Shanklin does not only offer a traditional seaside holiday. It also has many open spaces, parks and gardens to be explored. Many of these are ideal spots to enjoy a picnic. How about taking in the beauty of Shanklin from a completely different angle by taking a picnic to Culver Down and looking back across The Bay towards Shanklin?
Having negotiated the zigzag steps up from the Esplanade, you will delighted to find Keats Green. The panoramic views across The Bay from the seats on the Green are simply stunning. Why not make an afternoon of it and take a picnic? There are several references to poet John Keats around Shanklin as he lodged at Eglantine Cottage in the High Street during July and August 1819. It was there that he completed his first book of “Lamia” and began a drama “Otho the Great” with Charles Armitage Brown. Look out for the plaque on the High Street at the location where Keats stayed all those years ago.
Tower Cottage Gardens
Tower Cottage Gardens were once the gardens to Tower Cottage which was built circa 1825. The cottage survived bomb damage in World War II but was eventually lost to subsidence in 1947. Today the Gardens have a lovely mixture of mature beech and oak trees together with ornamental species such as the oriental plane and red oak.
Rylstone Gardens are tucked away just to the south of Shanklin Old Village. The Gardens themselves are a beautiful spot to sit and read or simply watch the world go by. From the coastal edge of the Gardens the views across The Bay are spectacular. If you are lucky, you may even spot a Red Squirrel, something which can now only be done in very few parts of the country. The Gardens also boast a tea shop and crazy golf. Look out for the beautiful flower baskets and pots adorning the course and tea gardens.
The chalet in Rylstone Gardens is home to Shanklin Town Brass Band. Across from the chalet the Gardens clear to an open space where there is a Bandstand which is used as a venue for open air concerts by the Shanklin Town Brass Band and others during summer months. During the concerts deck chairs are provided for the audience to sit to enjoy the entertainment. Programmes of events are displayed around the Town.
Big Mead is a large expanse of open parkland just to the south of Shanklin Old Village. There is a recreation area for the children and a lovely duck pond by St. Blasius Church which is located at the bottom of the Mead. St. Blasius was once the family chapel for Shanklin Manor but as the town began to expand in Victorian times, was given, by the Lord of the Manor, to the town as the parish church for the Old Village. The first mention of Shanklin Manor is in the Doomsday survey of 1086. It is likely that there would have been a place of worship there then.
America Wood is a Site of Special Scientific Interest owned by the Woodland Trust. Located on the outskirts of Shanklin towards Whiteley Bank, vehicular access and car parking are both scarce. However, for the more active the Wood is easily accessible via public footpaths and bridleways. Due to damage during the Great Storm of 1987, there is a fairly open feel to the Wood although the open glades are gradually reverting back to woodland. Today much of the Wood is high oak forest and downy birch.
Written by Hana Johnson, Editor of Visit Shanklin Community Magazine
Nearest Cricket Stadiums
Rose Bowl, Southampton (20.8mi)
Hampshire County Cricket Club (21.1mi)
Sussex County Cricket Club (Arundel) (31.1mi)
Nearest Golf Courses
Shanklin And Sandown Golf Club (2.1mi)
Ventnor Golf Club (3.2mi)
Westridge Golf Centre (5.6mi)