We wanted to spend a weekend of peace and tranquillity so we decided to go to Isle of Wight. We’ve been here before last year, in May and we absolutely loved it. I previously wrote here about how convenient living in London can be and Isle of Wight is no different, being easily reachable by either train or car and a ferry, the island is ready to offer you the perfect escape.
Isle of Wight, the largest and the second most populated island in England is a natural beauty with its chalky cliffs, secluded beaches, the needles, turquoise water, mystical woodland, ice cream coloured houses and quintessential English villages.
If you are passionate about outdoor activities, this island can be the perfect escape for you too.
How can you arrive on Isle of Wight?
• By train and ferry – the quickest way is to go to Portsmouth Harbour and take a ferry to Ryde.
• By car and ferry – we found the cheapest fare, less than £50 from Southampton to Cowes.
We tried them both, first time we went by train and ferry and the second time we drove from London.
Getting around on the Island
If you don’t have a car getting around the island is still quite easy. There are plenty of buses with some of them being open-top, perfect for a summer day. If you do decide to get a bus, it might be worth it to get a buss pass if you plan on getting it multiple times. There is also a train that goes from Ryde to Shanklin. There is a well maintained Coastal Path for hiking and you could also rent bikes. The first time we did a combination of buses and walking to get around.
Where can you stay?
Isle of Wight is visited both by foreign tourists and English people, especially during the summer. Tourism is part of the island and there are many options when it comes to accommodation, the most popular is camping – there are loads of camping sites, you can either pay £14 for 2 people, a tent and a car or chose a wild camping spot with a view. You can also chose from AirBnb, bed & breakfast, hostels or hotels.
Where to go?
There’s plenty of attractions on the Isle of Wight. The Needles is probably the biggest one, rising out of the sea on the western part of the island. They are definitely worth a visit, and there are multiple viewpoints from they can be admired or pictures of them can be taken. There is near the parking lot, one from the beach, where you can also get a boat to get close to the needles. Another viewpoint is from the new battery on the south side. You have to walk here from the parking lot. The last one we found by mistake on our first trip while walking towards the Needles from Totland. At some point we took a right on a pathway from Alum Bay New Road and we found an amazing spot overlooking Alum Bay and the Needles.
The south of Isle of Wight has multiple attractions and landmarks that you should visit. UK’s oldest amusement park opened in 1843, Blackgang Chine, resides here. From the parking lot there is a small pathway that takes you on the top of the hill for an awesome scenery view of the south coast. St Catherine’s Lighthouse and St Catherine’s Oratory are not far from here. Unfortunately, when we visited both of these, there was an immense fog around so we did not have great views of the surroundings. For the oratory there is a short uphill walk through grazing fields – it was quite eerie to hear cows mooing close-by but not be able to see them due to the fog.
In-between the Needles and St Catherine’s lighthouse you can stop at Freshwater Bay for activities such as scuba-diving and kayaking, or you can just walk around and enjoy the scenery of the south-west coast of Isle of Wight.
The next town as you go east is Ventnor, perched up on the hills, with Shanklin and Sandown further east. Just walking around the beach and town in all three of these is worth it, from the steep streets of Ventnor to the Old Town of Shanklin and long beaches of Sandown.
Besides these, we also hiked on a few chunks of the coastal path. We definitely recommend doing this as well,since the scenery that we were taken through was amazing.