Solo travel is near and dear to our hearts, but sometimes a big, loud, stressful family vacation is well worth it, especially when visiting an amazing destination like the Isle of Wight. Today’s guest contributor, Francesca Baker from And So She Thinks, is here to tell us all about her recent explorations of this unique UK destination with her family.
You might have heard it said that the best thing about being of a certain age is the freedom. Old enough to have kids that can look after themselves. Old enough to have managed to save a few cents to enjoy yourself with. Old enough to not work such long hours as before. But young enough to still be able to get out and about and enjoy yourself. By yourself or with a partner, but either way, sans kids.
Not in our house!
Growing up Mum and Dad always said how much they loved holidays with their children. I wonder if they expected that on a week’s break to the Isle of Wight this year both me, aged 30, and my sister, aged 19, would want to come along.
We were all pretty excited, but also a little nervous. We all wake, eat, walk, and move and different times and paces. The one thing we really have in common is that we all love one another immensely, but when it comes to ways to spend our day, there’s always conflicting ideas. So what would happen over five days in a cottage on Rookley Park, a holiday park on the Isle of Wight? Would we all get on? Would it be a success?
The answer is a resounding yes. Here are five excellent places to visit and things to do if you are having a multigenerational holiday on the Isle of Wight.
Clusters of thatched cottages and old stone homes make Shanklin Old Town is one of the visited spots on the island. While here you can visit the Chine, a deep ravine in the cliff face that is lit up to visitors. Home to numerous varieties of mammals, birds and inverterbrates, it’s a popular place for nature lovers. There’s also plenty of charming pubs with expansive views across the blue seas and chalky cliffs.
This beautiful area also has a profound history. An underwater pipe line that runs seventy miles from the Isle of Wight to France was used to carry fuel for the forces, and is considered one of the great successes of World War Two.
Godshill Miniature Village
Godshill is also full of straw roofs and pretty buildings, and is home to Godshill Model Village. Set in the grounds of the Old Vicarage, this attraction was set up in 1952 by a local man, Mr Dams, and still entices visitors today. Simply put – the village’s details are astounding.
Crafted out of sand and cement for authentic weathering, with thatched roofs handcrafted with individual bundles of straw, the 1/10 scale model features a miniature railway, local pubs, cricket matches, the airfield, the All Saints church, 50 year old oaks that are still only 3 feet tall and lovingly cared for by gardener Fred. In
In fact it gets so detailed that there’s a model village inside the model village inside the model village. Set in the 1920s and ‘30s, it’s also infused with nostalgia, and makes for a fun destination for the entire family.
For some high energy activity, head down to the Smallbrook stadium to see the Wight Warriors on form. Each summer twenty meetings take place on home turf as part of the National League of British Speedway, with teams travelling from all over the country to compete. Fast and furious, it’s a great way to get some adrenalin going.
Everyone loves donkeys. Charlie Clarke founded the Wroxall Donkey Sanctuary in 1987 after receiving his first donkey, Dillon. Today, there are over 90 donkeys in the sanctuary, as well as 25 horses and ponies that enjoy living on 60 acres of beautiful countryside.
Over the years, the organization has given refuge to several hundred donkeys. Through education and outreach activities, as well as entertainment and therapy programmes, they raise awareness about the importance of caring for the animals. If you can leave without adopting a donkey, you’ve a harder heart than I have.
Take a trip to the beach. As the name suggests, the Victorian seaside town Sandown is lined with miles of beautiful beaches, stretching from the cliffs at Culver and Yaverland beach through to the neighboring town of Shanklin. If you’ve got younger ones on the trip, you might want to have a go at fossil hunting – there’s so many to be found that the nickname Fossil Island has been given to the Isle of Wight.
The beautiful Battery Gardens are public gardens that offer beautiful panoramic views over the Bay. For some more family fun, you can have a go at mini golf, or you might want to visit the Victorian pier for some nostalgia in the form of a funfair and amusements.
Whatever you do, make sure that you sample some local ice cream, have a paddle, and build a sandcastle!