At only 23 miles wide, you might think that the Isle of Wight is charming, but that it might just be a place to turn up and tune out for a complete digital detox. Whilst this absolutely can be done, you won’t want to miss out on some of the island’s interesting things to do. Despite its diminutive size, this pretty island certainly packs a punch when it comes to cool things to do and this will have you hopping onto the ferry ready for an islandcation in the sun before you know it.
You can walk with alpacas
West Wight Alpacas offer stress busting strolls around their farm near Yarmouth which is run by husband and wife team Neil and Michelle. Visitors can lead one of their 11 alpacas (or in some respects, be led yourself!) either individually or in groups. The Alpacas are all named after iconic legends such as Rameses and Amadeus as well as names associated with the island itself such as Vectis which is the Roman name for the Isle of Wight.
You can enjoy a luxury spa treatment
Wellness is a huge part of Island life and there is no shortage of spas and salons to enjoy a relaxing treatment. One of the chicest places to luxuriate at is at the West Bay Country Club and Spa in Freshwater. From Liz Earle facials to Aromatherapy Associates body treatments, you are guaranteed to walk away feeling fully revitalised. There is also a great pool, sauna and steam room that you can take advantage of too.
You can get acquainted with the local gin scene
A visit to the Mermaid Gin distillery is an absolute must if a cheeky G&T is your tipple de jour. The brainchild of Xavier Baker and Conrad Gauntlett, Mermaid Gin is made with ten botanicals including juniper, elderflower, Sicilian lemons, grains of paradise, coriander, orris, angelica and liquorice root. Their distillery is an intriguing mixture of scientific wizardry and rustic-luxe décor and yes, you can try before you buy.
Gin not your thing? They also do a rather fabulous Rock Sea Vodka which tastes delicious with a flavoured tonic and ice.
The distillery’s veranda is the ideal place for a spot of gin or vodka tasting in the sunshine overlooking the lush green hills of the island.
You could embrace your inner Royal
Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and family were so enamoured with the beauty and charm of the Isle of Wight’s, they built a palatial summer palace there. From its lavish Mediterranean style gardens to the Indian-inspired dining room, Osborne House showcases the splendour and opulence of the Royals in the Victorian era as well as the endearing relationship between Victoria and Albert.
You could get on your bike
One of the best places to see the island is by bike and Wight Cycle Hire provide electronic bicycles that you can ride along the disused railway trail through the trees all the way to the iconic Needles. There are several different routes that you can take (dependant on your fitness levels) but every route has the most extraordinary vistas that truly showcase the beauty of the island.
You can try the Island’s most famous produce
The Isle of Wight is renowned for many things – the world-famous festival, the iconic Needles and garlic. One of the Island’s most popular attractions is the garlic farm which is run by three generations of the same family. You can take a tour of the farm atop a rather large tractor, eat in the café and shop until you drop for a range of delightful products such as ice cream, fudge, mayonnaise all of which are made from garlic.
You can get back to nature
The Ventnor Botanical Garden is a peaceful retreat full of the most amazing flowers and trees. It is full of subtropical and exotic flora sourced and planted from around the globe. Local groups gather hear to paint, write and to do yoga and tai chi. The garden is moments away from the sea front and a selection of great bars and restaurants (including a vintage 1940’s-inspired café)
Travel to the Isle of Wight with Red Funnel ferries from Southampton to East Cowes.