Waving goodbye to the mainland was only the start of a great week, which left us wishing we had booked another.
The ferry ride itself is a great start (see www.wightlink.co.uk ) – the children found this every bit as exciting as any theme park ride: it’s like going abroad, but without the language barrier.
Once there we found plenty to do. Highly recommended comes Robin Hill (see www.robin-hill.com ) This calls itself an Adventure Park, and offers a combination of adventurous play, woodland walks, nature trails, rides, a toboggan run, and falconry displays. There are surprisingly good eating places too, offering alternatives to chips! Even better, they are currently offering a free return visit within 7 days; we found that there was easily enough to do there to justify a second day.
A good option, whatever the weather, is Amazon World (see www.amazonworld.co.uk ) A rainforest has been recreated there, full of exotic plants and animals; highly educational, but also fascinating to young children who simply enjoy seeing unusual animals; our favourites were the crocodiles, flamingoes and tortoises. There is an outdoor play area, so good weather is an advantage, but the rest of the park is indoor. There is an ongoing comitment to a programme of conservation work, so your entrance fee goes partly towards helping endangered animals.
Adults and older children will enjoy Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s country house (see www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/osborne/); there are unimaginable treasures to see, Victorian history to explore (links to the National Curriculum) as well as a fascinating insight into how Victoria’s nine children were brought up and educated.
Anyone who likes castles will enjoy Carisbroke Castle (see www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/carisbrooke-castle/) A twelfth century castle to explore, a museum, but best of all (to a 4-year old), a demonstration of how donkeys are used to extract water from a well.
We had barely reached Portsmouth when the children started asking “when can we go back to the Isle of Wight?”
If you would like to visit the Isle of Wight, for general infomation visit the Official Site of Isle of Wight Tourism. Park Resorts have holiday parks at a number locations on the island. For cottages to rent, Hoseasons have a nice selection.
About the Author: Alex Freeman is a freelance writer specialising in parenting and family topics and can be contacted via eParenting.
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