175 Years of Family Adventures & Bear Hunt Adventure Weekends

175 Years of Family Adventures at Isle of Wight

The country park has ample free parking and covers a massive area so it can easily accommodate lots of visitors at a time. We had actually planned to visit the Robin Hill Country Park in Isle of Wight for the Bear Hunt, but we did manage to take out some time to explore the rest of the park too. It was a pleasant surprise watching the peacocks roaming around freely at the park. I’m not too sure why they were left open, but I had earlier observed a peacock on the park’s logo. It took us a little under one and a half hour to complete the Bear Hunt and since the afternoon was quite warm, we managed to finish two bottles of flavored sparkling water that we had brought along. 

Robin Hill Country Park Isle of Wight

The friendly staff guided us to the start point of the Bear Hunt, where we were provided a card and a pen to be used on the trail. Besides the Bear Hunt that we attended at the Robin Hill Country Park in Isle of Wight, there are many other ‘We’re Going on an Isle of Wight Bear Hunt’ Adventure weekends on the island. These trails enable children to create their own Bear Hunt Adventures on the Isle of Wight and the idea is to enable families to enjoy simple family activities in nature landscapes. 

Robin Hill Country Park Isle of Wight

Robin Hill Country Park Isle of Wight

We also decided to visit the Freshwater Bay at the Isle of Wight where BabyN’ enjoyed splashing in sea water and playing with sand before hunting for some sea shells. Another Bear Hunt trail is at the St Helen’s Duver which is also the official National Trust location where they’ll be hosting the Bear Hunts (2-3 June & 8-9 September).

Freshwater Bay Isle of Wight

Freshwater Bay Isle of Wight

Freshwater Bay Isle of Wight

Freshwater Bay Isle of Wight

Published by Walker Books, 'We’re Going on a Bear Hunt' has been adapted by Lupus Films and was broadcast on Channel 4 in 2016, watched by more than 8 million people. Based on this best-selling children’s picture book, Isle of Wight along with the makers of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt have arranged some special Isle of Wight family adventures in 2018. 

Alum Bay Isle of Wight

The island is offering visitors ‘We’re Going on An Isle of Wight Bear Hunt adventure trail guide’ in which they’ve highlighted the similarities between locations in the story and places on the island. Visitors can get more information on this from ferry ports, information points, hotels, attractions or can download it, here. It is all to provide a fun-filled, family adventure holiday break. Children can enjoy rock pooling or look for dinosaur print casts, go for cycling or spend time enjoying a picnic at one of the sandy beaches of the Isle of Wight. As in the book, the children can experience the long wavy grass, splash in the cold river and jump in muddy puddles. 


“swishy swashy through the long wavy grass; splish, splosh through the deep cold river; and squelch squerch through the thick oozy mud!”

Bear Hunt Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight

Bear Hunt Isle of Wight

The National Trust cares for more than 10% of the island including the areas of natural beauty and historic attractions. There are still some upcoming Bear Hunt events at the Isle of Wight.  Official Bear Hunt Adventure Weekends with the National Trust will be at the St Helen’s Duver on Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd June and Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th September. The next one has also been scheduled at the St Helens Duver on Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th July. St Helens Duver has the largest areas of sand dune sandy beaches along with rock pools and coastal woods. a cliff-top fort, a 300-year-old windmill and an old rocket testing site.

Bear Hunt Isle of Wight

Supported by Walker Books, the Bear Hunt themed Isle of Wight Literary Festival Youth Zone has also been scheduled from the 19th till the 21st of October.

I've also posted earlier about the fun things to do with kids at the Isle of Wight in case you're looking for more things and activities to do when on the island. My family and I had an amazing time at the Isle of Wight, we stayed at the East Afton Farmhouse and we're really looking forward to going there back again for some more fun!



Bear Hunt Isle of Wight


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Family friendly stay at East Afton Farmhouse & Visit to the Tapnell Farm Park in Isle of Wight

Tapnell Farm Park at Isle of Wight

Ever since I was recommended to visit the Isle of Wight by one of the friends, I had been yearning a trip to the island. It was this month when we were finally able to transfer our plan from paper to a 'real' thing. We reached the Isle of Wight using the Wightlink ferry, and once on the other side drove to the East Afton Farmhouse where our accommodation was arranged at the East Afton Farmhouse Annex, a 2 bedroom self-catering property perfect for 2-6 people. 

East Afton Farmhouse Isle of Wight

East Afton Farmhouse Isle of Wight

East Afton Farmhouse, a country house and a brilliant wedding venue in Isle of Wight is a beautiful 18th century farmhouse with a rustic charm. Our accommodation had all the facilities one could ask for - a spacious lounge and diner, an open kitchen with all the necessities we needed for the stay, a bedroom upstairs with ensuite bath, a twin bedroom downstairs, and a toilet with shower. There were some additional items such as a BBQ kettle, coal, firelighters - absolutely brilliant for cutting down the luggage of the holidaymakers. Both the rooms had hair dryers, plenty of towels and some extra bedding too. Apart from the living area, both the bedrooms had a TV too. Also, it was quite pleasant to spot a guitar in the spacious living area good for turning around the atmosphere. The accommodation also had loads of other entertainment options such as board games, books and an impressive collection of DVDs.

East Afton Farmhouse Isle of Wight

East Afton Farmhouse Isle of Wight

The upstairs bedroom was well lit and decorated and the ensuite had a bath that was great for relaxing after a long day. 

East Afton Farmhouse Isle of Wight

East Afton Farmhouse Isle of Wight

The twin bedroom downstairs was where we decided to sleep during the stay. We managed to combine the two beds which gave us more space, especially with BabyN' as he still likes to share the bed with us. The crisp and clean bedding and the comfortable mattress was great for a good night's sleep. I really liked the vibes from the sea-themed decoration in the room  while the colors and lighting was quite soothing to the eye. 

East Afton Farmhouse Isle of Wight

East Afton Farmhouse Isle of Wight
   
East Afton Farmhouse Isle of Wight

We checked-in at the farmhouse quite late, so we quickly munched on the takeaway we had collected from a local restaurant at the Isle of Wight and decided to retire for the day. Although the island offers lots of food options, we were specifically looking for a Halal option and ended up collecting a 14’ inch pizza from Dalyan Kebab in Ventnor (Timing: 4:00 pm - 12:00 am, PO381ST). 

The spacious open kitchen at the farmhouse had a toaster, kettle, microwave and a dishwasher. It seemed great for cooking and for preparing meals. All the required cutlery, pots and pans, china and under counter fridge freezer had been provided. Since I prefer not to cook during holidays, except for the first meal of the day, we generally used to eat out or ended up eating the leftovers and the already cooked food that I had bought from home. 

East Afton Farmhouse Isle of Wight

We had a lot of things planned for our weekend stay at IoW, so it was supposed to be an early start the next morning. After a relaxing bath and well fed tummy, BabyN’ was however still wide awake so we decided to go through the ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ activity book. It was packed with different things to do such as games, puzzles, stickers & coloring. BabyN’ was really excited as he knew we’ll be going for a Bear Hunt, and so took a lot of interest in the activity book. You can read more about the Bear Hunt in detail in another post, here.

East Afton Farmhouse Isle of Wight

The next morning, we visited the Isle of Wight Steam Railway After an amazing train ride, we first enjoyed our lunch then spent the rest of the fun-filled afternoon at the Tapnell Farm Park. 

East Afton Farmhouse Isle of Wight

East Afton Farmhouse Isle of Wight

Less than 5 minutes drive from the East Afton Farmhouse where we stayed, is the Tapnell Farm Park - a one stop establishment for a range of activities. This had been a dairy farm in the past but has now been converted into an all-weather attraction making it one of the most popular place at the Isle of Wight. They have ample free parking at the place and once we had done ours, we headed for lunch at The Cow Co restaurant to enjoy some posh nosh. 

Tapnell Farm Park at Isle of Wight

The Cow's Co. restaurant Isle of Wight

The Cow's Co. restaurant Isle of Wight

The Cow's Co. restaurant Isle of Wight

As soon as we entered the restaurant, we got seated and BabyN' was handed over an activity sheet and some crayons in a milk bucket. As he got busy doing his thing, we quickly picked up the menu and decided on the food to order. Starting off with the drinks, we opted for a lemonade, a watermelon juice and a J2O. 

The Cow's Co. restaurant Isle of Wight

For the starter, it was the garlic king prawns (£8) for me and soup (£6) for the husband. The prawns were pan fried in garlic and red chilli butter and were served with Island Baker's bread while soup was also served with some bread. I'm also fond of halloumi fries (£7) so I decided to get those too. The hot and crispy breaded halloumi was served with a sweet chili sauce and a mixed leaf salad. I was quite hungry by the time the lunch arrived, so I managed to finish both the starters very easily. 

The Cow's Co. restaurant Isle of Wight

The Cow's Co. restaurant Isle of Wight

The Cow's Co. restaurant Isle of Wight

The Cow Co restaurant also has a cutely named 'calves menu' for the youngsters. We wanted to get a vegetarian option for BabyN', so we decided to opt for the cheese sandwiches that were served with a bowl of cherry tomatoes. 
The Cow's Co. restaurant Isle of Wight

For the mains, I opted for a Goats' Cheese Gnocchi (comes in small and large portion sizes) and we ordered the Lemon Sole (£14) for the husband. Generally when I have to order vegetarian, I opt for gnocchi at restaurants, and although every restaurant has their own signature style of preparing the dish, the one served at The Cow Co, was slightly different from the others. The Isle of Wight soft and blue cheese, cheddar, piccalilli, Branston pickle and pickled onions is what the dish comprises of. I am not too fond of the blue cheese, but luckily it didn't seem overpowering in my gnocchi. 

The Cow's Co. restaurant Isle of Wight


The Lemon Sole looked as good as it tasted and is served with a grilled lemon sole fillet on a bed of sauteed chorizo, broccoli, potatoes, green beans and peas, topped with lemon beurre blanc (white butter). All the ingredients do not completely make it a vegetarian or a Halal option but one can always request not to include unwanted items as per the dietary requirements. 

The Cow's Co. restaurant Isle of Wight


Although I was quite full by this time, I can never say 'no' to dessert especially if the menu looks so tempting as it was at the restaurant. I wanted to try more of their desserts but due to the red alert from the tummy, my husband and I decided to get just one item to share which was the sticky toffee pudding (£6), served with a warm toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream. Also BabyN' was already much impatient by then and wanted to head to the giant jumping pillows he could view across the restaurant. 

The Cow's Co. restaurant Isle of Wight

I decided to have the dessert outdoors as BabyN' was in no mood to spend anymore time at the table. While he started naming those colorful cows outside the restaurant, I got to enjoy the awesome pudding under some nice sun and a superb surrounding. After licking clean my dessert spoon, we walked across to the farm park. 


Tapnell Farm Park at Isle of Wight

Tapnell Farm Park at Isle of Wight


BabyN’ was full of joy getting to see the different animals at the farm. Some of them were indoors at the Farmyard Barn like the lamb, bugs and beasties, guinea pigs, chicks, goats and rabbits while others such as pigs, alpacas, goats and some more lamb were outdoors in the paddock. We also experienced the Wallaby walkabout adjacent the Meerkats enclosure. Also, the farm has many additional activities such as pedal go-kart, zip lines, barn play area, huge jumping pillows, an indoor play area including a 3 storey soft play area and many more. For that hungry times during the visit to the Tapnell Farm Park, there is a cafe, an ice cream stall besides The Cow Co restaurant. 

Tapnell Farm Park at Isle of Wight
   
The farm park has it own free parking space, and is great not only for toddlers, but bigger kids and even adults. They’ve also got a gift shop for everyone to pick their favorite memento on the way out. The best part is that the Tapnell Farm Park is open all year round, 7 days a week and offers daily activities for the visitors as well as different events planned throughout the year. We had an amazing family time at the Tapnell farm at the Isle of Wight and we liked it so much that we visited it twice, first on our first day in IoW and once more before catching the return ferry to Portsmouth. 

Tapnell Farm Park at Isle of Wight

The Tapnell Farm Park at the Isle of Wight is not just great for attending the daily talks and activities with animals such as feeding, but it also has events throughout the year. Below is the list of events that have been scheduled for the following months.

The unicorn weekend has been scheduled for the 9th & 10th of June, and visitors will be able to have some sparkly fun with horse rides and will get to meet unicorn. The next events will be held on the 16th and the 17th of June, and the tractor and engine weekend at the farm will enable dads go free on father's day. Summer shindigs have been planned for the 26th of July and 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th August and this summer party with have live music, food and entertainment. 
For Halloween, they've planned spooky farm fun (22nd till 28th Oct), and the farm will also feature a pumpkin patch at the end of the week. 

I've also posted earlier about the fun things to do with kids at the Isle of Wight in case you're looking for more things and activities to do when on the island. My family and I had an amazing time at the Isle of Wight, and we can't wait to go back again for some fun!



Tapnell Farm Park at Isle of Wight

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Fun things to do with kids at the Isle of Wight, UK

Fun things to do with kids at Isle of Wight, UK

Established as a separate administrative county in 1890, the Isle of Wight (IOW) is the second largest and 2nd most populated island in England, covering an area of 148 square miles with a population of 139,800. The island lies on the English Channel around 2 miles from Hampshire, full of resorts and holiday destinations for visitors. Dating back to the Victorian times, the Isle of Wight has been really popular for its mild climate, coasts and the landscapes of fields and chines. Home to Queen Victoria’s summer residence and final home, Osborne House - the Isle of Wight remains to be a great destination for a family holiday. 

Wightlink Ferry to Isle of Wight

Due to the maritime influence, local activity majorly around boat building, sail making, manufacturing of hover crafts & even space rockets has been a regular on the island. Throughout the year, the Isle of Wight has lots of fun activities to offer for all age groups. Holiday makers can explore the beaches, the numerous attractions or be part of the many festivals scheduled for the different seasons of the year including the largest rock music event - the Isle of Wight music festivalwhich this year is celebrating its 50th birthday. 

Wightlink Ferry to Isle of Wight

Although the Isle of Wight is an island, reaching it is no biggie. The ferry crossing is the best and the most convenient way to visit the island by choosing a preferred route - Portsmouth to Fishbourne, Yarmouth to Lymington (both Wightlink services operate for these routes) or Southampton to Cowes. Having selected one, visitors can just board the ferry by themselves or load their vehicle on as well. 

Wightlink Ferry to Isle of Wight

We took the Wightlink ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne and vice versa on the way back. Our outward ferry was scheduled for the evening so my family and I could enjoy some gorgeous views of the sunset. It was an extremely convenient boarding experience. Once parked safely, we were directed to the upper decks with a lounge area where passengers can relax and enjoy some drinks & snacks. The ferry also had a small shop selling souvenirs such as magnets and post cards and displayed a free copy of the island’s magazine highlighting the different family friendly activities to do when on the island. For additional convenience of the passengers, they’ve got toilets, lifts, play area for toddlers, a teen zone with a TV and gaming area, cafe and different types of comfortable seating areas - both indoors, and on the deck for the passengers to catch some sea breeze. It hardly took 45 minutes for the ferry to reach the Isle of Wight, after which we headed straight to our home for the weekend - the East Afton Farmhouse. 

Wightlink Ferry to Isle of Wight

Below are some top of the child friendly activities at Isle of Wight, and the attractions we visited during our stay at the island.

Tapnell Farm Park 

Less than 5 minutes drive from the East Afton Farmhouse where we stayed, is the Tapnell Farm Park - a one stop establishment for a range of activities. This had been a dairy farm in the past but has now been converted into an all-weather attraction making it one of the most popular place at the Isle of Wight. BabyN’ was full of joy getting to see the different animals at the farm. Some of them were indoors at the Farmyard Barn like the lamb, bugs and beasties, guinea pigs, chicks, goats and rabbits while others such as pigs, alpacas, goats and some more lamb were outdoors in the paddock. We also experienced the Wallaby walkabout adjacent the Meerkats enclosure.

The farm has many additional activities such as pedal go-kart, zip lines, barn play area, huge jumping pillows, an indoor play area including a 3 storey soft play area and many more. For that hungry times during the stay, there is a cafe, an ice cream stall and The Cow Co restaurant at the Tapnell Farm Park for some posh nosh. The farm has plenty of parking space, and is great not only for toddlers, but bigger kids and even adults. They’ve also got a gift shop for everyone to pick their favorite memento on the way out. The best part is that the Tapnell Farm Park is open all year round, 7 days a week and offers daily activities for the visitors as well as different events planned throughout the year. We had an amazing family time at the Tapnell farm at the Isle of Wight and we liked it so much that we visited it twice, first on our first day in IoW and once more before catching the return ferry to Portsmouth. 

Tapnell Farm Park Isle of Wight

Tapnell Farm Park Isle of Wight

Robin Hill Country Park

The Robin Hill Country Park set on 88 acres of beautiful countryside is an incredible place for the visitors of all ages. The country park offers outdoor fun activities and great family experiences, along with ample free parking. The massive area it covers easily accommodates a huge number of visitors at a time. We had originally planned to visit the Robin Hill Country Park in Isle of Wight for the Bear Hunt only, but we did manage to explore the rest of the park too. It was a pleasant sight watching the peacocks roaming around freely at the park. I’m not too sure why they were left open, but I had earlier observed a peacock on the park’s logo. It took us a little under one and a half hour to complete the Bear Hunt and since the afternoon was quite warm, we managed to finish two bottles of flavoured sparkling water that we had brought along.
Robin Hill Country Park Isle of Wight

The friendly staff guided us to the start point of the Bear Hunt, where we were provided a card and a pen to use along the trail. Read more details about our Bear Hunt experience, here (link will be updated soon). The Robin Hill Country Park at the Isle of Wight offers lots of activities for the family to spend a fun filled day, some of which are included in the entry price while some are paid. The park has been divided into different sections with different activities - the Cow's express children's train ride for the little ones and 'Colossus' the ship for everyone (minimum height 1.1m). BabyN’ was quite excited to board the ship, but unfortunately he couldn’t as he still needs to grow taller to comply. At another end, was a falconry area, a treetop trail, a wooden maze, Duckdown play village, Pine Cone construction and the squirrel tower to name a few activities for families to enjoy. The park also has four restaurants and a 4D motion cinema but we weren’t able to experience it because it was closed at the time we reached. I’ve experienced a 4D cinema at a popular themed park in the UAE, and I can say how exciting it is for fun and adventure lovers. Due to time limitations, we couldn't explore the entire park on our visit, but it's definitely recommended to spare at least 4 hours for here. 

 Robin Hill Country Park Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight Steam Railway

This was our first time travelling on a steam railway so I was quite excited. Visitors can find ample free parking outside the station, although they do appreciate donations. The ticket office is at the entrance from where we collected our passes and joined the queue to board the train. The major routes offered by the Isle of Wight Steam Railway are from Havenstreet to Wootton and Smallbrook and vice versa. Boarding the first class cabin with comfortable seats, that was all to ourselves was a great family experience. 

Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Isle of Wight Steam Railway

We took both the routes and had an option to get down an enjoy a picnic, but our fully packed day did not allow us to stop anywhere for too long. Heading back to Havenstreet, we explored the station area that had a restaurant with an indoor and outdoor sitting, an outdoor and indoor play area for kids, a book store, a gift shop and a museum. Families can easily spend 3-4 hours at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway and enjoy while the kids play and entertain themselves. 

Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Isle of Wight Steam Railway
  
Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Isle of Wight Zoo

The Isle of Wight Zoo, a wildlife center that has been family owned since over 40 years is located in Sandown just opposite the beach, and has its own car park that costs £3 for all day. The machine only accepts coins, so make sure to grab some before visiting. The zoo has its own gift shop and a cafe called Zootopia that serves tea/coffee and both hot and cold food. It was quite fascinating seeing the Indian Tigers and the zoo also has some animals from Africa including lions and lemurs. We waited for some time for the lions to come and say 'hi' but it was a warm day and they didn't seem too keen to move away from shade. From the Americas, the Isle of Wight zoo had the raccoons and monkeys and we also got to see white parrots and wallabies. The zoo also offers various experiences to the visitors such as the wildlife experience, walking safari and animal encounters. 

Isle of Wight Zoo

Isle of Wight Zoo

Isle of Wight Zoo

Isle of Wight Zoo

Isle of Wight Zoo

Dinosaur Isle 

Also in Sandown, the Dinosaur Isle in the Isle of Wight is at a walking distance from the Isle of Wight zoo. We had already parked the car outside the zoo, so we decided to opt for a 5 minute walk to the Dinosaur Isle. At the entrance, the Dinosaur Isle has a gift shop with lots of dinosaur related stuff and toys. As we further walked in, we got to see some dinosaur fossils and were welcomed by a voice over. 

Dinosaur Isle Isle of Wight

The Dinosaur Isle was quite an entertaining and an interactive place. Apart from various models and skeleton of prehistoric creatures, we got to see some unusual particles under a microscope, feel the fossils and even sense how the dinosaurs smelt. It was great knowing how differently they might have smelt - one was like the smell of oud, while another smelt somewhat like poo! A robotic dinosaur at the museum was very entertaining and BabyN' continuously giggled while operating it. For children's activity, the museum also had some crayons and paper available to colour and draw. In addition, the Dinosaur Isle also has different events throughout the year including the guided fossil walks for the public. 

Dinosaur Isle Isle of Wight

Dinosaur Isle Isle of Wight

Dinosaur Isle Isle of Wight

Pirates Cove (Opposite Shanklin Seafront)

The day we visited the Shanklin seafront, it was a warm & sunny and as expected, it was extremely busy and full of visitors enjoying the sunshine. Although the parking after 6:00 pm is free and is easy to find, the charge during the operating hours is £1.50 per hour. Besides enjoying the sand and a dip, just opposite the Shanklin Seafront is the Pirates Cove - a great place for families to hole some putts. The Pirates Cove has two mini golf courses one with a dinosaur and the other a pirate theme.

Pirates Cove opposite Shanklin Seafront Isle of Wight

Pirates Cove opposite Shanklin Seafront Isle of Wight

Pirates Cove opposite Shanklin Seafront Isle of Wight

For a round of mini golf, the score cards and other essentials like the clubs and balls are collected from their counter at the entrance after which the visitors can freely enjoy the game. BabyN’ was more interested in the Dinosaur course, so we opted for that one and started putting. The 18 hole game begins with easy holes but starts getting difficult yet interesting towards the finish. Besides the mini golf, the place also has other activities like a bouncy castle and different rides for which tokens have to be purchased from the counters. 


Spend an afternoon at the Isle of Wight beaches

It’s also a great idea to spend some time at the beaches as the Isle of Wight has a mix of pebble (Freshwater Bay, Alum Bay, Needles) and sand beaches (Sandown & Shanklin). I think sand beaches are better for kids to play with their sand toys while the adults can enjoy some sunshine, but obviously both can be great and also depends on your own personal choice. All beaches where we went has parking facility and it’s generally free after 6:00 pm so it’s great to explore the area around after 6:00 pm especially during the summer months. We explored both the pebbly and the sand beaches and we had taken BabyN's sand toys along, so he could have some fun. It's advisable to wear proper footwear especially when opting for a pebble beach because they might just take a wrong turn. 

Freshwater Bay Isle of Wight

Shanklin Seafront Isle of Wight

It took us two days to do all these activities at the Isle of Wight and it was indeed a fun filled weekend. We were able to spend some quality family time at the island and made some amazing memories. You can also read about the East Afton Farmhouse at the Isle of Wight, the place where we stayed, in a previous post here. The island offers many more fun activities for families, and I've already made a list of things I'd like to do next time I'm at the island and a trip to the Blackgang Chine, the first visitor attraction at the Isle of Wight that has just turned 175, tops the list. 

Wightlink Ferry to Isle of Wight

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