Isle of Wight

East Cowes, Isle of Wight

With the sun shining, the Isle of Wight is the ideal place to holiday without having to worry about travel restrictions. The island is compact, 25 by 13 miles, with plenty to do for all members of the family, both young and old.

Dog-friendly with many beaches, restaurants, and attractions that allow your pet to accompany you.

Beaches

An island, there are beaches everywhere some with miles of soft yellow sand, others with pebble stones, some catering for young children with cafes and play equipment, beach huts, sailing clubs and surfers, others secluded and off the beaten track.

Sports

Westridge GolfMiles of walking and biking trails as well as a coastal path; Cowes is known for its annual sailing regatta, but there, are also other harbours around the island. There are seven golf courses, two with eighteen holes, and a links course. The informal Westridge Golf Centre, with its state-of-the art driving range, is ideal for anyone who wants to see if they like the sport to the more proficient who want to practise their swings.

Vineyards

There are two on the island Rosemary Vineyard and Adgestone where visitors can enjoy free tastings, tours of the vineyards, and a video that shows how the grapes are harvested and made into wine.

Attractions

Shanklin Chine with its waterfalls and fauna and flora is lit up at night. A steep descent takes the visitor down to the beach below. Visit Victorian Chine Lodge, the Heritage Centre which illustrates the story of the formation of the Chine.  

Tapnell Farm’s child-friendly activities include animals that visitors can interact with, and a new aquapark while there is clay pigeon shooting and football golf for older folk.

Ventnor Botanic Garden, Isle of WightVentnor Botanic Garden with its microclimate incorporates 20,000 rare and subtropical plants from around the world including herb and medicinal gardens, a trial garden for experimentation, lawns and an arboretum, as well as a restaurant and plant shop.

The Garlic Farm – the country’s largest grower of garlic, is situated on land with origins that go back 6,000 years. Their shop sells a range of garlics including smoked and black, and in their restaurant, visitors can taste dishes made with garlic. The farm which has a children’s play area, promotes several walks around the property where visitors can see farm animals, and trace the farm’s history.          

Osborne House, part of English Heritage, the Italianate building designed by Prince Albert, was used as a summer home for Queen Victoria and her family. Within the grounds, a rhododendron path leads to Swiss Cottage, a Tyrolean style building built for the Queen’s children. Visitors can enjoy the estate’s private beach.

Mottistone GardensMottistone Gardens, a National Trust property, covers six acres, and has several landscaped gardens, and as well as natural areas with a no watering policy. The house which dates back to the Doomsday is tenanted, so not open to the public.

Farringford, the Gothic home of Victorian poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson remains closed for 2021. Its grounds, which have been returned to their authentic Tennyson-era condition which includes a walled garden, are open.

Dimbola Museum and Galleries – visit the home and workplace of Victorian pioneer photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, known for her portraits of ‘famous men and fair women’. The house which became a focal point for Bohemian artists, writer and poets including neighbour Alfred Lord Tennyson is now a museum and gallery dedicated to her life and work.

Isle of Wight Steam RailwayIsle of Wight Steam Railway – go back in time taking a ride, choose from first or standard class, in a Victorian or Edwardian steam train. Visit the Train Story Discovery Centre with workshops where carriages are restored, and time your visit to include a falconry display.

The Needles, named one of the seven Natural Wonders of the UK, are a row of three distinctive chalk stacks that form the western tip of a band of chalk that crosses the centre of the island. The Needles lighthouse, which is still operational, sits 80 feet above the highwater, at the end of the outermost chalk stack. The Needles Landmark Attraction includes a chairlift over the cliffs, down to the beach below.

Natasha travelled with her dog Poppy courtesy of Red Funnel, who run a car ferry service from Southampton to East Cowes, and have a dog-friendly lounge.

Wightlink vehicle ferries from Portsmouth to Fishbourne and Lymington to Yarmouth, take 40-45 minutes. Passenger ferries from Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde take 22 minutes. The ferries have a dedicated pet area. www.wightlink.co.uk

Silver Travel Advisor recommends HF Holidays for staying on the Isle of Wight.

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Natasha Blair

Travel & food journalist, member of BGTW

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