Things to see and do on a scenic day trip from London to the Isle of Wight.
The Isle of Wight is located just off the south coast of England, 2
miles off the coast to be precise. Regular ferries operate to the
island from Portsmouth, Southampton and Lymington and it's a fantastic idea for a day trip from London.
What's to see in Isle of Wight
Located on the southern coast, the Isle of Wight enjoys some of the UK's best weather and the scenery is hard to beat here as well.
After landing in East Cowes, the most significant attraction in the area would be Osborne House, the former residence of Queen Victoria which is now open to the public.
Moving east out of Cowes, you'll come to the town of Ryde.
This is the biggest town on the island and it's a pleasant seaside resort with a sheltered position in the lee of the island. Ryde Pier is a bit of a landmark as it's one of the oldest and longest piers in England. The town is also known for its carnival, which celebrated it's 120th year on the 29th of August 2008.
Heading south you'll come to Sandown.
Originally a military base, it became a town after it lost its strategic importance and became a popular seaside resort during the Victorian era. Some of the hotels of that era still exist today, though some have been extended since with more modern architecture. In or around the town you'll find such attractions as the Isle of Wight Zoo (which specializes in tigers), an 18-hole golf course, the Dinosaur Isle geological museum and Sandham Grounds.
Ventnor is located just down the coast from Sandown.
The main attraction of this town would be the Ventnor Botanic Garden which are greatly aided by the unique weather that the Isle of Wight enjoys. The town also has its own beach that tends to be quieter than the beaches of Sandown and Shanklin.
Located on the western edge of the island is the headland known as The Needles.
These comprise a trio of chalk stacks that stick out of the sea, and at the end include a lighthouse. Situated next to the Needles is Alum Bay which includes one of the more popular beaches on the island. The beach has a number of different colored sands and a popular souvenir is a glass vial filled with all the different colors.
Located in the center of the island is the town of Newport, which is also the capital of the isle. Two popular attractions include the remains of a Roman villa and Carisbrooke Castle which is located close to the town.
The Isle of Wight is particularly noted for its Chines (steep-sided river valley where the river flows through coastal cliffs). The most famous of these was Blackgang Chine, located some 10kms to the west of Ventnor, but this was destroyed by erosion in the early 1900s. There still exists an amusement park with many rides and would be popular with all the family.
Today, if you would like to see an intact cline there is always the Shanklin Chine. The town of Shanklin is located between Sandown and Ventnor.
Another must see attraction on the Isle of Wight is the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, which was resorted to its former glory in the 70s and offers a very pleasant ride through the unspoilt countryside.
How to get to Isle of Wight
If you are heading there from Heathrow Airport, just follow the M25. Head south and the first motorway exit you will come across will be the M3.
If you're heading there from London city center, follow signs for the A4. This splits into the A316 which goes on to become the M3.
Once on the M3, this will take you all the way to the port city of Southampton. From here you can take a ferry the 16kms to East Cowes which is the port for the Isle of Wight. This journey will only take between 2 and 2.5 hours.