Whilst every effort is made to ensure that these half term holiday dates are accurate, there are occasions when circumstances beyond our control may result in changes. Measuring 23 miles by 13 miles, the Isle of Wight lies just off England's South Coast and is a popular English seaside holiday destination with tourists of all ages. Easy sea access by foot ferry, car ferry or even hovercraft!
Isle of Wight School Holidays and Half Term Dates (IOW)
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School term and holiday dates are usually set over 18 months in advance of the academic year. In setting term dates, the County Council liaises with neighbouring authorities, head teachers, union representatives and the Diocese to secure the best alignment of dates across the region.
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Whilst every effort is made to ensure that these half term holiday dates are accurate, there are occasions when circumstances beyond our control may result in changes.
Family holiday activities in the Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight may be England’s smallest county but it certainly packs a punch in terms of how much there is to see and do there. The beaches here are particularly good, ranging from the busy to small hidden gems that hardly anyone seems to visit. Families can get active, relax, see historical sites, get close to nature – there really are too many family holiday activities in the Isle of Wight to mention. Let’s look at some of the most popular things to do.
Historical sites and houses
The Isle of Wight is rich in history and there are plenty of sites to visit covering periods from the Romans onwards. The Roman Villa at Brading is a must-see (especially if the kids are studying this period at school!). It has 12 rooms, a great example of a mosaic floor and other mosaics depicting Roman life and beliefs. Carisbrooke Castle is a fine example of a motte and bailey castle – it is best known as the home of Charles I who was imprisoned here just before his trial. Osborne House is perhaps the most famous stately home on the Isle of Wight. Queen Victoria lived here for many years after the death of Prince Albert.
Family Friendly Museums
The Isle of Wight is a treasure trove for fossils – its Dinosaur Isle museum is held to be the first custom built dinosaur centre in Europe. Designed in the shape of a pterosaur, it contains replica fossils, life-sized models and an animatronic Neovenator. The Bus and Coach Museum in Newport has a range of vehicles on display and a photo display of the island’s buses which is well worth a look. Also in Newport, you can visit the Museum of Island History. This follows the history of the island from its earliest beginnings to the present day. Cowes is the best known yachting centre on the island – it has a small Maritime museum with a model boat display that may occupy the kids.
Isle of Wight Coastal attractions
Apart from it many beaches, there are also other reasons to visit the coast in the Isle of Wight. Alum Bay is extremely popular with tourists because of its coloured sands. There is also a small amusement park on the top of the cliff and this is a good point to visit the Needles by boat trip if you are planning to do that. The Needles are situated in the sea off the western coast of the island. They are three stacks of chalk that rise out of sea.
Zoos, animal parks and gardens
There are a few animal-focused family holiday activities in the Isle of Wight. The Amazon World Zoo lies between Newport and Sandown and is well worth a day trip. It focuses on exotic animals from South America and has the largest collection of toucans in the country. The Isle of Wight Zoo in Sandown is mainly home to lemurs, Madagascan animals and big cats. The Owl and Monkey Haven near Newport focuses, as you might expect from the name, on monkeys, owls and birds of prey. If you are staying in or visiting Ventnor, then do visit the Botanic Gardens. This has an impressive collection of temperate and subtropical trees and shrubs that you won’t see growing anywhere else in the UK due to the island’s warm and temperate climate.
The two amusement parks on the Isle of Wight are owned by the same company. The Blackgang Chine is a coastal ravine close to Ventnor and it is now home to an amusement park. It isn’t massive but it is fun – it has a couple of big rides, a roller-coaster and a waterslide. Robin Hill Adventure Park and Gardens is bigger and has more rides. It is located near Newport. If you’re lucky, you’ll also see one of those elusive red squirrels in its grounds as well as many other different types of wildlife.
Isle of Wight Beaches
Relaxing on beaches is one of the most popular family holiday activities in the Isle of Wight. Sandown is a large beach that is popular with families. It can get busy, but it is close to cafes and shops. It also has a pier with amusements on it. Shanklin is a bit smaller but no less popular. You do have to get a cliff lift up or down to the town centre if you don’t fancy the walk. It has cafes, shops, crazy golf and some amusements.
Ventnor beach is good for families but you need to watch your kids in the water. There are hidden rocks in the sea here so it isn’t ideal for watersports. Freshwater Bay is quieter and less touristy – it has three beach areas (two sand and one shingle). Compton Bay is good for surfing but its sandy beach makes it a viable option for families too. It doesn’t have a lot of facilities though – basically just toilets and an ice cream van during the tourist season.
Our sponsored links on each page also list holiday ideas and half term events in England, Wales and Scotland.
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