Right before last Summer, a friend of mine popped a question (no, not the one you think :P!): do you want to come to the Isle of Wight? My answer was pretty obvious: ‘Do you know you’re talking to somebody who wants to visit every little bit of the United Kingdom? Hell yeah I’m coming!’
Isle of Wight was never a priority of mine. I’ve heard loads about it, as some of my friends come from there, but it never made my English bucket list. I don’t know why, as one of the most iconic English landmarks is located there! This is what I almost missed out on:
Definitely the most recognizable part of the Isle of Wight and my main reason to come. It’s not like I did not see white cliffs before 😉. Just these consist of three individual chalk stacks. And there are not only the white chalk cliffs but also multicoloured sand ones. What’s with the name? Once upon a time, the middle stack was a lot taller, ending with a chalk pinnacle resembling a needle. Unfortunately, the storm destroyed it. But the name stuck.
The views on the Needles were so breath-taking that I couldn’t really get round to moving to my next stop that day, which was…
- Osborne House
That was a bit of a surprise, I must say. I certainly did not expect to enjoy looking at ‘some’ palace of Queen Victoria when I only just had seen the Needles. But Queen Victoria’s seaside residence is a truly stunning place. It’s not only a vast house full of posh rooms and artefacts, but it also has beautiful gardens, grounds, private beach, playgrounds and Swiss Cottage. The whole place is enormous and you can devote at least good half a day to walk and have a proper look around.
I can wholeheartedly say that I wish I had stayed there longer. But I was looking forward to the sunset in…
This is a place where you’ll probably descent from the prom (if you’re traveling from south-eastern part of England). I was not really impressed with Ryde. Maybe it was the exhaustion after the whole day, or a cold caught on the prom. But there were some things I really liked about the town, for example the pier. It is the second longest pleasure pier in the UK and world’s oldest seaside pier. It even has a railway! Apart from that, I quite enjoyed walking on the esplanade, the view of the beach and Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower looming in the distance in the rays of the setting sun.
And the way back home led through a place I fell in love with, …
Shanklin Olde Village looked like it was taken straight from an old children’s book, so the next day the first stop of my trip had to be Shanklin. The village, even though charming, is only a 5 minute walk. The most important bit, that one definitely has to visit is Shanklin Chine – a gorge of a wildlife beauty with the little waterfall at the top. A little tip: do visit the gardens in the night. Apparently, there are colourful lights all over the place making it look exotic and magical at the same time.
After visiting Shanklin Chine I felt an inspiration to explore more of plants’ kingdom at…
The place you want to go to is Ventnor Botanic Garden. You can see over 22000 plants and trees and also have a nice cup of coffee, cake and… feed a little friendly robin.
Do I recomm… OF COURSE! If you ever get a chance to go to the Isle of Wight, don’t think twice! I think the factor I liked the most is that, even though it’s beautiful, it’s not swamped with people. And you know how too many people can spoil even the best attractions (why do you think I don’t live in London by now?) On Isle of Wight you can get that feeling of tranquillity, so rare to find nowadays.
A bit of practical info:
- To get to Isle of Wight you will have to get on a ferry. You have got the options of: Lymington to Yarmouth, Portsmouth to Fishbourne or Portsmouth to Ryde (the one I chose). I can’t tell you how much the ferry is as it was a courtesy of my dear friend but google will tell you all the details, for example HERE
- Busses are the way to go around the island. Just get a brilliant app Clickit2ride, buy a Rover ticket for 24h or 48h and… get on board!
- When you’re at the Needles Landmark Attraction you have a lot of options of entertainment. You can use a chairlift that takes you to the beach (£6.00 return), or a boat which takes you closer to the cliffs (£6.00 for a slower one and £11.00 for a fast one). The whole place has plenty of rides and amusement facilities (prices range between £2.00 and £4.00) The entrance to the Old Battery is £7.10 and you get to see the Needles from the top of the cliff. Totally worth it! If you come by car, the car park is at £5.00 for the whole day. More about the Needles at the official website.
- Osborne House is quite pricey as it’s £18.50, but as I stated already, there is lots to see and do, even with the kids. Visit the official website official website for more
On Isle of Wight, I had a pleasure of seeing for the first time a piece of street art created by Phlegm. I totally fell in love with his work and decided – then and there – that I need to see more of his masterpieces!