The Isle of Wight is a fabulous outdoor destination. It’s a great place for a cheap-ish holiday (once you’ve gotten over the sting of the ferry!) and once you’re here, there is so much to do that’s free or very cheap – a day on the beach doesn’t have to cost more than parking and an ice cream or two!  But, if you’ve been on the Island this ‘summer’ you’ll know that the moment the weather turns you’d better have deep pockets because there’s a lot of awesome things to do, but mostly, they cost!  Below’s a list of things to do on the Isle of Wight during the summer holidays, especially when the weather is very wet (when it’s NOT summer holidays the majority of these places are still open, but without the additional events.)

Rainy day visits on the Isle of Wight:Indoor Isle of Wight

Free and almost free rainy days on the Isle of Wight

Libraries

I know that doesn’t sound very exciting, but have a look at the libraries in Ryde, Newport and Cowes – and the others. They have all sorts of arts and craft sessions and story times, at least 2 a week. You might need to pop in to the library for more information. Even if you’re not local and can’t take books away, you will still be able to join in on the arts and crafts sessions and story times too.

Waterstones

Waterstones in Newport has special summer time reading and story time sessions, with visits from the Enchanted Isle Fairies.

Aspire Ryde

Aspire Ryde is a charity run in an old church building. There’s always loads going on, and even when there isn’t there’s usually a (free) bouncy castle, play area and coffee and cake. See what they’re up to on their Facebook page

Bus Museum (free)

The Bus Museum is open a few days every week, so check the diary to see when they’re open. The museum is free and great for exploring.

Cheaper with Tesco Clubcard Points

 Dinosaur Isle

Dinosaur Isle is good if you have an enthusiast, but it’s quite a small display, so if you have someone who just wants to ‘look at the pictures’ you’ll be in and out in under an hour. Use your Tesco Clubcard Points to bring the price down. Sometimes they have activity days in the Education Room too.

Amazon World Zoo Park

Part of Amazon World Zoo Park is outdoors – like the wallaby enclosure – but a lot of it is indoors. It’s a nice way to spend a half day. Take a picnic (on a drier day) or eat in the cafe.

(There are a couple of other Tesco Day Out Voucher places, but not really for indoor days)

Rainy day cinema & shows on the Isle of Wight

Newport Cineworld

Newport Cinema is a Cineworld cinema, so if you happen to have an Unlimited Card, you can go to the movies for free. (If you don’t, and you’d like one, use the code RAF-71WS-81LY-91GN-66MC to get a free month [and I’ll get one too!]). If you don’t have an Unlimited Card you can still try for the Movies for Juniors which run most days during the holidays, and every Saturday and Sunday. (Download the app and you get an extra 10% off, even on Movies for Juniors)

Ryde Cinema

Ryde Cinema – or Commodore Cinema – has cheap prices, (though the food and drinks are where they make up their money!) All shows are £4, except on Wednesdays when all seats and shows are £2.

Planetarium

The Planetarium at Fort Victoria is tiny, but fabulous. It’s only open on selected days, and tickets are £5, unless you book in 30 minutes before, when tickets are reduced to £3.80.

Jay Millers Circus

Jay Millers Circus isn’t a permanent fixture on the Island, but it is an institution! They’ve been coming to the Island for years and years – many Islanders remember them from childhood! Tickets on a Saturday are £7 for all seats at all shows, and while it’s at minimum double that on other days, you can pick up discount vouchers from a number of shops around the Island, or you can download a voucher from their website which gives you a £3 child ticket for every paying adult.

Rainy day animal visits on the Isle of Wight

While the majority of the Island’s animal based outings are best enjoyed on sunny or at least dry days, there are a few that can still be part enjoyed on rainy days.

Amazon World Zoo

One of those is Amazon World Zoo as mentioned above. They also have a 7 day free return, so if it’s too wet to go outside at all, you can always come back another day to explore the outside area, making it much better value for money.

Butterfly & Fountain World

Butterfly & Fountain World is pricey for the amount of time you spend there – maybe an hour, unless you are able to catch a talk by the koi pond – but it’s still a nice place to visit. Island Residents can get a slightly reduced price, which is good if you’re going with Islander friends, but if you want to come back again you can get half-price entry next time.

Tapnell Farm

Tapnell Farm comes highly rated by anyone who’s been there, but do get there early to get your money’s worth. It’s one of those annoying places that charge parents an entrance fee to sit and watch the kids play. If you’re just a holiday visitor, then an annual pass isn’t going to be worth your while, although if you’re staying long enough, one of the season passes may well be – especially if you’re expecting a lot of wet weather, or want to go back again in dry weather.  (Check out the pictures for Tom’s Eco lodge though – that looks amazing no matter what the weather!)

Indoor play on the Isle of Wight

JR Zone

JR Zone Newport is a fantastic indoor play area. It has a cafe and seating areas, and free wifi, though it can get incredibly busy.

Jungle Jim’s

Jungle Jim’s Shanklin is also a good play area, and for slightly older kids, perhaps, there’s an adjoining arcade.

Rainy day history on the Isle of Wight

Roman Villas

Brading Roman VillaNewport Roman Villa are both historical places that may or may not be interesting to your young children, but they do often have activity days, which offer a lot of fun.

Fort Victoria

Fort Victoria – where the planetarium is – has a lot to offer too. With a £12 saver ticket you can go to the Underwater Archaeology Centre , Planetarium and the Model Railway and a tea/coffee or squash from the cafe.

Classic Boat Museum

The Classic Boat Museum in Cowes is £2 for adults and £1 for children under 16.

A different kind of museum, the Lilliput Antique Doll and Toy Museum is an afternoon spent in the past. Maybe not best visited with cooped up children, but a nice walk down memory lane.

Bus Museum (as above)

Rainy day arts and crafts on the Isle of Wight

Chessell Pottery

Chessell Pottery is a bit on the fancy side, but it’s a lovely spot on a summer’s day. There’s plenty indoor room too, to help you hide from the rain. They have delicious looking cakes too.  You will need to check their ‘turnaround time’ though as if you’re only on the Island for a few days you may not be able to pick up your ceramics.

Arty Shakes

Arty Shakes is similar to Chessell Pottery, but very much aimed at the kids. They also do milkshakes.  Same as above, just check how long before you can pick up your art work. They do also offer an acrylic paint offer, which means you can walk away with your wares the same day. (And try the freshly made waffles. They’re fantastic!)

For the Love of Paper

Check out For the Love of Paper to see what workshops they have available for kids.  Around £5 a session and you come away with a new skill.

Craft Island

Craft Island is pretty much in the middle of the Island, making it accessible from everywhere. It’s a great place to escape to for an hour or so, and you pay per craft, so can make it fit your budget whichever way you need.

Isle of Sweets Craft Centre

Another craft centre with a varied schedule. Pop over to their page to see what’s on.

Rainy day sporty activities on the Isle of Wight

Ryde Waterside Pool

Ryde Waterside Pool is a really busy pool, but have a look at the schedule for the free swim sessions. There’s a retractable roof, which is fantastic on a hot day, but makes it cosy in the rain – and it looks cool too.

West Wight Sports Centre

Another really busy centre with lots going on. Their website has scheduling and pricing, and the centre is open to both members and non members.

Isle Jump

The Island’s only indoor trampoline park, it’s a fantastic place to bounce off some energy after many rainy days!

John Cattle’s Skate Club

A brilliant club for beginners, my daughter had a blast at her session. John Cattle’s Skate Club runs through the holidays, but also offer free sessions during the holidays. Find out more here.

Ryde Superbowl

Ryde Superbowl offers bowling and laser quest, and if you get there before 11am there are early morning discounts too. (£3.95 per person per game)

Rainy Day coffee & play on the Isle of Wight

Sometimes you just want to sit and have a coffee without feeling like everyone else in the coffee shop is glaring at you because your cooped up kids are practically climbing the table. That’s where baby cafes or kids cafes come into their own.

Head on over to Bebe’cinno in Newport where the little ones can play, craft and have fun, while you sit on comfy sofas and drink decent coffee or tea (and have some cake, why not!)

Browns Cafe in Sandown is also touted to have a good play area for toddlers and reasonably priced food. And there’s mini golf (but not for wet days!)

Hopefully you can find something in the list above to make your rainy holiday still turn out amazing!

Have we missed anything amazing? Add to the list by leaving a comment!