I’ve just returned from a weekend to the Isle of Wight. Here’s what we got up to on holiday in the Isle of Wight…
As if St Lucia wasn’t enough, two weeks after we landed back in the UK we headed off to the Isle of Wight for four days of exploring. I had never been to this wonderful island, but within hours I had fallen in love with its relaxed atmosphere, the smell of sea air, and stunning views from every corner of the island.
We stayed at Darwin Escapes’ Woodside Bay Lodge Retreat, which was the perfect base for our long weekend away. Unlike the old-style holiday parks, Darwin Escapes offers 5* luxury cabins with incredible views, and cabins with everything you could need for a weekend retreat.
The cabin we had had two bedrooms, sleeping 4 people, an open plan kitchen lounge area, plus a decking area out the front for dining on those warm summer evenings.
We then spent four days exploring the island, from kayaking at Freshwater Bay with Adventure Activities and dining at The Cow Co, to zip-lining at Tapnell Farm and dressing up at cowboys at Blackgang Chine. We had so much fun over the weekend and I really fell in love with this wonderful little island. More posts coming next week about our trip, as well as a video diary!
HOW TO GET THERE
Although getting from London to the Isle of Wight is incredibly easy, the two places feel like different worlds. The Isle of Wight offers all the beauty, peace, pristine beaches, and panoramic views of the UK’s more remote counties, without the problematic access issues.
There are up to 200 Isle of Wight ferry crossings a day operating from Portsmouth, Southampton and Lymington. We headed over to the island with Wightlink Ferries on their 6pm ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne, and it was super easy, and really fast. We were docked and at our accommodation by 7pm. You can also get the ferry as a foot passenger if you live close by and don’t need a car for your trip.
Prices with Wightlink Ferries from £57.50.50 return (based on a day return ticket travelling out at 0300 on 1st August 2018).
Portsmouth Car Ferry Terminal – Fishbourne Car Ferry Terminal: from 45 minutes
Lymington Car Ferry Terminal – Yarmouth Car Ferry Terminal: from 40 minutes
WHEN TO GO
The Isle of Wight is an island which is brilliant all year round, however I would recommend visiting anytime from May – August, despite the busy crowds in the summer holidays.
Autumn and Spring are good options for an Isle of Wight holiday if you want to avoid the crowds, save some money but still make the most of all the attractions. As a general rule, all the seasonal attractions re-emerge from their wintery slumber around March and stay open until around late October or November.
WHERE TO STAY
Last month, over the bank holiday weekend, we headed off to the Isle of Wight for four days of adventures. To give ourselves a ‘home’ for the weekend we checked in to Woodside Bay Lodge Retreat, located on the North East shore of the Isle of Wight, close to Ryde. The resort boasts access to a beautiful shingle beach, surrounded by glorious woodland and if you’re lucky views across to Portsmouth and Southampton. Luckily for us, we jumped on a Wightlink Ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne, which mean’t we only had a five minute drive to our resort once we docked in the Isle of Wight.
The tranquil resort offers an array of luxury holiday lodges and one-of-a-kind tree house accommodation, which is located close to the water, but also to all of the action the island has to offer. Woodside Bay Lodge Retreat was the perfect base for our long weekend away. Unlike the old style holiday parks, Darwin Escapes offers 5* luxury cabins with incredible views, and cabins with everything you could need for a weekend retreat.
The cabin we had was a 2-bedroom Wootton Lodge, which slept four people, had an open plan kitchen lounge area, and had a decking area out the front for dining on those warm summer evenings. The light and open lodge features one king size double bedroom (with ensuite shower) and an additional twin bedroom, which Arabella was delighted with, and she also had her own en-suite bathroom. She was of course thrilled!
The resort was a home away from home, with all the modern luxuries you would expect from a self-catering retreat with double glazing, central heating and a fully fitted kitchen, down to the fluffy towels and comfy bedding and the mod-cons of flat screen TV and iPod docking stations. READ THE FULL POST HERE.
WHAT TO DO
Having never been to the Isle of Wight I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a staycation on the island, but within hours I fell madly in love with this wonderful island. We spent four days exploring the island, taking a ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne with Wightlink Ferries, which was super simple, quick and got our holiday off to a great start. Whilst on the island, we got involved in an array of activities, from kayaking at Freshwater Bay with Adventure Activities and dining at The Cow Co, to zip-lining at Tapnell Farm and dressing up at cowboys at Blackgang Chine. We had so much fun over the weekend and I really fell in love with this wonderful little island. More posts coming next week about our trip, as well as a video diary!
One of the best places I’ve eaten in a while, The Cow Bar and Restaurant is one of the most unique places to eat on the Isle of Wight; set in a converted Swiss barn at the heart of Tapnell Farm. They are open 7 days a week for lunch, and every Friday and Saturday evening dinner (plus occasional Thursday evenings for special events). They serve an amazing selection of burgers, steaks and sides, including their famous Dirty Fries, with Melted Mozzarella, Red Leicester cheese, Mustard, Aioli, Shredded Lettuce & Jalapenos. YUM!
The Garlic Farm
The Garlic Farm is the perfect place to learn more about… yep you guessed it, Garlic! You can learn all about garlic, where it comes from, how to grow your own and how to cook with it. The farm offers unique and delicious products, from garlic chutneys to garlic beer and ice cream to try before you buy. You can also walk freely around the farm and see the highland cattle, pigs, horses, peacocks and red squirrels darting back and forth. They’ve also got a renowned restaurant on-site where you can savour some of the incredible creations from the kitchen.
On our first day on the island we headed to the recommended Tapnell Farm, a former Dairy Farm where you will find loads of Indoor and Outdoor Play for children, along with lots of animals to meet – including Wallabies, Meerkats, and many more Farmyard Friends! We headed to Tapnell Farm after lunching at The Cow next door and loved the number of activities to do here. Arabella was in her element, jumping off the pillows, crawling through the hay barn and driving a mini-tractor around the farm track. A really fun afternoon!
If you fancy some historic activities whilst on the island head to Osborne House. Former retreat for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (circa 1845) still retains a large collection of the royal couple’s possessions, art work and photographs. Also home to the Swiss Cottage for Victoria’s children, and the private beach and bathing machine. The house was built between 1845 and 1851 for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a summer home and rural retreat.
I love outdoor adventures, so when a friend recommend going kayaking on the Isle of Wight, we knew it was right up our street. On our last day on the island we headed down to Freshwater Bay for a morning kayaking with Adventure Activities.
We opted for a Family Experience, which included paddling under cliffs, visiting some of the south coasts caves, and coasteering off rocks. It ended up being our favourite activity on the island, and it was fun for all three of us, Theo enjoyed visiting the caves, I enjoyed swimming in the water and Arabella found a new love for coasteering, jumping off rocks into the sea.
The experience lasts two hours, and we were lucky to have our own guide who was lovely, and really engaged with Arabella!
As soon as you think of the Isle of Wight the iconic image of the world-famous chairlift taking you to see the needles rocks and coloured sands spring to mind. The Islands most famous landmark attraction has so much more to enjoy than the stunning views, it is a destination not to be missed.
We headed here for an hour on our way back from Blackgang Chine, and stopped to look over towards the Needles from the attraction park. The range of attractions includes the spectacular chairlift ride to the beach and the sand cliffs.
On our second day on the Isle of Wight, we drove down to the south of the island to visit Blackgang Chine, a park and gardens themed with a wide range of fantasy attractions as well as heritage exhibitions and adventure play.
You can enjoy playing in Cowboy Town, Pirate Cove, Fairyland or Dinosaurland – fantasy play areas to encourage imaginative play, which was fun for all the family, not just Arabella.
If you fancy some historic activities whilst on the island head to Osborne House. Former retreat for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (circa 1845) still retains a large collection of the royal couple’s possessions, artwork and photographs.
Also home to the Swiss Cottage for Victoria’s children, and the private beach and bathing machine. The house was built between 1845 and 1851 for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a summer home and rural retreat.
Beach fun at Colwell Bay
After spending a few hours at Blackgang Chine we headed up the coast to Colwell Bay, located between the towns of Totland and Yarmouth. It’s a rather small beach, but was relaxed, but a few shops and cafes. We reserved a place on the beach, whilst Arabella went off to play in the sand, and dip her toes in the sea. They’ve also got some beautiful beach huts here, in all sorts of colours!
Isle of Wight Zoo
We didn’t have time to visit here but had been told it was a really fun day out. The Isle of Wight Zoo is home to one of Britain’s largest collection of tigers, many of whom are rescue animals. With several superb new enclosures modelled on natural tiger habitats in India, the zoo is a fantastic place to see these wonderful animals relaxing.
A number of other animals also live there, including lemurs, jaguars and lions.
Shanklin Chine Gorge
The gates to this historic gorge first opened back in 1817, making it the longest established attraction on the Isle of Wight, enticing many millions of visitors to wander through and marvel at its natural beauty over a double century of seasonal openings.
There are few locations on the Isle of Wight, let alone England, that can boast such a tranquil and picturesque location for visitors to enjoy.
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