Isle of Wight

Dinosaurs & Chines

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Overview

From Ryde head to Bembridge on the coast before tracking inland to the Roman Brading Villa. Head to beaches of Sandown in search of fossils and then follow the coast to the pretty village of Shanklin. Head inland to Appuldurcombe House before returning to the coast at Ventnor and trace the coast to St. Catherine’s lighthouse. Finish up at the Blackgang Chine theme park.

Ryde

The largest town on the island with a restored pier, sandy beaches, a pleasant esplanade and filled with boutique shops and museums. Close by is Appley Tower all that remains of a Tudor mansion and the Victorian fortification battery in Puckpool Park built in 1863 to defend the island and the naval anchorage of Portsmouth.

Bembridge

A charming seaside resort with 3 beaches built around a harbour with an iconic lifeboat station and windmill. The National Trust’s St Helens Duver is a coastal park and they also own Bembridge Fort and downs. The Victorian fort was also used in WW1 defences occupying a commanding view from the chalk headland.

Brading Roman Museum

Step back in time to see the remains of this Roman Courtyard Villa and its well preserved floor mosaics, including Cockerel Man, are housed in an ultra modern museum. Vespasian and the 2nd Augusta Legion conquered the Isle of Wight in the first century and occupation of the site started soon after.

Dinosaur Isle

Housed in a modern building shaped like a pterodactyl this museum houses an extensive collection of fossils collected from on the island. Located by the sea with a lake on side and nature reserve the other there is plenty to see outside too.

Sandown

The resort has long sandy beaches sheltered by cliffs framing Sandown Bay. The popular pier brings plenty of traditional entertainment whilst further along the shore is the Zoo located within the remains of a mid 18th century fort built to protect the coast from French invasion. The Bay area is rich in fossils so keep looking.

Shanklin

A picture postcard village with thatched buildings and a lovely beach with a wide esplanade and plenty of parks. The deep narrow gorge from Shanklin old town to the beach opened to tourists in 1813. It was created by a stream and resultant waterfalls cutting into sandstone that created the Chine. Learn about its role in WWII but also marvel at the plants due to its microclimate.

Appuldurcombe House

Enjoy 18 acres of gardens landscaped by Capability Brown which frame the shell of this 18th century house and showing off its baroque elegance to the full.

Ventnor

A popular resort on the south coast with Victorian buildings and beach huts leading to a sandy beach and red shingle. The botanic gardens nestling by the Undercliff have many sub tropical species and within walking distance is the Devil’s Chimney. Check out the lovely Steephill Cove only accessible by boat or walking.

St Catherine's Lighthouse

St Catherine’s Point is the southernmost point of the island immortalised by its regular appearance on the Shipping Forecast. The original lighthouse was built in 1328 as penance to the Church and its remains are known locally as the St Catherine’s Oratory or colloquially as the Pepperpot. The buttresses were added in the 19th century to prevent it falling down. The modern lighthouse is closer to the Point.

Blackgang

The UK’s oldest theme park can trace its roots to 1843 as an amusement park. The large number of themed areas, including cliff top, walks are sure to provide something for everyone.

Child FriendlyHistoryWalking

Overview

1

Ryde

2
7.2 miles

Bembridge

3
3.9 miles

Brading Roman Museum

4
1.7 miles

Dinosaur Isle

5
0.6 miles

Sandown

6
2.6 miles

Shanklin

7
4.0 miles

Appuldurcombe House

8
2.9 miles

Ventnor

9
5.6 miles

St Catherine's Lighthouse

10
3.0 miles

Blackgang

What to see and do…

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About the Dinosaurs & Chines Trail

Distance: 32 miles
Cites / Towns: 10
Number Of Businesses: 0

The ferry to Ryde is part of the holiday experience. From Ryde follow the Island’s east coast stopping in the main tourist resorts. Bembridge is next up with lovely beaches. The RNLI offshore station is one of the most photographed sites since it was completely rebuilt in 2009.

The history of the island predates the Roman Brading Villa with well preserved fossil remains at Dinosaur Isle near Sandown. Shanklin, possibly the prettiest village is filled with thatched buildings and beachside formal gardens. Slightly inland are the remains of Appuldurcombe House.

Ventnor retains its Victorian charm and includes the RAF station hosting one of the Chain Home radar stations during WWII. Drive past more delightful bays en route to St Catherine’s Point the island’s southernmost tip.

Blackgang Chine named after a long lost Chine offers theme park entertainment for all the family.

Child Friendly
History
Walking

Island Defences

Occupying a key strategic location in the English Channel, protecting the sheltered anchorage of the Solent and Portsmouth naval base has ensured the island is littered with forts and castles. The Mary Rose sank in battle against the French in the Solent in 1545 and many of the castles date from this period. Land and sea forts were built in the 19th century and radar was deployed in 1938.

Chines

The island geology is a mixture of chalk, sandstone and clay layers which over the centuries have caused parts of the area to slip and be subject to erosion by streams tumbling into the sea. The streams and waterfalls create narrow ravines which with a sub tropical micro climate are plant heaven. The Chines were born and the first recorded recognition of their tourist appeal was 1813.

Seaside Resorts

Only separated by a few miles the numerous small bays and sandy beaches each having their own coastal community are a haven for holidaymakers both on land and sea with many marinas. Ryde, Bembridge, Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor all have their individual charm with plenty to see and do but also a great place to just relax.