Situated just off England’s South coast, the Isle of Wight shimmers in the English Channel. Notorious for its unspoilt natural beauty, and less than 2 hours from London via ferry, this has been a popular holiday destination since Victorian times.
With a mild climate, diverse range of outdoor activities and a 57 miles of varied coastline, holidays on the Isle of Wight are pure heaven for those who enjoy nature and wildlife.
Here are out favorite nature themed things to do.
10 Things to do on the Isle of Wight For Those Who Love Nature & Wildlife
With more than half the island a Designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and more than 500 miles of walking trails, one of the most popular things to do on the Isle of Wight is to take in the views with a good old walk.
Holiday cottage specialists Blue Chip Holidays recommend the Tennyson Trail as a good one to start off with. This 15 mile route stretches from Carisbrooke Castle all the way to The Needles, and you’ll pass some of the views that have graced Isle of Wight postcards for generations along the way.
There are over 300 organised walks to choose from, and in May, the island hosts the largest annual walking festival in the UK. Themed walks during the festival include ghost walks, food walks, garden walks, and even a speed dating walk.
Shanklin Chine Historic Gorge
Carved by Mother Nature over thousands of years, the stunning tree lined gorge that is Shanklin Chine cuts its mark from Shanklin Old Village to the sandy beach and esplanade far below.
It is a magical world of natural beauty, and a rich haven of rare plants, wildlife and enchanting waterfalls. There are few places on the Isle of Wight, let alone England, that can boast such a tranquil and picturesque location.
This is the Isle of Wight’s oldest attraction, having first opened in 1817.
Adventure Activities Isle of Wight
With activity sites throughout the island, Adventure Activities Isle of Wight is great for those who enjoy outdoor adventure. And they are the largest and most well respected Adventure Company on the Isle of Wight.
Whether you want to get out on the open sea on a surfboard, paddleboard, or kayak, or land activities like climbing or mountain boarding, Adventure Activities Isle of Wight is a great place to start.
One of their most popular activities is Coasteering – a unique adventure sport where you experience the exhilaration of sea level traversing, rock climbing, cliff jumping and swimming into sea caves. This activity is a great way to explore along the wild and beautiful Isle of Wight coastline.
Isle of Wight Zoo & Tiger Sanctuary
Overlooking the sandy beaches of Sandown Bay, this is the Island’s original zoo. The team here pride themselves on delivering an inspiring and unique wildlife experience, and they have a strong focus on education, conservation, and improving the well-being of animals in human care.
The zoo is committed to providing a life-long home to rescued big cats as well as providing a loving home for other animal residents. They’re a home for a range of animals, from lions and tiger to monkeys and lemurs. Zena the white tiger is worth the visit alone!
Zoo Tours run every day, including big cat feeding presentations, while younger children will love making new friends during small animal handling sessions.
Amazon World Zoo
Amazon World Zoo is an exotic animal attraction which allows visitors to experience jungle rainforests featuring an array of exotic and interesting birds, crocodiles and penguins.
The experienced tour guides will guide you through the exhibit, teaching visitors about the animals and the conservation efforts to keep their natural habitats safe for the future.
Butterfly & Fountain World
Butterfly world is a colourful and enthralling place where you can watch hundreds of exotic butterflies from around the world fly freely in a natural environment. And visitors have the unique opportunity to study their life cycle first hand.
Alongside Butterfly World you’ll find Fountain World, with Italian & Japanese gardens, Koi ponds, and beautiful fountains and streams to enjoy.
Isle of Wight Steam Railway
Experience a bygone era, a time when steam was king and everything way big and loud. The Isle of Wight Steam Railway allows you to experience the thrills of these magnificent steam engines relax on the fully restored Victorian carriages while taking in the impressive country and coastal views that the Isle of Wight has to offer.
The railway runs five miles from Smallbrook Junction through Ashey and Havenstreet to Wootton. Passengers can hop on and off at any of the stops along the way and savour the view of the trains as they pass by.
Visit the Beaches
A visit to the Isle of Wight wouldn’t be complete without visiting some of their famous beaches. The Island has miles and miles of award winning beaches, and with 57 miles of varied coastline these are considered among the best in Europe.
With the option between sand and shingle beaches, rugged cliffs, hidden coves and clear waters, a trip to the beach is an essential part of any visit to the Island.
The award-winning beaches of Shanklin, Sandown and Ventnor all have very popular esplanades with a great selection of cafes, shops and facilities to enhance your “day at the beach”.
Monkey Haven is a home for rescued animals like monkeys, meerkats, birds of prey, reptiles and other exotic creatures. There are plenty of activities for visitors, including daily keeper talks, animal feeds, trails, play areas, a tea room and gift shop.
This is one of the island’s top attractions, with spacious bespoke enclosures, first class facilities, and an incredible team of passionate keepers. It has been set up as a charity, and all proceeds from admissions are used to care for creatures in crisis.
Get up close and personal with hand-reared birds of prey and meet the gorgeous owls, learn too about the ‘rescue and release’ programme for injured birds. Meet Reptiles too such as a boa constrictor or a tortoise.
Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary
Located between Shanklin and Ventnor, the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary is a charity which provides a home to distressed and unwanted donkeys.
They are very placid and gentle creatures and respond best when treated kindly so why not pay a visit and make a new friend. You can even adopt one!
Although admission is free, there are a number ways that people can contribute to the running costs of the sanctuary. There is a gift shop and café, a bric a brac shop, and a number of donation boxes.
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Photo credits: Featured header image by Vignesh Mohan. Freshwater Bay by James Whitesmith. Shanklin Chine by Nat. Isle of Wight Zoo & Tiger Sanctuary by Adam Foster. Butterfly world by Daniel Hall. Brook Bay by Strep72.