The Isle of Wight is home to a number of quaint and picturesque civil parishes, with Shanklin offering a relevant case in point.
This seaside resort town is located on Sandown Bay, while it’s the southernmost of three settlements which occupy the bay. As its location suggests, it’s also within close proximity to Lake Sandown, as well as several other hotspots and destinations in the surrounding area.
In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the town and its history, while exploring the best things to do in Shanklin and what makes the location such a tourist hotspot.
Exploring a Truly Beautiful Seaside Town
Due to its prime location on the coast of Sandown Bay, Sandown is part of the long and winding beach that stretches between Yaverland to the north and Luccombe to the south.
The segment of the coastline located closest to Shanklin town is split into Small Hope Beach and Hope Beach, the latter of which is probably the busiest and most popular among visitors.
Above Hope Beach, there towers a busy esplanade, which is home to some classic seaside attractions including a bustling amusement arcade and a crazy golf course. There’s also a huge children’s play area, which is complete with ball pools, bouncy castles, and even some expansive rigging!
You can even take a trip on a so-called “cliff lift”, which starts from the seafront and takes you all the way to the top of the nearby cliff edge. Make no mistake; a visit to Hope Beach makes for an excellent day trip in Shanklin, especially if you have a family and young children!
This even makes up for the fact that Shanklin no longer has a pier, as this was tragically destroyed by the ‘Great Storm’ of 1987. At the time of writing, this has not been restored or rebuilt, and there are no plans to do this any time soon.
Even if you do spend the day at Hope Beach, you may need to create a much more extensive itinerary if you’re visiting Shanklin for a week or so. Fortunately, there are plenty of other activities and things to do in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, including the following options:
Top Things to Do in Shanklin
#1. Check Out the Shanklin Chine
The so-called “Shanklin Chine ” celebrated its Bicentenary year in 2017, having first opened its gates way back in 1817. This establishes the location as the longest-standing attraction on the Isle of Wight, while it has welcomed millions of visitors from across the globe throughout the generations.
A picturesque and historic gorge, the Shanklin Chine is one of the region’s most naturally beautiful locations, while the site features a number of stunning hikes that are far removed from the hustle and bustle of sun-kissed beaches.
This tranquil and spectacular tree-lined chine makes its way from the ‘Old Village’ in Shanklin to Hope Beach and its nearby Esplanade, while it remains an incredibly popular location for both photographers and artists alike (both of whom want to capture the location’s immense natural beauty).
Interestingly, you can also visit the location during the day or the night, with the former enabling you to enjoy the chine in all of its sun-kissed glory. By night, however, you see a completely different side of the chine, as hundreds of fairy lights illuminate the narrow, winding pathways and free-flowing streams.
These lights are in full force during the ‘Chine Lumiere’, which commences on May 26th each year and runs until the final day of September. During this time, the venue is open until 10pm each evening, with the meld of lights and beautiful scenery creating an incredibly relaxing and romantic experience if you happen to be visiting in a couple.
#2. Visit the Shanklin Theatre
The Shanklin Theatre is another popular hotspot in the town, especially among culture buffs who want to enjoy top-quality professional entertainment during their visit.
This superb, 615-seat venue regularly features the leading lights from television, comedy, and music, while the summer and festive seasons afford you excellent opportunities to enjoy some of the best-known faces on British television.
During the warmer months, visitors can frequent the enduringly popular summer stage show “Beyond the West End”, which is a professional production that’s performed by local company Spotlight (IOW) Limited every single year.
This typically runs from May through October, while it’s a great show for anyone who’s looking for evening entertainment in Shanklin.
If you do visit Shanklin out of season and in the festive period, you can also book in and enjoy the fun of the venue’s annual Christmas Pantomime. This is always raucous and extremely good fun, while it adds another dimension to your Shanklin experience.
#3. The Pirates Cove Fun Cove
Last, but not least, we come to what’s arguably the highlight of the entire Shanklin Esplanade, in the form of the suitably named Pirates Cove.
This large and sweeping venue is home to a diverse entertainment experience for families, including an 18-hole adventure golf course and a fully-fledged fun park. Interestingly, this is one of Shanklin’s and the Isle of Wight’s newest family attractions, but it has wasted no time in becoming one of the most popular in the area.
The pirate-themed adventure golf course is certainly one of a kind in Shanklin, while you’ll also find a kid’s playground that’s set against the backdrop of brooding caves, waterfalls, and even a fully rigged pirate ship!
Elsewhere, there’s a kid’s rollercoaster and Go Karts, while even the water Zorbs activity is enriched by a thrilling pirate theme! Make no mistake; there’s enough here to keep kids of all ages (and even most adults) entertained for a couple of days at least, so you could find yourself making return trips if you’re staying in Shanklin for a few days.
The really good news is that this attraction is located close to a number of other hotspots and destinations, so you can plan a largely flexible itinerary for much of your time in Shanklin.