This holiday was unbelievably seven years in the making. Back in 2010, I surprised Bobby with a short break to Cowes for his 30th and, on that trip, we vowed we’d take his dad for his 60th.
Our home for the week was Woodside Bay Retreat, Hoseasons. We were really well placed – close enough to Red Ferry Funnel crossing to reach the island and yet it was still a quiet location. The big draws for us was Woodside Bay’s private beaches and our jacuzzi. You can read more about our lodge here.
We had a loose itinerary of where we wanted to go, what we wanted to see and reacted to the weather day by day. If you live in the UK, or even holiday here, you’ll know that we can quite literally experience four seasons in one day – even in the height of summer!
Our holiday was a the perfect combination of beautiful beaches and local attractions.
Our favourite beaches were Shanklin, Seaview, Bembridge and St Helens, Yarmouth, Compton Bay and Ventnor – each for different reasons.
Ventnor has always been one of our favourites villages. The homes are predominately Victorian and Palladian in style, nestled amongst a lush green backdrop. We ran out of time this holiday but previously we’ve enjoyed afternoon tea at The Royal in Ventnor – it’s charming. We also highly recommend the very friendly people at Lady Scarlett’s who have a quaint post war cafe at the beach. The beach itself is a mix of sand and stones which was perfect for my family of beachcombers!
I’d read that Queen Victoria’s physician recommended the purity of the air in Ventnor. Karl Marx was reported to have visited for the same reason!
Shanklin is a traditional seaside beach lined with attractions and places to eat. Whilst you can park in any one of the car parks at the bottom of the cliff, we parked in the town and navigated through Shanklin Chine. It is a naturally occurring tree lined gorge that delivers you out on to a golden sandy Shanklin beach.
We caught a downpour and Stanley said he was in a rainforest!
Yarmouth was a firm favourite for my sailing enthusiast father-in-law. It is a beautiful bustling village fishing port. We walked down the pier and did a spot of ‘rock pooling’ on the beach.
Compton Bay was so much fun. This recommendation came via the Isle of Wight website. It’s located west of the Island and has a two mile stretch of sand. It’s a National Trust beach and you climb down some steep steps to get to the sand. Stanley loved it! But what he found most exciting was the field with cows at the top of the cliff. He has no fear and even ran over to stroke them! We missed the dinosaur fossils that are visible in low tide. Not that it mattered, as Stanley found plenty of his own questionable ‘fossils’!
Seaview is a beautiful fishing village. Stanley sat watching the big boys jumping off the rocks and swimming together when the tide was in. When the sun broke through the clouds, the way it lit the rocks was filmic. We bought a few ice-creams, found ourselves a bench and observed the boats and that spectacular ‘Seaview’.
The Isle of Wighte really is an ideal destination for a family.
Read Part Two to learn about our tourist attraction highlights.
For further information visit the Isle of Wight tourist board.
Words and photography by Fiona Burrage.