* Prices may differ from that shown
It might be located on the beach but the picturesque village of Shanklin is anything but a typically british seaside resort. Theres so much more to it than that. Its like someone came along and condensed the British Isle into one. Shanklin has huge dramatic cliff faces (and a Cliff Lift for the lazy), beaches, rolling countryside, cliff top walks, chocolate box thatched houses, more history than you can shake a stick at and tons and tons for children of every age. The beaches are clean, spacious and closed to dogs between March and October. By far the quaintest thing are the brightly coloured beach huts which adorn the edges of the beach and can be rented out by the day, week or even the season. They're big enough to store your surf board and get changed too.
Shanklin, indeed the entire Isle of Wight, is obsessed with food. Go into any pub and order fish and chips and you'll be served it on a plate that could double as a serving platter, they don't skimp on anything. The beachside Steamer Inn serves up a delicious whopper of a battered fish with a mountain of veg, salad and enough chips for two for £8.99. The food is just as good at The Crab inn in Shanklins old town.
For those that like walks theres tons to choose from whether its the landscaped gardens of Shanklin Chine or a walk through the village following the tourist trail. Theres a seemingly endless amount of public transport available and the novelty of the village road train. If you venture a little further afield Shanklin Station is well connected to other towns on the island and also connects direct to the ferry terminal. Even this is a little unorthadox as the trains in question are clickety clackety 1970s London Underground carriages.
We stayed for a week with two young children and didn't run out of things to do, in fact we could easily have filled a fortnight. I'm rather glad we took the car though as it made getting from venue to venue much easier. Parking was great as there are plenty of affordably priced pay and display carparks with typical charges of £1 per hour but with a quick visit to the tourist information centre you can buy a tourist parking permit which allows you to park anywhere you like for £40 a week (longer durations were available).
Its definately somewhere we'll be returning to as theres plenty more things that we didn't get chance to see. Its worth noting that several visitor attractions offer a free return visit within 7 days of your original visit, not that we went anywhere twice but the demonic daughters would have loved a return trip to Black Gang Chine the islands only theme park.
Shanklin, Isle of Wight.....
Shanklin is a small town located on the south east side of the Isle of Wight. It has plenty to do for both holiday makers and residents alike and just as most towns on the Isle of Wight are, it is a picturesque place that truly is like taking a step back in time some 25 years.
Shanklin is accessible easily by road, train, bike or even foot. Most places on the island are only a short distance from each other which is why walking is so easy to do and often when the summer times comes, bringing with it excess traffic (and more often than not road works as the council seem to think they are ideally done in the warmer months) it is far quicker to get anywhere on foot.
Shanklin has a vast sandy beach that stretches for a good mile or so around to Lake (heading to the east side of the island) and in the other direction to Ventnor although due to cliffs it is not possible to walk along the shoreline all the way round to Ventnor. The beaches are stone and pebble free and always seem to be clean and tidy. The sun in the summer stays on the beach more or less right up to the end of the day so plenty of time can be spent playing in the sea or the sand. Whilst on the beach you will never be short of deck chairs, sun loungers or parasols as there are plenty of places where one can hire a chair for the day or indeed the afternoon.
Along the esplanade in Shanklin there is the usual holiday attractions such as pitch and putt golfing or crazy golf which are both positioned in a lovely area with sea views and are of an affordable price that the whole family can play and enjoy. There is a large amusement arcade situated along the esplanade slightly from the pitch and putt and this is ideal if the weather turns nasty and somewhere is needed to keep children amused.
There is always somewhere not far from where you are that will be selling ice creams and refreshments at a fair rate and in the summer months these little cafés and stalls are much needed to keep one cool and well lubricated!
Along the esplanade there is also a cliff lift that will take you up the steep incline of the cliff if perhaps it is more of a struggle to walk. It is a little walk from the beach into the town centre compared with towns such as Sandown where the beach and town are so close together. This is where the cliff lift comes in very handy for a lot of people as it cuts out the rather tiresome trek of 15 minutes uphill to get to the cliff path. The cliff lift only operates during the summer time and the prices are, I believe, not too bad.
If neither the cliff lift or the walk up the hill sounds very appealing there is always the option of riding the "Dotto Train" from the Esplanade up to the town centre. The Dotto train is a small toy like train that seats a fair few number of people and this runs every 20 to 30 minutes taking people to and from the old village to the beach and vice versa. The train does not run during the winter period but in the summer it can get pretty busy because it is a cheap ride which gets you to where you want to go and cools you down in the process.
There are plenty of public conveniences along the seafront which is needed if you plan to spend an entire day on the beach and these although pretty run down are indeed handy when you need them!
Along the Esplanade there are plenty of places to have a meal or a drink or two (or three or four). The summer time heat really does warrant drinking a few nice cool vodka, lime and lemonades and these drinks are made even more enjoyable when you are able to look out over the beaches and watch people having a good time. The whole vibe is really quite Mediterranean in the summer and one I long for all year round! The restaurants along the seafront are mostly of a nautical theme and will all be serving freshly caught fish, crab and lobster. Of course lobster is a fairly high priced meal although it is always something that I will treat myself to once every season and I always thoroughly enjoy it! The summer time sees plenty of bands and live music playing in the evening and the pubs themselves advertise who is playing quite well and this is also another treat which makes for a rather magical evening. I have spent many summer evenings sitting outside in the still warm air sipping my drink and watching someone sing and play the guitar, perfect!
Moving away from the shore line and up into the main town of Shanklin means that there are more shops and small cafés to enjoy. Shanklin is a slightly larger town that that of its neighbouring town Sandown and has a good selection of everyday shops that are perfect for the Islanders. Of course there are still plenty of gift shops for tourists but perhaps not as many as you would see in Sandown. Again there are plenty of restaurants including Chinese, Indian, fish and chips and so on meaning that people have plenty to choose from when thinking about an evening meal out.
Shanklin town has two parts to it, the high street and the old village which is further along the main road heading in the Ventnor direction. The old village is perhaps famous for its picture postcard looks and there is a very common postcard sent from the island that shows the thatched cottages in the old village and the pub "The Crab". A lot of the buildings in the old village have thatched roofs and this is really what gives it the oldie world type feeling. It really does look beautiful and quaint.
The old village also gives access to the "Old Chine" which is basically an old gorge with wonderful sights such as waterfalls and nature trails. Walking through the old Chine from the Old Village will take you all the way back down to the esplanade again although to enter the chine itself you will have to pay a fee, prices of which I am not sure as these tend to change each year.
There are plenty of other gardens to look at and walks to do in Shanklin and if indeed you are staying in one of the many hotels or guest houses that Shanklin has to offer it is very easy to get out of Shanklin either by bus or train and pop into another town. The train station at Shanklin is the last stop, so you can only go in one direction (the train line is a very short one giving no more than a 30 minute ride from end to end) but this can take you all the way through to Ryde where you can get the ferries back over to the mainland (so you could even visit without bringing your car!).
There is always something going on in and around the Shanklin areas to so if you are coming over for a holiday it is always worth checking out what Shanklin calendar looks like and whether there will be any special events happening when you are visiting. Fireworks are often set off from the beach of an evening close to the carnival dates and the carnival itself has both a daytime and an evening (illuminated) procession.
Overall I really feel that Shanklin has a lot going for it. It is a clean friendly town with so many different parts it really is hard to believe you are in the same place when you walk through the old chine and out into the high street. There is always plenty to do and things to see and I am sure any visitor will enjoy the atmosphere that a sunny summer holiday to the place has.
It is suitable for young and old and especially now when people can't afford to take expensive holidays abroad coming to the island is like going abroad but without the cost (and perhaps a little less heat!). All in all though I am totally in love with my little island and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else in the world. I hope that people will visit the island and feel the same as I do.
Many thanks for taking the time to read.
I do hope this has been of some help/interest to you.
If you would like to find out more about Shanklin then check out this website which has lots of helpful information and some wonderful photographs:
I do love the Isle of Wight although I have only managed to visit the place three times! I did a general opinion about the place years ago giving a virtual tour of the island, but I thought Id have a go at reviewing one of my favourite towns on the island and thats Shanklin.
My first holiday on the Isle of Wight was taken with my now ex husband, which would be enough to cloud anyones judgment of a place! His idea of a holiday was just shouting at me by the sea instead of at home, but thats another story!
I had got all the Isle of Wight guidebooks and had a look and Shanklin looked like a nice place to visit so Shanklin it was.
My first impression wasnt too good Im afraid. The hotel was lovely, although I cant remember the name of it, but the town wasnt as I imagined it at all. If you know Shanklin at all you will realise at this point that we were staying in the newer part of town and that we hadnt yet found Shanklin Old Village!
So let me tell you about it.
Shanklin is situated between Sandown and Ventnor on the south coast of the island and is quite a small, quiet resort, but then we never were ones for loud nightclubs so that suited us.
In the main part of town there is a decent selection of mainly small shops, with a few of the high street stores such as Woolworths and Boots, a good selection of cafes and representatives of the high street banks.
It will take you about a quarter of an hour to walk from the town down to the beach, which is at the bottom of the cliff. You can either walk down slopes or steps or you can take the cliff lift, bus or road train (in the summer) if youre not feeling too energetic.
During the high season the cliff lift is open until around 10pm and really is invaluable when youre coming back to town from the beach. The paths down the cliffs are beautiful when youre walking down but they are a hard slog walking back up I can tell you!
The beach itself is good once you get there are there is plenty of car parking along the front, but if it is a beach holiday youre looking for I would suggest that Sandown is probably a better place to stay, as its a more traditional resort with a wide sweeping bay and lots of sand.
The part of Shanklin that I really fell in love with is Shanklin Old Village, which is about five minutes walk out of the main town.
This part of Shanklin is a beautiful, quaint area of thatched cottages, pretty gift shops, teashops and The Crab Inn (also thatched), which has recently been used as the model for a cottage by Lilliput Lane.
The other big attraction here is Shanklin Chine, once a well-hidden landing place for smugglers now a tourist attraction boasting lots of rare plants and an impressive waterfall.
You can walk from the top of the Chine, which is just next to The Crab Inn down to the beach below (or the other way round obviously!) and I recommend that you do this at least once during your visit. It really is well worth it. It is open from March until November each year and is open until 10pm during the summer when the whole thing is floodlight after dark and it is nothing short of magical.
During the war the Chine was used as an assault course the Commandos who had their HQ at Upper Chine School a plaque to their memory was dedicated on 6th June 1984 being the 40th anniversary of D Day.
PLUTO also ran through the Chine and how many of you know what that stands for then? Its Pipe Line Under The Ocean and during the Normandy invasion of 1944 it carried 56,000 gallons of petrol a day 65miles under the English Channel to Cherbourg to the Allies. 65 yards of the pipeline still remain and a cross section can be seen in the Heritage Centre in the Pluto display room.
A visit to the Chine will cost you about £3.50 for adults, £2.50 for OAPs and students and £2.00 for children, but believe me you wont be disappointed. Incidentally there are discounts for families and larger groups.
Near to the Chine there is also a lovely park called Rylstone Gardens, with a bandstand, tearoom and lots of space for a picnic!
In conclusion I would say the Shanklin is an ideal resort for couples and families with children who dont mind walking! I loved the Old Village, but I have to confess I do love to walk along a traditional seafront too so I was happier when we stayed in Sandown and visited Shanklin for day trips.
The Isle of wight is one of my most favourite places in Great Britain and within the Island, Shanklin is one of the nicest towns to visit.
It is made up of diffrent contrasting areas. There is the 'Old Shanklin', which has picturesque thatched cottages and gift shops selling lots of unusual gifts.
The newer part of Shanklin consists of a main street with modern day shops and shopping opportunities.
The beach is on a lower level than the town area and this can be accessed by either a slopped walkway, steps or a lift. The beach is clean and during the summer months, there are activities such as beach trampolining to keep children amused. There are several amusement arcades along the sea front.
Shanklin chine is well worth a visit and can either be accessed from the lower beach section of Shanklin, or from the old town. The chine either leads upwards or down, depending on which entrance you use. It contains woodland and waterfalls. It is picturesque, peaceful and at night, offers a floodlit experience.
There are car parks on both the lower and upper parts of Shanklin, although these can often become busy during the summer. Whichever car park you use, however, all areas of Shanklin are within walking distance, although there are some steep slopes which could be tricky for less mobile people.
There are plenty of pubs, restaurants and cafes to suit all tastes and budgets and the rock shop is an interesting place to visit.
Shanklin has long been a location for family holidays, with a safe sandy beach and clear waters. The bay is sheltered from the prevailing wind by Dunnose Point, which is a stunning backdrop, with the tall cliffs of Luccombe and St. Boniface Downs beyond.