* Prices may differ from that shown
We personally love Sandown. It is unspoiled and untouched by all the commercial rip-offs that usually go hand in hand with seaside resorts. We are travelling over from the mainland to get married there on 22nd May 2012 at the lovely quaint Parkbury Hotel, with photos on the beach (weather permitting) followed by an evening meal at Caulkheads. The whole wedding party is staying at the Sandown Chalets in Avenue Road. All three of these venues are relaxing, comfortable places with good service and value for money - What else could you ask for. Ok so the whole town could do with a coat of paint but too much modernisation would just spoil the atmosphere of the town. There are gift shops and small eating places (Barnabys is good), fish and chips and ice cream - is there anything else needed for a relaxing getaway? The whole of the Isle of Wight is a beautiful peaceful place, relaxing and refreshing and the perfect place to get away from the stress and bustle of normal life on the mainland. Soon to be - Mr & Mrs Lockwood-Goose Lingfield, Surrey
Sandown is one of the most popular towns on the Isle of Wight with tourists from all over the world, largely due to its wide variety of attractions, including its iconic pier. The pier was originally built over three years from 1867 to 1870, however it has undergone many dramatic facelifts since then, including a massive extension to the 870ft length it is now, eventually resulting in the popular attraction it is today. It originally had a theatre but, after a massive £2m refurbishment after damage caused by a fire in the late 80s, this is no longer a feature. It does, though, have a mass of other facilities and attractions that have taken its place. The pier's crowning glory is its indoor crazy golf course, designed with an aztec theme. No expense has been spared in making it an attraction that will capture the imagination of young and old visitors alike. This central attraction is surrounded by many others. There are plenty of arcades including everything from the penny slot machines right up to the all singing, all dancing and (perhaps most imortantly) all flashing video and simulator games. There is something for everyone here. There is also a bowling alley for those who like a bit of a (friendly) competition and the staff there are more than happy to assist with any queries you might have or help you may need. Other facilities include a cafe, plenty of toilets and many eye-catching shops to get those all important souvenirs or for children to part with their pocket money. Cost-wise, the pier can be as cheap or as expensive as you want to make it. There is no charge to enter the pier and you are free to wander round all of the facilities - perhaps stopping at an arcade game or two. You can however buy a wrist band, that will allow you entry to golf and bowling as well as the outdoor funfair at the end of the pier. I can't remember exactly how much it was, but I do remember thinking that it represented good value for those who wanted to have a go at everything. Personally, we just went to have a wander around and admire the lovely views Sandown whilst enjoying a particularly delicious ice-cream. But, it has to be said that this would make a great, safe and entertaining day out for the whole family.
Since Woolworths packed up shop and deserted town, Sandown really only has one saving grace left - the pier. Its so unfortunate that the town has gone so downhill - as it could be a fantastic spot right by the sea, but with zero investment by the local council and drunkards vommiting in the street every night - It seems a bit far off happening. The Pier hasn't changed a huge amount since I was young, the main difference being that the theatre part has been closed. Yes, Sandown's only venture into culture (apart from the library) is no more. I once saw Norman Wisdom there as well! Thats culture for you! The Pier now boasts a myriad of ways to lose all your hard earned cash. It has every arcade machine under the sun, from your average 2p machines to more recent arcade games like House of the Dead etc. When jbsabbath and I were much younger, we played on the Simpsons arcade game and WWF Royal Rumble many, many times. Theres also the old classics like the horses and kick the football at the rubber man - always great. The pier also has a large indoor crazy golf course. This is in the same place as the old theatre. Its pretty good actually and is quite cheap. There are usually a buy one get one free offer in the IOW tourist guides. Its kind of like based on a jungle with lots of squawking birds and chimps and stuff - kind of like Sandown after midnight. There is also a small bowling alley which costs around £2.50 for a game. This is quite good fun too. We recently took cousins of ours and their children to the childrens 'ball-pit' area in the pier. It was good, but wan't suitable for very small children. At the end of the pier is a helter skelter and dodgems - which is sometimes closed off due to being out of season. As you walk along the pier there is also a small cafe where you can buy the greasiest excuse for min-donuts on planet earth. I wouldn't eat them unless you were planning on a coronary before you're thirty. At the bottom of the pier there are two other eateries. One is your usual run of the mill cafe where you can have a cuppa tea and watch the world go by, and then there's a pub opposite. Both are well looked after and offer a decent alternative to throwing your money into a rubbish game machine. The best part about Sandown pier is the 'grabbing' machines. I went through a phase of loving these machines and actually became quite good at it - until I realised the pointlessness of it all and that my house was full of Disney-related junk. Sandown Pier is the last refuge for a holiday in Sandown. If there was no pier, god knows what the town would be like - I expect like something from 'Mad Max'. However, its worth a visit if your are on holiday - just remember to bring along a wodge of cash!
Sandown Pier - Sandown Esplanade Isle of Wight Sandown Pier..... Fun for all the family! Well that is what it says on big letters on the outside of the pier. So is this statement true? Well let's see... The building of Sandown Pier started in 1876 but it took a good many years before the grand opening to the public which was in 1887. This was a long time considering the pier itself is relatively short going out only 360foot or 109 meters. Not long after the opening plans were put forward to extend the pier out further making the total length of the pier a more impressive 875 foot or 265 meters. This extension was completed in 1895 and to celebrate this, a regatta was held for all the local people. The pier looked wonderful and the pavilion that sat on the pier was something new and exciting. Several more extensions were made to the pier through out the following decades and the pier itself was damaged in the Second World War. These damages were repaired and more improvements made. Trips to and from Portsmouth were a regular thing with a boat docking at the end of the pier. In 1989 a fire ripped through the pavilion causing over 2 million pounds worth of damage. Again repairs were made only for the pavilion itself in the mid 1990s be torn out and replaced by what stands there today. This is of course the bowling alley and miniature golf course. Sad as it is that Sandown has lost a great history in the pavilion being demolished of course it didn't really make enough money to survive and thus the pier that stands there today. The main attractions to the pier would be the bowling, miniature golf, children's ball play zone and of course the games machines. The games machines have been there for years even when the pavilion was still up and running of course some have been updated and the old penny slot ones of days gone by have well and truly gone. The machines make so many different loud noises it is hard to think straight when walking down and around the pier. The flashing lights from even machine stay flashing in your eyes long after you have left but in a magical kind of way. The chance to win some money is always a thrill but often money lost is the only pain you feel. The miniature golf can be played by all it's not too much money and a good hour or so is spent in finding your way around the pretend jungle. With dark caves and crevices, monkeys and snakes, keep and eye on your golf ball for goodness sakes!! The setting for the golf when new didn't look so bad but the years are taking its toll and now it's looking drab. The place could do with a sprucing up; a lick of pain is all, to make it such a brighter place to come and whack a ball. The children's ball play zone is located right upstairs where lots of fun can be had for those under seven. The price again is not too steep so worth a trip for a special treat. Or indeed for those rainy days where one wonders what to do, the kids will have a riot while you sip on a coffee or two. The bowling you can't miss, it's not the average size, smaller than some in length but just the same in width. With six lanes there to choose from there is bound to be one free. No need for sharing shoes however your own will be just fine, you pay by using the slots at the end of each lane and it will set you back a few pounds per person which is a pretty good price. The whole pier is a good days fun or maybe more like half a day. I would say if its raining outside then this is a good place to go. There is fun to be had but might as it may cost a load! Be prepared to loose some cash on the games machines but try to win a teddy as me and my partner scooped a giant tigger the other day for only £1! All in all a nice place to visit if you can find nothing else to do in wet weather. But a shame the pavilion is not there anymore but I have fond memories of seeing Peter Andre, MN8 and PJ and Duncan playing there not so many years ago.......
We visited Culver Pier after it advertised great things in our tourist guide. At first you walk into a very well looked after amusement arcade with every type of bandit and video game you could ever want! There is also a bar situated in there which we didn't go into due to have our toddler with us and an indoor childrens soft play area. We were going to take our son into the play area but it is up quite a few stairs and you have to leave your pushchair at the bottom which we weren't too happy about so decided not to bother. I'm sure it wouldn't of got stolen but didn't like the risk. There is an indoor crazy golf which looked good for anyone interested in that kind of thing. After many more fruit machines we walked a few yards along the pier and to a greasy spoon cafe!! The seating there looked like it had seen much better days but they did lovely fresh donuts! yum! After the cafe you are completely outside and heading towards the rides which unfortunately for us none of them were working, so we had to head back down the pier. It was ok to visit and if you have lots of money to spend on amusements then you could spend a long time in there.