There’s a familiar pattern to the conversations in our house about days out on the Isle of Wight.
First, Mrs Guru will ask what I would like to do today.
I will then say that it isn’t really a question of what I would like to do, but what will keep a 2 year old and a 5 year old happy (which in turn will keep the adults happy).
I’ll say that I would really like to find a hidden beach or dine out somewhere fancy, but that what we should really do is to sit uncomfortably on a see-saw whilst secretly eating a packet of Nice 'n Spicy NikNaks from a coat pocket.
And so we headed off for Sandham Gardens in Sandown, to see the recent renovations which have been taking place over the winter. We first found the playground when child one was still in nappies, but it’s changed a fair bit since then.
The two main upgrades at the site are at the playground and the minigolf. The toddlers playground at Sandham Gardens has been given a decent facelift, with the equipment either being replaced or tidied up.
The Olympic themed gym equipment seems to have vanished, at least temporarily. Hopefully it will reappear somewhere else as it was a nice feature, even if it didn’t appear to be as regularly used as the other equipment nearby.
The other upgrade is the new Dinosaur themed minigolf - Dino Islands - which has replaced the simple minigolf at Sandham Gardens. The concrete curves have been replaced with dinosaurs which would fit in at Blackgang Chine and a centrepiece volcano. It was still in the building phase when we visited about 10 days ago, but opened just in time for the glorious weather we had at the Easter Bank Holiday.
There is also an improved go-kart track for younger children which costs about a fiver (even my weak stomach could handle the speed) and there are plans for new beach huts.
Just over the road is another building site, where Wight City and Colonel Bogey’s nightclub once stood. As much as we enjoyed Bowlingo in the building’s arcade, it is good to see it gone as it seemed like a terrible waste of a lovely stretch of coastline.
Despite the Spring sunshine, Sandham Gardens felt colder than the milk aisle in Sainsburys so we eventually gave up and headed to Brown’s Golf Course cafe.
From the outside, it’s nothing special but inside it’s a lovely light space which is big enough to cope with a large number of noisy children. More importantly, there’s a good choice of children’s games so we achieved one of those rare moments where both children were playing happily.
“Don’t interrupt them” I whispered to Mrs Guru as she returned from the toilets.
After three slurps of my latte, the younger one was asking for food, but I had at least had a few precious moments of holiday bliss.
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