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What to do on the Isle of Wight - Gardens, Parks & Woodlands

Information on this page is now out of date - please see VisitIOW website for up-to-date information on the Isle of Wight

Parks, woodland, nature reserves and gardens

Parks, woodland, waterfalls

Goldn Hill Country Park

Firestone Copse

Fort Victoria Country Park

Mottistone Gardens

Osborne Gardens

Carisbrooke Castle gardens

Carisbrooke Priory

Robin Hill Country Park

Nunwell House & Gardens

Appuldurcombe House

Ventnor Botanic Garden

Ventnor Park

Shanklin Chine

Northwood House Park

Council Managed Parks

Nature reserves

coming soon

Golden Hill Country Park, Freshwater

Country Park

Golden Hill Country Park surrounds the odd circular fort/building in the centre. Take a picnic as there are Picnic benches.

Firestone Copse


Firestone is an attractive area of forest, notable for its wide-ranging tree species, from Oak to soaring spires of Grand Fir.

In summer you'll probably glimpse some of the many butterflies found here; amongst them White and Red Admirals, Marbled Whites, Small Tortoiseshells, Gatekeepers and Fritillaries.

Red squirrels and green woodpeckers are also a common sight in Firestone.

Firestone Copse car park is visible from the road and provides parking for approximately 40 cars.

This car park is unsuitable for coaches and large vehicles. website

Fort Victoria Country Park

Country park, archaeology, planetarium, railway, reptilarium

Built on the north shore of the Isle of Wight to guard the Solent the remains of Fort Victoria now house a Archaeology Discovery Centre, a Planetarium, a Model Railway and a Reptilarium.

The surrounding Country Park offers Seashore and Woodland walks and the site is one of the best vantage points for watching the Solents boats and shipping.

The Forts attractions together with the availability of a Countryside Ranger to give guided walks of the seashore and woodland make Fort Victoria an excellent interesting and educational visit for school groups and any visitor to the Isle of Wight who wants to combine leisure with education. Why not stop for lunch at Verdi's Cafe whilst looking out over the Solent, then get back to the rest of the fun that the park offers.

The best of it all is the FREE on site parking! Each attraction is a very short walk from your car.

Mottistone Gardens and Estate

Gardens and Estate

Mottistone Gardens has a wide variety of plant species on show throughout the open season.

Colourful herbaceous borders:  As well as more traditional varieties the borders contain many drought resistant plants which do not require watering.


Tranquil rose garden:  This sheltered corner of the garden is a wonderful place to relax. Hummingbird hawkmoths are attracted by the flowers.


New plants for our changing climate:  As one of the Trust’s most southerly ‘dry’ gardens, the team of gardeners and volunteers plant Mediterranean-style planting.


Take a walk on the wild side:  Wild flower banks border the former orchard. In the spring these are covered with narcissi and bluebells.


High banks with glimpses of the sea:  Paths meander up through shrub filled banks and grassy terraces to the garden's higher levels. Sit on one of the benches here and enyoy the far reaching views of the gardens, village and sea beyond.


A small organic kitchen garden:  'Companion planting' is used to deter pests and instead of artificial fertilisers the hungry soil is fed with farmyard manure and compost.


More information about the gardens and plants that grow here can be found in our guide book and welcome leaflet, which are available in our shop.

Osborne Gardens and Estate

Gardens and estate

The 19th-century gardens and estate eventually covered more than 2,000 acres (800 hectares). The current estate extends to 354 acres (143 hectares) and includes formal terraces with statuary, a walled garden and extensive parkland. 

Within the grounds are the Swiss Cottage, Swiss Cottage Museum, and a miniature fort with redoubts (detached earthworks), which were all built as educational tools for the royal children. The area around them was also reserved for the children’s education, and was used by them to grow fruit, flowers and vegetables.  

Prince Albert was concerned with every aspect of the development of the gardens and estate. His planting scheme was to some extent dictated by the already well-established late 18th-century landscape. Other influences included his liking for poplars, and for the Italian fashion of lining principal drives and walks with evergreens, such as myrtle and laurel. Magnolias, rhododendrons and azaleas were also planted. The prince planted many of the trees in the parkland himself, sometimes with the children: in 1847 the queen noted in her diary ‘we walked out with the children, & they helped, or at least thought they did, in planting some trees’. 

The parterres on the terrace, which have been restored to their original appearance, were interspersed with statuary and were framed by formal walkways of coloured imitation lava. A rich variety of bedding plants were used: Queen Victoria writes in her journal of geraniums, stocks and heliotropes and the summer evening air scented with orange blossom and roses.[4] Many of these plants are used today in seasonal bedding schemes.  

Within the 18th-century walled kitchen garden the original cross-path layout has been restored, and a garden was added in 2000 to the design of Rupert Golby as part of the Contemporary Heritage Garden project. It incorporates many plants with names associated with Victoria or Albert, in a contemporary planting style.

Princess Beatrice Garden at Carisbrooke Castle

Gardens at Carisbrooke Castle

Princess Beatrice's Garden is an Edwardian-inspired garden, designed by Chris Beardshaw, the former BBC Gardener's World presenter.  The garden was opened in 2009 and is set within the former 'privy' gardens of Queen Victoria's daughter Princess Beatrice.

Carisbrooke Priory

House and Gardens

The house and gardens are open on weekdays from 10.00am to 4.00pm (except Bank Holidays).  The Tea Room is open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday serving morning coffee, light lunches and afternoon tea.

We have two acres of gardens with orchards, allotments and quiet lawned areas.  A balance between neatness and wildness, productivity and amenity with provision of quiet corners and secluded places.  As part of the Quiet Garden Trust we offer an area of beauty and peacefulness dedicated to quiet prayer and solitude. 

Robin Hill Country Park

Fun, rides, slides, adventure play and gardens

The park has 88 acres of beautiful English woodland that has grown here at Combley for hundreds of years. It has a tantalising mix of planted clearings, specimen trees, streams, ponds and sculptures. It is a must-see for all green-fingered enthusiasts visiting the Isle of Wight.

Nunwell House and Gardens, Brading

House and gardens

One of the Isle of Wight’s beautiful historic houses, set in five acres of tranquil gardens with a stunning historic view overlooking Natural Parkland, Brading Haven, Bembridge Harbour and across the Solent. The House and Garden are open to visitors for part of the year with groups being welcome throughout the year.  Part of the house and garden is available for exclusive weddings or functions.

Appuldurcombe House


Begun in the early 18th century as the seat of the Worsley family, Appuldurcombe was once the grandest house on the Isle of Wight. A later owner, Sir Richard Worsley, the 7th baronet, gained notoriety for a 1782 court case in which his wife, Seymour, admitted to having had 27 lovers. 

Appuldurcombe was a masterpiece of English Baroque architecture, and though now a graceful shell, still retains more than a ghost of its former dignity, and many fine architectural details. The celebrated landscape designer 'Capability' Brown enhanced the rolling grounds in the 1780s.

The grounds were designed by Capability Brown. There are lawns and woodland surrounding the house.

Ventnor Botanic Garden

Botanic gardens

Ventnor Botanic Garden lies in the remarkable microclimate at the heart of the famous ‘Undercliff.’ This unique garden is protected from the cold northerly winds by chalk downs. Indeed, it holds the warmth from its southerly aspect so well that, combined with the moderating influence of the sea, frost is rarely known. When frost does occur it is usually of short duration and not great severity.

  • Visitor Centre

  • Heritage Centre

  • edulis Restaurant

  • The Plantation Room Café

  • The Gift Shop

  • The Wellbeing Experience

Ventnor Park

Traditional park

An award-winning park for the people on the beautiful Isle of Wight. With a putting green, great little café & a sprinkling of Ventnor magic.

There’s free music at the bandstand, from April until the end of September, every Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday from 2pm-4pm (unless it’s raining!). Relax and enjoy the fun.

Throughout the year, the park is transformed into an exciting venue for festivals, competitions, Carnival and Fringe events – see Facebook for updates.

This Swiss style lodge is near our brilliant café, Tea in the Park. The park keepers used to live here – now it’s a holiday home.

Shanklin Chine & Historic Gorge

Gorge waterfall

Carved by Mother Nature’s own hands over thousands of years, the stunning tree lined gorge that is Shanklin Chine cuts its mark from Shanklin Old Village to the sandy beach and esplanade far below.

Attracting many millions of visitors to wander through and marvel at its beauty over a near double century of seasonal openings, Shanklin Chine can truly say it’s lasted the test of visitor time. There are few places on the Isle of Wight, let alone England, that can boast such a tranquil and picturesque location.

Enjoy the splendour of the Chine by day … then wonder at its mystical beauty on summer nights during the Chine Lumière when hundreds of lights illuminate the narrow paths, streams and waterfalls held within. Without doubt this is the hidden gem in the Island’s crown jewels.

A brand-new exhibition in 2017 will tell the fascinating story of the Chine’s two-hundred-year history and features sections on the flora and fauna of this officially classified site of important nature conservation. This is accompanied by a limited edition new book written especially for the Bicentenary.

Tea room, gift shop and Fisherman's Cottage pub 

Northwood House Park

Park, Tennis

Enjoy the Victorian ‘Pleasure Gardens’.  Perched above Cowes with commanding views of the Solent the Park has evolved from the pleasure gardens developed by the Ward family throughout the 19th Century. Ornamental trees reflect the Victorian fashion for botanical and specimen planting. In addition to the network of paths crossing the grounds residents of Cowes can enjoy tennis, bowls and the children’s play area. Well behaved dogs are welcome.

Free Tennis Courts.  As part of Northwood House Charitable Trust, our 6 tennis courts are run by a team of volunteers, who maintain them and ensure they are available for everyone. The courts are completely free to use.
For more information email:


Children’s play area.  In the northeast corner of the Park a secure play area is available for young children to enjoy, swings, slide and a seesaw on a forgiving rubber surface.  All residents and visitors are welcome to use the play area.  We request that dogs do not enter the space.

Council Managed Parks


Information about the principal parks in the care of the Isle of Wight Council:

Princes Green, Cowes

East Cowes Esplanade

Lake Cliff Gardens

Church Listen Park, Newport

Medina Arboretum, Newport

Seaclose Park, Newport

Appley Park, Ryde

Ryde Seafront

Battery Gardens, Sandown

Ferncliff Gardens, Sandown

Sandham Grounds, Sandown

Pier Gardens, Sandown

Puckpool Park, Seaview

Rylstone Gardens, Shanklin

Tower Cottage Gardens, Shanklin

The Cascades, Ventnor

Ventnor Park

Council Managed Playgrounds & Paddling Pools

Playgounds, Paddling Pools

Playgrounds (see web link for list of facilities at each)

  • Cowes:  Brunswick Road, Northwood Park, Park Road Recreation Ground, Venner Avenue, Esplande/Paddling Pool (East Cowes), Jubilee Recreation Ground (East Cowes), Victoria Grove (East Cowes), Gurnard Green 

  • Freshwater: Stroud Recreation Ground

  • Havenstreet: Recreation Ground

  • Lake: Lea Road 

  • Newport: Clatterford Recreation Ground, Church Litten, Pan Estate, Seaclose Recreation Ground, Victoria Recreation Ground, 

  • Ryde:  Appley Park, Binstead Recreation Ground, Binstead Rest Gardens, Canoe Lake Paddling Pool, Monkton Mead, Oakwood Road, Simeon St Recreation Ground

  • Seaview: Puckpool Park

  • Sandown: Battery Gardens, Sandham Grounds

  • Shanklin: Big Meade, Batts Copse

  • St Helens: St Helens Green

  • Totland: Totland Recreation Ground

  • Ventnor: Esplanade Paddling Pool, Lowtherville Estate, North Street, Sea Breeze

  • Wootton: Wootton Recreation Ground

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