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Touring Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight Ferry by Hampshirecam The Isle of Wight is accessible by a short ferry ride from Lymington, just south of the New Forest in Hampshire, docking at Yarmouth, or you can take a longer ferry ride from Southampton to Cowes/East Cowes. East Cowes is a more convenient location, being in the centre of the island. It’s also the site of the annual yacht race. And the island’s main attraction, Osborne House, is just a few minutes drive away.

Osborne House by Barbara Ballard Osborne House was Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s holiday hideaway and a favourite retreat. It’s where she died, and the house is little altered since that time. In spite of its size, it has a warm family feeling. There’s a garden and extensive grounds to walk in.

Bembridge Mill NT At Bembridge, on the island’s east coast is the interesting Bembridge Windmill built in the 1700s, under the care of the National Trust. Four floors can be reached by ladder—the top one provides long reaching views. Much of the original wooden machinery is intact. A lifeboat station museum is out at the end of Bembridge’s long wharf. The boat wreck museum contains many bits and pieces rescued from the sea such as pieces of 8. It’s worthwhile for maritime lovers to spend some browsing time in.

Bembridge from Culver Point by Barbara Ballard From Bembridge there’s a scenic drive to the top of Culver cliff. It overlooks the village and Sandown. From here you can see more of the island by driving on minor roads through Adgestone, Alverton (attractive), Winford, Aspe Heath, Godshill, Whitwell, St Lawrence, Niton, and Chale.

Sandown from Culver Point by Barbara Ballard Sandown is stuck in its Victorian seaside time warp, so if that appeals to you, make a visit. The town of Shanklin butts up to Sandown.

Shanklin Old Town by Barbara Ballard Shanklin’s “old town” is a remnant of its past with a few houses still standing along the busy main road Most have been turned into tourist shops. Here is the chine, another name for a gorge. A path goes along the gorge with two tiny waterfalls; it’s expensive, and you can get more dramatic views of the beach walking along the village coast road.

Shanklin Beach by Barbara Ballard At Ventor is a 22-acre garden that includes rare plants from Mexico, the Himilayas, and China. In addition there’s a pinetum, a 700 variety rose garden, and a temperate house with exhibits from Australasia, southern Africa, Crete, and St. Helena. The Smuggling Museum is located beside the garden.

Appuldurcombe House by Barbara Ballard Lovers of ruins will enjoy a visit to at Wroxall. The ruined 18th century Baroque style mansion looks complete from front and side but is an empty shell in a beautiful setting, designed by Capability Brown.

Godshill village church by Barbara Ballard Godshill village has a number of old houses, some of which are thatched. There are many shops for the tourist. Hidden behind the large parking lot is a good cafe. All Saints church is up a hill lined with attractive thatched cottages. It is the largest pre-reformation church on the island and dates from the 15th century. Built in the Perpendicular double nave style, its north nave was once the parish church. Its most famous feature is the lily cross. Other features include a cradle roof, corbels, medieval lettering on a cross, a north transept chapel rebuilt 1741, and the royal arms of Queen Ann 1707 over the entrance door, made with double thickness and wrought iron nails.

Shorwell village by Barbara Ballard Shorwell is a scenic village. Stop and have a walk around. From here, head through Chillerton Down, a scenic and interesting high hill.
Appuldurcombe House

Gatcombe village St Olaf church by Barbara Ballard This route leads up to Gatcombe (two rows of houses strung along the river) and the 11th century St Olave Church church, an old church in an atmospheric setting. A B and B in the lower part of the village offers afternoon teas with lots of yummy treats.

Carisbrooke Castle by Barbara Ballard Carisbrooke St Mary Church by Barbara Ballard At Carisbrooke the castle (EH) remains sited on a high hill consist of a gatehouse, a great hall turned into a museum, the shell of a keep, a bit of the wall, and the entry. Of particular interest in the castle is the old well with the wheel that was turned by donkeys. This castle was used as a prison for Charles I in 1649 before his execution. Also at Carisbrooke is St Mary's church, an old Catholic church.

In the busy town of Newport mixed in with residences is a Roman villa, unearthed during excavations for a modern building. On show are the remains of the bathhouse with a number of rooms. The historic Guildhall, designed by John Nash and built in 1816, houses the Museum of Island History and the town’s tourist information centre.

Brightstone village by Barbara Ballard Brightstone village is home to a small National Trust shop, which displays photos of the village in olden days. A couple of thatched houses and an old church still exist.

Needles Old Battery  by Barbara Ballard Follow a long twisty drive to the Needles area, south of Freshwater on the far west coast. Leave your car in a side street and take the bus up the hill unless you want to pay £3 lbs to park. Here there’s a battery with guns still in place. It was built in the 1860s as part of the coastal defence against the French.

Yarmouth Harbour by Barbara Ballard The town of Yarmouth has an attractive square built near the harbour and lined with shops. Yarmouth castle, one of Henry VIII’s, was built in 1547 squat and heavy as a coastal defence against the French. There’s information on the king’s coastal castles and a display of old Yarmouth photos.

Shafleet village church by Barbara Ballard Calbourne village Winkle Street by Barbara Ballard Shafleet is a scenic village as is Calbourne’s “Winkle street” set beside a stream and lined with thatched and historic cottages. St Michaels church sits on a hill just across the road.

Newtown Old Hall NT  by Barbara Ballard Newtown, in a marshy flat area on the northwest coast, was once a port, but it was destroyed by the French. Only the old town hall (NT) built in the 18th century remains of the original buildings.

Isle Wight and Solent courtesy Hampshirecam Much of the island is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Beach lovers will appreciate the four Blue Flag beaches. Allow four days if you want to see every nook and cranny of the island; two days will allow time for major attractions. You’ll need a car to get to the backroads. Otherwise there’s a bus that makes the rounds. The island has 500 miles of walking trails. Go off season or when special events don’t take place, otherwise the traffic may detract from your island experience.

Isle of Wight Attractions

For opening times and full details of attractions see the Attractions section of our website, links to our feature articles below and also the websites of those attractions that have them.

Afton Park
Newport Rd, Freshwater
Tel. 0 1983 755 774ll

Amazon World Zoo Park
Watery Lane, Newchurch, on the A3056
Tel. 0 1983 867 122
Web: Amazon World Zoo Park

Appuldurcombe House (EH)
Off the B3327, .5 mile west of Wroxhall, two miles north of Ventnor
Tel. 0 1983 852 484
For photos and more information see our article Appuldurcombe House

Bembridge Heritage Centre
Church Rd, Bembridge
Tel. 0 1983 873 100

Bembridge Windmill (N T)
Tel. 0 1983 873 945
For photos and full details see our article Bembridge Windmill

Brading Roman Villa
Morton Old Rd, Brading
Tel. 0 1983 406 223
Web: Brading Roman Villa

Brightstone Village Museum and National Trust Shop (NT)
North St, Brightstone
Tel. 0 1983 740 689

Calbourne Watermill and Rural Museum
Westover, Calbourne
Tel. 0 1983 531 227

Carisbrooke Castle (EH)
Tel. 0 1983 522 107

Classic Boat Museum
Seaclose Wharf, Newport
Tel. 0 1983 533 493
Web: Classic Boat Museum

Colemans Animal Farm
Colemans Lane, Porchfield
Tel. 0 1983 522 831

Fort Victoria Country Park
Fort Victoria, Yarmouth
Tel. country park: 0 1983 823 893; aquarium: 0 1983 760 283; planetarium: 0 1983 761 555
Web: Fort Victoria Country Park

Isle of Wight Bus Museum
The Quay, Newport
Tel. 0 1983 533 352
Web: Isle of Wight Bus Museum

Mottistone Manor Garden
Tel. 0 1983 741 302

Museum of Island History
Guildhall, High Street, Newport
Tel. 0 1983 813 813

Museum of Smuggling History
Botanic Garden, Ventnor
Tel. 0 1983 853 677

Needles Old Battery and New Battery (NT)
West High down, Alum Bay, south-west coast
Tel. 0 1983 754 772

Newtown National Nature Reserve
Tel. 0 1983 741 020

Old Town Hall (NT)
Tel. 01983 531 785

Osborne House (EH)
On the A3021 from the ferry at East Cowes
Tel. 0 1983 20022

Seaview Wildlife Encounter (Flamingo Park)
Oakhill Rd, Springvale, Seaview
Tel. 0 1983 612 153
Web: Seaview Wildlife Encounter

Shipwreck and Maritime Museum
Arreton Barns Craft Village, Arreton
Tel. 0 1983 533 079

St Michaels Church
For photos and more information see our article St Michaels church

St Nicholas Chapel (EH)
Carisbrooke Castle, Carisbrooke
Tel. NA

St Olave Church
For photos and more information see our article St Olave Church

Ventor Botanic Garden
Undercliff Dr, Ventor, lof the A3055
Tel. 0 983 855 397

Yarmouth Castle (EH)
Yarmouth, next to car ferry terminal
Tel. 01983 760 678

Isle of Wight Tourist Information Centres

9 The Arcade
Cowes, PO31 7AR

Tel. 0 1983 813 818

The Guildhall, High Street
Newport, PO30 1TY
Email: Island Breaks
Tel. 0 1983 813 818

81-83 Union Street
Ryde, PO33 2LW
Email: Island Breaks
Tel. 0 1983 813 818

8 High Street, Sandown, PO36 8DG
Tel. 0 1983 813 818
Email: Island Breaks

67 High Street, Shanklin, PO37 6JJ
Tel. 0 1983 813 818

Salisbury Gardens, Dudley Rd, Ventor

The Quay, Yarmouth, PO41 4PQ
Tel. 0 1983 813 818
Email: Island Breaks

Transportation to the Island

Red Funnel
Wight Link
Hover Travel

Isle of Wight Council: Isle of Wight Council
Isle of Wight Tourism: Island Breaks

Photos courtesy Hampshire Cam and Barbara Ballard

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Some of our Isle of Wight Articles
Church of St Peter and St Paul
Shalfleet Church
Church of St George
St Olave’s Church
Wildlife Trust Reserves
Bembridge Windmill
Appuldurcombe House
All Saints Church, Calbourne
St Peter’s Church, Shorwell
Other England Articles

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