A Weekend in the Isle of Wight with kids

Isle of Wight with kids

With a sailing time of 15 from the mainland for foot passengers, and under an hour for those traveling with a vehicle, a weekend in Isle of Wight is closer than you think.

Brimming with retro charm, it was clear as soon as our car rolled away from the Red Funnel Ferry onto the cobbled streets of Cowes that very little had changed in this peaceful corner of England since my last visit in 1998 as an excited teenager about to embark on her 1st DofE Expedition.

This time though the car was filled with two excited youngsters of my own!


We sailed across for our weekend in the Isle of Wight aboard a Red Funnel ferry. Red Funnel is a fantastic alternative for a short trip to the island, with a crossing duration of approximately 55 minutes and sailing times that are suitable for brief breaks.

Check-in and embarkation were reassuringly straightforward, and before we knew it were were feeling the wind in our hair as our ferry sailed along the glistening Solent waters towards our home for the weekend.


With 48 hours on the Isle of Wight, both location and amenities are important when booking somewhere to stay.

With this trip just a weekend in the Isle of Wight kids we opted for a stay at the Orchards Holiday Park in Newbridge. Being only a 30-minute drive from the ferry meant we were checked in and unpacked ready for dinner from the onsite takeaway around 8pm, plus the onsite heated pools (both indoor and outdoor) and children’s play areas gave the kids something to do while we had a little downtime late Saturday afternoon before dinner.

Isle of Wight with kids


With just 48 hours to fill on your weekend in the Isle of Wight, you need to be mindful of how much you plan to do.  The island is fairly small (you can drive from one side to the other in around an hour), however, as with all mini-breaks, it’s important to schedule some downtime as well as lots of sightseeing.

The Needles – The perfect way to fill your Saturday. These huge stacks of rock, which lie off the western point of the Island, are a sight to behold. Originally they made up part of the cliffs but, over time, coastal erosion has separated them from the headland, leaving the views we know and love today.

Take the chairlift down to Alum Bay for the best views of The Needles, and then after spending some time on the beach, hop on board with Needles Pleasure Cruises and take a trip out on the water to get a better look at the rocks, lighthouse and panoramic views of the cliffs. Once you are back on dry land then a walk to The Old Battery is a great way to see the coastline from above if you are feeling energetic.

Beach Road Trip – This is a wonderful relaxing way to spend your Sunday morning. Starting at Shanklin Beach for an early morning walk and coffee, drive East from there to see the beautiful coastline unfold ahead of you as you pass Sandown on the way to Ryde. Arriving in Ryde ready for lunch, you can treat yourself to Fish and Chips from The Codfather (I LOVE a good Fish Shop pun) and sit on the benches across the street overlooking the sea.

Osborne House

It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot,” said Queen Victoria of Osborne House – and I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to end a weekend on the Isle of Wight with kids. Just minutes from the Cowes ferry port, this fascinating stately home is an intimate glimpse of royal family life.

Isle of Wight with kids

Entrance is free for English Heritage members (tickets start from £11.30 for non-members as of 2024)

On rainy days the rooms and corridors are full of ornate furnishings and artifacts from The Royal Collection to keep you busy, and when the sun comes out walk down to Queen Victoria’s private beach to enjoy the magnificent views out to sea – the perfect place to watch the sunset on your weekend in the Isle of Wight before catching your ferry back to the mainland.