Glamping on the Isle of Wight with young children
We decided to spend our Wedding Anniversary glamping on the Isle of Wight with our 2 young children. I’m going to be honest…this was not our first choice . My husband and I had originally planned to go away for a night together. However, we didn’t have any family available to look after the children so we decided we would do something as a family. Our son has been desperate to toast marshmallows on a campfire, so we decided to go glamping!
We chose the Isle of Wight because we thought it would be exciting to take the children on the ferry. Plus we live so close and have still never been (as a family), despite it being on our bucket list. With only a week to go until our anniversary (last minute), I decided to search on Airbnb in the hope of finding something suitable. We struck GOLD! I came across some NEW Bell Tents at Tom’s Eco Lodge located on Tapnell Farm.
We were incredibly lucky to be able to stay here. When they accepted our booking it was accidental and they actually meant to decline. This was because their opening night for these Bell Tents was the night after our stay! Unfortunately, we were unable to make a different date and obviously wanted it to coincide with our Anniversary. Fortunately, they stayed true to their word and kept our booking (phew!).
Despite only staying for one night, we planned to make the most of it. We started with a visit to Black Gang Chine – the UK’s oldest amusement park. Then we squeezed in a quick trip to the Sand Shop at Alum Bay to make one of the iconic sand ornaments. We spent the night in our Bell Tent on Tapnell Farm. Before returning home the next day, we explored Tapnell Farm Park.
Everything happens for a reason and us being unable to find a babysitter for the night and the accidental acceptance of our accommodation all united to make one of our most favourite anniversaries to date and a truly special family get away.
We sailed on the Lymington to Yarmouth car and passenger ferry. We chose this one because Yarmouth was the closest to Tapnell Farm, where we would be staying the night. However, this wouldn’t have mattered too much because the island is small so the distance from any crossing would be fine. However, this crossing is apparently the shortest and fastest car ferry route (40 minutes) as well as the most scenic. Once we left our car, we spent the duration of the trip on the sun deck admiring the views.
Black Gang Chine Land of Imagination
We drove straight here from the ferry crossing (about 30 minutes). The drive was beautiful! We weren’t too sure what to expect, especially as it is advertised at ‘The UK’s oldest amusement park’. For us, the main attraction was the Land of Imagination. This consists of many magical themed worlds including:
- The Underwater Kingdom
- Pirate Cove
- Restricted Area 5 (Dinosaurs!)
- and more!
While there were some parts of this attraction which were not quite suited to our young children, there were many which were. Overall we loved our trip here, we were quite blown away by its beautiful location and we would definitely go back! To find out more about our experience read: Black Gang Chine, Isle of Wight.
Sand Shop – Alum Bay
The Sand Shop is just one part of a large attraction on the Isle of Wight: The Needles Landmark Attraction. On this particular trip we were short on time so only visited the Sand Shop.
We were desperate to take our children to the sand shop because one of my favourite Isle of Wight childhood memories was making a sand keepsake! Basically you choose an ornament and fill it with all the different coloured sands and then have it sealed. There is a huge selection of glass ornaments and a great selection of fun plastic ones more suitable for children. Mimi chose a cat and Bug chose an elephant! They also have lower level sand stations so even little Mimi could reach and do her own one independently.
Tom’s Eco Lodge
After completing our sand keepsakes, we went straight to the Bell Tents at Tom’s Eco Lodge where we would be staying the night. This was only a short 10 minute drive away. Tom’s Eco Lodge provides a variety of boutique glamping accommodation: safari tents, wood cabins, pods, bell tents and more! We opted for the NEW Bell Tents and we were not disappointed. The accommodation is all located in the surroundings of Tapnell Farm (a brilliant attraction that I will talk more about later).
From the moment we arrived, we were blown away. The beauty and scenery surrounding us was truly stunning. Our children’s excited faces when they saw the tent for the first time was something I will not forget. Similarly, our faces when we entered the tent I’m sure were a picture! It was beautiful! All four of us were running around the tent like we were all crazy, excited toddlers! (Yes, I mean running – the tents really were big enough.)
From toasting marshmallows on the fire, to watching the sunset on the hay bales, sleeping in one of the comfiest beds we’ve ever experienced, and all having breakfast in bed the next morning – the Bell Tents at Tom’s Eco Lodge really were a special and memorable experience that we will never forget. They truly made our Wedding Anniversary and little family get away unique, memorable and magical in every way. You can find more details and pictures of our stay here: Bell Tent Camp at Tom’s Eco Lodge, Isle of Wight.
The Cow and Co Restaurant and Bar
Located on Tapnell Farm, The Cow and Co Restaurant and Bar was the perfect dining option for our evening meal. You don’t have to be a guest or visitor of the farm to dine here – it really is worth the visit on it’s own.
Despite being a beef and dairy inspired menu, there were also vegetarian options and a varied menu for young children. I was also very happy to see Prosecco and cocktails on the menu – it was our anniversary after all!
To find out more about our experiences here (we returned the following day for lunch because we loved it so much), read: The Cow and Co Restaurant and Bar at Tapnell Farm, Isle of Wight.
Tapnell Farm Park
The following morning we visited Tapnell Farm Park. Tapnell Farm used to be a dairy farm but is now an all weather attraction and one of the most popular things to do on the Isle of Wight – we can see why!
We had an amazing time and even changed our ferry time so we could spend a couple of extra hours here. From bouncing on giant jumping pillows, feeding and stroking wallabies, racing on tractors, getting up close to many animals and even holding an Owl – this was an incredible place to visit and one of our top places to visit with young children. We cannot recommend it enough. For a full in depth review of our trip here and its facilities please head over to: Tapnell Farm Park, Isle of Wight.
We WILL be visiting again!
Every aspect of our short stay on the Isle of Wight was perfect for us. Initially, we hadn’t planned to spend our Anniversary glamping with the children but as it turns out, it was a truly fantastic trip from start to finish. We all had a amazing time and there were many tears when we had to leave.The only way we could stop the children from crying was by promising we would return again one day (hopefully soon).