Looking for a summer holiday a little closer to home? Lucy Maddox highlights what the Isle of Wight has to offer
Browns Golf Course
Situated opposite the beach in Sandown, Browns Golf Course has two nine-hole and two 18-hole courses, with varying levels of difficulty making it suitable for a family fun day or as a practice ground for those hoping to become the next Tiger Woods. With a clubhouse providing welcome refreshments in-between games, this is an ideal spot to spend a sunny afternoon on the island.
A short drive from East Cowes, English Heritage property Osborne House was once the palatial holiday home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. To get a glimpse into the private lives of royalty, wander through the lavish family bedrooms and state rooms. Head outdoors for a stroll and check out the Victorian walled garden filled with espaliered fruit trees, and then down to Osborne Beach for a paddle in the waters where the Queen regularly bathed.
The most iconic landmark of the island, the Needles are a must-see. The most popular way to view them is to ride a chairlift from the top of the cliffs at Alum Bay down to the beach, taking in spectacular views of the Needles and the red-and-white Trinity Lighthouse. If you’re lucky enough to visit on a sunny day, the sea sparkles with a stunning turquoise tint.
For hours of fun, crabbing is a great, inexpensive activity for all ages, whatever the weather. All that’s needed is a small fishing net, crabbing line, some bait and a bucket. The best part is the crab racing at the end, where you can cheer on the competitors as they scuttle away quickly over the rocks and back to the water.
With its international reputation as ‘Dinosaur Island’, the Isle of Wight is perfect for fossil hunting. Guides can be found online with information on which bays and cliffs are best for the time of the year, area accessibility and the chances of finding fossils in each spot. Highlights include Whitecliff Bay Beach, Yarmouth Beach and Compton Bay.