We bought a new tent this year to try camping with the boys (the old tent got chewed through by a mouse in the shed!) and had a trial run in my Mum's garden a few weeks ago. Emboldened by the success of that night, we booked a holiday on the Isle.
We stayed at Beaper Farm campsite which was ace. Lovely big pitches, clean facilities and a playground for the boys.
It was just outside Ryde and very close to the ferry terminal. We managed to get pitched fairly quickly after we arrived
and went to Sandown for a walk along the seafront. The pier was great - we managed to get some dinner
and then played Lost Cities adventure golf - the first of 4 games of adventure golf over the 4 days we were there!
The boys slept really well in the tent - later bedtime than usual, but both of them slept till about 7 each morning which was bliss! Saturday saw us going to St Helen's beach in the morning for rock pooling. We were surprised by all the beaches we visited - all beautifully clean and not crowded at all. A lot of the beaches were very shingly but all the boys were interested in was fishing!! We didn't get very much, but there were a lot of shells and we saw lots of other people catching crabs with their bags of sausage meat - next time, next time!
In the afternoon we sent back to Sandown to Dinosaur Isle, the big dinosaur museum there which was excellent, and the evening saw us at the Waltzing Waters, which was a rather bizarre but compelling theatrical experience - the boys loved it!
On Sunday we drove across the island to the Needles.
The Needles are at Alum Bay which is a kind of seaside resort in itself - rides, shops, a chairlift down to the beach - where much paddling and falling into the sea was done!
a sweet factory and glass blowing workshop...and of course the obligatory filling of containers with layers of different coloured sand!
We also walked along the cliff top to the National Trust centres right on the tip of the coast - the Old Battery which was a Victorian defensive fort, and then you can walk up the cliff a bit to the New Battery which was a secret rocket testing station. They're not as flashy as some of the big houses, but just as interesting - even more so in some ways. There was a great display with photos of people who had worked on the rockets then with a more up to date photo alongside it and some information about the job they did.
Monday saw us visiting Shanklin seafront - played another 2 games of adventure golf (crazy golf and Pirate Adventure golf!)
We were hoping to go up to Shankling Chine which sounded lovely (gorge and waterfall) but we didn't quite make it and ended up for dinner back at the Baywatch on the Beach Cafe in St Helens which was fab. Another trip to the Waltzing Waters (our free return visit!) and then a wet strike on Tuesday morning. Could have done without that, but after a beautiful day here today the tent is finally dry and all packed up again.
Brilliant holiday - we didn't have time for the other National Trust or English Heritage properties, Black Gang Chine park, Robin Hill park, more beach time, either of the zoos, the butterfly and fountain parks...so we need to return!