Heaven on earth – Shanklin, by Southern Vectis

Nestled on the south eastern coast of the Isle of Wight, Shanklin is a picturesque seaside town that offers visitors a charming blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant local culture. The town’s stunning landscapes, fascinating attractions, and welcoming atmosphere make it a perfect destination for those seeking both relaxation and adventure. What’s more, the bus network on the Isle of Wight is utterly fabulous, with Southern Vectis running fast, frequent and fabulous services across the Island, including to Shanklin. One of the most remarkable of routes within the Great Scenic Journeys collection is the Island Coaster which is the ultimate, scenic of tours to all corners of the Island from Ryde to Sandown, Shanklin and over to West Wight.

Enchantment in the English Channel

Shanklin really is paradisical balm, an enchanted destination with sumptuous beauty. The town is blessed with a magnificent coastline, where golden sandy beaches meet the gentle waves of the English Channel. Shanklin Beach, with its traditional seaside charm, is ideal for sunbathing, building sandcastles, or simply strolling along the shore. The esplanade is lined with colourful beach huts, cafés, and ice cream stands, creating a quintessentially British seaside experience. Shanklin is the most perfect retreat from the stresses and strains of modern day life!

The Chine chimes with scenic thrill seekers

Beyond the beach, the Shanklin Chine is a must-visit. This historic gorge, formed over millennia, is a haven of lush greenery and cascading waterfalls. Walking through the chine’s winding pathways, visitors are enveloped by the tranquillity of nature, accompanied by the soothing sounds of water and birdsong. The chine is also home to a heritage centre, where folk can learn about its role during World War II when it served as a secret training ground for the PLUTO (Pipeline Under The Ocean) project.

Thatched roofs, pastel walls, cod, chips and crazy golf!

For those who love exploring charming villages, Old Shanklin is a delight. This part of the town is characterized by its thatched cottages, quaint shops, and cosy tearooms. It feels like stepping back in time, with its narrow streets and historic buildings evoking a sense of nostalgia. Here, visitors can enjoy a traditional cream tea or browse for unique souvenirs in the independent boutiques. Close by is Rylstone Gardens,  with its wonderful bandstand and array of concerts as well as mini-golf too!

Adventure seekers will find plenty to do in and around Shanklin. The Isle of Wight is renowned for its outdoor activities, and Shanklin is no exception. The area is crisscrossed with scenic walking and cycling routes, including the popular Isle of Wight Coastal Path. This trail offers breathtaking views of the cliffs, countryside, and sea, making it a favourite among hikers and nature lovers. Additionally, water sports enthusiasts can indulge in activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and sailing, with several local companies offering equipment rentals and lessons. Of course there are also two fantastic crazy golf courses on the seafront, next to the fun filled amusement arcades and the great Bayside fish and chip restaurant, with its special £11 cod and chips special, a true delight, so too the fresh scampi!

History buffs will find Shanklin’s past intriguing. The town has a rich tapestry of stories, from its beginnings as a small fishing village to its rise as a fashionable Victorian resort. The Shanklin Theatre, a beautifully restored Edwardian building, offers a glimpse into the town’s cultural heritage and hosts a variety of performances, including plays, concerts, and comedy shows. Another interesting historical site is the St. Blasius Church, dating back to the 12th century. This ancient church, with its serene churchyard and medieval architecture, provides a peaceful retreat and a connection to the town’s long history.

Bygone brilliance

Shanklin also has its share of quirky facts and local legends. One such tale involves the famous novelist Charles Dickens, who visited Shanklin in the 19th century. He stayed at the Holliers Hotel, which still operates today, and it is said that he found inspiration for some of his works while walking along the cliffs and beaches. Another interesting fact is that Shanklin once had a railway line connecting it to Ventnor, which was closed in the 1960s as part of the Beeching cuts. The old railway route has since been transformed into a picturesque cycle path, allowing visitors to pedal through history. The current railway line operates from Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin and until recently featured former London Underground trains, creating a sense of quirkiness and almost bygone feel!

Steaming seafood at the Steamer

When it comes to dining and drinking, Shanklin boasts a variety of excellent establishments. The Steamer Inn, located right on the seafront, offers delicious seafood dishes and stunning sea views. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely lunch or a sunset dinner. For a taste of the local cuisine, the Fisherman’s Cottage, nestled at the foot of the chine, serves freshly caught fish in a cosy, traditional setting. If you’re looking for something more upscale, Pendletons provides a fine dining experience with a menu that highlights locally sourced ingredients.

Entertainment galore!

No visit to Shanklin would be complete without sampling its vibrant pub scene. The Village Inn, with its rustic charm and friendly atmosphere, is a favourite among locals and visitors alike. It’s an ideal place to relax with a pint of local ale or a glass of wine after a day of exploring. For those who enjoy live music, The Crab Inn often hosts local bands and offers a lively evening out.

Shanklin is also home to several festivals and events throughout the year, adding to its vibrant community spirit. The Shanklin Carnival, held every summer, is a highlight, featuring colourful floats, lively parades, and family-friendly entertainment. Another popular event is the Shanklin Regatta, which has been a local tradition for over 160 years. This event celebrates the town’s maritime heritage with boat races, fireworks, and a host of other activities.

Famous people have also been drawn to Shanklin’s charms over the years. Besides Charles Dickens, other notable visitors include the poet John Keats and Queen Victoria, who was known to frequent the Isle of Wight. More recently, the town has attracted celebrities looking for a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Shanklin really offers a unique and delightful experience for visitors of all ages and interests. Its stunning natural scenery, rich history, and vibrant cultural scene make it a destination that truly has something for everyone. Whether you’re exploring the lush Shanklin Chine, enjoying a day on the beach, delving into the town’s fascinating past, or savouring a delicious meal at a local eatery, Shanklin promises a memorable and joyous visit. A cliff top walk all the way to the seaside town of Sandown is also highly recommended, taking in the sea air and amazing views, before a peruse of this classic coastal town and then hopping on the bus back. Shanlin’s warm hospitality and enchanting atmosphere ensure that once you’ve experienced its magic, you’ll want to return again and again. With such an intensive bus network as that provided by Southern Vectis, it’s one of those fabulous places that you can visit and explore without needing a car too!

To plan a trip on The Island Coaster, check out

The Island Coaster – Great Scenic Journeys

And to check out the Southern Vectis and the many fab routes that serve stupendous Shanklin, go to

Southern Vectis – The Island’s Buses (islandbuses.info)