Avast! Matey’s it’s the time of the year to grab your grog and parrot and shiver some timbers. The Isle of Wight has famously been a haven for pirates and smugglers alike, just a stone’s throw from one of the worlds busiest shipping lanes.
Boasting unparalleled views from the cliffs of Blackgang and St. Boniface Down, the Islands deep ravines and chines provided smugglers with the perfect cover for their untoward activities. With the Island’s mutineering history now well in the past, today you can walk in the footsteps of our anarchist ancestors and discover some of the more quirky pirate places we have here on the Isle of Wight.
Pirate days out for the family on the Isle of Wight
Most famously Blackgang Chine, the Isle of Wight’s magical fantasy theme park, within find Pirate Cove, the perfect place for an exciting sea battle between a pirate ship and a French frigate, complete with water cannons for classic pirate shenanigans! Discover Crossbones Adventure play area, a whole network of ships, crow’s nests, ladders and rope netting to explore, all this can be thirsty work. Never fear as Captain Jacks is on hand to provide that much-needed refreshment and all your pirate essentials.
Pirates Cove, Adventure Golf
An 18-hole golf experience with great jaw-dropping features including pirates, waterfalls, caves and a fully rigged pirate ship! Test your skill and even win the ‘treasure’ of a free game. Be sure to make the Pirates Cove Fun Park your next port of call. Located on the seafront next to the crazy golf course, with the latest crazes in outdoor entertainment from mini go-karts and bumper boats to water zorbs, trampolines and bouncy castles. Take your seat on the Pirates Cove runaway train and enjoy a rollercoaster ride with beautiful views out to sea and across Shanklin Beach.
Pirate & heritage on the Isle of Wight
Shipwreck Centre & Maritime Museum
Find this unique museum in the heart of Arreton Barns Craft Village. Bursting with thousands of relics from shipwrecks and “Treasures from the Deep” including beautiful “Pieces of Eight”, Spanish Gold, and items salvaged from galleons, steamships and wartime submarines. Activities for children include free Pirate Trail worksheets, treasure hunt, crack the code, brass rubbing and much more…prizes included!
Once the cargoes were ashore with their hauls, smugglers needed somewhere to hide it all! Although there are many hidden caves and coves along the south of the Island, owners of big houses also offered stores for the incoming booty. Often many local families found this the perfect way to make their fortune. The then owners of Mottistone Manor saw this opportunity and provided a huge loft as storage for smugglers to the Island. The churchyard which had previously been home to a large tomb of a past shipwreck was also hollowed out to make another makeshift store.
Today Mottistone is home to some beautiful gardens, make sure to explore this unique Island manor set amongst the idyllic countryside near the village of Brook.
Pirate Pubs on the Isle of Wight
After all that exploring you’re going to need to find somewhere to stop off and refuel! The Spyglass Inn has one of the best locations of any pub in the UK. It sits right on the water’s edge in Ventnor Bay with spectacular views out across the English Channel. Full of character its well-deserved reputation is founded on good grub, great beer and a fantastic atmosphere. Steeped with maritime and smuggling history you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into the pages of Treasure Island, with The Spyglass being named after that of Long John Silvers famous tavern in the books.
The Buddle Inn
Another smuggling bolt-hold for you weary travellers, The Buddle Smuggler’s Inn is a 16th-century clifftop pub set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty perched upon the cliffs overlooking the English Channel. A fantastic spot for walkers and nature lovers, its the perfect base to start or finish a walk along the beautiful coastline, with hidden treasures such as St. Catherines Lighthouse and Blackgang Beach just a short stroll away.