backdrop of Military Road and the beautiful Compton Bay leading all the way up to the Cliffs of Alum Bay.
A Day In Ventnor
After such a full day in Blackgang Chine it's time to kick back a little. Ventnor is a beautiful fishing town carved into a cliff on the Eastern side of the island. Surrounded by beautiful views of the Channel, Ventnor boasts its own micro climate and is a food hamlet that easily competes with many along the Mediterranean. A long day can be spent in Ventnor enjoying the beach as well as exploring the Botanical gardens. The crab on chips served at the Ventnor Fish Haven on the seafront is a must and a cheeky local ale from the Spy Glass Inn is a little treat. If you are feeling fit and athletic a tough walk to the top of St Boniface Down will give you some of the most breath-taking views on the island from its highest point, and I can assure you the walk back down is a lot easier on the legs. Also keep your eyes open for those wall lizards, they have made Ventnor their home and are very popular with the residents.
If you fancy giving the kids a fun filled and exhausting day then Robin Hill is the perfect destination. It's a beautiful environment crammed with adventures for the children and of course the young at heart. Robin Hill is a theme park with a twist, built on an ethos that compliments its countryside setting it provides an old school method of entertainment. Child friendly assault courses, mixing with wildlife as well as thrilling toboggan runs and 3D cinemas are all on the agenda. There is more than enough to keep the whole family occupied for the day and the setting and clean environment all add to the experience.
Spend the afternoon pottering around one of the prettiest little villages you will ever see. Why not start your visit with a fantastic and affordable meal in either the Taverners pub or the The Essex restaurant, we cannot recommend these establishments enough and the food on offer is at an incredible standard. After enjoying your lunch, burn it off with a short stroll up to the picturesque All Saints Church that stands proudly overlooking the thatched village. Then it's time to have some fun with the children by visiting the Miniature Village and Model Railway, remember to take some time to spot the hidden away humour that can be found within both. Finish the day exploring the shops in the back alleys and of course purchasing a tipple or two from the popular Cider Barn.
Osborne House is a must for any visitor on the Island. The beloved home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert she was quoted as saying "It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot". Rich in history and sentiment the home was one of the true royal romances that graced our kingdom. Once you see and experience the house and its incredible gardens it's easy to understand why they loved their home on the island so much. Enjoy just a little bit of the life, one of history's greatest romances shared at Osborne House, you will not regret or ever forget it.
Back to wearing those kids out again. Hop on the train from Shanklin and visit Ryde, known as the gateway to the island there is plenty to see and do in the town on the beach. Maybe a game of ten pin bowling or ice skating grabs your fancy? If not there are miles upon miles of sandy beaches to fill the day. The town offers plenty of shops, pubs and restaurants to visit as well as the old cinema and golf course or driving range. There is also the boating lake, go-karting and a wonderful pitch and putt course, and if your children are very young a trip to Peter Pans Fun Park or the children's beach park will give them plenty to do.
It's the last day of your break, so let's make it count. Sandown obviously has a very long beautiful beach that you can relax on, also there is plenty of water sports to enjoy if you fancy being a little more active. There is plenty to do on the pier as well, crazy golf; amusements and a children's play area to name a few. A walk along the esplanade brings you to more play areas, a pitch and putt and of course the famed Sandown Zoo, filled with tigers and lions it has become one of the most popular venues on the island. Also the Reef on Sandown seafront has numerous options for a lovely affordable lunch.
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