Family-friendly places to visit on the Isle of Wight

Two children running along a sandy beach.

Disclosure: this is a paid collaboration with Island Cottage Holidays.

Following on from my recent post about family-friendly places to visit in East Sussex, I’m looking further afield this time.

We enjoyed a fantastic family holiday on the Isle of Wight last summer and opted for self-catering. This meant we were able to go on more days out and explore a decent chunk of the island.

Admittedly, we didn’t get to the west during our trip, but I consider that a pleasure postponed.

Here, then, are some of the family-friendly places we went as well as a few that are firmly on the to-do list next time.

Appley Tower on Ryde beach, Isle of Wight.


Starting with where we stayed, Ryde is a great base for a holiday on the Isle of Wight. Especially if you’re foot passengers like we were. There are plenty of beaches and seaside attractions and it’s convenient for the ferry.

Nearby is the Isle of Wight Steam Railway while, passing through the town, is the current day Island Line. This is worthy of a mention as it’s somewhat different to catching a train on the mainland.

As a tunnel in Ryde is too low for standard rolling stock, the trains are old London Underground ones. As a result, the ride is fast and bumpy and feels more like a fairground attraction than simply going from A to B!

Dinosaur Isle on the Isle of Wight.


If you have young children, a day in Sandown is a must. BBC Countryfile Magazine recently awarded it Beach of the Year and it’s easy to see why. It boasts sandy beaches, a pier and plenty of family-friendly cafes and restaurants.

It’s also home to a couple of attractions that little ones will love. The zoo, built in the ruins of a Victorian fort, is home to tigers, lions and meerkats among a great many other species.

A short distance along the seafront there’s a step back in time courtesy of Dinosaur Isle. There, you’ll find animatronic recreations and models of the creatures that once called the island home as well as thousands of fossils. What’s more, the building is shaped like a pterosaur!

Shanklin Chine on the Isle of Wight.


Shanklin is one of the island’s most popular resorts. There’s a bustling town with attractions including a theatre, plus a beach and picturesque old village with plenty of independent shops and eateries.

For me, though, the biggest highlight is Shanklin Chine. It’s a natural, wooded ravine populated by lush vegetation and waterfalls.

If your kids don’t mind a bit of a walk, it’s a great place to explore on a hot, sunny day thanks to the shade afforded by the towering trees.

Probably one for older children given all the steps but, that said, our then-two-year-old happily walked most of it.

Tennyson Down on the Isle of Wight.

On our to-do list

Next time we visit the Isle of Wight – and I’m determined that there will be a next time – we’re hoping to visit Yarmouth, Blackgang Chine, The Needles and Tennyson Down among other locations.

I’ve heard great things about all of them and look forward to exploring them with my family.

Where to stay

As I mentioned at the start of this post, going self-catering is a sensible choice if you have a young family, as it frees up budget for more days out.

With that in mind, Island Cottage Holidays has properties to rent all over the Isle of Wight, including in and near the towns mentioned above.

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