Where to Stay in Isle of Wight
Who needs a tropical island paradise? Take a look at where to stay in Isle of Wight - our favourite UK island
No, seriously, who needs a tropical island paradise when you have a place like the Isle of Wight? It’s the UK’s sunniest place and, depending on which spectacled meteorologist you ask, actually gets more sun than some parts of Spain. With more people holidaying there (2 million) than actual residents (140,000), there must be something to it. Here at Plum Guide, we know all about these hidden gems. We’re experts, actually. If you’re looking at staying anywhere in England, you can start your search right here. We’ve got plenty of remarkable homes on offer, all hand-picked and vigorously verified by our experts. Whilst we could rattle on about the fact that Isle of Wight is the most haunted island in the world, or the smallest English county (but only at high tide), that’s not what you’re here for. Let’s get down to business: here's where to stay in Isle of Wight.
When it comes to where to stay in Isle of Wight, your first port of call may just be best. With great ferry connections to the mainland and the rest of the UK south coast, Cowes is an idyllic town to base yourself in. On a whistle stop tour of the UK south coast? We’ve put together a guide to the best places to visit on the south coast. Not to be confused with East Cowes which sits on the opposite side of the river, connected by a chain link ferry (obviously), Cowes is delightful. The aptly named ‘Cowes week’ is the biggest and longest-standing sailing regatta in the world and, being an island, throughout the year you will find all kinds of sailing activity going on. If you haven’t got the sea legs and barely managed the ferry over, don’t worry. There are also plenty of beaches, cafes and restaurants, shops and more to keep you busy.
Speaking of shopping, we really like Ryde. On Union Street, you can find a great variety of boutique shops, all of which can do serious damage to the bank account. Ryde is perfect because it has something for everyone. From the beaches, to laser quest, a bowling alley, a swimming pool (and canoe lake), to the UK’s oldest pier, this place keeps everyone of all ages happy. It’s also a great location if you’re looking to explore the island without a car. From Ryde Pier Head, you can catch a train on the Island Line which will take you south to Shanklin.
Sandown and Shanklin
When looking for a holiday to the island, chances are you’re looking for a nice seaside resort. Both Sandown and Shanklin deliver in spades (and buckets). As mentioned, they’re both on the Island Line linking to Ryde and boast beautiful, long sandy beaches with crystal clear water for swimming. If you think of all the things you can do at a classic British seaside resort - hiring a pedalo, a spot of minigolf, building a sandcastle, eating chips whilst keeping an eye on greedy seagulls, watching a slightly disturbing Punch & Judy show - they’re all ticked off here.
Ventnor and the south coast
Heading further south, you’ll find the little seaside town of Ventnor. Being a small island, you’ve probably gathered by now that all of the towns here are seaside towns. Ventnor enjoyed its heyday back during the Victorian era and is now undergoing something of a renaissance with posh hotels and fancy restaurants popping up all over. There’s also Blackgang Chine. It's one of the world’s oldest amusement parks so perhaps think twice about getting on the old, rickety roller coaster. For something a little more relaxing, the botanical gardens are well worth a visit. This part of the island actually enjoys something of a ‘micro-climate’ (again, ask the meteorologists about this) which means you’ll find unique plants growing here that simply wouldn’t flourish back in mainland England. What we like about Ventnor is that the pace is all a bit slower on this side of the island. It’s quieter here, compared with your Rydes, Cowes and Shanklins. Amongst the winding, tiny roads (take it easy when driving), you won’t find much in the way of supermarkets, petrol stations or mobile signal for that matter.
Rounding off our whistle stop tour of where to stay in Isle of Wight, West Wight is a great option. It’s struck a nice balance between the quiet, slow pace of life we just mentioned regarding Ventnor and the south, but also boasts one of the islands biggest attractions in The Needles. Here, you’ll find the iconic chairlift that offers breathtaking views on your way down to the sea. You can take a boat trip out to explore one of the last manned lighthouses in the UK, or remain on land and enjoy some Jurassic mini golf or one of many classic rides such as the carousel and teacups. It’s the perfect family day out. Or, of course, you could just stay at home and relax in the pool. Who can blame you?