England has palm trees?
Isle of Wight, England
The Isle of Wight is a huge summer attraction that you probably didn’t know existed. The weather is a small microclimate, with palm trees and sandy beaches, staying warm most of the year. While most British children have spent at least one summer week on the tiny island, most people outside Britain have never heard of it.
Sitting just off the coast of southern England, near Southampton, it is a short ferry ride away for those on the main island. There’s no international airport, and the drive/helicopter from London takes time, but it is worth it for a relaxing time in the sun.
When to Go
I recommend going in the off season, just before or after the school holidays in August, to avoid the crowds. Staying slightly off season will still give you good weather, the vacation shops will still be open, and the hotels/BnBs will be cheaper. You will avoid the mobs of children descending in August, but also the storms that blow in during the winter. These images were taken in July, just before the busy season.
Things to See
The views from the area are amazing. Photographers will love a trip to Shanklin Chine, which boasts a waterfall and nature walk. Rock collectors and photographers will love the variety of the coastline, particularly the Needles (cover image). Ventnor has botanical gardens with a variety of plants normally found in the tropics.
Bikes can be rented for a ride around the island. There is a good road that circles the whole island, so this would be a great way to see and take pictures of everything. At 67 miles total, the trip could be done on a long weekend without trouble, even going at a relaxed biking pace and stopping for pictures. There are 200 miles of cycle paths, if you want to wander.
I particularly recommend the castle and abbey house, open to the public. The abbey house has some lovely stained glass windows. Carisbrooke Castle, which used to be one of England’s greatest protections from the south, is a great visit with Roman roots.
More to it than just pictures?
Bringing the family? Children will enjoy the Blackgang Chine park with a pirate theme.
Leaving the family at home? The better clubs are on the England side of the island, but Ryde has the best. If you’re looking for a quieter day, Beaches are great all the way around.