Wherever you travel and regardless of which locations you visit in the world, every single one will have its own obscure gems and secret places that are hidden away from the gaze of regular tourists.
The Isle of Wight is no exception to this rule, with the so-called ‘Dinosaur Island’ home to a number of quaint and hidden gems that can add a unique dimension to even the most traditional family holiday.
There are certainly a number of secret places on the Isle of Wight, many of which are dotted across the length and breadth of the island. I’ve outlined a few of the best such sites below, while making a compelling argument for why you need to visit these locations!
Hidden Gems – The Secret Places on the Island
The Shanklin Chine, Chine Hill in Shanklin
If you’ve never heard of a ‘chine’, this describes a steep-sided coastal gorge where a river flows to the sea. Typically, the water will pour through soft, eroding cliffs of clay or sandstone, creating a natural phenomenon that can be truly incredible to watch.
This makes for a truly wonderful sight, and the glorious Shanklin Chine is no exception to this rule. Located in Chine Hill, the gates to this splendid attraction first swung open way back in 1817, which makes it the longest-standing and most established landmark on the whole of the island.
But what else makes this location so special? Well, there’s the splendid, tree-lined chine itself, which cuts a stunning route from the Shanklin Old Village to the sandy shores of Hope Beach, and the busy, action-placed Esplanade sits beneath the tree tops.
What’s more, you’re afforded genuine flexibility in terms of how you enjoy this stunning location. For example, you can sample the visual splendour of the Shanklin Chine by sunlight, which enables you to bask in the rays of the golden sun while experiencing some truly eye-catching wildlife.
However, we’d argue that the location is best seen at dusk, when soft lighting is switched on and the Shanklin Chine’s almost mythical beauty is exposed. Here, hundreds of lights will illuminate every nook and cranny of the chine’s winding paths, while they’ll add a further sense of romance to the cascading waterfalls and stunning streams.
Interestingly, the Shanklin Chine also boasts a unique monument to the crack 40 Royal Marine Commandos who trained at the location in preparation for the historic Dieppe landings on D-Day towards the end of World War II.
One of the island’s most underrated attractions, the chine is open seasonally between April and October, while we’d definitely recommend it to couples, young families and even individual travellers!
Quarr Abbey, Quarr Road in Ryde
Next up is a location that’s inarguably one of the most secret places on the Isle of Wight, namely Quarr Abbey. Hidden away in the seaside town of Ryde, Quarr Abbey is actually a tranquil and historic monastery on the island, and one that offers spectacular views of the south coast of England.
To this day, Quarr remains home to a small and committed group of Benedictine monks, who have dedicated their entire lives to the glory of God and an existence of fulfilling solitude. As a visitor you can share in this and the location’s innate sense of peace, while taking in everything that the Abbey has to offer.
More specifically, you can visit the Abbey’s picturesque gardens, while even shopping for homegrown produce in the monastery’s well-stocked farm shop. You can even attend worship in the adjoining Abbey Church, which is truly an incredible experience regardless of your own views or thoughts on organised religion.
The site also hosts new exhibitions from local artists every single week, so lovers of paintings and sculptures can enjoy an added dimension to their trip.
Overall, the Abbey is home to a wealth of heritage and architectural significance, which is made even more iconic by the natural beauty that surrounds it. Of course, it’s this same natural beauty that hides the monastery away, but it’s well worth seeking out the Abbey when visiting the Isle of Wight.
The Needles Batteries in Totland
In Alum Bay, Totland, you’ll find the Needles Battery, which is one of the more interesting, hidden attractions on the picturesque Isle of Wight.
This is an old military fort, and one that was originally built to protect the Needles passage and its neighbouring naval dockyard. The fort was initially constructed back in the 19th century, to ward off the threat of French attack and protect the west end of the Solent (and nearby Portsmouth) from enemy invaders.
There are both old and new batteries located above the Needles, the first of which was built between 1861 and 1863. This was equipped with six seven-inch Armstrong rifled breech loading guns, although the location’s firepower was upgraded in 1872 with the installation of four seven-inch and two nine-inch rifled muzzleloaders.
Interestingly, the site experienced subsidence issues over the next few years, with the concussion caused by repeatedly firing guns causing the cliffs to crumble. So, a New Battery was constructed in 1895, with this structure noticeably higher up the cliff and located some 120 metres above sea level.
The Needles Batteries remain among the most iconic landmarks on the Isle of Wight, thanks largely to their historical relevance and the educational context that surrounds them. The Needles Rocks also make for interesting viewing by themselves, as they present as three distinctive chalk stacks that tower above the often sun-kissed coastline.
The nearby lighthouse stands nearby, with this striking sight located at the end of the outermost chalk stack. So, a trip here enables you to enjoy a unique educational and sightseeing experience, making it ideal for thrill seekers of all ages and descriptions.
The Last Word
As you can see, there are myriad hidden gems and locations on the Isle of Wight, whether these landmarks are remote or simply boast a long-forgotten heritage.
Either way, such locations can contribute towards a truly unique travel experience on the island, ensuring that you can make memories that last forever!