From sweeping ocean views and deserted beaches to old-world architecture, the islands have a magical quality that makes them feel lost in time.
The UK is no exception to this rule, with plenty of great spots to stay off the coast of Skye at lundy all within easy reach of London.
However, while you’ll often have to sacrifice high-quality restaurants and other amenities in exchange for the unique benefits of an island, that’s not the case with a charming seaside resort off the south coast of England. which is only 2.5 hours away.
READ MORE: Stunning Cornish seaside village where the Queen and Royals vacation and has won an award as the UK’s top coastal destination
It’s also home to a number of gorgeous sandy beaches, including one that was named ‘Beach of the Year’ by BBC Countryfile Magazine in 2019.
This must-see stretch of sand is Sandown Bay, an eight-mile-long beach that stretches from Shanklin all the way to the northeast coast of the island.
On the Shanklin side, you’ll find plenty of space to stroll along the shore, paddle through the waves, or lay back in comfortable deckchairs.
You can even grab a pint at Fisherman’s Cottage, a unique seaside pub on the sandy esplanade of Shanklin Beach.
Choose to enjoy your drinks inside the Grade II listed building’s cozy interior or step outside to soak up the ocean views and see the original thatched roof.
Another award-winning part of the bay is Small Hope Beach, where you’ll find plenty of adorable places to grab a bite to eat, like the 2020 Tripadvisor award-winning Salix Café.
In fact, up to 14 locations in and around Shanklin are the proud nominees and winners of the awards.
This includes more than 10 of them that won Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards in 2021, from the quirky family restaurant The Hideaway, which has great sea views, to the reasonably priced Makkie’s pizzeria, popular for its pizzas wood fire.
Other winners to have on your radar include Pendletons, Thai Mukda, Pavarotti’s, Cinders, The House of Spice and The Village Inn Restaurant.
There is also an abundance of lovely tea rooms in the old village of Shanklin.
Top of your list should be The Old Thatch Tea Shop, an old-fashioned teahouse that has won several awards including ‘Best Teahouse and Gardens on the Isle of Wight’.
Another contender for your attention is Pencil Cottage, which is housed in an equally charming 17th-century thatched cottage and was named 2021’s Best Cafe of the Year.
As for what else to do in Shanklin, there’s everything from scenic walks to crazy golf at Rylstone Gardens or live entertainment at Shanklin Theater .
One of the best hiking routes on the island is from Shanklin to Ventnor.
This gentle hike takes about 1.5 hours and takes you along the spectacular south-east coast via pretty woods.
Be sure to watch out for Old St Boniface Church along the way.
Dedicated to an 8th-century Saxon monk who became Archbishop of Mainz, Germany, this quaint little medieval church features remnants of history, including late Tudor windows and a 17th-century church.
If you have time to go inside, you will see a magnificent wall painting which is the only surviving example of Romanesque painting on the island.
From Ventnor you can go back or take the bus back to Shanklin.
READ MORE: National Trust unspoilt island off the Devon coast where you can stay to watch puffins and dolphins
There is also Shanklin China a natural geological feature that is also the island’s oldest tourist attraction.
The site, opened to visitors more than 200 years ago, consists of a forested coastal ravine that cuts through the island’s sandstone cliffs.
You can explore the area’s waterfalls, trees, and green vegetation via trails and walkways, and learn about the history of Shanklin China at the heritage center.
How to get there
Traveling from London to Shanklin on the Isle of Wight is incredibly easy, whether for a quick weekend break or a longer stay.
One of the easiest and fastest ways to get there is by train and WightLink FastCat for foot passengers.
By train, you have to leave from London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbor .
This is a direct service that lasts between 1h38 and 2h09.
From here you can get to the Isle of Wight in just 22 minutes aboard one of the WightLink rapids catamaran service at Ryde Head Pier.
It’s only 20 minutes by train from Shanklin, or 24 minutes by taxi – that’s about two to two and a half hours in total.
Alternatively, it is possible to travel from London to the Isle of Wight by car.
Like on the train, head to Portsmouth then board the Wightlink to Fishbourne Ferry .
It takes 45 minutes and there are 25 crossings per day .
Once on the Isle of Wight follow signs to Bridlesford Road and A23056 to get to Shanklin.
In total, getting from London to Shanklin by car takes about 3 hours 20 minutes.