If you’re in the UK but you don’t want to venture too far afield for a vacation, then the Isle of Wight is the perfect option for a quick getaway.
Just 6 miles off the coast of England, the Isle of Wight is easily accessible by ferry and if you like the outdoors, there are lots of things to do here. You can hike one of the coastal paths, spot wildlife in the countryside, try your hand at tree climbing or even hunt for fossils on a Dinosaur heritage trail! Of course there are miles of beaches to discover and you can take part in ocean-based activities such as sailing, windsurfing and fishing. If you’re more of a foodie then you’ll want to visit the weekly Farmer’s market and the local farm shops selling locally produced food and drink.
The Isle of Wight is definitely worth considering for a getaway, and to help you decide what to do, here are 5 of the top things to do in the Isle of Wight:
1. Isle of Wight Festival
It’s certainly worth making your trip coincide with the Isle of Wight Festival, which usually occurs in June each year at Seaclose Park. Acts for 2013 included The Killers, The Stone Roses, Paul Weller, The Script and Bloc Party.
2. The Needles
The Needles is the most famous landmark on the Isle of Wight, consisting of three distinctive stacks of chalk that rise out from the sea. There actually used to be a fourth needle-shape pillar but it collapsed in a storm in 1764. In 2005 The Needles was featured on a TV programme called Seven Natural Wonders as one of the wonders of Great Britain. Definitely pay a visit to this impressive site for a postcard-perfect photo!
3. Osborne House
Osborne House was Queen Victoria’s family home and she once wrote, “It’s impossible to imagine a prettier spot”. Visit the house to see the opulent interiors, the stunning Indian decor of the Durbar room and the private apartments where the Queen once slept. You can also take a walk around the extensive grounds and visit the Victorian Walled Garden with hothouses containing exotic plants. If you’re feeling peckish and want to make a day of it, Osborne House also has a restaurant and cafe.
4. Carisbrooke Castle
Charles I was once imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle in the months prior to his trial, and you can still play bowls on the very green that Charles used. These days you can wander through the Edwardian-style Princess Beatrice garden and watch demonstrations of the donkeys working a 16th century treadwheel. You can see some Charles 1 memorabilia in the museum, walk around the battlements and enjoy a birds-eye view from the castle keep.
5. Isle of Wight Beaches
No trip to the Isle of Wight would be complete without visiting some of the island’s beaches! With 57 miles of coastline, the Isle of Wight has a mixture of sand and shingle beaches, rugged cliffs and hidden coves to explore. Shanklin, Sandown and Ventnor all have busy esplanades boasting lots of cafes and shops. Alternatively other picturesque beaches include Ryde, Appley, Compton Bay, Brook and Colwell Bay.
How to Get to the Isle of Wight
You can get to the Isle of Wight by ferry from Southampton or Portsmouth. Red Funnel offers ferry services over to the island. If you’re travelling by foot you can catch their ferry from Southampton to West Cowes, or if you’re travelling with a car you can catch the ferry from Southampton to East Cowes.
Whether you’re looking for hotels, B&Bs, holiday cottages, campsites or holiday parks, you’ll find a wide range of accommodation and places to stay in the Isle of Wight.
photo by Phil Holker on flickr