family friendly walks in the UK on the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight offers a chance to reconnect with nature and enjoy the outdoors with family and explore all its hidden gems. Whether you're looking for the perfect path for the kids, a challenging hike for yourself or a mixture of both, the Isle of Wight has tonnes of choice.

During 2023, the Isle also celebrates the return of its Walking Festival. There are two Isle of Wight Walking Festivals taking place in 2023: a Spring event running from Saturday 13 – Sunday 21 May and the Autumn event running from Saturday 7 – Sunday 15 October. Covering over 90 walks for every level of fitness and interest, all of our walks are led by experienced walkers with a depth of knowledge about the Island, its flora and fauna and the best paths to take. Come and join in on the fun!

Choice of family walks

Spring is the perfect time to enjoy the Isle of Wight’s wonderful walks, partly for the glorious weather that can often be enjoyed at this time of year. Although we can't promise balmy temperatures and no rain, the average is about 15 C (59 F) and we often see plenty of sunshine all year round! The great thing about the Isle of Wight and the walks on offer is that fun can be had and beauty can be found even when the heavens open!

Here's our pick of just some of the family-friendly walks on offer throughout the Island.

Appley Tower in Ryde - family friendly walks in the UK on the Isle of Wight

1. Pig Leg Lane and the Disappearing River

Where: Ryde/East Wight

Even the title sounds perfect for the kids! This is a two mile, easy, circular walk on the eastern side of the Island. With an estimated time of 40 minutes, it's suitable for pushchairs, scooters, kids and older people, so it’s ideal for the whole family. It will take you to the Pig Leg Lane Nature Reserve and follows Monktonmead Brook before it vanishes into Ryde.

Find out more about the walk here.

2. Ventnor Downs Luccombe and The Landslip Walk

Where: Ventnor Downs and Luccombe

This is a more strenuous walk which we think would be ideal for fit and active families with older children. Starting at Ventnor Down car park, it's a 5.6 mile invigorating circular coastal walk, which offers splendid views along the length of the Isle of Wight and includes over two hundred steps, nine gates and seven stiles. Be sure to keep an eye out for birds! Look out for songbirds like goldcrest and blue tit feeding amongst the ivy, and peregrine and raven, which nest on the cliffs nearby. 

Find out more about the walk here.

3. Sandown Bay to Shanklin Beach

Where: Culver Parade, Sandown

With miles of soft golden sands to explore, take the whole family along for a leisurely stroll between the award-winning bays of Sandown and Shanklin. This easy route takes you past Wildheart Animal Sanctuary, Dinosaur Isle, Sandham Gardens and Sandown Pier, giving you hours of fun and entertainment as you pass along the route. 

You won’t be short of things you do once you reach the charming seaside town of Shanklin, either. Set amongst dramatic sandstone cliffs, you could rent a beach hut, build sandcastles or have a paddle in the sea at Small Hope Beach. Walk up a little further to The Old Village and you’ll find many thatched cottages, quirky gift shops and traditional tea rooms to enjoy, too.

Find out more about the walk here.

The Old Village, Shanklin - Family friendly walks in the UK on the Isle of Wight

4. Borthwood Copse Red Squirrel Walk

Where: Borthwood Copse

If you love wildlife, you’re in luck! The Isle of Wight is home to the famous and enchanting red squirrel – the only native squirrel in the UK. The Borthwood Copse walk is one of the best places on the Island to spot one, if you look close enough!

This gentle route begins and ends at the Parish Council car park off Alverstone Road before winding through 1.2 miles of secluded woodland. It’s particularly beautiful in October and November when the leaves transform into a gorgeous red, gold and orange canopy. And in spring, the woodland floor becomes a carpet of bluebells, making it a truly magical stroll.

Find out more about the walk here.

5. Three Old Forts Walk

Where: Golden Hill Fort, Fort Albert & Fort Victoria

Step back in time and discover some of the Island’s rich history with this moderate 2-hour circular walk. Spanning 5.5 miles with spectacular views of the Solent and the countryside, you can start this route at either Yarmouth or Fort Victoria, depending on which is more convenient for you.

Wherever you decide to begin, you’ll get to meander past the back of Freshwater Village, experience the military might of Hurst Castle, and hunt for fossils along the shoreline at Fort Victoria. The route also takes you to the top of Fort Albert, where you can enjoy a much-needed pit stop surrounded by some of the best views on the Island. Pack a picnic and take a couple of hours to enjoy the Island’s beauty.

Find out more about the walk here.

6. Cowes Rope Walk

Where: East to West Cowes (or vice versa)

Originally set out by Cowes Community Partnership and East Cowes Community Partnership, the Cowes Rope Walk (or the Boat Trail as it’s also known) takes you on a journey around East and West Cowes, where you’ll get to discover some of the many places of historical interest, especially the marine-based ones.

The walk is approximately four miles long and takes around three hours to complete, depending on how many stops you make. You can join the trail at any point along the route, and the entire trail is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs, making it a brilliant walk for families of all ages. Children will particularly love the Floating Bridge, which links the two towns.

Find out more about the walk here.

West Cowes, Family friendly walks in the UK on the Isle of Wight

7. Gore Down Walk

Where: Ventnor

Taking an average of 1hour 15minutes to complete, this trail is great for the whole family (including your four legged friend!). Located at the southern most point of the Island, it takes you through fields with lovely views of the sea and a trip to see the Hoy Monument. The pillar was previously known as the Alexandrian Column and erected in 1814 by Michael Hoy to commemorate a visit by His Imperial Majesty Alexander the First, Emperor of all the Russias to Great Britain. 

Find out more about the walk here.

8. Western Yar Circular Walk

Where: Yarmouth

The Western Yar Estuary Walk provides an easy access circular ramble approximately 3.8 miles long and at a fairly brisk pace takes about 1.5 hours, or longer with stops to admire the wonderful views and soak up the fresh air, peacefulness and beautiful countryside.

Find out more about the walk here.

8. Dinosaur Footprints at Compton Bay and Brook beach

Where: Compton

Did you know there are large three-toed iguanodon foot casts at the base of the cliffs just to the east of Compton Bay car park at Hanover Point? The best place to search for fossils is between both Brook Bay and Compton Bay at low tide. 

Find out more here.