The Isle of Wight is one of my favourite places in the world. It will forever hold a special place in my heart as it’s where we got married and we spend a lot of Bank Holiday weekends there with family. A trip to the Isle of Wight is unlike any other – you truly feel as though you are stepping back in time. Although the Island is small, there is a lot do and see. Imagine yourself taking a walk along the beautiful coastline and stopping at the local crab shack to eat some fresh lobster and fish + chips, or enjoying a pint at the Lobster Tap, where King Charles I visited and was sketched by the owner. If you’re looking to escape for a fun and relaxing weekend, look no further than the breathtaking Isle of Wight!
Jump on a train from London Waterloo and head to Southampton Central. From there, get tickets for the Red Jet Ferry, which is the super fast passenger ferry that will take you into East Cowes. If you’re driving, it will take you about two hours from London to get to Southampton, and from there, you can take the Red Funnel Ferry that will also transport your car over to East Cowes. Either way, your journey will take about three hours in total to get to the Isle of Wight.
WHERE TO STAY
There are so many fantastic hotels and cute B&B’s to stay at on the Isle of Wight. Bear in mind, although the island is small, there are quite a few different areas to stay in and I would recommend staying in a place where you’ll be doing the most exploring so you don’t have to drive or worry about getting taxis all the time (there’s no Uber on the IOW!) With that in mind, a few recommendations I have are:
- Sovereign’s Gate at Osborne House, East Cowes – if you are travelling with a few friends, these amazing cottages on the grounds of gorgeous Osborne House are perfect. You can stay there for a minimum of three nights, and they have everything you need for a comfortable stay – 3 x rooms, 2 x private bathrooms, a huge family room, a kitchen with all the amenities you could hope for, a huge garden outside, the list goes on and on. We stayed here during our wedding, and it was the most perfect stay. As you walk in, you will find a bottle of wine or prosecco, fresh bread, eggs, jam, butter, milk, snacks, etc all courtesy of the fantastic Osborne House staff. If you are planning to stay for a few days, I highly recommend saying at the cottages.
- The Little Gloster, East Cowes This adorable B&B is above one of our favourite restaurants on the Isle of Wight. My sister stayed there during our wedding and said it was one of her favourite places she’s stayed. You’ll wake up to the sight of the ocean and can head downstairs for an incredible breakfast.
- The George Hotel, Yarmouth
- The Hambrough, Ventnor
- Bembridge Coast Hotel, Bembridge
- OneFifty, Cowes
- Koala Cottage, Godshill
WHAT TO DO
Order fresh crab and lobster to go at The Ventnor Haven Fishery
One of my favourite things to do when we visit the IOW is to visit the Ventnor Haven Fishery and bring fresh crab meat back to make sandwiches for lunch at Ciaran’s grandma’s house. It’s some of the best seafood you’ll eat in your life.
Take a long walk along the coastline
The beaches on the Isle of Wight are some of the most beautiful in the world. When we go to the IOW, we usually stay in Ventnor and take a long along the coast and end up at Steephill Cove. No matter what side of the Island you’re on though, the coastline will no doubt be gorgeous. A few other walks that are great to do during your stay is the Tennyson Downs, which has amazing views of the Needles the ocean.
Grab a pint at the Crab & Lobster Tap
The Crab & Lobster Tap was the very first inn on the Isle of Wight dating back to the mid-eighteenth century. Legend has it that King Charles I visited the inn and was sketched by the owner. The pub is one of the very few on the island to have a proper underground beer cellar, with barrels stored directly under pumps to give a nice short run and the perfect temperature.
Step back in time in Godshill
Godshill is one of the most charming quintessentially English villages you will ever visit. It has the oldest architecture on the Isle of Wight and you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to a mediaeval village with thatched roof cottages and churches. Enjoy a traditional afternoon tea at one of the many tearooms dotted along the high street or roam the shops offering local crafts and produce.
Indulge in the most delicious crab pastys at the Crab Shed
To me, the Isle of Wight is synonymous with fresh crab. You can’t go to the Isle of Wight and not enjoy all of the freshly caught seafood on offer. Head to the Crab Shed at Steephill Cove, famous for its Crab Pastys – delicious crab in a piping hot flakey pastry, there’s nothing better. Wash it down with a beer or glass of vino and enjoy the sound of the waves crash up on to the rocks below you.
Get swept away by the beauty of Osborne House
Osborne House is the most special place in the world to me. Ciaran and I had our wedding there last August and from the moment we visited Queen Victoria’s beloved summer home a few years ago, I was besotted. It is breathtakingly beautiful, with gorgeous views of the ocean from the courtyard. Take a tour of the house and learn all about the interesting history Queen Victoria’s life. You may recognise Osborne House from the Victoria and Abdul film that was recently released as a lot of the scenes were filmed there. After the tour, make your way down to Queen Victoria’s private beach, it is stunning.
Face your fear of heights at the Needles
The Needles is a row of three distinctive rocks that rise out of the sea off the coast of the Isle of Wight. You can take a chair lift that will take you high in the sky over the ocean so that you can see the Needles in full view. It’s an incredible experience that you won’t regret doing!
Pick up some fresh garlic at the Garlic Farm
Indulge all of your senses at the Garlic Farm! Sample all of the weird and wonderful products from this awesome shop including garlic beer and even garlic ice cream! You can learn how to grow it on your own and also how to cook with it. There are hundreds of different types of garlic in the shop to choose from and bring home with you. You can also walk freely around the farm, where you’ll see cattle, pigs, horses, and peacocks and you can see all the different varieties of garlic growing in the fields.
Visit one of England’s oldest churches
If you’re a big history buff or anglophile, you have to visit St Boniface Old Church. It is one of the few medieval churches in England dedicated to a Saxon Monk who died in 755! The church is TINY and dates back to the 13th century, making it one of the oldest in England. The windows are medieval and the door dates back to the 17th century. The wooden cross behind the altar is also from the 17th century. It is incredible stepping foot inside the small parish and you can take a look at all of the tomb stones around the grounds. It’s quite spooky but also quite spectacular as it’s incredible to think back on the history of it all.
Dine with the Pirates at the Spyglass Inn
The Spyglass Inn is one of the most iconic restaurants in Ventnor and has fantastic food, great beer and a lively atmosphere. Don’t be put off by the pirates outside, it is a super fun restaurant to enjoy dinner or drinks! There’s live music most evenings and during Sunday lunch and it has the most spectacular views of the seafront being right on the water’s edge. Fresh crab and lobster is delivered to the door straight from the Ventnor Haven fishery. In the summertime, sit outside on the terrace and take in the phenomenal views around you. In the winter, cosy up in a booth and warm up with mulled wine inside. There’s tons of maritime artefacts hanging up on the walls and you really can’t help but love the unique character of the place.
The Isle of Wight is the ideal weekend escape to unplug and relax. Have you been to the Isle of Wight? What are some of your favourite things to do?