Yarmouth is known for its large harbour and travel connections. From here, you can explore the Island’s fabulous coastline and even experience a trip on The Waverley, the world’s last sea-going paddle steamer. Also, be sure to uncover the town’s rich history at Yarmouth Castle, an English Heritage site, and the perfect spot for a picnic.
The beautiful village of Totland is ideal for walking or cycling with miles of captivating coastline to explore. Make sure Colwell Bay is on your list; one of the most picturesque and popular beaches on the Island with over two miles of sand and shingle.
Along the bay is Freshwater, appropriately named for its clear waters, pebble beaches and beautiful views.
There are lots of bays and coves to explore here, the main gem being Compton Bay, where at low tide you may even see a dinosaur footprint or two. The Isle of Wight is also known as the Dinosaur Isle and uncovering ancient fossils may not be as rare as you might think.
Over the years, Freshwater has been home to some famous residents, most notably the poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson, who lived at Farringford House. The stunning Grade I listed house and gardens are open to the public and worth a visit to explore its past and literary connections. For walking enthusiasts, Tennyson Down offers miles of rolling countryside and unrivalled views of the dazzling, unspoilt coastline and the Solent.
To the South, the coastline is more rugged and the Atlantic swell attracts surfers from all around the world. Even if surfing isn’t for you, watching the experts can be enjoyable. The area also features many small, former fishing and farming villages, where you will find charming country pubs serving hearty, home cooked food. Take the time to explore Brighstone, a picturesque village with thatched cottages and ancient churches. Being a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty there’s barely any light pollution making an evening’s stargazing highly recommended.
Attractions & Activities
Mottistone, Newport, Isle of Wight,
A megalithic monument near the village of Mottistone. Little is known about these two strange lumps of stone sitting in the middle of the countryside, but a visit here will unveil many of the different stories and rituals that surround their origins.
St Peter & St Paul’s Church,
Mottistone, Newport, Isle of Wight,
A stunning 12th century church with fantastic architecture and beautiful surroundings. It’s easy to see why the well-known actor, Benedict Cumberbatch, chose this location for his wedding.
Brook Chine National Trust,
Military Rd, Newport, Isle of Wight,
A geological feature on the South West coast, with dramatic views and the possibility of discovering dinosaur footprints. Accessible from the National Trust car park, Brook Chine is very popular with kite surfers and walkers.
Compton, Isle of Wight,
Another popular hot spot with surfers and locals. However, accessing the beach is not the easiest, but is definitely worth it. Completely unspoilt this natural beach only has basic amenities, which is part of its charm. Visit this National Trust site to see stunning sunsets and views of the Island.
West Wight Alpacas,
Main Road, Wellow, Isle of Wight,
PO41 0SZ. Tel: 01983 760900
West Wight Alpacas offer escorted walks through the countryside accompanied by your very own alpaca or llama. There are around 60 alpacas and 13 llamas as well as the superb restaurant and café, The Llama Tree.
Quay Street, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight,
PO41 0NS. Tel: 01983 760678
As well as bags of history this castle has fantastic views across the Solent. Built-in 1547 by Henry VIII, Yarmouth Castle is a relaxing and informative family day out. A tour includes the atmospheric recreation of how the 16th-century rooms were used and the magnificent cannons and coastal defences.
Tapnell Farm House, Newport Rd, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight,
PO41 0YJ. Tel: 01983 758772
Tapnell Farm, animal and activity park, is ideal for all the family. The farm’s collection of animals includes wallabies, meerkats and alpacas, and offers hands-on experiences for children of all ages. Previously a dairy farm it has been converted to provide child-friendly activities and includes a large indoor play barn, pedal go-karting tracks, outdoor play areas and trampolines. The dedicated on-site restaurant, The Cow Co, is a must-visit for locally sourced, delicious food.
The Needles Old Battery,
West High Down, Alum Bay, Isle of Wight,
PO39 0JH. Tel: 01983 754772
A Victorian fort and a coastal defence used in both World Wars. The Old Battery has a fascinating history including being used as a secret rocket testing site. Discover the underground tunnels hidden away in the rural countryside, and its location high above the Needles means the views will take your breath away – be sure to bring a picnic.
The Needles Landmark and Alum Bay Attraction,
Alum Bay New Road, Alum Bay, Isle of Wight,
PO39 0JD. Tel: 01983 752401
The Needles Landmark Attraction is possibly the most well-known attraction on the Island and is always a great day out. For those looking for a more adrenaline-filled experience, there is a pleasure boat or rib ride that goes out to the famous lighthouse and chalk stacks. You can also experience the chair lift down to Alum Bay where the cliffs are famous for their multi-coloured sands. There’s something to keep everybody happy with gift shop, hand-blown glass works, 4-D Cinema and the Isle of Wight Sweet Manufactory.
Fort Victoria Country Park,
West Hill Lane, Freshwater, Isle of Wight,
PO41 0RR. Tel: 01983 823893
Located on the remains of a former fort and built to guard the Solent against invasion. Today, it offers many attractions including an Archaeology Discovery Centre, Planetarium, Model Railway, Reptilarium and cafe. Surrounded by woodlands and seaside walks, it’s also one of the best view points to watch the seafaring traffic cross the Solent.
Action and Adventure,
Newport Rd, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight,
PO41 0YJ. Tel: 01983 755838
A must for extreme sports enthusiasts. Based at Tapnell Farm, they offer coasteering, paddle
boarding, kayaking, mountain boarding, archery, axe throwing, climbing and bush craft. If required, the experienced team will take group bookings.
West Wight Sports Centre,
Moa Place, Freshwater, Isle of Wight,
PO40 9XH. Tel: 01983 752168
With one large pool and a children’s pool, West Wight Sports Centre offers the deepest swimming pool at three metres deep on the island, as well as diving board facilities. Both pools are fully accessible and parking is available close by – a rainy day treat!
Pubs & Restaurants
On The Rocks, Yarmouth: The Island’s only dedicated Black Rock Grill dining experience.
Off The Rails, Yarmouth: Converted ex-railway station with themed menu and local produce.
The Cow at Tapnell Farm: Specialists in beef and dairy – delicious burgers and home made ice cream.
The Hut, Freshwater: Relaxed, waterfront dining in a buzzy atmopshere; booking essential.
The Waterfront, Totland: Mediterranean cuisine and magical seafront location, ideal for sunsets.