The Isle of Wight is a beautiful holiday destination that is sometimes overlooked when people are considering a staycation in the UK, simply because it’s not part of the mainland. However, it is still very much part of the United Kingdom, therefore benefitting from being cheaper and less hassle than a holiday abroad. It makes an ideal venue for a fabulous school trip! Accessible by ferry or flight, the Isle of Wight has the ability to make you feel like you are escaping to a different country without having to worry about visas, vaccinations or changing currency. There are more than a few things worth leaving the mainland for when planning your next holiday close to home.
Here are five incredible things that the Isle of Wight can offer that the mainland can’t.
1. Prehistoric roots
‘Welcome to Jurassic Park!’ is what you will be shouting as you touch down on the island, as it boasts being the UK’s Dinosaur Capital and is regarded as one of the richest areas for dinosaur bone discovery in Europe. If you, or anyone in your family, has an interest in dinosaurs, the Isle of Wight offers a great range of attractions and activities perfect for everyone. The island is home to Dinosaur Isle, which is the first purpose built dinosaur museum in the UK. Based in Sandown on the Isle of Wight, the museum offers the chance to see skeletal reconstructions, real fossils, life sized flesh reconstructions and a host of other palaeontological objects and collections. If you are looking for something with a little more action you could join a fossil hunt, a footprint tour or take a walk along the beaches to discover your own fossils. Older children, or even brave younger children, would get a kick out of visiting Restricted Area 5 at Blackgang Chine, where they can come face to face with animatronic dinosaurs, some bigger than a double decker bus! Luckily the museum is really close to some great holiday parks such as Whitecliff Bay, meaning that you don’t have to squeeze all the dinosaur fun into one day.
2. National Poo Museum Number two on the list is the National Poo Museum (get it?). Yes, you read that right, poo, and in the Isle of Wight you will find a whole museum dedicated to the stuff. It is not surprising that it is the only museum of its kind in the UK but, to some, it will be worth a trip over from the mainland. The aim of the museum is, like all museums, to educate while also removing the taboo of poo. The museum is full of faecal specimens and facts, for example, wombats do square poo, possibly not entirely proven, to prevent their territorial poos rolling off rocks. You will also be able to look and even touch resin encapsulated poo. From llama poo to human baby poo there is a great range of numbers twos at the National Poo Museum.
3. The Needles The Needles are a landmark attraction on the coast of the Isle of Wight, famous for its chairlift which skirts the cliff edge and gives you a panoramic view of visitors and coloured sands. But, the views aren’t the only pull of The Needles, there are a range of spectacular attractions to enjoy. The world-famous Needles rocks are thought to be one of the most photographed groups of rocks in the world. They consist of three chalk stacks, originally four, which appear as if they are floating in the sea. These are landmarks to be looked at but not touched due to the potentially hazardous conditions at the foot of The Needles. However, you can enjoy a close-up view via an underground tunnel in the Old Battery or enjoy dinner with a view in the tea-rooms. Along with the spectacular views you can also enjoy watching the art of glass blowing and sweet manufactory, there are also rides to keep the children happy, such as the spins and needles tea cup ride and a Victorian carousel.
4. Hovercraft The Isle of Wight Hovercraft is the last remaining commercial hovercraft service in the world and is also the quickest way to get from the mainland over to the island, taking less than 10 minutes. Although the hovercraft is used by residents of the Isle of Wight to commute to their jobs on the mainland, being the last of its kind, it is also a tourist attraction that draws many visitors every year to hop on board and enjoy the unique travel experience. If you are thinking about visiting the Isle of Wight it is worth taking the opportunity to fly across the water on a one of a kind mode of transport. Photo: www.visitisleofwight.co.uk