“ Superbly situated beside the sparkling waters of Sandown Bay, the twin resorts of Sandown and Shanklin have delighted generations of holiday-makers for over 150 years. Early Victorian visitors were so captivated by the magnificent bay and sheltered golden sands that within a few decades the sparsely populated community of Sandown saw an explosion of investment and development, culminating in the opening of the railway line from Ryde in 1864. The Victorians laid out the broad seafront promenades and beautiful parks and gardens. They built fine town and country villas, many of which have been converted into hotels and apartments. The cliff-top path offers a wonderful walk, with panoramic views of the bay and continues all the way to Shanklin, passing Lake, which has its own railway station, hotels, guest houses, shops and water sports centre. „
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Sandown, Isle of Wight, England.....
Sandown is located on the South East side of the Isle of Wight and is a perfect holiday destination or indeed for me a perfect place to live. The summer time is amazing in Sandown and there really is, for me, no better place to be. Although the winter can sometimes be rather dreary and bleak, I think this would be the case where ever you are in Britain so I would say that this is surely the best place to live if you have or choose to live in Britain.
There is lots that Sandown has to offer for both the young and old for surely all ages would enjoy to sit on the golden sandy beaches of Sandown Bay overlooking Shanklin and the Downs at Culver (perhaps this is why it is called Sandown, because of both the sandy beaches and view of the downs!). There are plenty of beaches to choose from as the coast line along Sandown Stretches a good way round to Lake (Southwards) and the opposite direction to Yaverland (Westwards). All the beaches are clean and sandy with breakers separating each section of beach making it easier to keep little ones in view. In the Summer the sea can get quite warm and I have been known to take a dip in there once or twice which is rather needed in the heat of the summer sun. The waters are clean and apart from having to watch out for weaver fish (nasty little buggers) the sea is safe. In the summer there are lifeguards patrolling certain beaches and these shores are clearly marked so you could choose to set up camp on patrolled beaches if you have children etc.
On the beaches you will never be short of a deck-chair, sun lounger, parasol or wind breaker as these are for hire from various cabins along the esplanade. Also there are plenty of small cafés and shops dotted along the esplanade where refreshments and beach goods such as buckets and spades can be bought.
Part of the Esplanade attraction along side these glorious beaches would have to be the Pier which offers hours of amusement in the arcade type environment. It has an array of slot machines and prize machines that will lure out the gambler in most! The Pier also has a children play area up stairs, where toddlers can enjoy playing in the ball pits or soft play areas that are so enjoyable for them (which is perfect for a rainy day). There is also a small bowling alley on the Pier which has several lanes (although not full size) and a crazy golf course with a jungle theme to it. These attractions are relatively new to the Pier so are in not bad condition and again are priced within reason and not too expensive.
Amongst Sandown's other attractions is the dinosaur museum, again another relatively new attraction which has been standing for around 5 years now and houses some of the best fossil or bone finds from along the island cost line and in land. I can honestly say however that as yet I have not been inside this museum although I have heard positive things about it. The building from the outside has been built to a rather "modern" type standard and is made from metals all bent trying to look like a dinosaur (I believe the flying pterodactyl?!?). At first this stood out like a sore thumb among the islands beauty but I guess I have now grown to live with it and I don't really notice it so much. The area around the Dinosaur museum is a wildlife reserve which is home to all sorts of ducks and swans (which are always being fed!) on a large lake. This area looks rather shabby because the lake used to belong to Browns Golf Course and was in fact a boating lake. The remains of the old café still stand (which is a shame as it does look unsightly) but I guess they can't remove this because it might upset the wildlife.
Further along to Yaverland is the Brown golf course where you can either play a small game of putting or a larger game of pitch and put, all at a relatively cheap rate. Brown's also has a nice café overlooking the greens where they open up the large patio doors in the summer and this is a nice place to sit and grab one of their delicious cream cakes! The prices for golf and cakes are again reasonable andi have played many games (and eaten many cream cakes) without thinking prices were too high. (plus if you have a one card which is a gym membership you get free golf because Browns is council owned and so is the gym!).
Sandown is where the Islands one and only Zoo is (more towards Yaverland but this is still all just a stones throw away from the high street in Sandown). It is a fair sized Zoo which I have visited quite a few times and have enjoyed myself for at least a couple of hours. It is not very big compared to mainland Zoo's, even though it has just been extended and the place looks a lot brighter than it did a few years back. Some people may recognise it as being host to the ITV1 show "Tiger Island". The price is not too expensive to get in and there is a gift shop and café on site. I would say it is suitable for disabled people as there are no steps and areas have ramps etc.
The main area of Sandown i.e. the high street is, at the moment, pretty poor. Woolworths was by far the best shop that Sandown had and since that has closed Sandown has gone rather down hill. (Woolworths is being turned into a Sainsburys!) The high Street is really just full of a lot of tourist type gift shops and what I call "old lady shops" which sell pleated skirts or knitting patterns. Sandown is however going through a major regeneration project funded by the council. New toilets have been installed in the Yaverland car park (which is used by many visiting the beach and Zoo) and these look very smart. They have also asked the owners of the Yaverland Café to fork out to upgrade the old shack type cabin that it used to be to a rather smart looking building (although in my opinion it has now lost all of it's charm). Along side this they have been smartening up the high streets bus area giving seats and proper shelters, where as before you had no shelter so got wet if it was raining. So hopefully the council are putting a bit back into Sandown and within a few years it may look even tidier than it does now.
Of course like most towns Sandown is riddled with places to eat. Whether it is Chinese, Greek, Italian you are looking for or seafood to home cooked, Sandown has it all to offer. There are many places to eat in Sandown but one of my favourites is "The Ocean Deck" which has a maritime theme and does a lovely carvery for a cheap price! In the summer they have, as many restaurants in this area do, locally caught fish, crab and lobster (if available) and some of this, especially the crab, is pure delight!
Sandown has a market on Sunday's in the high street which is very poor and more annoying than anything else. There are the same stalls selling the same tat week after week and literally only five stalls are there but it takes up a lot of the pathway and all the old holidaymaker ladies come out in force to see if there is a bargain to be had (which really there isn't). This is a real shame because I do remember there being a much better market that was held on a Tuesday in a car park by the Jolly sailor pub but this poor effort took its place.
The town itself is so close to the beach and everywhere else that it really does make it a wonderful little all round town. Everything is in walking distance which makes it a child friendly place as well as ideal for the older generation. With pubs and restaurants along the seafront and glorious beaches what more could anyone want? I know I feel lucky to live here, even in the gloomy winter!
I would say it is an ideal destination if coming to the island as hotels are plenty and cheap. This would make a perfect summer get away for anyone who perhaps cant afford to splash out and go abroad this year!
A five star rating is all I can give but I would give more if I could. I love my little town and I am sure you would too! HIGHLY recommended!
Many thanks for taking the time to read.
I hope this has been of some help/interest to you.
Sandown is situated on the south of the Isle of Wight and boasts many 'attractions' that visitors to the Isle of Wight might enjoy.
I have lived on the Isle fo Wight for the majority of my life and when its sunny it can be one of the best places to be in the UK. Sandown's best feature is it's beach and seafront. Lots of sand and sea and enough room for everyone. However it's 'Sandown' itself that lets the side down.
I have been to many seaside towns on the mainland and understand that Holidaymakers need other things to do, other than just sit on the beach. Places like Eastbourne, Margate and Brighton have a variety of traditional English feel to their seaside beaches.
Sandown unfortunately looks tired and rundown. The vast majority of the shops are shut and the ones that are open sell the worst tat on the open market. When the best shop in your town is 'Woolworths' then you know you're in trouble.
Sandown used to have a fantastic boating lake, but that has since been left to ruin. The hotel frontages look tired, worn and scabby. If I had booked a holiday to Sandown and my coach pulled up outside some of these places I might have to start looking for the nearest cliff to jump off.
Sandown has a decent Dinosaur Museum and Zoo however, but be warned these aren't really close if you are old and have to walk.
Sandown at night becomes a drunken free-for-all as young people pile in and out of local nightclub 'Colonel Bogey's'.
There are much better places to stay on the Isle of Wight - you have been warned!
Sandown is situated on the east coast of the beautiful island of the 'Isle of Wight'. It is situated between the resorts of Bembridge and Shanklin and it is easy to get to by either travelling along the coastal road or on the A3055.
Sandown beach front has spectacular views. To the north, you can see the edge of Culver cliff, with its spectacular white cliffs. To the south is Sandown pier and further along, the beach at Shanklin.
There are plenty of different things to do at Sandown, to keep the entire family amused.
On a lazy, warm Summer day, the beach is an ideal place to relax, watching the waves lapping onto the sandy beach. Or maybe for a more active beach experience, how about a game of rounders, football, bat and ball or frisbee on the beach??
For those shopaholics, there is a main high street, with a range of different shops to explore, although there are no major chains here. There is also a pretty good fish and chip shop along this street, which is well worth a visit. My tip is to take your fish and chips onto the beach promenade during a warm evening...Lovely!!
If you prefer a bit of gambling, the pier is well worth a visit, with an amusement arcade to suit all ages. Here you will find the usual fruit machines, but there is also a mini bowling alley, a restaurant, a take away wimpy and crazy golf. The crazy golf is worth a go, as it is built on several levels and has sound effects and flashing lights , making it even more tricky to concentrate!
For an indoor attraction, 'Dinosaur Isle' is worth a visit. Here you will find both replica and real dinosaur fossils, many of which have actually been found on the island and lots of life size dinosaur models. This attraction is very interesting and informative, although it is not massive and will probably only keep you amused for an hour or two. It also has an interesting shop to explore.
The Isle of Wight zoo is another attraction on the island that is worth a visit. I have not visited for many years, but we are intending to go in a couple of weeks time when we visit the island. Like many of the island attractions, the zoo is not massive and certainly not on the same scale as many of the zoos in England, but it is a great family attraction. The zoo is famous for its tigers.
Although Sandown is great for a day or evening out, it is also a good base to stay. There are lots of hotels, guesthouses and self catering options to choose from. If you're looking for a larger hotel, there are many dotted along the seafront and in the evenings, it is nice to glance into the windows and observe the dancing that is going on in the bar areas.
I have never been to Sandown and felt that it was really packed, even in high season, but there is plenty to see and do and it has a nice, friendly feel.
I would definitely recommend that you visit Sandown during a trip to the Isle of Wight.