The diamond shaped Isle of Wight is only 22.5 miles from west to east and 13.5 miles from north to south. It’s therefore very easy to explore our coastline, countryside and attractions (some of which are free!) during your stay. You might want to book a fortnight to fit it all in though. Amble along our spectacular coastline and look out for White-tailed Eagles. Enjoy magnificent views from The Duver in the east all the way to the famous Needles in the west and delight in our unspoilt beaches. Around half of the Island is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – sandstone and chalk cliffs cut by wooded “chines”, sandy bays, chalk downland, arable farmland, heathland, saltmarsh, mud flats and creeks. What a perfect way to holiday overseas but within easy reach of home. Your holiday starts the moment you board your ferry!
With a spectacular coastline, rolling hills, green countryside, historic buildings & welcoming pubs, the island makes a great location to explore on foot. Try the West Wight Heritage Trail (leaflets available in the cottages and tourism centres). You can also visit the Slow Wight Travel Guide and Isle of Wight National Trust which have some great downloadable walks – as well as a map and full directions the trails include information on local history, nature or wildlife. Beautifully illustrated trail maps are also available from Gift to Nature. Please take care and follow the Countryside Code.
Isle of Wight Walking Festival 2024: 11 – 19 May 2024
Visit Isle of Wight and Wightlink have excellent downloadable cycle routes and cycle hire information. You can hire bicycles (including electric bikes) from Wight Cycle Hire (will deliver free to our Isle of Wight holiday cottages, pre-booking only out of main season). You can store bicycles in our garage – please ask in advance if you want to do this.
West Wight holiday attractions
The Needles headland is a top spot for views and walking. Start at Freshwater Bay and climb up Tennyson Down or take the easier route from the Needles Landmark Attraction walking alongside beautiful Alum Bay. Admire the magnificent views of the iconic chalk stacks from the National Trust Old Battery (tea room only open winter weekends). Back at the Landmark Attraction don’t miss the iconic chairlift down to Alum Bay where you can take a boat trip out to the Needles (closed for winter maintenance). Gift shops and cafe remain open!
Fort Victoria is a country park by the sea on the extreme north west of the Island. This is a great location for country walks and to watch the ships out on the Solent whilst sitting in Cafe Verdi (perfect for the Isle of Wight Yacht Race). You can also visit the museum and shop, Imaginarium (creativity hub and gallery open Sat & Sun), Reptilarium and Planetarium. On to Yarmouth to stroll around the delightful shops. Explore Henry VIII’s Yarmouth castle fortress and have a picnic with glorious Solent views (open 23 Mar – 3 Nov).
Freshwater Bay is a glorious pebble beach backed by white cliffs – perfect for swimming and relaxing in the sun. Just down the road is Dimbola, the home of the Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. The museum and galleries now celebrate her work and showcase contemporary exhibitions from photographers worldwide (closed until 3 Feb). And it has a great tearoom which is open Fri – Sun in winter. Further along you will find Farringford, former home of Alfred Lord Tennyson. The rooms in the house have been splendidly restored and the walled gardens are a delight (re-opens 2 Apr).
Isle of Wight is a great choice for animal lovers
If, like us, you love animals then you will be spoilt for choice. Close to our cottages is West Wight Alpacas – meet all the farm residents and take an alpaca for a walk. Or visit Tapnell Farm Park to meet the wallabies, meerkats, alpacas and goats. The award winning Monkey Haven has to be on your list with its characterful residents. Cat lovers shouldn’t miss the Wildheart Animal Sanctuary where you can meet lions, tigers and servals in their forever home. Look out for Softi and Toph, the new tigers who arrived last year – they are now getting braver and easier to see! Birds of prey fanatics will enjoy Haven Falconry (at IW Steam Railway) – this has a White-tailed Eagle so you can appreciate the size of these beautiful birds. And you can meet more unusual animals such as a tapir and armadillo at Amazon World.
Isle of Wight family holiday attractions
The Isle of Wight Steam Railway is a must for all visitors to the Isle of Wight where you can board a vintage steam train and ride through the Isle of Wight countryside (first running day 24 Mar). Look out for special events held throughout the year. Blackgang Chine is known as the “land of imagination” with a host of characters, fun rides, slides and a whole season of events (re-opens 24 Mar). If you’re after adventure then have a go at tree climbing with Goodleaf Tree Climbing (closed until Spring 2024).
Isle of Wight Gardens
The Isle of Wight hosts some stunning gardens. Nearby Mottistone Gardens (National Trust) is open 2 Mar – 3 Nov. In the microclimate of Ventnor’s undercliff you will find Ventnor Botanic Garden, Britain’s hottest garden (open all year). For a more natural garden explore the tree lined gorge of Shanklin Chine – look out for red squirrels (open 25 Mar – 3 Nov).
Historic Isle of Wight
English Heritage‘s Osborne House is often the reason our guests travel to the Isle of Wight and you should certainly plan a full day to visit Queen Victoria’s summer palace. As well as the glorious state and family rooms in the house, you can also wander in the gardens, delight in the Swiss Cottage and relax at the unexpected beach. Special winter guided tours Wed – Sun from now until 17 Mar (other than February half term when house is open as usual), ground floor only open. Note Swiss Cottage closed for maintenance.
Other English Heritage properties include:
Carisbrooke Castle – famous for the imprisonment of Charles I. Walk the castle walls and climb the keep. Don’t miss the Carisbrooke donkeys demonstrating how water used to be drawn from the well house. Open February half term 12-18 Feb then Wed – Sun until 17 Mar. Open every day from 20 Mar – 3 Nov.
Yarmouth Castle – discover how the castle was used in the 16rh century when it was Henry XIII’s coastal fortress. A great spot for a picnic. Open every day 23 Mar – 3 Nov.
Appuldurcombe House – free entry to grounds and the ruins of the house (open 1 Apr – 31 Oct).
St Catherine’s Oratory – free to walk to the medieval tower with magnificent views. Start/finish at Blackgang Viewpoint car park (also free).
The National Trust have great places to explore on the Island. Entry is free if you are a member or buy the new Explorer Pass – special rates for 7 days, including car parks such as Compton (better than dangerously parking on the grass verges).
Old and New Batteries – Victorian coastal defence and secret rocket testing site high above The Needles (tea room only open winter weekends). Old Battery open 2 Mar – 3 Nov, New Battery open 25 May – 31 Aug.
Mottistone Gardens – stunning gardens set in a sheltered valley below the downs Open 2 Mar – 3 Nov.
Newtown Old Town Hall – essential structural work ongoing so check online for opening days. Explore Newtown’s medieval past and Newtown National Nature Reserve – a magical haven for birds and butterflies. Visitor centre open 2 Mar – 3 Nov. Volunteers in the bird hide most days during the season to help with bird identification.
Bembridge Windmill is visible for miles around and visitors can climb the steep steps through four floors to admire the view and learn about the milling process used hundreds of years ago. Open 2 Apr – 3 Nov.
Bembridge Fort – unrestored fort with amazing coastal and downland views. Bookable tours only (currently closed).
Roman Isle of Wight. We are very fortunate to have two well preserved Roman villas on the Island. Brading Roman Villa, near Sandown, is one of the finest Roman sites in Britain. It’s award winning Visitor Centre and Museum contain stunningly preserved mosaic floors and a large collection of Roman archaeology. Newport Roman Villa is a hidden gem allowing you to see a complete Roman farmhouse built around 280AD. The building has a superb bath suite with under floor heating and remnants of mosaic floors. Sections of the Villa have been reconstructed to illustrate the building materials used. Half term special Monster Match Clay days (14 & 16 Feb), price £1 including admission to Newport Roman Villa.
Free holiday attractions on the Isle of Wight
We are lucky to be surrounded by beautiful landscapes so very easy to holiday on the Island and not have to spend a fortune on pay per entry properties. As well as our wonderful beaches there are also some fantastic places you can visit free of charge.
Quarr Abbey is one of the most tranquil places on the Island – admire the amazing brickwork of the abbey, visit the pigs and enjoy lunch or afternoon tea at the cafe. The Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary has free entry – meet more than 140 donkeys and you can even adopt one of them. Godshill Model Village is an RHS partner garden offering RHS members free entry at selected times of the year (re-opens 25 Mar 2024).
Arreton Barns is an artisan craft centre complete with pub. At the Garlic Farm you can buy a huge array of garlic products and also enjoy lunch or afternoon tea in the cafe. Isle of Wight Pearl is well known for its cafe with sea views and you may even be tempted to buy some of their beautiful jewellery. For those into transport call in to the Isle of Wight Bus and Coach Museum – 20 historic vehicles with displays, tea bar and a shop (open 31 Mar). If you love a ruin then make the most of the magnificent Appuldurcombe House (open 1 Apr – 31 Oct).
Eating & drinking
We recommend you check online and book in advance as pubs and restaurants may be busy in the summer – see Visit Isle of Wight Eat & Drink for examples of local Island produce on offer. Note some eateries close in the winter.
Local eateries we can recommend include Off the Rails in Yarmouth, The Terrace in Yarmouth, On the Rocks in Yarmouth, The Hut at Colwell (open 23 Mar), The Waterfront at Totland Bay, Red Lion in Freshwater, Wight Mouse Inn in Chale, The True Food Kitchen in Castlehaven (open 27 Apr), The Buddle Inn in Niton (open 2 Mar), The Royal Hotel in Ventnor, The Garlic Farm in Newchurch, and Quay Arts in Newport.
Isle of Wight Festival
2024 Isle of Wight Festival will be held 20-23 June. Weekend and Day tickets available. Headliners are The Prodigy, The Streets, Crowded House, The Darkness, Pet Shop Boys, Keane, Blossoms, Green Day, Simple Minds, Suede, The Pretenders, Jessie J, S Club, Natalie Imbruglia, Johnny Marr and Scouting for Girls.
Keep the Isle of Wight green!
We offer incentives for our Isle of Wight holiday cottage guests – from free maps, walking and cycling guides to free foot passenger ferry travel, and 5% off cottage rental if travelling to or around the Island without a car.
Electric vehicle charging point available at 2 The Granary.
Have a look at all the useful information on Visit Isle of Wight’s dedicated Green Travel page. The page includes information about the Green Star scheme and the Slow Travel guide – both of which provide plenty of practical information and inspiring itineraries for car free days out. Download or ask for a leaflet on how to get to the Isle of Wight by train, coach & bus – this includes a great map of the British rail network and guidance when you reach the ports. Bus fares remain at £2 per leg of each single journey throughout 2024.
Isle of Wight Holiday Cottage Dark Skies
The Isle of Wight has some of the darkest skies in the UK, which helped the Island secure UNESCO Biosphere status. Visit Isle of Wight has a brilliant dark skies page on the website showing best spots for an astronomical night out. The Island Planetarium (Fort Victoria) and Vectis Astronomical Society (Newchurch) are useful resources if you want to learn more and attend Stargazing evenings throughout the year. 2 The Granary is well placed to do stargazing from the garden – some of our regular guests already bring their telescopes! Check out any online lunar calendar for help on choosing the best time to visit for a dark sky experience, i.e. not a full moon.
Catch the bus
The Southern Vectis bus stops are in easy reach of our Isle of Wight holiday cottages so jump on board and have a car-free day out. Places which are easy to get to from our Isle of Wight holiday cottages include Carisbrooke Castle, The Needles, Alum Bay, Newport, Yarmouth, Farringford House / Dimbola Lodge / Freshwater Bay , Compton Bay, Colwell Bay, and Totland Bay. Bus fares remain at £2 per leg of each single journey throughout 2024. Visit Southern Vectis for more information.
Isle of Wight holiday cottage “What’s On”
10-17 February – Bouncy Barn at Tapnell Farm Park
10-18 Feb – February half term with the Donkeys at Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary
10-18 Feb – February half term at the Wildheart Animal Sanctuary
10-25 Feb – Love Week at Monkey Haven
15-17 Feb – Isle of Wight Story Festival
3 Mar – National Trust Guided Winter Walks at Newtown
For more information on the island, places to visit and the latest events for our Isle of Wight holiday cottage guests we recommend: