“ Fort Victoria / Near Yarmouth /Isle of Wight / Po41 ORR / England / Tel: (01983) 760283 „
At present I'm living in Southampton as I have done most of my life so it's no surprise when I say Fort Victoria Country Park is one of my favourite spots on the Isle of Wight. Infact I make it a regular port of call whenever I'm over there. It doesn't take too long via Wight link ferry and is one of the most interesting, historic, relaxing and educational sites I have ever come across.
Fort Victoria was built in the 1850's just west of Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight with the purpose of protecting the Solent against any unwanted incoming invasions. The fort was previously a single tier battery with defensible barracks which was later used as a submarine mining centre and for military training purposes. In 1969 the larger barrack block was demolished leaving only what is left today.
Although the fort is steeped in history it also occupies a large quantity of woodlands, a landslip on the north west coast of the island and it houses numerous attractions for all ages and tastes.
The planetarium is just one of a number of exciting attractions to take advantage of while you are here. In some ways it's similar to London's offering with a man-made universe projected up onto a dome ceiling. It's a truly breath taking experience when your flown through space with the aid of virtual reality.
While you wait for your show to start they provide an exhibition area with space art, displays and a simulator for you to peruse and enjoy. Shows tend to last from anything between 25 to 40 minutes and usually tend to run every hour.
So just what time do they open I hear you ask? Well during school holidays they are open from Easter until October between the hours of 10:30 am to 5:00pm.
Children (aged 5-15) £2.00
Family (consisting of 2 adults and 2 children) £11.00
Discounts are also available if booked online or by phone which would therefore make prices as follows...
Children From £1.60
The marine aquarium gives tourists and holiday makers a chance to explore the creatures and marine life that inhabit the murky waters of the Solent. These range from sea anemones to dogfish and conger eels besides numerous other species that live beneath the waves.
Children (aged 5-15) £1.50
Family (consisting of 2 adults and 2 children) £7.00 (extra children £1.00 each)
Within the Fort Victoria complex there is also a model railway which has been running for ten years...previously run by a computer it has now been refurbished and is currently being controlled half by computer and half digitally.
It's open between 10:00am until 3:30pm daily but is closed every Tuesday and Thursday between the months of November to March.
Children and OAP £2.25
Family (based on 2 adults and 2 children) £9.00
As well as the attractions mentioned above they also have an underwater archaeology section where you can learn about shipwrecks and submerged settlements.
After all this your probably be feeling fairly peckish I know I would be so they even house a café within feet of the beach.
And finally I feel I cannot go without mentioning the guided woodland and sandy seashore walks. These are carried out by a ranger but will need to be booked first either online or via phone. If your lucky you may even spot a red squirrel on your travels as the Isle of Wight is one of only a few places left to have them.
In my opinion if you find yourself on the Isle of Wight or even if you don't for that matter!...hop on a Wight link ferry you must take a look at what this place has to offer. Ideally situated with glorious views of Hurst castle just off the mainland and the Solent it's an ideal spot to relax, enjoy yourself with the family and you might even learn something along the way. The only downfall I can see is that everything is individually priced so if you want to experience everything it could get expensive.
Overall a great family day out, there's something for everyone; so what are you waiting for?
Fort Victoria was a single tier battery with defensible barracks west of Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, England, built in the 1850s, later used as a submarine mining centre and training area for military purposes. The fort can now be visited in its role as a country park. The linear park follows the coastline, and has spectacular beaches and soft cliffs. Through the wooded upper cliff area runs the old military road to Fort Albert. The path is now a part of the Isle of Wight coastal path.