For kids, a garden that doesn’t know where it ends and the Isle of Wight begins might just be enough. There are ponds to plunder, lawns to let rip across and new freedoms to exploit.
For others, the adventure begins at the garden gate. Take the cliff path and drop down to golden sands and turquoise waters. Hunt for crabs in the seaweed or shrimp in the rockpools. Prise starfish from the rockfaces and dad from the deckchair. Lifeguards oversee swimming and snorkelling in summer.
Take the chairlift to The Needles, explore smugglers’ coves awash with contraband and controversy, hunt for fossils or just flapjacks in the tearooms. Spot a rare red squirrel or the indigenous Glanville Fritillary butterfly. Track down the tyrannosaurus at Dinosaur Isle or steam along the railway.
Head to Blackgang Chine for rides and slides in magical cowboy and pirate theme worlds, go wild at Robin Hill Adventure Park, or see lions and lemurs at the Isle of Wight Zoo.
This is the sunny south coast and everything is possible, from canoeing and kayaking to coasteering and cliff-climbing. Follow over 500 miles of footpaths and cycle tracks across the island, sweep into The Needles by chairlift or dive into the Blue-Flag seas from the beach at the bottom of the garden.
Walk from Sandown to Shanklin for thatched cottages, tea rooms and the seafront train service, where you can catch the London tube back again. Head to Steephill Cove for palm-fringed bays, fresh crab pasties and lobster. Discover geological sites, fossils, castles, houses and gardens, and the rattle and hum of the old steam train.
Keep an eye out for rare red squirrels or the local Glanville Fritillary butterfly at the botanical gardens at Shanklin Chine and Ventnor. Swim al-fresco at Ryde, take a ghost tour at Cowes or summon some spirits in the local pubs – just a stagger away.
Walk the tracks, see the sights and tickle your tastebuds in the restaurants and gastros of Ryde and Shanklin. Then raise a glass as the sun goes down on another perfect day amid the rolling downs, towering cliffs and golden beaches of Britain’s garden isle.