The Isle of Wight is a fantastic holiday destination if you’re watching your spending – and even if you’re not, for that matter! Today I’ll be looking at what you can do on this beautiful little island without paying a penny, from hitting one of the many award-winning beaches to browsing art galleries.

Of course, for those of you who are on a tight budget, there are plenty more ways to save than by enjoying free attractions (though these certainly help!). For instance, staying in a holiday cottage on the Isle of Wight, rather than a fancy hotel, will help you save on both accommodation and food costs.

But without further ado, let’s look at the best free things to do.

landscape on the isle of wight


One of the most enjoyable and affordable ways to discover virtually any holiday destination is walking. This is especially true on the Isle of Wight, though, since there are around 500 miles of footpaths here, some offering spectacular coastal views, others twisting through scenic woodland.

The advantage of walking in the Isle of Wight is that it’s likely to take you to tucked-away corners you might not otherwise have seen. Plus, there are some wonderful routes to follow, such as the 67-mile Isle of Wight Coastal Path. If you don’t want to walk the whole thing, there are smaller sections to tackle, such as the coastal routes of Cowes to Yarmouth, which is 16 miles long, or the inland route the Hamstead Trail (spanning 7 miles). Here are some of the top free things to do on the Isle of Wight!

Relaxing on the beach

Thanks to its mild weather, stunning coastline and wealth of award-winning beaches, the Isle of Wight is one of the best places in the UK to hit the beach. Plus, if you’re not lucky with the weather they’re also great for walks, so the sun doesn’t need to be shining for you to enjoy them.

What I particularly love about the Isle of Wight’s beaches is their traditional seaside atmosphere – think pleasure piers, plenty of ice cream stands and good old-fashioned fish and chips. Among the best to visit are Shanklin, Sandown and Ventnor.

Ventnor Beach, for example, has Blue Flag status and is lined with charming Victorian beach huts (which, by the way, you can hire by the day if you fancy splashing out on a treat) that I think really enhance the ambience. Plus, the centre of the beach is absolutely fantastic for swimming, since years ago fishermen cleared this area of rocks, leaving it nice and clear for us water babies.

Perusing the works at Quay Arts

While the Isle of Wight is deservedly famous for its outdoor attractions, it has a fair dollop of culture to offer too. You can enjoy some of this for free at Quay Arts in Newquay, which is one of the top local art galleries.

What’s nice about this place is that what’s on display changes regularly, which means even if you’ve been before you’re pretty much guaranteed to see something new. It houses three galleries, as well as a theatre (yes, you can catch live performances here too – something that’s well worth doing!), and a great cafe/bar.

If your budget can stretch to it, I’d recommend eating here, since it’s got a great reputation for its home-cooked food.