Less than 15 minutes from Rookley Park, this is the UK’s oldest amusement park, celebrating its 175th anniversary in 2018. Blackgang Chine is themed around the smugglers and dinosaurs that have made these cliffs famous. With impressive life-sized animatronic dinosaurs and amusement park rides, including a huge water slide, this is sure to be a hit with families.
This 12th century English Heritage castle is just over 10 minutes from Rookley Park, with beautifully-preserved fortifications and a permanent historical exhibition. The traditional donkeys which draw water from the castle well are a great attraction for kids and the tearooms will provide welcome refreshment after you’ve explored the Edwardian-style garden and grounds.
Near Sandown on the east coast of the Isle of Wight, you’ll find this ‘pterodactyl-shaped’ building. Contained within this interactive museum are 1000 of the best fossils on the island, alongside animatronic dinosaurs and welcoming staff, who offer regular guided walks.
This traditional Isle of Wight attraction caters to young and old alike, with food tasting, walks and a play area for the kids. The farm even has tractor tours in the summer holidays and an education centre, with garlic bread-making workshops. Seasonal events include a Christmas market, art exhibitions and a pop-up opera in the summer.
Isle of Wight Zoo
Just next to Dinosaur Isle, on the coast to the north of Sandown is the island’s zoo. You can save 10% by visiting these two attractions on the same day, or pay just £1 for the second visit within a week. There are a variety of species, large and small at the Isle of Wight Zoo, including lions, monkeys and farm animals. However, the keepers specialise in keeping lemurs and tigers, with a good collection on display.
The Needles Landmark Attraction
If you’re visiting the Isle of Wight, chances are you’ve seen pictures of the white cliffs and jagged peaks of The Needles rocks and the bright red Trinity Lighthouse at their westernmost tip. The Needles Landmark Attraction is probably the best viewpoint on land to see this attraction, with an impressive chairlift descending the cliff to the beach at Alum Bay. There’s free parking at the top and you can pay on the day or book tickets in advance for the chairlift.
Queen Victoria’s former residence is a short walk from the outskirts of East Cowes, and from there, you can also travel down to Osborne Beach, where the royal family once played in the sea. Following the success of Victoria and Abdul, this attraction has seen an upsurge in popularity; it was the only one of Victoria’s homes to feature in the film. You can take a look behind the scenes of Victoria and Abdul, explore the gardens, visit the queen’s bathing machine or enjoy the interactive museum at the Swiss Cottage. Funding the upkeep of such a beautiful stately home is expensive, so it’s worth noting that tickets are at the premium end of the pricing scale.