I love taking Rian to the Isle of Wight. It’s a pretty cheap break as we can stay with my Mum and I can take him to all the places I loved when I was his age – like Robin Hill! It’s changed a lot in 30 years, but some things are still going strong!
The best way to get there from where we stay is the Island Breezer, which is an open top tour bus which does a loop via Robin Hill and back round across the downs to Ryde with an onboard commentary to boot. Not only is it a handy 28 minutes there (bit longer back) but you get to see some of the loveliest scenery the Island has to offer.
We got to Robin Hill just as it opened at 10, and started off with the bloody boat. Rian loves the sodding thing – it’s one of those swingy buggers that goes up and down and I swear to whoever ONE DAY it’s going to make me puke, and I will TOTALLY do it on the little bully who insists I go on the damned thing with him. I insisted on a restorative coffee and fry up in the cafe afterwards (was a bit grim but tasty enough – the cakes are much better, take sandwiches for lunch if you want to save pennies there are loads of lovely picnic spots).
We then had a a wander round various playpark spots and the maze, before heading down for the first falconry display at 11.45, which Rian absolutely adored. I think he was very taken with the young guy doing the chatting. The birds were all beautiful but misbehaving which was quite funny. The littlest one was terrified because it could see a buzzard in the distance and refused to fly, and then one of the Harris Hawks insisted on sitting in a tree for the majority of the display. The piece de la resistance a striking Gyr Falcon cross flew off, dive bombed some poor creature on the ground then promptly buggered off. GPS signal last traced somewhere over Portsmouth!
After the falconry we went to the excellent shady Animal park, which has a zip wire and lots of climbing equipment. I had a read, Rian played and then got a massive glitter spray tattoo (as you do!) before we moved on to something that’s been there since I was little – the massive tobogan! We had a great time whizzing down that, then it was time to run up the hill to the Owl Display. Delightful barn owls and a daytime European Eagle Owl (I think) with the funniest face kept us well entertained for another half an hour.
After the owls we went on the newest attraction – an amazing bouncy net canopy! Rian loved it, my flip flops were not best suited for clambering so I had one little go and then left him to it and the other walkways and climbing tunnels that are far too high up for my liking!
We then had to go back to the third falconry display of the day because by this point Rian is desperately keen on the falconry guy and thinks he’s his new best mate. We were a bit gutted that the Peregrine wasn’t allowed to come out and play because Mr Naughty Feathers from before still hadn’t come back and you can’t have two falcons out at the same time because they all loathe each other on principle apparently.
After that we had time for two consecutive goes on the 4D cinema (again a bit sick inducing) and then Rian made it for the very last go on the boat before closing and it was time to catch the last bus back to Ryde, handily timed at 16.53 – and it was views from the Downs galore. Bit breezy, but beautiful.
All in all if you are on the Island, do visit Robin Hill as it’s great for the littles. It’s expensive as anything (it was £35 for me and Rian) but we were there ALL day, and your tickets get you in twice in a week should you want to go back and do it all again. You can also get tickets that buddy up with Blackgang Chine so you can go there as well. Love!