Are you looking for amazing things to do with kids on the Isle of Wight in 2023? This beautiful British gem is an island known for its outstanding natural beauty, dinosaur heritage and mild climate. With so many family-friendly Isle of Wight activities, you’re set to have an epic island escape!
Plus, you don’t really want to miss its sunny, balmy and warmer weather! Often called the Garden Isle, because of its exotic plants, it’s an idyllic staycation!
British tourists have been visiting since the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria herself would holiday there! So, if you want a destination closer to home but still want to feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, consider the Isle of Wight!
Why not make this year one the whole family will always remember? Have a browse of these Isle of Wight attractions for families and create new memories on Hampshire’s favourite must-visit island!
Outdoor activities on the Isle of Wight
Are you an outdoor activities kind of family? The Isle of Wight has an array of fun things to do with kids outdoors. Need some relaxation? Choose a spot to sunbathe whilst the kids play on one of the island’s many family-friendly beaches. Want to spark the kids imagination? The Dinosaur Isle Museum will transport you and the kids back to prehistoric times!
You can’t visit the Isle of Wight and not visit English Heritage site Carisbrooke Castle, the island’s cultural and historical must-visit. And why not get your steps in by walking around the very castle Charles I tried to escape from whilst being imprisoned during the civil war?
Plus, the panoramic views of the Isle of Wight makes this attraction an absolute no-brainer! Explore the charming gardens and grounds, walk around the surrounding landscape and enjoy visiting ‘The Island’s Castle’.
Sandham Gardens, Sandham Bay
- Fancy relaxing in an idyllic seaside town and beachfront location? Sandham Gardens is one of the most idyllic Isle of Wight attractions for families looking to relax and unwind. Who wouldn’t want to chill opposite the ‘UK’s best beach as voted for in Countryfile Magazine’?
There’s so much family fun to be had with activities such as Sandham Karts and Dino Islands: A Golf Adventure. By only paying for your car space and chosen activities, this is a budget-friendly option.
The Needles Landmark Attraction
You can’t think about the Isle of Wight without thinking of its most famous landmark, the Needles chairlift. Located on the South Western tip of the island, this is one of the most exciting things to do with kids in the Isle of Wight. It offers an amazing way to take in a bird’s eye view of the multi-coloured sand cliffs of Alum Bay. And the turquoise waters sparkle all the way to the horizon!
Fancy making your day that extra bit special? Take a pleasure boat from the jetty on a trip around the Needles Rocks and Trinity Lighthouse. You’ll be able to take in panoramic views of the Alum Bar sand cliffs and iconic chairlift.
If you’re imagining a chairlift with nothing else to do, think again. For amazing value for money you can fill your day out with an open top bus ride, boat trips, an immersive 4D cinema adventure, children’s attractions and Jurassic golf. There’s also an age-old tradition from the Victorian period with the traditional Alum Bay ‘sand filling’ experience.
Tapnell Farm is a must-visit place for kids. Meet sheep, miniature donkeys, pigs and alpacas and don’t forget to stop by the Wallaby Walkabout. Who doesn’t want to meet wallabies and meercats? Plus, there’s a Meet the Animals area where there’s regular talks from the Farm Park keepers. Kids will also enjoy the play barn, the soft play area, construction corner, zip wire, trampolines and giant jumping pillows. Kids and adults alike could never get bored at Tapnell Farm, enjoying the pedal karts, mini golf and football shoot-out area!
For budget-friendly things to do with kids in the Isle of Wight, head over to one of the many beautiful beaches! The Isle of Wight has some of the best beaches in the UK, with vast stretches of golden sands, cliffs, coves, and hidden rock pools. And wherever you go on the Isle of Wight, there’s sure to be a beach to explore nearby.
Isle of Wight walking routes
With more than half of the island a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a 68-mile-long coastal path, and a criss-cross network of footpaths and trails, the Isle of Wight is a dream for walkers. Plus, with Isle of Wight walking routes clearly signposted, it’s easy to get your steps in and take in all the scenery.
From beaches with real dinosaur fossils and woodland walks to beaches nearby attractions, there are plenty of family-friendly walks. So, it’s easy to make daily walks part of your island experience!
Isle of Wight history
It’s safe to say that the Isle of Wight has seen a lot of history! Above all, roaming the same spots the dinosaurs would have roamed the island is reason enough to go! So, make sure to make time for a little awe-inspiring history with the kids!
Dinosaur Isle Museum
When in the Isle of Wight, the Dinosaur Isle Museum is an absolute non-negotiable! Plus, it’s one of the best things to do with kids in the Isle of Wight! Are you really going to miss seeing the richest dinosaur locality in Europe, and one of the top ten localities in the world?
This is an interactive museum where you can meet the staff who look after the fossils and the scientists who study them at their open lab door. And yes, you really can hold 130-million-year-old fossils in your hands!
The education room is fantastic for kids who can learn more about dinosaurs, and do art activities. Not to mention, the views across Sandown Bay are worth it!
Osborne is a much-loved and treasured attraction of Isle of Wight history, and is especially exciting to visit if you’re interested in the history of the British monarchy or architecture inspired by Italian design!
In fact, this was Queen Victoria’s holiday island escape, and one she very much loved, as reflected by what she wrote in a letter to her daughter from Windsor Castle: “I long for our cheerful and un-palace-like rooms at Osborne.”
An English Heritage attraction, Osborne House was somewhere she could truly relax with her family away from the many duties she had back in London. With its open, airy rooms, the children could walk through them without feeling like they were trespassing.
How to get to the Isle of Wight
Getting to the Isle of Wight is super easy, with up to 200 ferry crossings a day from Portsmouth, Southampton and Lymington. You can reach the island from London in about two hours by train and ferry!
Hovertravel allows you to get to the shore at Southsea or Ryde in just 10 minutes. There are easy onward travel connections available with their Hoverbus which takes passengers to and from Portsmouth Harbour, The Hard and Portsmouth and Southsea Train Stations. Also, there are large car parks at both terminals, coach parking nearby and National Express and Lucketts coach stops opposite the terminal.
When arriving on the Isle of Wight you will land on the seafront of Ryde with all its wonderful beaches and boutique shops. Travel links include the train link to Shanklin and buses to other parts of the island, next to the terminal. You can get great value all-inclusive travel and attraction tickets, including the buses, trains and entrance to many attractions.
You can choose from three routes with Wightlink Isle of Wight Ferries, which are Portsmouth to Fishbourne, Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde Pier Head and Lymington to Yarmouth. Wightlink also has more routes to choose from, with a 22-minute journey by catamaran and a 40-minute journey by car ferry. With great on board facilities, spacious lounges and sundecks, Wightlink makes travelling to the Isle of Wight a comfortable experience.
Red Funnel Ferries
It will take you 30 minutes on the Red Funnel’s Hi-Speed service between Southampton (UK mainland) and West Cowes (Isle of Wight). Or, it will take 1 hour on the vehicle service between Southampton and East and West Cowes. Book event tickets, attraction tickets and accommodation through Red Funnel too! Vehicle ferries now include a pet-friendly lounge, signature lounge, improved WiFi, sun deck, new Sainsbury’s outlet, and gift shop.
Are you planning your trip to the Isle of Wight? Or perhaps somewhere else in beautiful Hampshire? If so, you’ll want to check out our blog, ‘must-see 2023 events in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.’
Need more inspiration to help you decide to visit the Isle of Wight? Watch this Isle of Wight Travel Guide vlog by Alex Outhwaite! And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up to date with all the happenings at Hampshire’s Top Attractions!