Ticket to Ryde: our holiday on the Isle of Wight

Children on Ryde beach.

We’ve just got back from our first family holiday in four years. We stayed fairly close to home by heading to the Isle of Wight for a week.

As I quietly predicted to myself beforehand, I’m enjoying it more in hindsight than I did while we were there.

I imagine a lot of parents will feel the same. Particularly those with younger children!

Anyway, we got there and back by train and ferry with minimal fuss and, despite a couple of obstacles, managed to fit a fair few things in.

A child looking out of the window on a ferry.

Said obstacles were the weather – I know I shouldn’t complain, but it was too hot for the kids at times – and the public transport on the island.

Seriously – how can it take an hour and twenty minutes to travel eight miles by bus and why are there only trains on the eastern side?!

As a result, we didn’t manage to get the¬†west or south of the island at all. Never mind – it’ll be a pleasure postponed until next time.

Here are some of the highlights from our time in the Isle of Wight.

Appley Tower on Ryde beach, Isle of Wight.

Ryde beach

As the frankly hilarious headline I’ve given this post alludes to, we stayed in Ryde. There are loads of sandy beaches stretching the length of the town so it would have been a crime not to spend a day there.

The kids loved running around on the sand and splashing in the water. The part of the beach we went to is home to Appley Tower – an intriguing building that simply had to be photographed.

Shanklin Chine on the Isle of Wight.

Shanklin Chine

Shanklin Chine is a wooded ravine on the island’s east coast. It’s home to waterfalls, rescued exotic birds, wonderful sea views and some absolutely massive leaves!

We were in two minds about going as there are a lot of steps and we had a pushchair with us, but are glad we did. We all enjoyed it – including youngest who happily walked most of it.

Children in the education room at Newport Roman Villa.

Newport Roman Villa

Newport Roman Villa is something of a hidden gem. Located in an ordinary residential street are the remains of a wealthy Roman’s home. I love looking around sites like this and the kids enjoyed it too.

They were particularly interested in the education room and spent a while in there. Among other things, they made mosaics and learned about Roman food and currency.

An Island Line train on the Isle of Wight.

The Island Line

Having whinged about some of the isle’s public transport earlier in the post, I have to give a favourable mention to the Island Line. It runs from Ryde to Shanklin and uses former London Underground tube trains!

Consequently, it’s a fast and sometimes bumpy ride, but there was a real charm to it and everyone on board was all smiles.

A child looking at a dinosaur skeleton at Dinosaur Isle.

Dinosaur Isle

I had heard good things about Dinosaur Isle from friends who had already been there and wasn’t disappointed. More to the point, the kids loved it!

It was as if they were on a school trip – they enthusiastically completed their activity sheets and had lots of fun posing with models of dinosaurs and creating rubbings of footprints.

Tigers at Isle of Wight Zoo.

Isle of Wight Zoo

Finally, a couple of doors down from Dinosaur Isle in Sandown is the island’s zoo. Located within what was once the town’s fort, it’s home to a decent range of animals from meerkats to big cats.

Everyone’s highlight was the tigers. The lions would have been up there too, but they were hiding!

Have you been to the Isle of Wight recently? What were your highlights?


  1. Tim Bonner

    I spent many a summer as a kid on the Isle of Wight. It was a favourite place to go for a family holiday. I wish I could go with my kids now but it’s a bit far from Scotland.

    We always used to go to Blackgang Chine near Ventnor and loved it. Every year we went another part of it had fallen into the sea. I’m not sure if it still exists.

    Sounds as though you had a good time even if the weather was too hot!

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