the needles isle of wight coast

Things to do on the Isle of Wight

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Discover the best attractions and activities that the Isle of Wight has to offer

Being one of the top tourist destinations in the UK, the Isle of Wight has an array of attractions to visit and things to do throughout the year

There are plenty of attractions and activities on the Isle of Wight for all ages to enjoy. These range from heritage sites and outdoor adventure parks, to simply magnificent coastline.

The island is well-known for its historical monuments, including Queen Victoria’s palatial holiday home, Osborne House, close to Cowes. Carisbrooke Castle, near Newport, was used as a political prison during the Civil War.

Popular attractions on the Isle of Wight for animal lovers include the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary near Ventnor. You also have Newport’s Monkey Haven, a primate rescue centre housing owls, reptiles, meerkats and many species of monkey.


Photos by Martin Robson; Martyn Wright

  • Carisbrooke

    Carisbrooke Castle

    The historic motte-and-bailey castle has been a key location on the Isle of Wight for over 1000 years, the site has been everything from a Saxon fortress, to a Royal summer residence, but is probably most well-known for being where King Charles I was held captive prior to his fatal trial.

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  • Freshwater Bay Feature

    Freshwater Bay

    Dog Friendly

    Parking Available

    The sands and pebbles of Freshwater are nestled between two striking chalk cliffs, which further along form the Needles Headland.

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  • Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary

    First established in the 1980’s, the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary is a charity providing a home to unwanted donkeys located just outside the charming seaside resort of Ventnor.

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  • Monkey Haven

    Based just outside Newport, this award-winning attraction is a primate rescue centre and sanctuary that also houses birds and reptiles as well as a family of meerkats.

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  • Osbourne House

    Osborne House

    Queen Victoria’s holiday home, Osborne house is a palatial structure with commanding views over the Solent, modelled in the style of an Italian Renaissance palazzo.

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  • Ryde Beach Feature

    Ryde Beach

    Dog Friendly

    Parking Available

    An expanse of sand that has helped Ryde become one of the Isle of Wight’s most popular resorts for many years.

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  • Sandown Beach Feature

    Sandown Beach

    Dog Friendly

    Parking Available

    The sloping sands at Sandown offer a perfect spot to lay back and soak up the rays, with the golden beach stretching right across the face of this popular resort.

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  • Shanklin Beach Feature

    Shanklin Beach

    Dog Friendly

    Parking Available

    A safe and sandy beach on the southeast coast of the Isle of Wight, Shanklin Beach is an excellent place for families seeking a day at the seaside.  

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  • Small Hope Beach Feature

    Small Hope Beach

    Parking Available

    Separated from the larger and more popular Shanklin Beach, Small Hope is a quieter spot ideal for families looking to escape the crowds.

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  • Steephill Cove Feature

    Steephill Cove

    Dog Friendly

    This small area of golden sands rests at the eastern end of the serene Ventnor Botanic Garden and on the outskirts of the popular resort.

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