Something for the Weekend: Isle of Wight

There are plenty of places around the UK to indulge yourself on a short break, but there's something about an island that makes getting away from it all extra special – that's why we reckon the Isle of Wight is perhaps southern Britain's best place to truly get away from it all for a long weekend. Only problem is you won't want to leave – especially if you follow the recommendations below.

The Scout Hall

Yes it's a converted scout hall, and it occupies one of the most scenic corners of the island, with the kind of classic, beautifully observed 1960s interior decoration we've come to expect from the creators of Vintage Vacations. Cake and flowers on arrival make it the perfect retro island retreat.

Tom's Eco Lodge

These ready-erected lodges-cum-tents give you the chance to experience camping on the island's unspoilt south coasts without the paint. Kids will love the cosy bunks beds and lawed play area, while grown-ups prefer the spacious dining rooms, hot showers and flushing toilets. Right on a long-distance footpath too.

The Sun Inn

A really warm welcome at this fifteenth-century country inn, where the emphasis is very much on local produce – rare breed pork and beef – served with style in their glorious garden.

The Boat House

If we're honest the Isle of Wight isn't Britain's best place to eat, but this well-established place suggests that the gastro-pub label still has some life in it, even here. Great local duck and lobster, and wonderful views from its beachside terrace.

Ventnor to Steephill Cove

One of the island's nicest and most popular walks leaves you in picturesque Steephill Cove, a short walk from Ventnor's Botanical Gardens.

The Needles and Alum Bay

There's no more iconic sight on the island than the stark white chalk stacks known as the Needles, but the bad news is they've ruined it with a theme park. Better to ignore all this walk down to Alum Bay, or take the vertigo-inducing chairlift.

Butterfly Paragliding

Even if you only ever do one (flight, hanging over the English Channel hundreds of feet above the island is the sort of experience that stays with you forever, and the island’s cliffs and winds make it an ideal training ground.

Carisbrooke Castle

One of the island's must-sees, not just for its classic Norman keep and battlements, but also for its informative explanatory film, narrated by local boy Phil Jupitus!

Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Visiting the Isle of Wight often feels like going back in time a few decades, making this chugging three-mile journey through some of the island's most untouched landscapes, accompanied by impeccably dressed turn-of-the-century staff, perhaps the ultimate island experience.

Find out more at the Isle of Wight's official tourism website.