Kids go free

7 Night Isle of Wight Family Walking Adventure

Family - AdobeStock_313888556
Duration: 7 nights
Type: Family walking holidays
Walking Grade: 1 & 2
from £1,285pp

A firm favourite with families seeking a seaside escape, our holidays on the Isle of Wight will keep both kids and grown-ups happy. Hunt for fossils on the sands of Compton Bay, discover a secret rocket-testing range, and explore Carisbrooke Castle – the mighty fortress that held King Charles I prior to his execution in 1649. Further area attractions include Tennyson Down, Alum Bay, Ventnor Botanical Gardens, and Osborne House.

What you’ll love

  • Under 11s GO FREE
  • Meeting other families
  • Optional guided walks with an experienced HF Holidays Leader
  • Exploring beaches, caves, and coastline
  • Staying in our seafront country house
  • Swimming in the pool at Freshwater Bay

What’s included

  • Ride on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway
  • Family rooms available subject to availability
  • Comfortable en-suite accommodation in our country house 
  • Cream tea on arrival day 
  • Cooked or continental breakfast every morning 
  • Daily packed lunches 
  • Three-course evening meals tailored towards families, plus tea & coffee 
  • Guided walking with experienced HF Holidays Leaders 
  • Choice of up to four guided walks (on walking days) 
  • All transport to and from walks where necessary 
  • Easy-to-follow routes, maps, and information in our Discovery Point if you want to explore independently  

Trip Notes

Easy to download as a PDF, our trip notes provide detailed information for every holiday. Please click below to find the trip notes for your departure date.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take alternative routes or adapt the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards. Enjoy a complimentary afternoon tea on arrival including homemade scones with jam and cream.

Option 1 - Around Carisbrooke

Distance: 3 miles (4.5km)

Ascent: 350ft (100m)

We’ll follow the Shepherd's Trail through the fields and along an ancient trackway to Carisbrooke Castle. If you’d like to visit the castle (payable locally), please check out the English Heritage website as they often run special events in the summer, some of which you will need to prebook. We haven’t included the cost of entrance as we know many of you are English Heritage members already and will benefit from free or reduced-price entry.

What your kids will love: The fairytale-feel of exploring mighty Carisbrooke Castle. Have fun dressing up as Norman soldiers, walk the battlements to discover how cannons are fired, and relive an age of knights, broadswords, and battles.

Option 2 - To Carisbrooke Castle

Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)

Ascent: 700ft (220m)

This option is slightly longer and sees us cross the island's central hills from the picturesque village of Shorwell to the impressive medieval castle at Carisbrooke. If you’d like to visit the castle it is payable locally (see above). 

What your kids will love: Meeting Carisbrooke Castle’s resident family of donkeys. A supply of fresh water was essential for a well defended stronghold and for hundreds of years these friendly animals were used to turn the treadmill and raise water from the well.  Fun fact, all the donkey’s names begin with the letter J. See if you can guess them all.

Option 3 - Brighstone to Carisbrooke

Distance: 7½ miles (11.5km)

Ascent: 1100 feet (340m)

Starting from Brighstone we’ll pass through Shorwell before crossing open countryside until we arrive at Carisbrooke Castle (payable locally).   

What your kids will love: Spotting the small ships carved into the chalk blocks on the walls of Brighstone – these were once used as secret codes and signals for smugglers delivering contraband to the island. There’s time to explore the Carisbrooke Castle, too.

Option 4 - Three Trails Challenge

Distance: 12½ miles (20.5km)

Ascent: 1,600ft (480m)

Challenge yourself to this fantastic walk along the spine of the island from Carisbrooke Castle to Freshwater Bay. We’ll cross the hills to Shorwell then pick up the Tennyson Trail which runs along the top of the chalk downs.   

What your kids will love: The bragging rights of being tough enough to take on the challenge. Although this is our longest walking option of the day, there’ll be plenty of fun, excitement, and adventure along the way.

Option 1 - The Needles

Distance: 3½ miles (6km) 

Ascent: 550 feet (180m) 

Stroll along the coast path to Tennyson Down and the Needles. We'll return on the open-top bus and be back to enjoy plenty of time to play in the pool at Freshwater Bay House.   

What your kids will love: Riding the world-famous Needles chair lift (payable locally). Test your bravery with a chair lift trip from the top of Alum Bay cliffs down to the beach below. There’ll also be time to paddle in the sea and make a game out of how many colours you can spot in the multi-coloured cliff face. Check out videos of the chairlift on YouTube.

Option 2 - Tennyson Down

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Ascent: 1,200ft (360m)

A fabulous walk over the chalk cliffs of Tennyson Down to the Needles and Alum Bay; one of England's finest coastal walks.   

What your kids will love: Discovering what was once a secret rocket testing range and finding out about the Isle of Wight’s role in the space race. Don’t forget the code word: Project Black Knight.

Option 3 - Headon Warren

Distance: 8½ miles (13.5km)

Ascent: 1,300ft (400m)

Head to the coast at Totland Bay then soak up glorious sea views as you round the Needles headland and return over Tennyson Down.   

What your kids will love: Imagining what it was like to be one of the island’s ancient tribal chieftains with a visit to the ruins of a bronze age burial mound.

Option 4 - West Wight Circuit

Distance: 12 miles (19km)

Ascent: 1,550ft (480m)

Our longest walking option is a circuit of the western tip of the island. We’ll follow the Yar Valley to Yarmouth, then take the coastal path to Alum Bay, before a glorious finale over Tennyson Down.   

What your kids will love: Stopping at the Needles viewing platform – the perfect spot for selfies.

Explore independently 

Each week there’s a free day when no guided walks are offered. This is an ideal opportunity to relax around the hotel, play in the pool, or visit local places of interest.  Here’s our pick of the very best things to see and do within easy travelling distance of Freshwater Bay House. 

Freshwater Bay 

Just a skip away from Freshwater Bay House, this semi-circular namesake bay surrounded by gleaming white cliffs is a magical spot for rock pooling, watersports, swimming, boating, walking, and more. While mostly pebbles, there are some sandy parts on its eastern side.  

National Poo Museum 

No mucking around – this is a real place. Housed in the historic Sandown Barrack Battery, the weird and wonderful National Poo Museum aims to turn the subject of endless juvenile jokes into a fascinating exhibition about a substance that is essential to life on earth. Through a quirky collection of artefacts and interactive exhibits, this most unusual of museums introduces kids and grown-ups alike to the incredible recycling process that takes place in almost every single living organism on the planet. 

Blackgang Chine 

This family-run fantasy theme park dating back to 1843 is the oldest in the UK. Highlights include life-sized pirate ships, fairy castles, an underwater kingdom, and a cowboy town where kids can choose to be chose to be an outlaw or sheriff.

Option 1 - Godshill, Appuldurcombe & the Donkey Sanctuary

Distance: 3 miles (5km)

Ascent: 290 feet (90m)

From Godshill the Stenbury trail takes us to the romantic ruins of Appuldurcombe House (free entrance), a great place for hide & seek. Our trails then lead us to the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary (free entrance), home to over a 100 donkeys and Shetland ponies. There’ll be plenty of time to meet the residents before walking back to Godshill where, if time allows, there’s the model village and museum to explore (payable locally).    

What your kids will love: There are over 100 donkeys and ponies in residence at the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary. Can you spot a donkey with the same name as you?

Option 2 - Niton to Ventnor Coast

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Ascent: 500 feet (160m) 

With this option we’ll walk from Niton to the village of Whitwell and on to Steephill Cove. Enjoying great views of the English Channel, we’ll reach the island’s highest point and pass by both its oldest inn and what’s arguably one of its prettiest beaches. We’ll round off with a stop at Ventnor Botanic Garden (payable locally).   

What your kids will love: Rock pooling at Steephill Cove and reaching the medieval lighthouse that marks the highest point on the island. Look closely. Can you see why it’s nicknamed the “Pepperpot”?

Option 3 - Niton to Shanklin

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Ascent: 1,200 feet (360m)

Soak up sea air and views of the English Channel on a walk through the Undercliff from Niton to Shanklin Old Village. At the end of the walk there’s the chance to visit the historic waterfall-splashed gorge of Shanklin Chine (payable locally). Alternatively, simply relax on Shanklin beach and enjoy an ice cream or two.

What your kids will love: Searching for dinos and their eggs hidden in the undergrowth around the beautiful waterfalls of Shaklin Chine or playing a game of crazy golf. Be sure to pay a visit to Jurassic Jim in Shanklin town centre – it’s the perfect place to start any fossil collection.

Option 4 - Gore Down to Shanklin

Distance: 9½ miles (15km)

Ascent: 1,250ft (380m)

This walk encompasses all the best bits of options 2 and 3 but extends the journey along the length of Undercliff. Starting at the coastal path after Whale Chine, we'll round St Catherine's Point before picking up the coastal path through Ventnor to Shanklin.   

What your kids will love: Exploring over 9 miles of beaches, rock pools, and fossil-rich sands - more than deserving of an ice cream or two, right? 

Option 1 - Romans and steam railways

Distance: 3 miles (5km)

Ascent: 320ft(100m)

Take a trip on the Isle of Wight steam railway before following a trail that takes us onto Brading Down for fabulous views. It’s also home to one of the best-preserved Roman sites in the UK - Brading Roman Villa (payable locally).  

What your kids will love: Riding a real steam train and finding out how good the Romans were at art with a visit to Brading Roman Villa. You can top it all by popping on a toga and dressing up as one of the ancient Romans that once lived here, too.

Option 2 - Windmills, wetlands, and dinosaurs

Distance: 6½ miles (10km) 

Ascent: 600 feet (180m) 

Bring your binoculars for a chance to spot dragonflies, lapwings and more in Brading Marshes Nature Reserve. Continuing to Bembridge, there’s time to explore the island's last surviving windmill (payable locally) before some superb coastal walking that ends in Sandown and the chance to play on the beach or explore Dinosaur Isle (payable locally). Please note, we haven't included entry to the windmill as we know many of you are members of the National Trust, and are eligible for free entrance 

What your kids will love: Climbing to top of a windmill, playing in its mud bakery, or stepping back in time at Dinosaur Isle – home to almost every newly discovered dinosaur in the British Isles.

Option 3 - Over the hills to Sandown

Distance: 8 miles (12.5km)

Ascent: 550ft (180m)

Enjoy excellent views from Brading Down before we head to the historic village of Brading village where we’ll join the same route as the option 2 walk.   

What your kids will love: Reaching Yarborough Monument. Why not make a race of it and see who can be first to the finish line?

Option 4 - Over the Chalk Downs

Distance: 10½ miles (17km)

Ascent: 950ft (280m)

Our longest option of the day is a walk along the valley before climbing up onto Brading Down. We’ll walk along the chalk ridge, enjoying the views across the Solent to the mainland, before continuing over Culver Down and along the coastal path to Sandown.   

What your kids will love: Looking out over the blue-green waters of the Solent. How many sailing yachts can you spot?

Option 1 - Yarmouth

Distance: 3½ miles (5.5km)

Ascent: 100ft (20m)

A gentle walk from Freshwater Bay House that follows the Yar Valley through a nature reserve. We’ll walk along a disused railway line to the old harbour town of Yarmouth before an open-top bus ride back to Freshwater Bay.   

What your kids will love: Keeping an eye out for red squirrels scurrying through the trees and raven, kestrel, buzzard, and barn owl soaring overhead. There’ll also be plenty of time to explore Yarmouth where you can play on the green and visit the castle (free to English Heritage members or payable locally).

Option 2 - Yar Valley

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Ascent: 350ft (120m)

We’ll walk beside the tidal River Yar to the historic town of Yarmouth with its bustling harbour and Tudor castle. We’ll return on the opposite side of the river back to Freshwater Bay.

What your kids will love: Making a game of who can spot the most wildlife as we walk through the salt marsh, reedbeds, and mud flats of the Yar Estuary.

Option 3 - Compton Bay

Distance: 8½ miles (13.5km)

Ascent: 1000ft (300m)

Get that on-top-of-the-world feeling as we traverse the high point of the Downs east of Freshwater Bay. We’ll then head to the beach and follow the coastal path back to Freshwater Bay House.   

What your kids will love: Paddling at the beach and getting selfie-worthy views of the island's south-west coast as we walk over the chalk cliffs of Compton Down.

Option 4 - The Longstone

Distance: 11½ miles (18.5km)

Ascent: 1200ft (380m)

Our longest option is a walk over the Downs to the Neolithic Longstone. We’ll then descend to the coast and follow the coastal path all the way back to Freshwater Bay.   

What your kids will love: The Neolithic Longstone. According to legend this 13ft stone was thrown here by a giant. Keep your eyes peeled for fossilised forests and dino footprints at Hanover Point, too. 

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home.

Itinerary map for Isle of Wight Family Walking

Freshwater Bay House

Chalky white cliffs and eyebrow-arching sea views set the tone for the delights that follow at this county house on the Isle of Wight - Queen Victoria's favourite island that’s just a ferry hop from the South Coast. The location is as gorgeous as it gets; to the south of the village of Freshwater, within pebble-throwing distance of its namesake bay, and just a skip from Tennyson Down. You’ll also be within easy reach of the area’s showstoppers, including the imposing Stag and Mermaid rocks, the multi-coloured sands of Alum Bay, the remarkable Ventnor Botanic Gardens, and the 125-million-year-old dinosaur footprints at Compton Bay. And then, of course, there’s the Needles Old Battery for the ubiquitous photo opportunity and the best views of The Needles.



Designed with your comfort in mind, Freshwater Bay House has 43 well-appointed guest rooms available in three categories: Classic, Premium, and Superior. 

Classic Rooms are comfortable en-suite guest rooms, ideal for a peaceful night's sleep. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, and shower gel), and a TV. 

Premium Rooms are more spacious en-suite guest rooms. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, body lotion, shower gel), and a 32-inch TV. Extras include bathrobes, slippers, and comfortable mattresses.

Superior Rooms are even more spacious en-suite guest rooms offering upgraded views of the surrounds. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, body lotion, shower gel), and a 32-inch TV. Extras include bathrobes, slippers, and comfortable mattresses.

We love: Rooms 19 and 20 on the first floor for their lovely sea views. Rooms 18 and 22 are both corner rooms overlooking the bay and Tennyson Downs. The more spacious Room 24 has five large windows overlooking the gardens and bay as well as a private sitting room. Room 39 on the second floor is a corner room with a bathtub. 

The Choose Your Room service is available at our UK country houses, allowing you the option of choosing and confirming a specific room for an extra charge of £30 per room. This is subject to availability. Upgrade supplements apply. 

Check in & check out
You are welcome to check in from 4:00pm at the earliest. On arrival, you’ll enjoy a complimentary cream tea and get to meet your fellow guests, our HF Holidays Leaders, and the rest of the friendly team.  

On the day of departure, we kindly ask all guests to check out by 10:00am. You’ll be asked to settle your bill prior to leaving. You may, of course, make a charitable donation to our HF Holidays Pathways Fund if you wish. Please note that we only accept card payments.  

Room supplements

Superior Premium single Premium double/twin Choose your room
£25 pppn £20 pppn £20 pppn £30 per room

About your stay

A warm welcome
We want you to feel comfortable from the moment you arrive. You’ll find a welcome pack in your room with guest registration forms, menus, order forms for dinners and picnic lunches, the Wi-Fi password, and the front door code. Our houses are locked at night, so we recommend noting the Duty Manager’s number on arrival in case of an emergency (or getting locked out). 

Evening entertainment
While evening entertainment varies from house to house, the HF Holidays Big Pub Quiz held after dinner on Wednesdays is a weekly staple. Your HF Holidays Leader may be around for tips on guided and self-guided walking routes as well as visit-worthy local attractions. 

Walks talks 
Our HF Holidays Leaders host guided walking information briefings before dinner on arrival days. This is followed by a group Walks Talk for information on the following day’s walking delights (held before dinner every evening). Self-guided walking guests are, of course, welcome.  

The walking day
Prior to setting off on walks, your HF Holidays Leader will run you through a short safety briefing. There’s also an up-to-date weather forecast on display at the house to ensure you have appropriate clothing and footwear. If you choose to do your own walks or are on a self-guided walking holiday, we ask that you please complete an Independent Walker Card each day. These can be found near the Discovery Point in the house. 

Food & drink

Led by experienced chefs, we serve a wide range of dishes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients. We always aim to source the best produce available and use home-grown herbs and vegetables from our own gardens whenever possible. Additionally, we have a licensed bar with beers, soft drinks, and a superb selection of spirits. Full-board comes as standard and includes a cream tea on arrival and a hearty breakfast on departure day.

HF Holidays understands the importance of managing allergens effectively to ensure food is safe for guests with food allergies. Whilst we are always able to confidently inform guests which allergens are present in our ingredients and dishes, we are unable to guarantee absolute freedom from the 14 main allergens in our kitchens. Vegetarian and vegan menu choices are available. If you have allergies, food intolerances, or any special dietary requirements, please inform our reservation team at the time of booking.


For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for Freshwater Bay House

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Getting to Freshwater Bay House

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information


Freshwater Bay House
Freshwater Bay
Isle of Wight PO40 9RB

Tel: +44 (0)1983 753854

By taxi

From Yarmouth ferry port it’s a five-mile taxi journey that takes approximately 15 minutes. We recommend booking your taxi at least seven days in advance as availability may be limited. 

For pricing, please contact the taxi company directly.

Taxi companies in the area include:

Bay Taxi  
Tel: +44 (0)7475 662350
Email: (Please provide your phone number when emailing)

Rayner’s Taxis
Tel: +44 (0)1983 752784

I Cabs 
Tel: +44 (0)7553 567567

A return journey can be arranged on your behalf by the HF Holidays House Manager at Freshwater Bay.

*HF Holidays does not own or manage any of the above taxi companies.

By train

The nearest station is Lymington Pier on the mainland which is adjacent to the ferry terminal.  

Check National Rail for train times and routes. 

By ferry

You have two ferry options. The Wightlink Lymington to Yarmouth ferry is the most convenient for Freshwater Bay. Alternatively, the Red Funnel Southampton to East Cowes ferry is often the cheapest option if you want to take your car to the Isle of Wight. 

HF Holidays member discount 
If you’re a member, you can get  15% off car travel and 20% off foot travel with Wightlink Ferry. For full details visit

By car

From Yarmouth
Turn right out of the ferry terminal onto the A3054 and cross the bridge. After one mile, turn left down Pixley Hill, signposted Freshwater Bay. Turn left at Freshwater Garage and continue along Afton Road. At the lifeboat station turn right and follow the road round. Freshwater Bay House is on your left. 

From East Cowes
Follow signs for Newport, taking the A3021 and then A3054. Continue through Newport and Carisbrooke. Turn left onto the B3401 through Calbourne. At the junction with Afton Road (A3055), turn left and then right by the lifeboat station, and follow the road round to Freshwater Bay House. 

Or you can leave your car on the mainland (there’s a pay and display car park at Lymington Pier) and travel on the ferry as a foot passenger. 

By air

The nearest airport is Southampton Airport. 

From Southampton Airport Parkway station (adjacent to the airport terminal) there are regular trains to Lymington Pier, taking about 40 minutes. From here, you’ll need to catch the ferry over to the Isle of Wight. 

Otherwise, the best options are London Heathrow or London Gatwick airports for connecting trains to Lymington Pier.  

Check National Rail for the best routes and train times. 

The UK has a famously unpredictable climate so it's best to be prepared for weather that’s sunny one minute and raining the next.  To make it easier, here’s a list of items you should consider packing.   


  • Suitable footwear such as waterproof walking boots that provide ankle support and good grip  
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket 
  • Comfortable clothing (jeans & waterproof capes are not suitable)  
  • Mid-layer(s) to keep you warm. Fleeces make a good choice
  • Waterproof overtrousers  
  • Gloves and a warm hat  
  • Rucksack with waterproof liner 
  • Spotting scope and/or binoculars 
  • Flask for hot drinks   
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity)  
  • Sunscreen  
  • UV sunglasses  


  • Several base layers (long-sleeve or short-sleeve)  
  • Cushioned walking socks to avoid blisters  
  • First aid kit, including plasters and insect repellent 
  • Sit mat   
  • Waterproof pouch for valuables  
  • Rubbish bag (remember to always leave no trace)  
  • Wallet/purse  
  • Camera 
  • First-aid kit 

Freshwater Bay House Calendar

  • Guided Walking
  • Self-Guided Walking
  • Special Interests
  • Unavailable to Book

Guest reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Supplements may apply.

Non-member fee: £30 per person.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take an alternative route, or vary the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.

Holiday prices

Date (Start - End) Itinerary Double / Twin Room Single Room Notes / Offers Trip Notes Book

27 Jul - 03 Aug 2024

7 nights

Family Walks

Single from


Double from

£1,285 pp


£1,285 pp



Trip Notes

10 Aug - 17 Aug 2024

7 nights

Family Walks

Single from


Double from

£1,285 pp


£1,285 pp



Trip Notes

17 Aug - 24 Aug 2024

7 nights

Family Walks

Single from


Double from

£1,285 pp


£1,285 pp



Trip Notes

09 Aug - 16 Aug 2025

7 nights

Family Walks

Single from


Double from

£1,349 pp


£1,349 pp



Trip Notes

16 Aug - 23 Aug 2025

7 nights

Family Walks

Single from


Double from

£1,349 pp


£1,349 pp



Trip Notes

23 Aug - 30 Aug 2025

7 nights

Family Walks

Single from


Double from

£1,349 pp


£1,349 pp



Trip Notes

Important information

Maximum 3 free child places under 11 years per full paying adult price on UK country house stays.

Family rooms are subject to availability. Sole occupancy charges may apply. 

Children under 11 go free

Children 11-17 years on 7-night breaks £109pp

All children's rates are based on sharing a guest room with one or more adults.

Children under 14 must be accompanied by a responsible adult on all walks, though this need not be a parent or guardian

7 nights
Family walking holidays
Walking Grade:
1 & 2

7 nights from £1,285pp

Kids go free

or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ guests click here

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