12th August: Let’s go away at the last minute – look at Turkey – too expensive.
Weather forecast is excellent for UK though for three days from the 14th. Can’t get a hotel near Lulworth Cove. Let’s try the Isle of Wight.
14th August we left home at 10am to catch the 1:30pm ferry to the island. We were early enough to get an earlier ferry and so by 2pm we were driving across the island through Bembridge and out towards Culver cliff. We had a picnic and then spent a couple of hours wandering around the headland. It was stunning coastal scenery. A quick drink at the Culver Haven Inn was welcome before we headed for our hotel, Oaklands House, in Yarbridge, just outside Brading. A long established family business run by Jan, a mine of information about the island. It was spotless, well set out and run to a high standard. The pool was a welcome extra. Our room was spacious and well equipped.
I had already booked dinner at the Yar Bridge Inn, which was over the road and Jan promised us it would be good. It was.
15th August: ‘The Times’ newspaper on Saturday had published a circular walk starting at Carisbrooke Castle so we headed off to complete this and then go to the beach. The walk was just beautiful. The views across the island were wonderful. We also saw a buzzard hunting with success only to be mobbed (unsuccessfully) by a crow, a forest full of young pheasant(foxes paradise?) and colourful wild flowers everywhere. Adding in a detour to a pub part way through meant we had a very late picnic over-looking the valley by the castle before deciding to skip the beach and just have an hour by the pool before heading into Brading to the ‘Kynges Well’ for dinner. A decent pub meal.
16th August: We had another circular walk found on the ‘Red Funnel’ ferry website that started in Godshill and included Appuldurcombe House. We were so impressed by the tranquil grandeur of this English Heritage property that we returned here (by car) to picnic in the grounds after our walk finished. We then went to Steephill Cove (Ventnor) for a swim in the sea and an hour on the beach. There was a lot of seaweed to negotiate initially but the water was surprisingly warm further out. The Cove is very picturesque and well cared for by its shoreline resident owners. We had an ice-cream just as the cafe was shutting and headed back to Oaklands. We returned to the Yar Bridge for another excellent evening meal.
17th August: We went to see The Needles. This involved negotiating the “theme park” but horses for courses and the cable car saved us a very long walk down to Alum Bay. We did the boat ride out across the bay and had a very good view of the Needle rocks, the lighthouse and the coloured sands in the Alum Bay cliffs. Our picnic spot today was on the estuary of the Newtown River at Shalfleet in a quiet tucked away spot: a peaceful contrast with the bustling theme park earlier. We arrived for the return ferry and this time queued immediately for our coffee as soon as we boarded, having missed out on the way over!