The Independent Parent: 'Where can we take the kids to keep them entertained in July?'

Q We have booked a week's holiday on the Isle of Wight this July and would like to know where we can take our two children (aged seven and 13) to keep them entertained. Can you help?

Q We have booked a week's holiday on the Isle of Wight this July and would like to know where we can take our two children (aged seven and 13) to keep them entertained. Can you help?

A July is a wonderful time for a family break on the Isle of Wight, especially since one of the island's main attractions is its breathtaking scenery. Start by visiting the Needles, a dramatic series of chalk stacks forming part of the Tennyson Heritage Coast. At The Needles Park (0870 458 0022; www.theneedles.co.uk) at Alum Bay, you can enjoy spectacular views from a chairlift, which whisks you from the cliffs down to the beach (avoiding 188 steps). You can even bottle the natural multi-coloured sand at the Sand Shop and take it home.

With an area of just 147 square miles, the island is easy to explore by bicycle. There are more than 200 miles of cycling routes and plenty of easy trails that are ideal for families.

For a list of bicycle hire shops and to buy cycling guides, contact Isle of Wight Tourism (01983 813818; www.islandbreaks.co.uk). If the sun is shining, pause for an ice-cream at Sandown, whose pier dates back to 1879, or head to Totland Bay, on the west of the island - a chilled-out family beach.

There's no shortage of history on the island. You can see ancient bones being cleaned at Dinosaur Isle (01983 404344), discover the island's Roman heritage at the newly opened Brading Roman Villa (01983 406223; www.bradingromanvilla.org.uk) or walk the battlements at 900-year-old Carisbrooke Castle (01983 522107; www.english-heritage.org.uk) near Newport.

For natural history, try Shanklin Chine (01983 866432), a historic gorge with dramatic waterfalls and a nature trail.

If your children are after theme-park thrills, Blackgang Chine (01983 730330; www.blackgangchine.com) offers a variety of adrenalin-pumping attractions on one site. Overlooking Chale Bay, the chine (a steep ravine) is rumoured to have concealed many a smuggler's stash.

The Victorians started coming to the park in 1843, when the main attraction was a fin whale's skeleton. Today the draws range from Waterforce, a 110-yard high-speed boat ride, to "Cowboy Town", to giant snakes and ladders. The park opens daily from 10am to 6pm until 22 July and to 10pm from 23 July. Tickets cost £7.50 or £27 for a saver ticket (up to four people).

Alternatively, Robin Hill Countryside Adventure Park, Downend, Arreton (01983 730052; www.robin-hill.com) offers more adrenalin rides, as well as woodland walks, a treetop trail and a wooden maze. The popular free squirrel safaris, held at 2.30pm every Thursday should go down a treat with your children. Experts accompany you round the woods where you might be lucky enough to spot a red squirrel. Robin Hill opens daily from 10am-6pm during the summer and costs £7.50.

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