Family days out on Bembridge and Culver Downs

Families creating sandcastles on Yaverland beach as part of the Sandcastle Competition

Adventurers of all ages will find something to keep them occupied this summer at Bembridge and Culver Downs. There are plenty of ways to tick off some of your 50 things activities, places to enjoy family picnics, and sandy beaches to explore. And whilst the younger family members run around, the adults can relax and enjoy the scenery. We’ve put together a few ideas for you to try.

Bring a picnic

If you picnic high on the downs, you'll get lunch with some of the best views possible. Park your car near Bembridge Fort and picnic near the topograph. It points out all the places of interest for you to spot whilst eating. Or drive further along to Culver Battery and have a picnic watching the ships at the entrance to the Solent. Down on the beach at Culver, you'll find soft, golden sands to place your rug on.

Have a picnic on the beach
A family having a picnic on the beach
Have a picnic on the beach


Geocaching is a modern day treasure hunt that's great for slightly older adventurers. All you'll need is a smartphone and your best detective skills. There are many geocache sites on National Trust land on the Isle of Wight, and quite a few hidden up here on the downs.

Watch the birds  

Bembridge and Culver Downs is a great place for watching sea-birds hug the coast, and for spotting birds such as buzzards, kestrels and peregrines that hunt along the cliffs.

Butterfly spotting

The chalk soils of Bembridge and Culver Downs provide an ideal habitat for a number of blue butterflies. Here you'll find the chalkhill, common, small and Adonis blues flitting about amongst the grasses and flowers. 

Common Blue
Common Blue Butterfly
Common Blue

Fly a kite

Gliders fly over Culver Down from the nearby Bembridge airport because of the updraughts, and for the same reason kite flying is particularly good here. Or head down to the beach where you can run along the sands as you try and launch your kite skywards.

Jump over waves

We only look after a little bit of the beach at Culver, but it has soft, shelving sands that make it a safe place for beach adventurers of all ages to try jumping over waves, swimming and even surfing.


It’s quite a walk along the beach, but at the far end of Culver beach you’ll find our craggy rock pools. They’re home to all sorts of strange, tiny creatures that are left behind here as the tide heads out to sea. Carefully lift aside any slimy seaweed and rocks and search for miniature crabs, tiny fish and colourful sea anemones.

Useful information:

There are six car parks on the downs that are NT and free for all to use. For the beach, the closest car park is Yaverland Pay and Display (not National Trust).  There are also toilets in the car park at Yaverland (not NT), but none on the downs.