Why It’s Great to Take a Holiday on the Wonderful Isle of Wight

If you like to stay at home in the UK for your family holidays but the idea of getting on a boat and crossing the water still appeals, you could do worse than spend some time on the Isle of Wight, sometimes referred to as Britain’s Sunshine Isle. When you are on the Island you are blessed with that feeling of having left the rat race behind, and yet you are still in England immersed in the familiarity of your culture, currency and cuisine.

But the Isle of Wight is far from being a mere extension of the mainland, albeit cut off by a small expanse of sea. On the contrary, it has a “feel” all of its own and a vibe that belongs perhaps to simpler and more innocent times. Those who are of a certain age may be overcome by a certain sense of nostalgia when they step off the ferry or the hovercraft for the first time and visit some of the shops and arcades along the seafront. And yet the Island is by no means stuck in the 1960s, and if you care to look around it has pretty much everything that the rest of us have come to know – it just somehow manages to keep everything in its place and retain a sense of perspective.

A unique blend of history and modernity

The largest town is Ryde, on the north-east coast, and it is here that the Island’s unique blend of history and modernity is at its most evident. When you leave the esplanade and climb the steep streets which head back inland you will encounter an interesting range of small, independent shops interspersed with others belonging to some of the big chains with which we are all familiar. Some of the pubs have a traditional seafront ambience whilst there are others more likely to appeal to the younger market.

As you head around the coast you will happen upon the beautiful marine community of Bembridge before arriving at Sandown, with its pier and coastal walk fronted by some of the Island’s larger hotels. From there it is a short drive, or for those of a more energetic bent a mere walk, to Shanklin with its seaside shops and crazy golf, and then to the quaint resort of Ventnor which rests at the foot of a sheer slope which is ever so slightly scary when attempting to negotiate it by car.

Hotels and popular holiday parks

Over at West Wight are the resorts of Yarmouth and Freshwater, out on their own but with Alum Bay and the famous Needles located between. It is always a joyous experience to spend some time at the Landmark Attraction (previously known as the Needles Pleasure Park) and, for the courageous of spirit, to take the chairlift over the cliffs and down to the beach.

The county town of the Isle of Wight is Newport, the only fairly large town on the Island which isn’t situated by the sea. Here once again the shopping experience is one where culture meets progress and the store chains compete with the more traditional outlets for the custom of locals and visitors alike.

The Isle of Wight boasts a number of quite comfortable hotels, a great many smaller bed and breakfast establishments and several popular holiday parks comprising lodges and caravans. It’s a great place to get away to for a week or two, or even just a weekend.