travel,  UK

A guide to Shanklin, Isle of Wight

Shanklin Isle of Wight

With slightly warmer temperatures than the mainland and some of the best beaches in England, the Isle of Wight is the perfect UK weekend break destination.  A quick ferry ride will take you from Portsmouth (easily reachable from London) across the Solent and into Ryde.

A short, antique train ride south will bring you to Shanklin, a picturesque seaside town with an old-fashioned charm.

View towards beach Shanklin Chine

*Disclosure: this post contains some affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Here’s how to spend a weekend exploring everything Shanklin has to offer:

Wander around Shanklin’s Old Town

Thatched cottages make up the idyllic old town, which is also filled with independent shops and cute cafes.  Pencil Cottage offers a wide range of Pinterest-worthy homeware. And I also absolutely loved Mystosis’s gorgeous gifts and beautiful shabby-chic items.  You won’t be short of places to grab an ice cream or some fudge to take home.

Stop for a cream tea

Shanklin Chine tea rooms

There is no shortage of places to grab tea and scones in Shanklin, and many of them provide outside space to relax in the sunshine. Pencil Cottage and Old Thatch Tearoom in the Old Town, Ryalstone Gardens nearby (also great for a round of crazy golf), Cinders on the high street and Shanklin Chine all boast great tea rooms to relax with a cuppa and a scone.

Explore Shanklin Chine

Shanklin chine

Shanklin Chine is a must-see and is the perfect way to walk off all those tea and scones after your cream tea.  The tree-lined gorge was formed over thousands of years and now provides a stunning nature walk.  Here you can wonder at the tropical plants that thrive here, and marvel at its waterfall.

plants in Shanklin Chine

If you visit in summer, go back at night to enjoy the gardens all lit up by various coloured lights, making it look even more like a fairy glade.

You can go back to visit as many times as you want over a 7-day period with one ticket so make sure you hang onto it if you want to see it day and night.

*update 2023* when we visited in September 2023, we came across a new dinosaur exhibit dotted around the Chine, great for visiting families.

Relax at the beach

Beach on Isle of Wight

Shanklin has some lovely sandy beaches, making it the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon. When I visited last, we spent some blissful time swimming in the sea and hunting for sea glass.

seafront in Shanklin

There’s also a dog-friendly beach just down from the main one if you’ve brought your favourite four-legged friend with you. From my experience, Shanklin seems to be quite dog-friendly.

A shih tzu at a a dog friendly beach in Shanklin

Play a round of crazy golf

Girl playing crazy golf at Rylestone Gardens in Shanklin

After exploring, get competitive with your friends with a round at one of the island’s crazy golf courses.  Down by the seaside, kids will love the pirate-themed course, but my mom and I were in stitches of laughter at the more old-fashioned (and very fun) Rylestone Gardens course.

Take a day trip to Godshill

Thatched cottage in Godshill

A short bus ride from Shanklin is the charming village of Godshill. Much like the Old Town in Shanklin, Godshill boasts little thatched roofed cottages housing a variety of tea rooms and independent gift shops, including one selling local ciders and alcohol. Make sure to stop for tea at the Hollies and explore the Italian Gardens.

Tips for visiting Shanklin

Getting to Shanklin from England

Portsmouth runs a regular foot passenger ferry and a hovercraft to Ryde. The foot passenger ferry leave from Portsmouth Harbour while the hovercraft is a short bus ride from Portsmouth and Southsea station. Both run quite regularly and are quick crossings over the Solent.

From there, catch the train from the ferry terminal to Shanklin.  If you book train tickets from your starting point, you can usually book all the way to Shanklin, including boat travel.

Car ferries to the Isle of Wight also operate from Portsmouth, Lymington, and Southampton.

Where to stay in Shanklin / Isle of Wight

There’s a wide choice of B&Bs and hotels in the village. We stayed at St. George’s House and loved it! The B&B was recently taken over by couple Mark and Pearly, and they are really running this place to a high standard.  Clean, tastefully decorated rooms, lovely breakfast, friendly hosts, and we were even brought cake when we got back from dinner one night!

Other tips for visiting Shanklin

If you are visiting over a long weekend, make sure to make reservations for where you want to eat. It was the end of September when I last visited and my husband and I struggled to get dinner when we arrived on a Friday night. The exception was the Steamer Pub on the beachfront which we managed to get food right away.

Most of the high street closes on a Sunday, including all of the cafes so keep that in mind. We managed to have a nice lunch at the Deck restaurant (part of the Carlton Hotel) with a lovely view while sat in the sun.

Great things to do in Shanklin, Isle of Wight - Pinterest

Leave a Reply