Isle of Wight Guide
There are many great things to see and do on the Isle of Wight, plus great places to stay and eat out. Our Isle of Wight guide gives you some top tips & recommendations from the Robin Hill team, based on our local knowledge...so these are our top five of everything on the Island... If you'd like to find out more about other attractions and events not listed here, please visit the 'Wightlife' website a recommended guide to everything Isle of Wight... Another Great resource is the Isle of Wight 'Menu Venue' - which has been designed to provide you with all the information you need to eat, drink, stay and go out on the Isle of Wight.
Five great attractions to visit (apart from Robin Hill of course!)
- Blackgang Chine. Ok predictable, but it is famous for being the oldest theme park in the world and we all love it. The Pirate Cove play area is a great new addition for 2012!
- Isle of Wight Steam Railway. Just down the road from us, and a really great afternoon out.
- Dinosaur Isle. Sandown’s answer to Jurassic Park, but without the tropical Island or Richard Attenborough! The exhibition is fabulous and great for damper days when the beach isn’t calling!
- Carisbrooke Castle. You can’t fail to be impressed with the Island’s most famous historical monument where Charles I was imprisoned in 1648.
- Godshill Model Village. One of the Islands smaller attractions, but one of the best kept and most charming of the whole lot. Well worth a trip. They’ve even got accommodation too.
Five great pubs to eat at with the family
- The Spyglass Inn, Ventnor. Beautifully situated overlooking the Channel and Ventnor, there is great food in a great location for summer dining on the terrace.
- Bargemans Rest, Newport. Lots of atmosphere and big, delicious menu portions at this Newport favourite of ours. This pub often has live music on a Saturday night too.
- The Woodvale, Gurnard. With one of the most stunning sunsets in Britain, the Woodvale will impress you with its friendly staff and tasty menu! Great evening location.
- The Red Lion, Freshwater. The quality of food here at this local gem is second to none. Try it to be believed. Booking essential in the summer.
(01983) 754925, telephone only. This pub doesn’t need a website, it's got word of mouth!
- The Horse & Groom, Ningwood. Gets our vote for being very family friendly - big play area will keep the kids amused while mum and dad enjoy a delicious locally made dessert!.
Five great local websites to find out more information
- www.gowight.com: has great video content that makes this comprehensive website about visiting the Island a must-click!
- www.islandbreaks.co.uk: the best place to find local accommodation before you visit.
- www.ventnorblog.com: Everything you could wish to know about what’s happening on the Island - a great resource for event information. We didn’t even realise ourselves there was so much going on!
- www.iwcp.co.uk: The website of the Isle of Wight County Press, the Island’s must-read weekly newspaper. You can find out up to date news and travel information here. Put it in your iPhone before you come, or better still, buy a copy when you’re here!
- www.mattandcat.co.uk: Looking for a place to eat out? These renowned local food critics have been to most places on the Island and have something to say about them all! Well worth a look for some good ideas.
Five great family places to stay
- The Orchards, Newbridge. One of the nicest sites to lodge or camp at, the Orchards has a delightful country location with lots of nice facilities including indoor and outdoor pools.
- Old Mill Park, Bembridge. A beautiful 5 star-rated lodging & caravan park overlooking Bembridge harbour. Stunning location - our visitors highly recommend this one.
- Thorness Bay (Park resorts) nr Cowes. Offers great value family holidays on the Island. Book early to avoid disappointment. Many of our visitors stay here in summer.
- Cheverton Copse Holiday Park. Just outside of Sandown, this relaxing holiday park is smaller than some but has excellent customer service that our visitors highly rate.
- White Cliff Bay, Bembridge. A very family-friendly park situated right near the stunning sandy bay that it shares its name with. A great seaside holiday guaranteed.
Five amazing Isle of Wight foods that you must try before you die
- Isle of Wight Blue Cheese. Winner of the “Best English Cheese” at the 2007 World Cheese Awards, this amazing cheese is produced in our neighbouring Arreton Valley at Queen Bower. It’s in great demand, so get it at farm shops or in farmers markets if you can!
- Minghella Ice cream. Made locally in Wootton Bridge this famous ice cream is exported all over the world. Winner of 58 Great Taste Awards since 2002, you can try this delicious ice cream at Robin Hill and at ice cream parlours across the Island. If you can find it try “Mr Minghella’s Famous Vanilla”, the best vanilla ice cream you will have ever tasted (in our humble opinion!)
- Fresh caught wild Sea Bass & Mackerel. Being an Island, how could we not mention freshly caught fish! There are some great places to find a freshly landed catch direct from the English Channel. Captain Stan’s Fish Store is one of the best. Take some home for a self catering treat - eat with chunky home-made chips or I.W new potatoes!
Captain Stan’s Fish store, 5 High Street, Bembridge.
- I.W Rhubarb & Pear Chutney with a hint of garlic. This local delight is made at the Garlic Farm in Newchurch and won a Gold Medal at the UK’s Great Taste Awards 2009. ”The tang of rhubarb, the juice of the pear...with crisp garlic interludes”. Exquisite! The Island is one of Britain’s biggest garlic producers and most of it is grown at the farm. A must try!
- I.W Fresh Clotted Cream. Find some fresh picked strawberries and delight in smothering them with some locally made clotted cream, saving some for home made scones too! Calbourne Classics I.W clotted cream is available at farm shops in the summer and at their outlet west of Newport (nr the village of Shalfleet) called the Dairy Deli. Worth a trip to find some, we promise, and they do scones if you don’t want to make them!
Five favourite beaches that us locals love:
- Compton Bay. Nestling under the cliffs between Brook & Freshwater on our SW coast, this sandy beach is very uncommercialised, but a beautiful afternoon suntrap. Great for some big waves too and some surfing & body-boarding if you want to try.
- Colwell Bay. Perfect for catching the evening sun, you’ll find this small but sandy beach near Totland on the NW coast. Nice promenade too for walks and views over the Solent.
- Appley Beach, Ryde. Wide expanses of sand make this a perfect beach for playing beach football and rounders! The water is shallow too and lovely for a warm, gentle paddle.
- Cowes Beach. Ok, granted, this isn’t going to win any prizes for sand or bathing but take a seat on the pebbles during the first week in August and you’ll see some of the best yachting action in the world unfold before your eyes in Cowes week. The Mr Whippy at the Ice cream kiosk is a favourite with locals!
- Steephill Cove. One of the best kept local secrets, but if you can find this sandy yet secluded cove in Ventnor you are in for a treat. Ask a local resident for directions and they might just send you in the wrong direction and don’t tell them you read about it here! If you love fresh caught crab or lobster, then this is the place to visit - fresh catches arrive daily into the cafe!
Five recommended places to stay for Self-Catering or Bed & Breakfast
- Hamstead Farm Cottage (Self catering). Set well off the beaten track at Hamstead near Shalfleet, there is unspoiled countryside at its best near this beautiful farm cottage. Great for walking and chilling out: the ultimate way to escape the rat race of the world!
- Niton Barns, Niton, Ventnor (self catering). A number of recently converted traditional farm barns of varying sizes, providing highest quality Island accommodation. Very smart!
- Island Cottage Holidays (self catering). More than 100 self catering family holiday cottages in coastal and rural locations across the Isle of Wight. A great place to find exactly the cottage your looking for to suit your budget and group size!
- Chilton farm Cottage, Brighstone (Self Catering). Quaint farm cottages near the picturesque village of Brighstone. Very popular all year through, the farm even makes delicious ice cream from its Jersey herd!
- Forest View, Marks Corner, nr Newport (B&B). High star ratings make this country B&B a popular choice. The prices are extremely reasonable and the breakfasts are superb!
www.forestviewbb.co.uk Tel: 01983 295578
Five Island events you have to be seen at:
- Bestival. We couldn’t talk about events without mentioning the one that gets held at our own park every September and not just because we’re biased or anything! Bestival really is one of the best music events in Europe for its eclectic line up, great creativity and amazing atmosphere. This event always sells out, so get tickets while you can (if you can)! We won’t mention anymore of our own events now, ok?
- Cowes Week. The world’s oldest yachting regatta may not float everyone’s boat, but it brings our quaint old town of Cowes alive and buzzing with atmosphere during the first week in August and as part of the English social calendar, it’s good to say you’ve been! The Friday night end of regatta fireworks are worth the trip.
- Osborne House Last night of the Proms. There’s something very English about listening to classical overtures outside in the open air with a mini scotched egg in one hand and a glass of Pimm’s in the other! This concert ticks all the boxes late in July, if that’s what you’re after!
- Isle of Wight Festival. Ok, it’s the biggest and best known of all Island events and has to go on the list. With its pedigree of bringing world class music acts to Seaclose Park in Newport for thousands of people to enjoy, this event really puts the Island on the international map. It doesn’t matter who’s playing, just go along and enjoy the sights and sounds in the second weekend in June. Simply world class.
- I.W Speedway. If you are after a great summer event to entertain all the family, then look no further than a Tuesday night at Smallbrook stadium near Ryde. The noise and spectacle of speedway will have even the non-sport fans in your party pushing for a place at the front of the barriers to see how spectacular the next crash might be. Well worth a visit!
Five place to try some fine cuisine
- The Royal Hotel Ventnor. Award-winning local food cooked with flair and passion; warm, attentive service and a fantastic location – You can’t get better than that, and it’s a four star hotel too if you want to treat yourselves to a fantastic short break.
- Burrs, Newport. An extremely customer friendly, fine dining experience with a menu to die for. Try the fillet steak and you will not be disappointed! Great wine choice too, and we didn’t mention the desserts...wow...enough said!
- Priory Bay, Seaview. Another of the Island’s fine dining experiences that we are happy to recommend. Their highly rated Island Room offers an A-la Carte menu with a sumptuous regency decor. You cannot fail to be impressed at this!
- Saffrons, Cowes. The Island is blessed with some great curry houses, so we thought we would include our favourite one on our list. These guys know how to make you feel welcome and the curry is superb! Booking is essential in summer.
Saffrons-Flavours of India, 107 High Street, Cowes, Tel: 01983 291800
- The Pond Cafe, Bonchurch. “Simplicity, sophistication and style”...that’s the motto of this fabulous cafe and that sums it up so nicely. These guys are passionate about their food and you can tell by the flavour and presentation. A must visit in our books! Your taste buds will never be the same again after this sort of treat! And if you liked this, check out The Hambrough Hotel in Ventnor too, part of the same company with the same superb culinary experience!
|Wightlife website||Menu Venue website|