Days Out on the Isle of Wight
Published on: 09/05/22
Having tempted you with views out to the Isle of Wight last week, we realised this gem deserved a week to itself. Situated just off the south coast of England- incredibly just over two hours from London via ferry or hovercraft, or a short pop-across from Southampton- it’s a wonderful destination to explore. Perfectly pocket-sized, the Isle of Wight is a hub of activity all year round. Famous for its world-famous sailing and lovely resorts, people have been holiday-making here since Victorian times- including Queen Victoria herself!
In 1970, “Britain’s Woodstock”, the Isle of Wight Festival was the largest rock-music event ever held, featuring Jimi Hendrix and The Who, and is still a popular summer festival. The rest of the time, the Isle of Wight offers unrivalled peace and quiet amidst outstanding natural beauty. Beautiful in any season, whether it’s a walk in the countryside or along a beach, “England’s Garden Isle” is great for family breaks, outdoor adventure and weekend getaways- although a weekend may not be long enough…
"It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot," said Queen Victoria of Osborne House, her palatial and beloved holiday home on the Isle of Wight, and we are tempted to agree! Stroll through the staterooms and corridors where Victoria entertained heads of state, and the couple’s private apartments for an unmissable intimate glimpse of royal family life, reflecting the Royal couple’s passions, tastes and style. Ornate furnishings and artefacts from the Royal Collection fill the rooms from where Victoria ruled the vast British Empire.
Head out to the elegant garden terraces, home to Swiss Cottage, the play-room for Victoria's children, then down for a promenade on the estate’s private beach, complete with historic bathing machine. Stunning views across the Solent reminded Prince Albert of the Bay of Naples, inspiring him to design Osborne House himself, in the style of an Italian Renaissance palace. With adventure trails and two playgrounds for little ones, dip into the Beach Pavilion Ice-Cream Parlour, refresh with drinks and snacks Petty Officers' Quarters café, or dine like royalty in the elegant Terrace Restaurant and Orangery.
Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary
Make some furry friends at the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary, a long-eared, Eeyore-tastic day out! Open every day except Christmas day, the donkeys (and some imposter Shetland ponies), all unwanted or rescued animals, love nothing better than greeting and being admired, fed, petted and groomed by visitors. Friendly staff and volunteers also love answering questions and introducing the donkeys by name, character and history.
With lots of events throughout the year including bank holiday specials and visiting markets, visitors can also enjoy hands-on experiences: grooming or walking a donkey, going on a Shetland trek, or adopting one of these deserving charmers. Treats aren’t just for the donkeys, with Grazer’s café the ‘icing on the cake’ (literally!). Set in a beautifully converted barn overlooking donkey yards and paddocks and out to the Wroxall Valley, it serves a famously fulsome menu from big breakfast through to afternoon coffee and cake.
Sitting high and proud at the heart of the Isle of Wight, this the quintessential romantic castle has been an artillery fortress, king's prison and a royal summer residence. Enjoy unrivalled birds-eye panoramic views from the ancient castle keep and walls, where you can walk right around the castle battlements, seeing the island in all directions. Experience the peace of St Nicholas' chapel, the tranquil moat and Princess Beatrice Garden, before meeting the famous Carisbrooke donkeys (what is it with the Isle of Wight and donkeys!)
Kids will love imagining life as a medieval soldier, trying on armour, seeing off the Spanish Armada, and having a go at firing a mini-cannon in the gatehouse. King Charles I was imprisoned here following the English Civil War- can you find where he attempted to escape? Or follow in his footsteps with a game of bowls, his only exercise while he awaited his fate. Luckily a more delicious fate awaits you- homemade snacks, cakes and drinks in the castle’s delightful tearoom!
Goodleaf Tree Climbing
If you thought the view was good from Carisbrooke Castle battlements, how about from 15 metres up a majestic oak tree? Tree climbing is a gentle thrill, highly rated by climbers, and very different to a high ropes course. Take a recreational tree climb with Goodleaf Tree Climbing for uncomplicated, quality outdoor fun, exploration and adventure. With no experience needed, friendly, expert instructors will help you discover the natural world heading up a beautiful, mature oak tree overlooking the golden sands of Appley beach.
Tree climbing is great for ages 8 to 80, and with over two hours to play with, you’ll have plenty of time to learn the ropes at a comfortable pace before ascending into the canopy. Enjoy beautiful views, swing around in the canopy or take time to simply unwind in the special treetop hammock. With tea and flapjack waiting for you back on the ground, island tree climbing is a tree top experience like no other. Take a trip up a tree, branch out, and create some fantastic family memories!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
We have also put together a list of frequently asked questions at the link below, which include some Top Tips and Did you know information, which you can use to show off with your friends and family
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