As a family we love to explore new places and living in Southampton we have quite a lot of different areas around us. The Isle Of Wight is just over the water from us but somewhere we haven’t ventured in many years. So when Parkdean Resorts got in touch with me and asked if we wanted to join in with their Coastal Adventures campaign and celebrate the beauty of Britain’s coastline I knew that this was a perfect fit for us. We tried living inland before but only lasted 6 months before we quickly got back home to the coast again!
They wanted us to visit The Isle Of Wight for the day and see what fun things we could find to do. I am focusing my Coastal Adventures around Nodes Point Holiday Park. This is on the East side of the Island and only about 40 minutes drive away from the ferry terminal at East Cowes.
We traveled from Southampton by Red Funnel car ferry which runs around every hour. This can be booked online and prices do vary on times and days you travel. It was very easy as we had booked online they use your number plate to check your ticket, so no extra paper work to remember! Arriving 30 minutes early, we were greeted by a very jolly Red Funnel worker. He was doing a little greeting dance for every car he let on! He was making everyone laugh and Red Funnel if your reading this, Jim needs a pay rise!
Once we were boarded onto the ferry you’re free to walk around, but you cannot come back to your car. So make sure you have everything with you. The kids liked going up on the top of the ferry but not for long as being April it was pretty chilly up there!
Very quickly your hour is over with and it’s time to go back to your car and you’re at The Isle Of Wight!
Small Hope Beach – Shanklin
We had decided to travel down to Shanklin beach area, this is a very popular beach front with many tourist activities to do. Like crazy golf, sandy beaches, amusement arcades, Shanklin Chine and many other attractions. However I wanted to find something a little different, and picked Small Hope Beach which is just tucked around to the left of the main Shanklin beach and at the bottom of the cliffs.
If you spot those cute little beach huts then you’ve found it! These can be hired out to, some where so well decorated inside too.
The weather was like Summer. It was like we had got on a plane and flown somewhere abroad! Small Hope Beach is a good sized sandy beach which the kids loved the freedom of being able to run around on. We took a ball to play with and a picnic rug to relax on.
Lunch Time – The Salix Cafe
We had decided that we would show you a couple of places to eat as well whilst we were over here. It’s a hard life isn’t it!!!
First stop was The Salix Cafe, this is right on the beach front of Small Hope Beach and had lots of tables outside. Sadly as we turned up right on lunch time it was rather full and we only just got a table inside. Being able to sit over looking the beach is just a perfect place for me, I really do love the beach.
I decided to go for a sandwich, there was lots of fillings to choose from and they don’t skimp on their portion sizes! Prices were pretty good as well, this sandwich was £4.20. The others can a Cornish pasty, Paninis and bacon baps. All very yummy and filled us up ready for our next stop.
Bembridge Windmill – National Trust
Being National Trust members it’s quite nice to be able to tick a couple of them off when you’re near them! So Bembridge Windmill was very close to us. Only 10 minutes away from Parkdean Resorts Nodes Point it makes a nice little stop.
Bembridge Windmill is the last windmill on The Isle Of Wight so being Grade 1 listed it is one of the islands’ most iconic images. It was built in 1700 and last operated in 1913. However it was in very good condition and you can climb right to the top section.
They have added a few things in for you to be able to interact with the building, videos to explain how it would have been used, little hands on experiences for you, and pre-recorded recordings operated with buttons to press so the kids loved that!
They also had a little trail to find the characters around the windmill, this kept mine happily looking around and cute names for them too!!
Be aware of the stairs though, they are very very steep and you need to go down them backwards!
They also had a nature trail around the outside too, it was a little tricky for kids but got the adults brains thinking!
Bembridge Windmill isn’t a large place to visit, but we spent about an hour here and with some picnic benches here too its a nice place to stop.
Being a National Trust property it was free entrance for us, but please take a look at their website for up to date prices. Also keep an eye out for the brown signs as this tells you where to park in the lay by.
St Helens Duver
We headed back towards Parkdean Nodes Point and parked in The National Trust car park for St Helens Duver which gave us free parking. Although if you’re visiting Nodes Point you have direct beach access to here. Perfect for a beach day with the kids with no travelling.
This beach has a mixture of sand and stones, but what we loved about this beach was the rock pools. HUGE rocks that were flat enough to walk around on and filled up with water pools. As a child I use to do this with my parents and I would spend hours rock pooling and capturing little shrimps. However we didn’t come prepared, we thought there would be a little shop here selling nets and buckets. There was one restaurant who sold a few things but they didn’t have any nets left.
St Helens Duver has also many coastal walks and views over Bembridge Harbour from here. There would be so much to do to fill your days just here. We also spotted Bembridge Lifeboat just off the end which would make a lovely trip out too.
Dinner – Baywatch On The Beach
We decided here was a perfect place to stop and have something to eat. Baywatch On The Beach sold some lovely looking fish and chips and we could sit looking out over the water again.
We decided to have ice creams on the beach as you can’t come to the beach and not do that!
Then time to catch the ferry home back to Southampton after a very lovely day. It was so nice to be able to go on a little adventure with the kids, it gets everyone away from the jobs at home and all the things you should be doing. The kids thought that going on the ferry was exciting and Lily kept saying ‘Mummy I don’t feel like I’m not in my country’ hehe! Bless her, going on the ferry was a real adventure for her!
Do you love coastal adventures? I would love you to join in and show where you have been too as I am always looking for new places to visit #CoastalAdventures
Take a look at what we got up to on film!
*Collaborative Post With Parkdean Resorts.