We suggest this program for 48 hours visiting Isle of Wight
ISLE OF WIGHT: Summer on the island is festival season. Major events include Coves Week the oldest and largest annual sailing regatta in the world, and the Isle of Wight Festival, one of Britain’s biggest live music events.
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2017 is ‘Year of Family Adventure’ on the Isle of Wight, and is launching an ‘Adventure Island’ app with new explorer trails and a GPS treasure hunt. With extensive public bus services, as well as plenty of places to hire bikes, the island is easy to explore.
Its varied yet compact landscape includes many idyllic elements of the British countryside, from sand dunes and smugglers coves to thatched villages and bustling fishing harbours.
Check in: Elegant four-star hotel, The Royal Hotel is set in sub-tropical gardens in the seaside town of Ventnor, on the island’s south coast. Built in 1832, it has 54 smart bedrooms, a top-rated restaurant, heated outdoor swimming pool, and a spa with sea view treatment cabins.
New for 2017, Tiny Homes Holidays is a ethical way to stay on the island. Set in a smallholding adjacent to Parkhurst Forest, close to walking trails and cycle routes.
Queen´s home: The much-loved seaside residence of Queen Victoria, Osborne is a palatial holiday home that offers an intimate glimpse into royal family life. Film fans will enjoy the grand locations where scenes were shot, including the Durbar Room with its intricate Indian-style plasterwork ceiling inspired by Queen Victoria’s status as Empress of India.
Local Crab: A floating café situated along a jetty in Bembridge Harbour, family-run The Best Dressed Crab in Town offers the finest, freshest shellfish landed straight from the boat. Simple and unpretentious, come here to enjoy platters of dressed crabs, giant crab claws, fresh local lobsters and local Bembridge prawns when in season. Or, enjoy what’s known as the ‘Island’s National Dish’ – crab on chips – at Ventor Haven Fishery, another much-loved destination for shellfish fans on the island.
Lazy or lively afternoon: The award winning beaches of Shanklin, Sanddown and Ventnor are idyllic spots to pitch a deckchair or build a sandcastle, and their esplanades have a great selection of cafés, shops and seafront amusements. The island’s beaches also offer plenty of adventurous options.
Pilgrimage: The beauty brand Liz Earle is available from leading stores throughout Britain and internationally – but some fans of these much-loved products still enjoy visiting the original store in Ryde, the island’s largest town. For an indulgent wellbeing experience, the Island Wellness Spa at West Bay Country Club has launched the first ever Liz Earle Naturally Active spa breaks. Enjoy a half-day mini retreat including a signature facial treatment, or experience the full works on a one or two-day retreat.
Taste of the island: For dining advice and inspiration, pick up a free copy of Taste of the Wight, the leading independent guide to eating out on the island.
After dark: The island’s longest-established tourist attraction, Shanklin Chine celebrates its bicentenary in 2017. Carved by nature over thousands of years, this striking tree-lined gorge extends from Shanklin Old Village to the beach far below. Many well-known Brits including Jane Austen, John Keats and Charles Dickens have visited this picturesque spot. The attraction’s 200th anniversary will be marked by a number of special events.
Epic Island Walk: With its 60 miles of dramatic Heritage Coastline, plus hundreds of miles of well-maintained and signposted footpaths, the Isle of Wight is paradise for walkers. It’s also home to one of Britain’s biggest walking festivals, the Isle Of Wight Walking Festival. Held annually in May, there are guided walks and self-guided trails, with options including routes that follow in the footsteps of famous people with connections to the island, ranging from Alfred Lord Tennyson to Jimi Hendrix. As well as festival information, the Visitor Information Centre in Newport can provide maps of walking trails that can be enjoyed at any time. Should you prefer pedal power, the visitor centre is also a place to hire electric bikes.
Michelin-rated Food: Built in 1832, The Royal Hotel in Ventnor is one of the island’s oldest hotels, and shares the rare privilege of being one of only 30 establishments to be listed in every Michelin Guide since it was first published in 1911. With sub-tropical plants and stunning views across the English Channel towards France, its Riviera Terrace is an idyllic spot for al fresco lunch or afternoon tea. A gourmet option in the pretty village of Seaview, the Seaview Hotel Restaurant focuses on fresh local produce, and has been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand for creative, affordable food for two years running.
View of a Landmark: Located at the most westerly tip of the Isle of Wight, The Needles is a row of three distinctive chalk stacks that rise dramatically out of the sea. This iconic rock formation has attracted visitors since Victorian times. On the farthest stack is a lighthouse dating from 1859. Made up of multi-coloured layers of sand, the cliffs of adjacent Alum Bay are also of geological interest. A chairlift ascends to the top of these cliffs, from where you can enjoy far-reaching coastal views, including the famous stacks.
Make it Happen!
Touch Down: The Isle of Wight is two hours south west of London by train, followed by a ten-minute hovercraft ride from Portsmouth to the island. Car and passenger ferries connect the island from Southampton, Lymington and Portsmouth.
Stay: Tom’s Eco Lodge offers a range of boutique accommodation for all budgets, from compact ‘wigwam’ pods to fully furnished safari tents with a log burning range cooker and private shower room.
Eat: Tapnell Farm is not just a working farm, activities available here include Zorbing and archery, plus a Play Barn for children. It’s also home to The Cow, a rustic restaurant serving burgers, steaks and salads.
Play: Major events include Cowes Week, the oldest and largest annual sailing regatta in the world. The Isle of Wight Festival, one of Britain’s biggest live music events. established in 1968. The 1970 event remains a legendary moment in British music history, when an estimated 600,000 people gathered on the island to watch a line-up including Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Miles Davis and Joni Mitchell.
Mini Guide: Monkey Heaven in Newport; Happy animals and surroundings are immaculate. Zoo and wildlife park. Wight Karting in Ryde is lot of fun all great with all the family. For more family fun and adventure try some theme parks, animal attractions, carnivals and special events, or get involved in some of the exciting outdoor activities that are available. More info here; www.visitisleofwight.co.uk