Super chilled, lush green in hue and dotted with surf-friendly beaches, secret woodlands and cool camping spots, the Isle of Wight deserves its growing rep as a hip island getaway, and camping is the best way to experience its beauty. Here’s my little guide to the best places to stay and the nicest things to do on the IOW, from hanging out in Airwave trailers to making friends with alpacas named Wallace and Gromit.
WHERE TO STAY
WHITEFIELD FOREST PARK
Set in the stunning ancient woodland of Whitefield Forest on the outskirts of Ryde, camping here feels a bit like being in the Famous Five. As well as being relaxed, well-appointed and dog-friendly, Whitefield is also on the edges of a wildlife haven that you’ll be happy spending days getting lost in, spotting local red squirrels. Whitefield is also a cinch to get to – book your stay there with ferry company Red Funnel and your transport over to the island is included. Easy Peasy!
A minute’s ramble from the beach and made up of wide grassy meadows with panoramic views across the sea, Grange Farm is a camping treat if you’re after a classic turn-up-and-pitch spot. As well as fantastic facilities and a friendly vibe there are cottage barn conversions available if you’re not so keen on a night under canvas. Little ones will go mad for the rope bridges and mini train, and the working farm’s year-round residents include water buffalo, inquisitive goats and a pair of alpacas called Wallace and Gromit who want to be your mates. Win.
After something a little bit special? Come over all ‘I’m with the movie’ and stay in one of Vintage Vacation’s all-American Airstream caravans. These glittering silver hunks of glamping delight have been refurbished with retro fabrics and are cosy, comfy and stuffed with nice things, perfect for a bit of Instagram action. Watch this little video to see just how pretty they are.
WHAT TO DO
♥ Rent a campervan
Fancy flitting about between camping spots in style? Rent a gorgeous VW vav from Isle of Wight Campers, stuff your wellingtons in the back and hit the road. My favourite is Milo, the pastel green surf machine.
♥ Learn to Stand up Paddle
It’s the new surfing, dudes. ISurf is a great little pop-up school that’ll have you up and balanced on your board in no time, and the best bit is that SUP is just as fun on days with no waves. ISurf even do SUP yoga, in case you’ve ever felt the urge to do the downward dog on water.
♥ Go Coasteering
If floating gently on the ocean isn’t enough of an endorphin hit for you, give coasteering a little go. Perfect for hunting for treasure in the island’s myriad coves and underwater caves.
♥ Buy a ticket to Ryde
Just for the pure Beatles-fan hilarity. I bet the locals just love that joke. Once you’re there, have tea and cake in one of the cute little town’s many ye olde teashoppes.
♥ Walk around the entire island
Teeny weeny IOW is only a 70 mile round trip along stunning coastal footpaths with convenient camping spots dotted along the route. The walk comes recommended by my outdoors-loving little brother, who came home with blisters and a huge grin.