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48 Hours on The Isle of Wight by Girl About the Isle of Wight

By Natalie Silvester – 19th July 2020
RECOMMENDATION | Billy Bob’s Parlour & Diner – The Yorkshire Dales 90

A weekend on The Isle of Wight

 

The Isle of Wight is England’s largest Island off of mainland UK, it boasts impressive coastlines filled with a variety of sand and stony beaches, chalky cliffs, stunning countryside, beautiful walks and is also known to house a dinosaur fossil or two. In 2019 the island itself was recognised as one of UNESCO’s worldwide network of biosphere reserves and because of this almost half of the island is designated as an Area of Outstanding natural beauty (AONB). The UNESCO title also recognises the sustainable ways in which our local people work with and alongside their natural environment, with many of the islands pubs and restaurants sourcing their produce here locally and producing an array of products, anything from sustainable clothing, jewellery, art work, preserves and even spirits and wine. (yep! We have our own vineyards and distilleries too!).

As the island is situated at the very South of the UK it is also believed to have its very own micro climate and has been recorded as receiving the highest amount of sunshine hours in the UK on many occasions. The Isle of wight is also home to famous music festivals, sailing regattas, Royal homes, some stunning architecture, great eateries and one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, with all of this combined it makes for a wonderful holiday destination in the UK.

With so many things to see and do on the island it has been quite the challenge to try and cram so much of it into just 48hours for you but I’ve devised an itinerary that will hopefully allow you to see the largest amount of the Isle, with some of the best coastline spots too, in a relatively short amount of time. A word of warning though.. Taxi Prices on the Isle of Wight tend to be pretty pricey so I would avoid using them if you can and either try bringing a car or buy a 48-hour bus ticket through Southern Vectis if it isn’t possible to bring a car, you can do this via their handy app Clickit2rideit too, which is all in the website link here https://www.islandbuses.info/rover-multi-day-tickets

I have designed the start and end of this itinerary with the Portsmouth and Southampton Ferries in mind, as these are the two most popular ferries.

Friday lunchtime on The Isle of Wight

Fresh off of the ferry and raring to explore? It would be a huge shame to come to the Isle of Wight and not visit the breathtakingly beautiful grounds of Osborne House – Queen Victoria’s well-known favourite home and and English Heritage Site.  The entrance fee is £20 per person if you’re not an English Heritage member, but believe me when I say – it’s well worth it. The House itself is extremely impressive, filled to the brim with interesting art work, beautiful interiors and heaps of history and culture, including that of the wonderful Durbur Room (my favourite room of the house) where Victoria hosted her grand banquets – it’s simply stunning and you have to see it first-hand to really appreciate it.

There is so much more to see than just the house itself though. If you haven’t already eaten you can visit Osborne’s on-site cafe with an assortment of sweet treats and lunch options available. You must also visit the pretty little Walled Garden whilst you’re here –  it’s one of my favourite spots in the estate and it is an extremely peaceful spot. Gardeners work tirelessly throughout the year to maintain it, filling it with beautiful seasonal flowers, fruit and vegetables.

You can also meander round the grand balcony/terrace area, where you can truly appreciate the full facade of Osborne House and its breathtaking architecture whilst also getting a glimpse of the stunning view towards the solent – something that Victoria would have woken up to personally each morning. From here, take a stroll down to Osborne House’s private beach and grab an ice cream (or hot chocolate, depending on the weather) from the little beach hut down by the sea. Here you can sit and relax on one of the deckchairs and enjoy the view or watch one of the regular Punch and Judy puppet shows (if you happen to be visiting with children in August).

Before you leave, be sure to check out the sweet little Swiss Cottage where Victoria and Albert’s children used to play and learn useful life skills such as gardening and cooking.

(I would allow a good 3 – 3.5 hours to explore Osborne House).

 

Friday afternoon on The Isle of Wight

Next – jump on the Chain Ferry in East Cowes and pop over to West Cowes.  The couple of quid it will cost on the Ferry will save you time it would otherwise take to to battle through the busy traffic in Newport. Here in Cowes you will find a variety of independent shops from clothing and home-ware, to art and wine stores alongside a couple of well-known big brand shops too.

Grab a glass of something chilled in one of the local pubs or cafes –  Cowes has many of them – one of my favourite places for an afternoon tipple is the recently refurbished Pier View. Before dinner, work up an appetite in Cowes by walking to Gurnard and back. This really popular and great little coastal walk takes around 90 minutes. It’s fairly flat and great for families and wheelchair and pram friendly. On a sunny day, I can highly recommend grabbing a drink at The Woodvale in Gurnard – it offers a great view over the solent from their beer garden.

 

Friday Evening on The Isle of Wight

Spend your Friday evening in Cowes – there are some great places to enjoy dinner. Trendy Harbour Kitchen serves some of the best burgers on the island, and they offer some delicious veggie and vegan options too. The vibe is friendly and chilled, and the cocktails are fab.

For ‘finer’ dining in Cowes, I recommend The Coast Bar and North House (not to be confused with Northwood house, just up the road). Both venues are under the same ownership – they are stylish and serve top-notch food. Great options for a date night or dinner with girlfriends, and I can tell you, from experience, that both places serve a great Espresso Martini too! If you’re not quite ready to head straight to bed after dinner and fancy a nightcap or three, head to The Anchor. Expect live music on a Friday eve – some of the island’s best bands play here regularly. They have indoor and outdoor (covered) seating areas, with patio heaters in the winter months,  and If you’re a fan of Gin then I would also highly recommend that you try one of the two locally distilled Isle of Wight Mermaid Gins – their pink gin is delicious!

Saturday morning on The Isle of Wight

On Saturday morning, to make the most of your day I would recommend getting up nice and early and heading out towards the small hamlet of Newtown which houses its own peaceful little creek and nature reserve. It doesn’t take particularly long to walk around but it’s such a lovely little hidden gem – one that most tourists and visitors to the island would easily miss if they didn’t know about it.  With changing tides and lots of different birds and wildlife to see, each visit to Newtown often brings a different experience.

After you’ve taken a relaxing little stroll I recommend heading to Yarmouth mid-morning (about a 10-15 minute drive away), and taking a little time to wander around the quirky little shops before grabbing a coffee at The George Hotel. The George is the perfect balance of ‘old’ and ‘new’ thanks to its recent refurbishment. Depending on the weather, you can enjoy a hot drink in the cosy bar or lounge area inside, but it the sun is shining, take your drinks out to the back of the hotel and sit in the sunshine in the Mediterranean-style garden – the view of the sea promises to really inject that holiday kind of feeling into your day.

For lunch I recommend you head over to the town of Freshwater. Meander round the pretty little bay and just a ten-minute walk from the bay is a little rustic-style cafe called The Piano Cafe – a perfect place to stop for lunch. The cafe was affectionately named after Queen Victoria’s piano tuner and supplier who used to own the property many years ago. They serve a delicious menu of light lunch options ranging from soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, Paninis and more.

 

Saturday afternoon on The Isle of Wight

Pop over to Alum Bay for the afternoon to see the Needles Landmark. This is one of the island’s most famous spots. The Needles Landmark attraction houses different food and games kiosks, glass blowing demonstrations, Jurassic mini golf, chair lift rides, sweet making demonstrations and more. It’s a great place to visit, especially for families, and you simply must take a trip down to the bay whilst you’re here.

The best way to get down is to take the chairlift (£3) – the views are quite lovely. This is a great place to relax and to people-watch and the scenery is stunning and includes the famous Alum Bay coloured sands. You can jump on a boat tour around the needles themselves to take in more of the scenery.

 

Saturday evening on The Isle of Wight

On a sunny evening I would recommend you spend your evening in the West Wight area. Here you have some of the best views of the most incredible sunset over the ocean. Head to Totland and grab something to go from the local fish and chip shop, ‘Totties’ has a good reputation and sells other meals to-go such as pizzas etc – take them down to Totland Bay and enjoy by the sea.

Alternatively, if you don’t fancy seaside takeout, pop to Colwell bay, a few towns along. Here, right on Colwell front, perched perfectly between the pretty beach huts, is one of my favourite restaurants very aptly named ‘The Hut’. This nautically themed ‘hut’ is the best in town and on a summer evening you couldn’t pick a better place to dine. Here you can wine and dine to the chilled sounds playing from the bar with the perfect view of the sun setting as you eat, utter bliss.

If the weather isn’t quite as sunny during your visit, you really can’t beat a good hearty pub meal on the island and I’ve got just the place! Head back towards Newport and just before you hit Carisbrooke, you’ll find The Blacksmith Arms. The gastro ‘pub grub’ here is of a very high standard and most of the seating in the pub provides a beautiful panoramic view over open fields. There’s also plenty of outdoor seating and a kids play area.

Sunday on The Isle of Wight

Your last day on the Isle! I have a few options for you today. Option one is a slightly more chilled option depending how you feel after a weekend of exploring. Two and three are slightly more fun packed. The time of your ferry might also determine the options too.

 

OPTION ONE: The chilled one:

Head for Ventnor Botanical Gardens – The Isle has a microclimate all of its own and The Botanical Gardens are unrivalled for their collection of subtropical plants. There is an entry fee, which is around £8 per person if you book online and discounts for families. If the weather is behaving, take a stroll around the gardens and you can grab a bite to eat at either the cafe or restaurant on site.

Before you leave Ventnor, check out Crave, the coolest ice-cream palour on The Isle. This amazing places was voted one of the best ice cream shops in the U.K. in 2019. Check out the posts on their Insta account – people literally queue out the door to taste their homemade ice-cream in many delicious flavours. Once you’ve chosen yours, take a  stroll down to Ventnor seafront and enjoy your cone with a lovely view.

 

OPTION TWO: The not so chilled one:

If you want to cram even more in before you leave The Isle then I recommend you visit Sandown Pier. There is lots of fun to be had on the pier for adults and children alike. The pier, as you would probably expect, is packed full of arcade games and 2p machines galore. There’s also some food kiosks and an indoor jungle-themed crazy golf course too.

 

OPTION THREE: The ‘tire the kids out’ one:

If you have children and wish to tire them out before your trip home, head for Robin Hill or Blackgang Chine. Robin Hill Country Park, with its 88 acres of land features woods, ponds, lots of adventure plat and the famous toboggan run and is a great place for kids to roam free and explore. Blacking Chine has a small collection of amusement rides, mazes, adventure trails with moving dinosaurs and more, whichever you choose will depend on which you like the sound of more. Both promise a lot of fun for the little-uns.

Phew – what a packed itinerary! I really hope you love The Isle as much as I do.

Below I have listed a few of the islands best hotels and accommodation:

 

 

My favourite places to stay on The Isle of Wight

 

RECOMMENDATION | Billy Bob’s Parlour & Diner – The Yorkshire Dales 97
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