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A Summer Attraction not Autumn!
The Needles Park (Isle of Wight)
Member Name: Absy_Baby
The Needles Park (Isle of Wight)
Advantages: Natural attractions being promoted and appreciated.
Disadvantages: A small site, could easily result in too many people.
The Needles are located in Alum Bay on the Isle of Wight, the Needles themselves are columns of land that are no longer part of the main land and sit in the sea in the bay.
Alum Bay and the Needles are a very popular attraction on the Isle of Wight located next to Freshwater Bay on the West coast of the Island.
Entry to the attraction is free and all you need to pay is for the car park which is £2 per car not per person. Admittedly I visited this attraction in October and during the summer months the price may well rise.
The two main attractions are natural, one being the Needles and the other the coloured sands on the cliffs, it is the only place in the UK where multicoloured sands can be found. You can also go to the sand shop above the cliff and enjoy bottling the different colours in a variety of shaped and sized bottles.
The main car park and shops are all on the cliff top, the Needles and cliff sands are below, you must go on a ski lift type chair lift or walk down a lot of steps to gain access to the beach and views below.
Walking is the free option and the lift costs: 4 tickets for a return trip (per person) which is £1 per ticket unless you buy the 12 tickets for £9. We did and didn't use them all. It was a waste. I would recommend this if you are a family, or there is more than two of you, then you end up using the tickets and making a saving.
It is quite a scary experience, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who doesn't like heights, has vertigo or who are control freaks, you are not in control at all. We went on it in October and it was raining and very windy, I must admit I don't know why we went on it, I felt like it was going to come off in the wind and we would fall to our deaths, thankfully this didn't happen. I would never take a small child on this though.
In season and in better weather you can also go on boat trips from the beach to the Needles, you go on the pleasure boat and visit the rocks and the lighthouse as well as the Needles.
On site there is also:
Alum Bay Glass Centre - www.alumbayglass.co.uk
You get to watch the whole glass making process from beginning to end and then visit the shop where all glass items have been made on site. This is fascinating to watch and the guys do talk you through the process so you know what is going on. It is also nice and warm inside so good for warming up and avoiding the rain.
Pier Head Shopping Emporium
This is a Victorian themed shopping emporium based around shopping in the Nineteenth century, it is a gift shop where there are many souvenirs and presents.
The Isle of Wight Sweet Manufactory
This attraction is done on timed entrance, you must visit and go on the tour at specific times, unfortunately we missed them all so we had to instead just visit the shop and bought some yummy Rubarb and Custards!! The idea behind the tour is to see how the hard boiled sweets are made and coloured. I wish we had chance to see it.
Fun Fair Rides
There are small rides for small children and a play area to keep them entertained. This was all shut on the rainy October day we visited, I think it is more seasonal and opened in the summer months.
There is the choice of the Pies and Pasty Hut or Marconi's Bar or Needles Perk. Food options vary depending on establishment, they aren't too expensive and there is a lot of variety, we opted to have lunch here and bought, 2 sandwiches, a cookie, a cake slice and 2 drinks for £5ish.
I really enjoyed this attraction, it was just a shame it rained and was very windy, but then what did we expect? I would say this attraction is best suited for the summer months and can imagine picnics and families really enjoying it. I would like to go back and see the Needles in all their glory, not through the rain and mist. I think the only thing that would put me off going in the summer, is the small space that the site is on. There isn't lots of space and the beach is a sliver and I can imagine it getting over crowded very quickly.
The indoor attractions like the sweet makers cost money too or tickets, so do the kids fun fair rides.
It is definitely somewhere you must visit on your Isle of Wight holiday.
Summary: A good attraction that doesn't cost the earth.