The Most Unique Experiences in England's Isle of Wight

Sandown Pier, Isle of Wight
Sandown Pier, Isle of Wight | © Simon Harrod/Flickr
Annie Hopkins

Though the glorious Isle of Wight has all the traditional cream teas and clifftop walks you could possibly dream of, sometimes it’s fun to fill the itinerary with trips and activities that are a little further off the beaten track. As an island with a culture and vibe all its own, this pretty place is the perfect spot to find eccentric shops and less than obvious ways to while away an afternoon in the south coast sunshine. Read our guide to the most unique experiences in England’s Isle of Wight.

Take a ghost tour of the island

Though postcards from the Isle of Wight often show candy-striped beach huts and sparkling sands, there’s actually a darker side to the island’s history. With myths and legends surrounding many of the buildings and monuments on the Isle of Wight, there’s plenty of places to explore which are on the thrilling side of spooky. For maximum chills, book a ghost walk with Ghost Island.

Ghost house

1. Walk with dinosaurs

Building, Museum

Dinosaur Isle, Isle of Wight | © jpennycook/Flickr

2. Ride in a vintage underground carriage

Archaeological site

Vintage trains from the London Underground dating back to 1938 still run along Ryde seafront and pier. With the old-school ‘Mind the Gap’ signs on the trains and platforms, it’s a pleasant trip down memory lane. Not only that, but this throwback train ride is a breezy way to take in the loveliness of the island’s coastline.

3. Trek with alpacas

Alpaca, Isle of Wight | © Mike Russell/Flickr

4. Hunt for fossils

Low tide at Hanover Point, Isle of Wight | © Jim Champion/Flickr

Picnic in a beach hut

While a snapshot of these candy-coloured shelters is obligatory for any self-respecting Instagrammer visiting the Isle of Wight, far fewer are those who have the luxury of lunching in one of the pretty huts. Even better, hire the hut as accommodation for the whole of your stay, for a true taste of the English seaside. Tuck into some salty fish and chips from the comfort of your hut as you gaze across the channel.

Beach huts, Isle of Wight

5. Ride a cable car over stripey cliffs

Shop

Make your own sandy artwork

If simply admiring the stripey cliffs of pretty Alum Bay wasn’t enough, you can take home your own little slice of the island by heading along to Alum Bay Sand Shop. Fill a little bottle with layers of the different coloured sands from the patterned cliffs as a take-home memory of your visit to the Isle of Wight. Choose from uniquely shaped jars such as love-hearts, guitars, skulls or teddy bears, and scoop in the sand to make a one-off piece of the beach to keep forever.

Layered Isle of Wight Sand

6. Go wild at Blackgang Chine theme park

Park, Amusement Park

Humpty Dumpty at Blackgang Chine, Isle of Wight
© Geograph/WikiCommons
With fairytale characters and (yet more) dinosaurs hiding in the bushes, Blackgang Chine theme park is the ideal place to let your imagination run wild. With roller coasters and fairground rides galore, it’s a fun-packed way to spend the day with family or pals.

7. Watch the sun set behind The Pepperpot

Church

This peculiar hexagonal tower, otherwise known as St Catherine’s Oratory, could be straight out of a fairytale. It is the remains of England’s only surviving medieval lighthouse, dating back to 1314. The story goes that wealthy landowner Walter de Godeton came into possession of some stolen wine (174 casks, to be exact) which had been on its way to France in a ship that ran aground. The Catholic Church was unimpressed, so as penance, Walter built a lighthouse where a priest would pray for sailors wrecked on the treacherous rocks below. This is also an exceptional spot to wrap an arm around a loved one and watch the sun set over the sea.

Spend the night in a retro caravan

For that quintessentially British holiday feel, book yourself into one of Vintage Vacations‘ cosy caravans. Mixing the whimsy of the Carry On films with modern amenities and tasteful decorative touches, these bonny mobile homes stay put on the plush green lawns of the campsite. There’s something truly exciting about waking up to breakfast in a deckchair on the grass.

Caravans in The Meadow, Vintage Vacations

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