The best things to do on the Isle of Wight with kids include activities and attractions that your whole gang will love. The island’s beautiful beaches and quaint coastal towns are reason enough to visit. But, add to that fun-filled amusement parks and unforgettable animal encounters – oh, and the odd dinosaur here and there – and you’ve got all the ingredients of a holiday for the history books.

    If you want to give your kids a holiday to remember, here’s our pick of the best family-friendly things to do on the Isle of Wight.


    Blackgang Chine

    Feel the rush of adrenaline at the UK’s oldest amusement park

    • Families
    • History

    Blackgang Chine is the UK’s oldest amusement park and a must-visit attraction for any family visiting the Isle of Wight. Boasting a clifftop location just outside Ventnor, the park is just as popular now as it was when it first opened back in 1843.

    Whether you’re travelling with thrill-seeking teenagers, tiny toddlers or the somewhere-in-betweeners, they (and you) will love discovering the ‘Land of Imagination’. Experience the rides and slides of the park’s themed areas: Pirate Cove, Cowboy Town, Fairyland and Nurseryland – not forgetting the home of the dinosaurs, Restricted Area 5 and the Underwater Kingdom. Entrance is free for those below 4 years old. You can also buy combined tickets for the Robin Hill Country Park.

    Location: Nr. Ventnor, PO38 2HN, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am (closing hours vary by season)

    Phone: +44 (0)1983 730330


    photo by Chalkietom (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Monkey Haven

    Take the kids to meet their long-lost relatives

    • Families
    • Photo

    Monkey Haven started as a man’s dream to make a safe place for rescued primates and has since become one of the top family days out on the Isle of Wight. Not far from the island’s capital of Newport, the centre is home to macaques, marmosets and gibbons, lemurs, reptiles, birds of prey and more.

    When you’re not getting involved with the daily feeding times, meet-and-greets or talks, there are play areas to conquer, gift shops to browse, an on-site tearoom to visit, and even a craft lodge to discover. It’s worth noting that when you purchase your Monkey Haven entry ticket, you can return for free within the next 7 days.

    Location: Five Acres Farm, Staplers Rd, Newport PO30 2NB, UK

    Open: April–September: daily from 10 am to 5 pm. October: daily from 10 am to 4 pm. November–March: daily from 10 am to 3 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1983 530885


    Shanklin Beach

    Enjoy quality time together at a traditional seaside resort

    • Families
    • Photo
    • Budget

    Shanklin Beach should be top of your list when picking the best spot for a family day on the sand. Situated on the southeast coast, this long, golden stretch is one of the island’s best-known beaches and has everything you need to enjoy some quality time together.

    The water here is clean and calm, the sand soft and safe. Beach huts line the esplanade and there are toilets, a first-aid post and even a lost child centre nearby. There are, of course, your classic seaside attractions, such as crazy golf, amusements, go-karting and bowling, plus a great choice of cafés, too. Be sure to visit the enchanting Shanklin Chine while you’re there.

    Location: Eastcliff Promenade, Shanklin PO37 6BJ, UK


    Tapnell Farm Park

    Animals, action and adventure, come rain or shine

    • Families
    • Adventure

    Tapnell Farm Park is far more than just a farm – it’s a hive of activity and fun for the whole family to enjoy, whatever the weather. Animal enthusiasts will love the daily meet-and-greets with the farmyard residents, with a particular highlight being the incredible Wallaby Walkabout.

    There’s an outdoor playground, a giant jumping pillow, Little Nippers Tractors, indoor soft play, a toddler zone and more. Race down the Sledge Slides, climb The Lookout and ride zip wires in the impressive Straw Bale Adventure Barn. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, there’s The Cow restaurant and Farm Park Café, but book in advance if you want to dine at The Cow.

    Location: Tapnell Farm House, Newport Rd, Yarmouth PO41 0YJ, UK

    Open: April–October: daily from 10 am to 5 pm. November–March: daily from 10 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1983 758722


    Dinosaur Isle

    A day out that’s a roaring success for all the family

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    Dinosaur Isle takes you on a fascinating journey back to prehistoric times and larger-than-life reptiles. Located in the bustling resort of Sandown, this purpose-built museum (shaped like a pterodactyl) replaced the old Museum of Isle of Wight Geology and now displays over 1,000 incredible fossils and relics, dating from the Ice Age right back to the Cretaceous Period.

    Walk among life-sized model dinosaurs, see genuine skeletons of the giant creatures, take the controls of a robotic dinosaur and watch fossil hunters uncover their latest finds. With the Isle of Wight’s notable Jurassic history, there’s no better place for dino discoveries.

    Location: Culver Parade, Sandown PO36 8QA, UK

    Open: November–March: daily from 10 am to 4 pm. April and September–October: daily from 10 am to 5 pm. May–July: daily from 10 am to 6 pm. August: daily from 9 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1983 404344


    photo by N.Cayla (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    West Wight Alpacas & Llamas

    Make some new friends on a countryside trek with a difference

    • Families
    • Photo

    West Wight Alpacas & Llamas is one of those unforgettable experiences where you pretend it’s a day out for the kids, but it’s just as much for you as it is for them. The award-winning, family-run farm is home to around 60 alpacas, plus llamas, donkeys and other farm animals for you to meet.

    You can enjoy a bite to eat at The Llama Tree Bistro and explore the farm with its array of residents while you’re there. But, of course, the highlight of any visit to West Wight Alpacas is a 40-minute farm walk with one of the friendly, fuzzy alpacas by your side.

    Location: Wellow Alpaca Stud, Main Rd, Yarmouth PO41 0SZ, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1983 760900


    The Needles Landmark Attraction

    Make the most of a visit to this mesmerising rock formation

    • Families
    • Photo

    The Needles Landmark Attraction turns a quick visit to the island’s famous rock formation into a full day of exploration and adventure for kids and adults alike. Located at the westernmost tip of the Isle of Wight, the site is home to family-friendly rides and attractions and is the gateway to the remarkable row of jagged chalk cliffs that jut out of the water for all to see.

    Tee off at Jurassic Adventure Golf, experience the interactive 4D cinema, watch glassblowers and sweet makers in action, and ride the iconic chairlift down to the beach. You can even take a boat ride right around the Needles themselves.

    Location: Alum Bay New Rd, Alum Bay, Totland Bay PO39 0JD, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 4 pm (extended opening hours during summer and December)

    Phone: +44 (0)1983 752401


    Haven Falconry

    Experience incredible birds of prey up close

    • Families
    • Unusual

    The Haven Falconry Bird of Prey Centre offers a unique family day out on the Isle of Wight, educating you on birds of prey, while allowing up-close encounters with them, too. The centre’s fun and passionate falconers have over 45 years of experience and they pride themselves on promoting the welfare and preservation of their birds – of which there are over 50.

    Get up close and personal with owls, hawks, falcons, eagles and even vultures. There are daily flying displays, plus talks and handling sessions. For the younger kids, they’ve got the Pets Corner, Insect Hotel and Ferret Skywalk. The centre is set within the grounds of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, so you can purchase combined tickets for the 2.

    Location: IW Steam Railway, Havenstreet Main Rd, Wootton Bridge, Ryde PO33 4DS, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1983 716556


    Model Village Godshill

    Let the kids feel like giants among a world of miniature

    • Families
    • Photo

    The fantastic Model Village Godshill is a miniature land of adventure for curious kids and their fascinated folks, especially if you’re interested in discovering the heritage of the Isle of Wight. Located in the inland village of Godshill, the attraction is set within the Old Vicarage’s 2 acres of landscaped grounds and takes you on an enchanting journey, showcasing island life throughout its history.

    Let your little ones’ imaginations run wild as they feel like giants among the displays. They’ll love following the functioning steam railway and exploring the intricately thatched roofs and detailed beach huts of 1920s Shanklin. There’s an onsite gift shop and, on good-weather days, a snack hut and plenty of space for you to enjoy a family picnic in the gardens.

    Location: High St, Godshill, Ventnor PO38 3HH, UK

    Open: March–October: daily at10 am (closing hours vary by month)

    Phone: +44 (0)1983 840270


    photo by Andrew Skudder (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Robin Hill Country Park

    88 acres of exploration, adventure and entertainment

    • Families
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    Robin Hill Country Park is the place to take your kids if they love nothing more than being in the great outdoors, seeking non-stop adventure and exploration. Set within 88 acres of beautiful countryside, you’ll find slides, rides and even falconry experiences, plus plenty of woodland gardens and walks for adults to enjoy while the youngsters play.

    As well as the usual opening hours, the park puts on special evening events during school holidays, such as its After Dark illuminations and Polar spectacular in winter. Robin Hill’s sister park is the incredible Blackgang Chine theme park, so why not save money and buy combined tickets for both attractions?

    Location: Downend Rd, Downend, Newport PO30 2NU, UK

    Open: Hours vary by season

    Phone: +44 (0)1983 527352

    Sadie Geoghegan-Dann | Contributing Writer

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