Where to picnic on the Isle of Wight

There’s something special about a summer picnic. Packing up tasty treats, digging out the outdoor rug, slathering on the sunscreen and heading off deep into the countryside to enjoy al fresco eating amongst nature, feeds the soul as well as the body. Here on the Isle of Wight we have places high on the downs or down by the coast that are perfect for breaking out from the four walls and enjoying lunch with a more natural view.

Picnic by the sea

The beaches at Compton Bay and Nodes Point near St Helens Duver are always popular. At Compton the soft, golden sands are a comfy place to sit, whilst the turquoise waters provide a sparkling backdrop to a summer picnic, which stretches as far as the chalky cliffs of Dorset and beyond. Handily, there’s a car park and toilets too.

There’s also a car park and toilets (toilets not NT) at St Helens Duver, which is easily accessible and mostly level. The open grassland and gently undulating sand dunes are great places to sit and relax as you soak up the peace and tranquillity, and perhaps take a post lunch nap in the warming, afternoon sun.

Nodes Point at St Helens Duver on the Isle of Wight
The beach and sea at Nodes Point, St Helens on the Isle of Wight
Nodes Point at St Helens Duver on the Isle of Wight

 Lunch on high

To really escape from the world, heading high onto the downs can’t be beaten. From Tennyson Downs there are views of the Needles, Compton Bay and over the waters to Dorset. As you sit and tuck-in to an second helping of something indulgent, you might spy butterflies dancing around you as they too enjoy lunch, from the delicate, wild flowers.

Other excellent high chalk ridges are Mottistone Down, where you can drink in the entire south west coast, Culver Down with its wide views along to West Sussex and Chillerton Down which looks out over rolling fields stretching towards the sea.

The highest point on the Island is St Boniface Down, which rises far above quirky Ventnor below. Luckily, you don’t have to work up an appetite by hiking up if you don’t want to, as there’s a tarmacked road to the top of Ventnor Downs and several car parks, making it easily accessible for all.

The Pepperpot on St Catherine's Down
The stone oratory on St Catherine's Down and the sea beyond
The Pepperpot on St Catherine's Down

There’s a short but steep climb to the Pepperpot on top of St Catherine’s Down and the ‘saltpot’ is in the next field. From there, you can see for miles in all directions. There's also a wonderful grassy stroll along the top of the ridge to the Hoy Monument.

Across all the downs you’ll find benches to sit on, or the short grass makes the perfect place to lay a rug – just be sure to check for anything the cows may have left behind.

Picnic at a historic site

At Bembridge Windmill, the Needles Battery and Mottistone Gardens there are picnic tables and benches to sit on. There’s also a tea-room at the Needles and the tea garden at Mottistone, just in case your sandwich has gone a little soggy and you fancy something else. 

We hope you have a wonderful picnic in the great outdoors. Please help keep the countryside beautiful for everyone to enjoy by taking home any litter you may have.

Enjoy a bite to eat at the Needles Old Battery
Family sat at a picnic table at the Needles Old Battery
Enjoy a bite to eat at the Needles Old Battery