Just off England’s South Coast lies the idyllic green island we call the Isle of Wight. A brief ferry ride across the waves will bring you to this delightful place, where striped cliff sands and rolling hills combine to make a magical holiday destination. Here’s Culture Trip’s guide to the 10 best things to see and do on the Isle of Wight.
The craggy cliffs at the Isle of Wight’s dreamy Alum Bay are streaked with pretty shades of pink, yellow and gold. Ride the chair lift to gaze at these unique colours or check them out as you wander the beach below. The stripes were caused by the shifting seabed, which was eroded almost 70 million years ago. Around 10 million years later, the bedrock moved, pushing the sedimentary layers upwards, creating the unique pattern we see today.
There’s plenty of action to enjoy on the Isle of Wight, including cycling and horseback riding – but if speed is your thing, then Wight Karting makes for a brilliant day out. With racing for groups and families, there’s a full range of packages to choose from. The all-weather track is over 500 metres long and open all year.
According to legend, St Catherine once competed with the Devil to see who should be in charge of the Isle of Wight. The Longstone at Mottistone is said to be a sandstone pillar which St Catherine threw down in the contest. It’s four metres tall and two metres wide, suggesting Catherine was not only a saint, but had some serious upper-body strength, too. The stone is, in truth, an ancient burial mound and can be incorporated into a picturesque country walk.
Aside from its fabulous festivals, the Isle of Wight boasts a cracking live music scene all year round. There is the much-loved Shanklin Theatre, which hosts orchestra recitals and toe-tapping musicals in equal measure. If theatre’s not your thing, head into any pub on this lovely island and you’ll not wait long to hear of an open mic event or mini-gig from local musicians.
Surfing, kayaking, swimming or windsurfing – there is something for every mermaid (and merman) over on the Isle of Wight. Try Wight Waters for paddleboarding and sailing – there’s really nothing like a bracing splash in the chilly Solent to blow away those pesky cobwebs.
Perfect for long, windswept dog walks or even a horseback ride, the beaches on the Isle of Wight are many and magnificent. Whether it’s the sweeping curve of Whitecliff Bay, the pleasant Englishness of Sundown Pier or the tumbledown charm of Steephill Cove, there is fresh air and crashing waves galore on this pretty island. But the long sweep of Sandown Beach has a particular charm. With craggy cliffs looming in the distance and the waves lapping gently at the shore, this is one of the island’s most pleasant spots for an afternoon stroll or seaside picnic when the sun is high.