Sandown is popular for its long stretches of Blue Flag accredited beaches and was voted ‘Best British Beach’ in 2019. Built in the 1940s, the popular amusement pier has now been modernised to retain the perfect mix of old and new attractions and rides. Another must-see is Culver Down with its fantastic views across the Solent, rolling countryside and cliff path walks; The Culver Haven Inn is the perfect stop-off point for a drink or a bite to eat whilst taking in the stunning views. For history lovers, there is a former artillery battery to explore as well as wartime monuments. If keeping children entertained is the order the day, there are many attractions located along the seafront, including Dinosaur Isle (many of the fossils displayed were found on the Island) or the Isle of Wight Zoo & Tiger Sanctuary.
Shanklin is split into three main areas; the seafront esplanade and attractions, the main town and the Old Village.
The beautiful, sheltered sandy beaches recently won a 2019 Seaside Award for Excellence, and there’s traditional seaside amusements, cafés, restaurants and ample parking – something for everyone.
Be sure to visit the world-famous Old Village where you will find picturesque thatched cottages steeped in history and a delicious cream tea, if needed. For nature lovers, the hidden gems include woodland walks, illuminated waterfalls at Shanklin Chine and don’t miss the ancient carving in the caves along the bay towards Luccombe.
Attractions & Activities
Esplanade, Shanklin, Isle of Wight,
PO37 6BG. Tel: 01983 867585
Mainly aimed at keeping young children happy, the seafront area has been developed and improved in recent years. The traditional amusement arcade, Jungle Jim’s indoor play zone and two crazy golf courses, Jurassic Bay Adventure Golf and Pirates Cove Adventure Golf, are all just across the road from the golden sands of Shanklin Beach.
Isle of Wight Zoo and Tiger Sanctuary,
Yaverland Rd, Yaverland, Sandown, Isle of Wight,
PO36 8QB. Tel: 01983 403883
Housed in an old granite fort on the seafront between Yaverland and Sandown, the Zoo was created by Jack Corney who rescued tigers and big cats from around the world. Now benefiting from charitable status, the good work continues under the watchful eye of Jack’s daughter. The zoo is home to meerkats, apes and gibbons as well as a great gift shop and café. There is something magical about getting up close to a big cat, so don’t miss out on this unique experience.
Sandown, Isle of Wight,
PO36 8JT. Tel: 01983 404122
Dating back to Victorian times, Sandown Pier offers entertainment for all the family. There are traditional amusements as well as Ten Pin Bowling, Bingo, Lost World indoor crazy golf and Magic Island, an indoor children’s play zone. The pier is also a great place for crabbing, fishing and a perfect spot to sit back, relax and watch the world go by.
Mersley Lane, Newchurch, Sandown, Isle of Wight,
PO36 0NR. Tel: 01983 865378
Did you know that Newchurch’s Garlic Farm is a significant exporter of garlic? All sorts of relishes, chutneys and fresh garlic are on offer as well as excellent cuisine at the café and restaurant. Discover the dressings, sauces and other garlic related products that have been featured in recipes and magazines across the UK.
3 Chine Avenue, Shanklin, Isle of Wight,
PO37 6BW. Tel: 01983 866432.
Previously used by the military, Shanklin Chine is a natural gorge cut out of the sandstone by a small stream. Today, it’s a peaceful chine featuring a waterfall that leads down to The Fisherman’s Cottage pub and beach. At night, the gorge is illuminated and takes on a whole different atmosphere. Keep your eyes open for the lovely red squirrels.
Culver Parade, Sandown, Isle of Wight,
PO36 8QA. Tel: 01983 404344
Dinosaur Isle is a purpose-built exhibition Centre located on the seafront and is open all year round. Designed and built to resemble a Pterodactyl, the Centre features dinosaur-related information and fossils from the time when they inhabited the Island millions of years ago. There is a working laboratory and over 1,000 exhibits to enjoy – this one is a must for dinosaur enthusiasts, big or small.
Sandown and Shanklin Golf Course,
The Fairway, Lake, Sandown, Isle of Wight,
PO36 9PR. Tel: 01983 403217
A popular 18-hole golf course situated inland between Sandown and Shanklin offering modern and well-appointed facilities as well as a friendly clubhouse.
The Heights Leisure Centre,
Broadway, Sandown, Isle of Wight,
PO36 9ET. Tel: 01983 823881
Located on the edge of Sandown heading towards Shanklin. Recently upgraded, the Heights Leisure Centre offers modern and bright facilities including a 25m swimming pool and heated children’s pool. Lessons and activities are available to book. Great for days when the beach isn’t an option.
Pubs and Restaurants
The Bandstand Restaurant: An ideal choice for brunch and drinks whilst gazing at Sandown Bay.
The Culver Haven Inn, Sandown: Enjoy the open fire and friendly service after a walk on the downs.
The Waterfront Inn, Shanklin: Panoramic sea views, homely atmosphere and simply good food.
Morgan’s Restaurant, Shanklin: Quality cuisine from a chef who is inspired by Marco Pierre White.
The Yarbridge Inn, Brading: Family run pub with hearty, home cooked meals; booking essential.