Parkdean Resorts is a popular choice for an Isle of Wight holiday - particularly for families.
You get reasonably priced accommodation along with plenty of things to do onsite, including swimming pools, playgrounds and some other activities you pay extra for.
With a bit of luck, your children will befriend the kids in the adjacent caravan so you can sit on your balcony with a G&T and say things like "ahhhhh, this is the life".
But which is the easiest Isle of Wight Parkdean Resorts holiday park to visit if you don't have a car? Here's our guide to public transport and attractions near to Nodes Point, Thorness Bay, Lower Hyde and Landguard.
Getting to the Isle of Wight Parkdean resorts without a car
Lower Hyde Holiday Park is the easiest Parkdean Resorts to reach by public transport - but they can all be reached without a car.
For Lower Hyde and Landguard, catch the Hovercraft or Wightlink Fast Cat from Southsea or Portsmouth Harbour and you will end up in Ryde. See our ferries discount guide for current offers or our ferry beginners' guide for some general advice.
You can then catch a train to Shanklin which takes 23 minutes and costs about £7 return for an adult.
If you have a railcard, I would suggest booking a ticket which includes the ferry and the train journey as you can get a discount on both outside of peak times.
From Shanklin railway station it is a six minute walk to Lower Hyde Holiday Park or a 12 minute walk to Landguard Holiday Park.
Alternatively, catch a number 2 bus from Ryde bus station (now known as 'Ryde Transport Interchange') which takes about 40 minutes. Get off at Green Lane for a six minute walk to Landguard or Shanklin Bus Station for an eight minute walk to Lower Hyde.
If you go for a taxi, expect it to cost you about £15-£20 (this is based on Taxi Auto Fare, so don't blame me if it's wrong!). Uber doesn't operate on the Isle of Wight but will probably arrive in about 20 years' time...
What about Thorness Bay and Nodes Point?
Nodes Point Holiday Park is also pretty easy to reach by bus on the number 8. There are also open top buses which cover the route. These are very scenic but they are best saved for a day out as you pay for a 24 hour ticket.
The bus will take you about 25 minutes from Ryde Transport Interchange to Nodes Point. There's a bus stop for Nodes Point and then it's a walk of about six minutes to the resort entrance.
Thorness Bay Holiday Park is a bit more out of the way. The easiest option is to get the Red Funnel foot passenger ferry from Southampton to (West) Cowes. See our ferries guide for discounts and deals.
Reaching Thorness Bay Holiday Park by bus is a bit of a job. The only bus which goes vaguely in that direction is the number 32 from Cowes. However, it doesn't run all day and you will end up 30 minutes' walk from the holiday park. Your best option is to get a taxi which will cost you about £10.
Things to do within walking distance once you get to Parkdean Resorts on the Isle of WIght
So, we've established that Lower Hyde and Landguard are probably the easiest Parkdean Resorts to reach by public transport but that Nodes Point isn't far behind. Thorness Bay Holiday Park is a little more inconvenient but it's feasible with a short taxi ride.
But what can you actually get to without a car once you reach the resorts?
1. nodes Point Holiday Park without a car
Nodes Point Holiday Park is particularly good for people who arrive without a car, in my opinion. There is quite a bit to do onsite including the indoor swimming pool, playground and kids' clubs. The beach at St Helens is right next door to the holiday park so you can get there in a couple of minutes on foot. It's a dog friendly beach with a café, although you may prefer to stick to the onsite food and drink.
Visitors to Nodes Point can sign up for horse riding on the beach in the summer months. There is also a popular watersports company based at St Helens beach called Tackt Isle where you can hire equipment or sign up for lessons. You will pay £15 to hire a paddleboard for an hour (2023 prices).
When you want to explore a bit further I would get yourself a 'Rover + Breezer' 24/48 hour group ticket with Southern Vectis. At the time of writing, the Rover + Breezer ticket costs £35/£42 for a group of up to five people. That gives you access to all of the Isle of Wight buses including an open top bus which stops at Nodes Point Holiday Park ('The Downs Breezer'). It gives you a great view of the eastern side of the Isle of Wight and is also a good way to get to popular areas including the beaches at Sandown and Ryde, the Isle of Wight Steam Railway and Robin Hill Country Park.
Top tip: the 24 hour and 48 hours are not just one-day passes or two-day passes. The 24 hours or 48 hours starts ticking when you buy your ticket. Some canny visitors buy a 24 hour bus pass and have a day out in the afternoon and then another one on the following morning. There is more than one open top bus, and you can ride them both with your ticket. I personally prefer the Needles Breezer which covers the Western side of the Isle of Wight (although it's a long way from Nodes Point, as we will discuss later).
The alternative is a seven day Freedom Ticket which gives you unlimited bus travel but doesn't include the open top buses. The current price is £67 for a group of five people for a week. Personally, I find open top buses great fun with the wind blowing my hat off and low hanging trees whooshing past. I find normal buses slow, tedious and smelly whilst on holiday.
What would I do without a car at Nodes Point?
My strategy for a car-free week's holiday at Nodes Point would include a 48 hour bus ticket but spread over three days (buy the pass in the afternoon of the first day). During those days I would head off on the open top bus to see somewhere along the route of the Downs Breezer. There are various attractions and beaches to choose from including Quarr Abbey (a working monastery with free entry), Robin Hill (a good-sized theme park for children aged up to about 11 - read this guide), Brading Roman Villa or the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. You can also stop at popular beaches in Ryde, Sandown and Yaverland (the last one is my favourite of the three).
If you are really keen on buses, you can head for the West Wight and see The Needles on the Island Coaster using your 48 hour pass. However, there's a word of warning - it would take you about 2 1/2 hours to reach the Needles and most of the journey is on a closed top bus. My advice is to hop off at Freshwater Bay for an ice cream then hop back on the Needles Breezer which is open top and much more scenic. I'm not sure my body could take five hours on a bus in one day.
After 48 hours using the bus pass, I would then spend the rest of the time visiting St Helens beach and Priory Bay. Both are really lovely beaches and have plenty to do if you enjoy watersports.
St Helens itself is pretty but there's not a lot to it, so don't expect to fill a lot of time in the village.
2. Lower Hyde and Landguard Holiday Parks without a car
These two Parkdean Resorts holiday often get bundled in together. They are a walk of about 15 minutes apart and you can use facilities at both.
Much like Nodes Point, there is quite a bit to do onsite and there are things to do within walking distance.
Lower Hyde is about 15 minutes walk to the seafront at Shanklin whilst Landguard is more like 20 minutes.
The seafront at Shanklin is probably the best on the Isle of Wight for a traditional family day out at the beach. There are three minigolf courses, a regularly updated amusement arcade which gobbles up 2p coins, a modestly sized funfair, watersports for hire and several beach cafes (see our guide to seafront restaurants).
Shanklin has a few other things to do, including a thatched old village which sells vast amounts of cream teas, the Isle of Wight's best theatre (probably) and Shanklin Chine (a nicely lit walkway leading to the beach).
Sandown is a couple of miles up the road and has plenty of other attractions including Wildheart Animal Sanctuary (which specialises in lions and tigers), Sandham Gardens (a good playground, minigolf and bouncy nets), a dinosaur museum and a traditional pier. You can reach Sandown via the number 2 bus in about 15 minutes or catch the train from Shanklin. The coastal path between the two towns is pretty but might be a bit ambitious for young children.
The Isle of Wight's open top buses don't pass through Shanklin. I would get the 'Rover + Breezer' ticket mentioned above and then catch a 'normal' bus into Sandown where you can meet the open top bus.
3. Thorness Bay Holiday Park without a car
In my opinion, Thorness Bay Holiday Park is the least appealing Parkdean Resorts on the Isle of Wight for those arriving without a car.
The park has some attractions and it has its own beach but you will find it difficult to explore without using taxis.
As mentioned earlier, the nearest bus route is a 30 minute walk from the park.
The beach at Thorness Bay is great for sunsets and is popular with anglers but it isn't a sandy paradise. It is a scrubby and shingle beach for a peaceful wander rather than somewhere you will be spending all day.
In June, Parkdean Resorts announced plans for a big expansion of the entertainments on offer at Thorness Bay. Once this happen, it will be a much better option for car free holidays as you will spend a lot more time onsite. The plans - according to On The Wight - include "Laser quest, high ropes and bungee trampolines" as well as "an adventure golf course, arts and craft den and outdoor mini entertainment stage".
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