What to do when it rains on the Isle of Wight
"It never rains on the Isle of Wight" is what my mother has said for the past thirty years, usually when it is raining. We are fast becoming experts on what to do on non beach days and here are our top recommendations:
Tapnell Farm: First of all their coffee is delicious! They have a brilliant barn with a zip wire, pedal karts, hay bails with slides and tunnels so there is something for all ages when the weather is questionable. There is also an indoor multi-level soft play area which even my seven year old enjoys. New to the farm is a tobogan slide and for animal lovers they have rabbits, pigs, llamas and meerkats. They have jumping pillows and a sand pit outside if the rain eases off. For bigger boys there is a proper climbing wall and zorbing available. As with most places take a picnic or you end up spending a fortune but the cafe does have lots of kid friendly options and for a treat we head over to The Cow for amazing burgers and milkshakes.
Butterfly World: It doesn't take long to whip round the butterflies but it's worth a punt on a drizzly day. The butterflies give way to 'fountain world' with pretty indoor gardens with koi carp which you can watch being fed and the grand finale involves jumping water fountains so bring a spare pair of clothes.
Dinosaur Isle: The island is famous for its dinosaurs and for this reason I find this 'museum' a little disappointing but when it rains I'll take anything. It's quite small but with some good dinosaur displays including an area where you can pretend to excavate fossils. But the second time we went the boys seem more interested in the upstairs playroom where they have trains and tables to draw on.
Trampolining is de rigueur, even on the Isle of Wight! Isle Jump is a good place to while away an hour but you need to book a time slot
Victoria Fort: This place is quite extraordinary. There is a model railway with some exquisite pieces which the children enjoyed but the adults spent most of the time searching for the naughty nudies and sniggering! Across the car park is another antiquity in the shape of an aquarium with sea anemones, an amazingly large spider crab and clown fish. The beaches on this side of the island are stunning if the rain stops and The Hut in Colwell Bay has a children's menu and is great for grown ups too.
The Isle of Wight Steam Railway is a goodie for a rainy day. There is a brilliant interactive museum in Havenstreet and of course you can just sit on the train and ride back and forth!
Ryde has an ice skating rink and a bowling alley which have both come in handy on really dreadful days. And a new find for us is the swimming pool - on sunny days the roof is open but its a good rainy day option too. Look out for the holiday play sessions where they have loads of floats and balls to play with. Note, the shallowest part of the pool is 1 metre. And lets not forget the cinema! Its half price on a Wednesday, but since its £4 any other day it is a steal any day of the week.
During August Jay Miller's Circus comes to town (near Cowes) which was two hours well spent and all under cover!
If all else fails... A few hours on the beach in the rain can be quiet fun (check out our blog post on the best ones). As long as you have somewhere warm to go afterwards. And a spare pair of clothes.
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