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Rain Boots

Rainy Day Ideas for The Isle of Wight

Rainy day ideas for the Isle of Wight

Sometimes the great British weather doesn't play ball, even on the sunny Isle of Wight. If you're looking for something to do, here’s a selection of great things the Isle of Wight has to offer to get you started.



Get an overview of Island life at the Museum of Island History. Dinosaur enthusiasts will love Dinosaur Isle and the Dinosaur Expeditions, Conservation & Palaeoart Centre.

Moving ahead in time from the dinosaurs, visit the Brading Roman Villa for an insight into Roman life on 'Vectis'. 

Dimbola Museum in Freshwater charts the life of Julia Margeret Cameron, a pioneer of photography, and hosts contemporary photographic exhibitions.  Isle of Wight Museum of Glass at Arreton Barns has over 1200 peices of art glass from Isle of Wight studios and other British makers. Quay Arts Centre in Newport has seasonal exhibitions and you can get hands-on with a workshop or enjoy live performances.

Local museums abound, many of which are real gems. Try Ventnor Heritage Museum, the National Trust's Brighstone Village MuseumIsle of Wight Bus & Coach Museum in the old bus depot in Ryde, The Wight Military & Heritage Museum near Cowes, Shipwreck Centre and Maritime Museum at Arreton Barns and the Classic Boat Museums in East and West Cowes.  

Immerse yourself in times gone by at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway and enjoy views of Island countryside from a classic train carriage.

Historic buildings

If castles are your thing, head to the Elizabethan fortress at Carisbrooke Castle or climb the battlements and enjoy the views of the Solent at Yarmouth Castle, both English Heritage.

You can even explore Victorian coastal defences and secret rocket testing sites at The National Trust's Needles Old Battery & New Battery, perched high above the Needles Rocks. A short drive away is Fort Victoria which has a café and the Fort Victoria Model RailwayIsland Plantarium and the Isle of Wight Reptilarium

Tranquil Quarr Abbey at Fishbourne is home to Benedictine monks who welcome visitors to their extensive grounds, farm shop, tearoom and art gallery.

Newtown Old Town Hall and Bembridge Windmill are both National Trust properties. Calbourne Water Mill offers a range of things to do outdoors and a selection of mini museums.

On a much larger scale, visit Queen Victoria's stunning home Osborne House and if it stops raining, enjoy the formal gardens and landscaped grounds.

Get active indoors


Book a riding lesson or join and hack at the Island Riding Centre - their indoor arena means all weather equine fun. Get properly wet at The HeightsMedina Leisure CentreWaterside Pool or West Wight Sports Centre with a relaxing dip or fun splash session.

Set a new lap record at the Island’s all-weather karting track at Wight Karting and feel like a true F1 pro. Have a game or two of tenpin bowling or laserquest at Ryde Superbowl. Kids can run around at JR Zone’s soft play centre and laser combat arena. There's loads for kids of all ages to swing, bounce, run and jump around indoors and out at Tapnell Farm Park.

Animal attractions

The Island features a large and brilliant selection of animal attractions, wildlife parks and zoos. Take a trip to Amazon World, the Island's largest exotic animal attraction, or see the big cats at the Isle of Wight Zoo in Sandown. Get up close with something cute and fluffy at Tapnell Farm Park, or step into a world of beautiful butterflies at Butterfly World

Or open your eyes and ears as you travel around the Island - you may see red squirrels or even England's biggest birds, the white tailed eagles.

Retail therapy

High Street shopping with a good range of independents is alive and well on the Island. We don't have any shopping malls, but we do have lots of eclectic choice! Union Street in Ryde, Cowes, Yarmouth, Bembridge and Ventnor all offer a mix to browse and buy.

For different gifts and treats, try Oasis near Brading, which sells homewares from Bali, or learn all about garlic and how to grow your own at The Garlic Farm. Take a drive along the Military Road and pop into Isle of Wight Pearl for jewellery. Island Originals on the outskirts of Sandown, has been reinvented from an agricultural polytunnel. Inside, you’ll find an exciting range of local craftspeople, small gift shops and artisans.

Garden centres are a great place for garden bits and a bite of cake - visit Busy Bee Garden Centre, Honnor & JefferyMedina Garden Centre and Thompsons

Rainy day walks


Grab your coat and pull on your wellies and head out into the great outdoors anyway.


There are plenty of walks that offer a bit of protection from the elements and are on hard paths. How about walking alongside the River Yar between Yarmouth and Freshwater (there's plenty of pubs at both ends), or alongside the River Medina on the Cowes to Newport cycleway.

If it's not too wet, the Sandown to Shanklin reventment alongside the beach is a lovely option, and there are plenty of cafes and pubs to pop into along the route. Other seaside walks include Cowes to Gurnard and Ryde to Appley. Or head into the woods and shelter under the trees in Parkhurst Forest or Firestone Copse, both of which have gravel tracks.

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