21 Aug 2017

Five Top Things to do with kids on the Isle of Wight

When we book a holiday now, out goes the luxury and long journeys and in comes the need to keep the children interested. When Bubba was about 18 months old we went to the Isle of Wight and I fell in love with the relaxed pace, beautiful beaches and that it was also our first proper break as a family of three. Planning this years holiday we wanted to stay in the UK for one more year as we have a very lively three year old and the thought of going on a plane with him gives me massive anxiety. So we looked back to the Isle of Wight as we'd get a bit of everything...an exciting ferry journey, lovely beaches and the ability to get around the island relatively quickly.

With two young children, a preschooler and a six year old, we always look for things they can do to have a run around and burn off some energy. This was no exception on the Isle of Wight on our and we found lots of ways to keep us all entertained.

It's so difficult to get the balance right of making it feel like a break for all of us (I'll admit all I wanted to do all week was sit and eat cream teas but the kids weren't onboard with that! We did some great things on the Isle of Wight and below are some of our top things to do with small children.

Top of the kids list was the Isle of Wight Zoo

It's not a huge Zoo and if you've visited some of the bigger ones in cities around Britain you may feel a little cheated but the size of it was just right for little kids. We walked around and saw all the large cats and they were all in view and close up so the children really enjoyed that part. As an adult I was a bit concerned that some of the cages seemed a little on the small side for such large animals but they looked well cared for.

What we really loved...

The little touches such as being able to stamp their maps once they had seen an animal and at one point we walked past a keeper holding a leaf insect and we got to have a chat about where it lives and why it looks like it does. The other big hit was the fossil excavation area and both kids got to use brushes to unearth some large animal bones and as we'd gone on a slightly overcast day, we got the whole area to ourselves.

Next up: Beach Days

You cannot fail to mention the beaches when talking about the Isle of Wight, they are so child friendly and easy to find and you have a great choice of sandy beaches (our favourite was Ryde Beach but closer to Seaview than the promenade); small pebble beaches and our favourite was Ventnor - it's such a tiny beach and you are very close to the sea which makes it manageable with small children. Last is Alum Bay which has large pebbles and it's a bit of an adventure to get to but one of our favourites as it's very enclosed and I even managed to bag myself a small fossil whilst we were there. We also visited Shanklin but it was such a hot day that the beach was mobbed, the beach unfortunately had loads of rubbish on it and there was lots of seaweed which stuck to the kids legs (and they didn't like it).

The Needles and Alum Bay

Hubby and the kids were keen to go on the chair lift at the bay to go down to Alum Bay, I needed a little convincing and on the journey down realised I have a fear of heights so spent the whole way down squeezing Bubba's hand with a big smile plastered on my face and my eyes closed. Cub went on Hubby's knee as at three he is too little to travel on it alone, both kids loved it and although as soon as we got to the bottom I said I'd never go back on it - I ended up going back up after our stop on the beach where the kids had great fun. Going back up I must admit I really enjoyed so I'm glad they forced me into it. Once back at the top there are lots of arcade games and rides for the kids and you buy tokens but we went straight to the famous sand shop. We all had a go at creating our own sand art models and although not cheap (the containers are £5 upwards) it kept us all busy for ages and it's a lovely reminder once we got home.

Shanklin Chine

Although the beach wasn't a particular favourite of ours, we went along to Shanklin Chine which was beautiful and both Bubba and Cub enjoyed adventuring around the different bushes and plants. If you didn't know, a chine is a gorge that's naturally carved out of the side of the cliff and this particular one has been crafted into a lavish garden with beautiful plants and trees. It feels like you are in the rainforest (& we went on a rainy day so it helped to keep us dry).

Last up I must admit was mainly my idea and something we did on the last day, we went for afternoon tea (although it was morning when we had ours), in one of the famous Shanklin Old village places. We ended up in The Old Thatch Teashop and it was lovely, old fashioned and beautifully decorated.

Obviously we picked the one that had a fairy garden and Bubba was delighted to find they did a fairy afternoon tea too. Cub had a pirate tea and hubby and I scoffed a proper clotted cream afternoon tea. It was nice to sit and relax and a great way to spend our last Sunday morning on the Island

I would recommend everything about the Isle of Wight from the ferry journey there and back (we went with Red Funnel from Southampton), to the places we visited all week, we stayed in a chalet on the island but there is so much choice for families and always something close by to see and do where ever you are.
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