Top Tips for the Isle of Wight
With half term fast approaching and the summer holidays just around the corner, we wanted to dedicate a series of posts to the wonders of the Isle of Wight, a regular destination for the five boys.
Here are my top tips (in no particular order) for boisterous boys (and girls) making the trip across the Solent.
Blackgang Chine: where pirates really used to roam. It's an expensive day out but you can return for free within seven days so do. Don't be stung by the various slot machine games. And if your cowboys like guns bring your own or you will be forking out more dosh for bangers and pistols in the variously themed adventure playgrounds. The views out to sea are quite something and the water slide was a real hit and you don't have to pay extra for that! Beware the squirting dinosaur. Blackgang has a sister in the form of Robin Hill which has more weirdly themed playgrounds but you have to be 5+ for the fun rides.
Carisbrooke Castle: a proper castle, not a vague ruin of one, where sword fighting is positively encouraged by the enthusiastic actors playing their medieval parts most convincingly. Charles I was imprisoned here and it was used by Queen Victoria's daughter, Princess Beatrice, as her summer residence. During peak season there are all sorts of tournaments that you can heckle at and don't forget to visit the donkey.
Isle of Wight Zoo: I did work experience here in 1995 when it was more of a big cat and lemur sanctuary. They have expanded big time since then both in terms of their collection and the size of the enclosures. The late Jack Corney used to famously walk his tigers along Sandown beach. He was quite a character. His daughter now runs the show and the white tigers are truly magnificent. Do not bother with Amazon World. It is exceptionally depressing.
Osborne House: Our favourite thing to do is to walk down to the Swiss Cottage and play dress up, look at all the stuffed animals from around the world and play in the playground, before heading down the rhododendron walk to the private beach for ice cream. During the summer months you can watch Punch & Judy and try your hand at hoop and sticks!
Isle of Wight Steam Railway: perfect for all Thomas The Tank enthusiasts. You can ride the train from Wooton to Smallbrook and back again. It's definitely worth getting off or starting in Havenstreet to wonder around the museum.
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 and even when it is not. There is also an indoor multi-level soft play area which even my eight year old enjoys. New to the farm is a tobogan slide and for animal lovers they have rabbits, pigs, llamas and meerkats. When we went last Spring we got to feed the lambs. They have jumping pillows and a sand pit outside. 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.
And of course, the Isle of Wight makes for a fabulous bucket and spade holiday. Next up I'll recommend the best beaches, places to eat and most importantly, what to do when it rains!
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