The Isle of Wight lies just off the South coast of England and is a picturesque and fun getaway for many tastes. It has miles of beautiful coastline for those wishing to get out and explore and it’s home to the Ventnor Fringe festival every Summer if you’re interested in the arts. With it’s many top restaurants serving delicious local seafood and glorious beaches to capture that quintessential British Summer holiday with an ice cream, it’s an ideal holiday destination close to London.
How to get to the Isle of Wight
Ferries go from Southampton and Portsmouth and there are direct trains to both from London.
From Southampton you can take the Red Funnel ferries that take both foot passengers and cars and takes only 45 minutes. From Portsmouth, Wight Link has a FastCat foot passenger service which takes just 22 minutes
Where to Eat on the Isle of Wight
Previously known as ‘The Essex’ Woods Kitchen was recommended to me by a number of people I chatted to on my first day on the IOW. It’s an atmospheric spot with the main restaurant housed inside a pretty thatched building with a large raised terrace at the rear with a very trendy feel and clearly a popular spot for an afternoon drink in the sun.
The menu is extensive and there are daily specials menus including lots of vegan options. There’s even an afternoon tea menu including themed afternoon tea, prosecco afternoon tea and a savoury tea.
Opening times -Monday & Tuesday – Closed. Wednesday to Saturday 10:30am till 11pm Last food orders 9pmSunday 10:30am till 4pm
Afternoon Tea at The Royal Hotel – Belgrave Rd, Ventnor PO38 1JJ
The Royal Hotel is one of the grandest hotels on the island located in charming Ventnor. It’s known for it’s food in all respects and is able to boast the 98% of hotel guests choose to dine in it’s main restaurant, but it also host to some delightful afternoon teas.
Served in your choice of the Colonial-style conservatory, the south-facing garden or Geranium Terrace you can pick from a selection of Afternoon Teas including a champagne tea. First up is a range of finger sandwiches alongside your choice of fragrant teas or alternate hot drinks, followed by the main event, a tiered cake stand with fresh scones and rich sweet treats such as lemon tart and carrot cake.
Served from 3pm to 5pm from £23/person | Click here to book
Tramezzini – 14 High Street, Ventnor
For a tasty brunch including some homemade black pudding served with on the vine cherry tomatoes, poached eggs and thick sausages, head to Tramezzini. It’s a friendly spot popular with the locals and has a selection of salads and fish dishes for those wanting something a bit healthier.
PO41 – St James Court, Quay St, Yarmouth PO41 0PB
The town of Yarmouth is named after the small Western Yar river and makes a nice place to have a wander around and pop into the local boutiques. PO41 is one of the most popular cafes in the town due to it’s famously delicious cakes and big range of coffees. It’s located in the old post office and it’s a friendly spot which will draw you in with all the tasty treats in the window.
What to do on the Isle of Wight
Visit Appuldurcumbe House
Appuldurcumbe House is the shell of the formally grand Baroque mansion built in the 18th century. During both world wars troops were billeted in the house and in February 1943, a German plane dropped its final mine very close to the house. The house was never repaired and despite it looking in fine condition from a distance it’s actually just a shell of a building now and is completely without a roof.
It’s free to visit and the property is managed by English Heritage. The house is open 10am-4pm, Sunday to Friday, from April until October and has car parking on site.
Explore pretty Godshill
Godshill is a charming village with thatched roof houses, with it’s main street lined with tea shops and quirky pubs. The very first Isle of Wight festival took place near the village in 1968. One of the most popular spots is the model village (Open 10-5pm in Summer), but it’s also home to a local cider shop; Godshill Cider and a fun sweet shop called Candy Cottage.
Godshill will delight those interested in traditionally British things as it’s incredibly picturesque and it’s easy to reach as there are plenty of direct buses to Shanklin, Newport, Ventnor and Sandown.
Hire a bike and explore the island
The Isle of Wight is a popular destination for cycle enthusiasts and there are numerous cycling trails all over the island. Outside of the towns there is little in the way of traffic making it an enjoyable and safe place to cycle even for those with relatively little experience.
Routefifty7 is a bike hire company based in Shanklin with prices starting at only £13. They offer e-bikes, mountain bikes and even tandems and have free delivery and collection for hires over £47.
I hired an electric bike and decided to follow the Red Squirrel Trail which is listed as one of “150 Great Days Out’’ by Sustrans,. At full length it is 32.23 miles but one can leave and join with ease, stopping at a variety of sights along the way. I started in Ventnor and followed it up to Godshill circling back towards Sandown and it’s a pleasant and fairly easy cycle route named after the endangered Red Squirrel that is found in some numbers on the Isle of Wight.
For bike hire on the Isle of Wight please ring 07491 00 00 57 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Open everyday 9am – 6pm
Take a RIB ride to the Needles
The Needles are one of the most famous landmarks on the Isle of Wight. These stone columns reaching up to 30m high out of the sea are a well known sight, and it’s possible to hire a boat with captain to take you around this great landmark.
The Royal Hotel has a private RIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat) which can take customers on private day trips or shorter journeys from Yarmouth. It’s a high speed exhilarating ride, but a very comfortable one too as the Royal RIB is somewhat a luxury RIB and you’ll stay dry but get as close to the Needles as possible. To book, call 01983852186
Visit Ventnor Beach
Ventnor Beach is the southernmost beach on the Isle of Wight and is always a popular destination on the island. Complete with it’s stylish vintage beach huts used by families on hot days it’s a red shingle and golden sand beach.
With nearby ice cream shops, a lobster restaurant and a pretty promenade it’s a lovely place to come and rent a deckchair to relax, even if you’re not planning on going in the sea.
For more information please visit;