My brother's family recently had a wintery trip to the Isle of Wight. Despite my advice that there were quite a few winter days out to choose from, he decided that they would visit Tapnell Farm Park six times in seven days.
By the end of the week he was handing out unwanted advice to passers by on how to achieve a good lap time on the go-karts and asking the manager if he could deliver a talk on mini-beasts.
Now, I'm certainly a big fan of Tapnell Farm Park, particularly in winter but I think it's time we look at some of the new stuff coming to the Isle of Wight in 2020 for people who are stuck in a rut of visiting the same stuff every year (are you reading this, Brother Guru?).
So here are 6 new things coming to the Isle of Wight in 2020:
1. 1970 Festival celebrations
Back in 1970, the world and his scantily-clad dog turned up at the Isle of Wight Festival. Some estimates reckon that 600,000 or 700,000 people were there, although no-one knows for sure because they don't make clickers which go up that high. Some of the locals found it a bit much and needed to lie down in a darkened room for 32 years before the Festival returned to the Island in 2002.
In 2020, a reunion festival called Experience 1970 is taking place on the original site.
Meanwhile, the Isle of Wight Festival will no doubt mark the occasion in one way or another. The current lineup includes Lionel Richie, Duran Duran and Snow Patrol. Seeour festival guide for more info.
2. The Sandown Sprint
Some wags might claim that young men have been racing along Sandown seafront for years, but 2020 will see a legal option with up to 100 cars taking part in the Sandown Sprint. The roads will be closed and cars will race along the seafront against the backdrop of Bembridge Downs.
3. Sandown's High Nets Course
I haven't managed to find an opening date for Sandown's new high nets course, but I have a hunch it will be in 2019. Sandham Gardens has seen a number of upgrades recently including the new dinosaur themed minigolf course which is turning it into a decent attraction which will eventually fill several hours on a sunny day.
It was originally going to be high ropes, but it turned out there was a slight risk that it might fall to pieces thanks to the sea air.
4. Tapnell Farm's Aqua Park
The thought of falling into a lake doesn't seem especially appealing in mid-December, but I'm sure that will all change by the Spring when the Isle of Wight's 'first outdoor floating aqua park' opens. I guess it'll be a bit like that Total Wipeout programme where Richard Hammond made sarcastic remarks from his lounge whilst a presenter on the other side of the world did all the running around. Perhaps they'll call it Total Wightout?
And here's a photo of how it is coming along, from one of my brother's many trips to Tapnell Farm...
5. Er, something new at Shanklin Seafront's Summer Arcade
I'm afraid I don't have a lot of insider information on this one, but our last trip to the Summer Arcade on Shanklin Seafront revealed a couple of big changes.
The outdoor space has now got a roof on it (see the first photo) and the bumper cars and inflatable slides have gone to make way for...something.
Meanwhile, the indoor mini go kart section in the arcade has gone too (see the second photo).
We shall return in the spring to see what's arrived.
6. Premier Inn on SAndown seafront and Priory Bay Hotel
OK, so we don't know for certain that these two hotels will be opening/re-opening in 2020 but I thought they were worth a mention.
Premier Inn has been on the cards for some time and the official updates website says it hopes to open in Spring 2020. This may sound like a great big plug for one hotel, but there aren't many chain hotels operating on the Island and they generally aren't in prominent seafront locations.
Meanwhile, Priory Bay Hotel is one of the poshest hotels on the Isle of Wight. It was bought a couple of years ago and has been undergoing a big redevelopment across its 60 acre site.
It even has its own beach which is one of my favourites thanks to its ability to look paradisaical on a summer's day. My father told me that the sand on the beach was imported to make it extra golden but it's quite possible he made that up. We don't have an opening date for that one yet - Google tells me that it is 2020, but the official website just said TBC when I checked, so don't get your dinner jacket dry cleaned just yet.
Have we missed any major new events or attractions opening on the Isle of Wight in 2020? Feel free to give them a plug in the comments section below.
Isle of Wight Guru's Blog