There are numerous places to visit and things to do on the Isle of Wight, which is one of the reasons why so many people return to the island on multiple occasions.
Overall, the Isle of Wight also saw a slight increase of 2% in visitors during the second quarter of 2022 (when compared with the previous, pre-Covid figures from 2019). During this period, some 633,155 people visited the island, which is quite impressive given that the quarter runs mostly out of season and between April and June.
Arguably, Fishbourne is one of the most popular locations on the Isle of Wight, with this quaint village and civil parish home to a number of attractions and tourist hotspots.
I’ll explore some of these in further detail below, while asking why these entities are so popular on the island!
Things to do in Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight
Enjoy the Serenity and Tranquility of the Quarr Abbey
Quarr Abbey, which may also be referred to as the ‘Abbey of Our Lady of Quarr’, is a picturesque monastery on the Isle of Wight that’s widely considered to be one of the most important 20th-century religious structures in the whole of the UK.
This selection of Grade I listed monastic structures and church was completed before World War I in 1912, while its combination of striking architecture and Ryde’s idyllic seaside makes for a truly stunning visual sight.
However, Quarr Abbey is far more than just an aesthetically pleasing and historically important landmark. It also remains home to a small but dedicated group of Benedictine monks, who have committed their entire lives to God and now share their space with interested parties from across the globe.
You can access Quarr Abbey from the car ferry to Fishbourne, with the main structure nestling amongst the trees that line the Ryde shoreline. This adds a sense of mystery and fascination to the location, which remains a genuine hidden gem and one of the more understated things to do in Fishbourne, Isle of Wight.
During your visit, you can attend the church and share in daily worship, while wandering the grounds freely and experiencing the venue’s unique sense of tranquility for yourself. You can even feed the pigs that are housed at the Abbey, or frequent the on-site art gallery that often features work and sculptures from local artists.
This also connects to a well-stocked bookshop, through which you can buy published works and listed pieces of artwork (some of which have been produced by the community of monks that reside at the Abbey).
Before you walk the grounds of Quarr Abbey, I’d recommend that you check out the visitor centre that’s located near the entrance. This is designed to both inspire and inform visitors, sharing the location’s rich heritage while providing an insightful introduction to the monastic way of life.
Here, you can even watch a short introductory film that charts the Benedictine tradition, which dates back more than 1500 years and explains the history of Quarr Abbey in fascinating detail.
Take a Trip to the Rebel Marine
If you’re a water or sea life enthusiast, I’d also recommend a trip to the Rebel Marine. This is located at Unit 1, Fishbourne Quay on Ashlake Copse Road, while it’s home to numerous boat tours and experiences (many of which can be accessed all year round).
Ranked as the sixth best ‘tours and water sports’ activity on the Isle of Wight, Rebel Marine is highly sought after by a diverse demographic of travellers too, including adventurers, families and even those who are visiting the region on business.
But what exactly does the Rebel Marine offer to visitors? Well, there are cruisers, workboats and RIB adventure rides available, each of which enables you to see the island in a completely unique way and sample some of the island’s most unique wildlife.
Interestingly, the Marine’s RIB ‘Lightening Rebel’ vessel is the fastest charter on the whole of the island, with this enabling you to traverse the Isle of Wight’s waters at speed and enjoy a high-octane holiday experience.
There’s even an RYA Training Centre that offers a broad array of courses, while you can use a range of boatyard services at Rebel Marine. These include storage (if you own your own vessel), lift-out, valet clearing and boat haulage, while an additional Marine base can be found in the nearby seaside town of Cowes.
As for the wildlife in the area, this includes fascinating creatures such as dolphins and seals. You can see and experience these through a number of different trips and packages, while you can rely on boat captains to provide you with infinite knowledge of each creature and the local marine life.
Head Back in Time and Visit the Isle of Wight Steam Railway
The iconic Isle of Wight Steam Railway is a heritage railway on the island, with this site having been preserved and maintained despite no longer being fully functional.
The track traverses five-and-a-half miles of countryside that stretches from Small Junction to Wootton Station, with the initial line having been formally opened when the railway first came to the Isle of Wight in 1862. The specific line between Ryde and Newport was opened in 1875, and by 1880 the Wooton Station was at the epicentre of an extensive network of lines.
As of 2023, the location is a fully preserved heritage site, and one that can take you back in time to a bygone age when steam power was considered to be among the most cutting-edge and advanced technologies in the world.
To this end, you can sample the authentic sights and sounds of majestic steam engines, while also experiencing the evocative smells that once characterised the Industrial Revolution and Victorian way of life. You can even sit in genuine Victorian and Edwardian carriages that have been beautifully and painstakingly restored, while also enjoying a stunning and idyllic view of the island’s unspoiled greenery.
Here, you’ll find carriages that date back to 1864, while the oldest on-site locomotive was first built as long ago as 1876. The experience also includes the ‘Train Story Discovery Centre’, which is a stunning and insightful indoor museum that narrates the historical tales of the island’s railways.
As a way of adding value to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway experience, you can also witness daily falconry displays during the summer.
These are held every day at 11:40 and 13:40, and this is just one of the reasons why the average visitor spends three hours or so on-site!