Our Reading friends, Kim and Ivor, have been extolling the virtues of The Isle of Wight for many years, as they stay there frequently, so on our return to London we had arranged a three day stay with them on the island. The European trip exceeded expectation in so many ways, and so did the Isle of Wight – we absolutely loved it!
We took the car ferry from Southampton and since it was rather chilly, Kim and I chose to keep warm by staying inside, but the boys braved most of the hour-long journey up on deck …
We weren’t able to check into our B&B until 4pm, so we set off on a bit of sightseeing, heading towards Godsill where we were booked in at the Taverners Pub for lunch. Ivor insisted that Phil should try the Steak and Ale pie (with suet pastry) – he was right, it was delicious!
After lunch we had time to explore the village – it is pretty and the C14th All Saints Church was a real delight. It is famous for the Lily Cross painted on one of the walls – it depicts Christ crucified on a Lily rather than a cross – sadly I neglected to photograph it. Members of the Worsley family are memorialised on the interior church walls.
We continued our drive around the island, stopping off at the windswept Southern Coast to take in the amazing view of the Jurassic shoreline.
Kim chose Caledon Guest House as our base. It is beautifully restored Victorian B&B within walking distance of Cowes town. Our room had a fabulous view right out to the sea. It was comfortable and well-presented and the owners, Mark and Andrea, are warm, welcoming and obliging. We asked to tweak some of the things on the breakfast menu and it was no problem at all.
We decided to walk to our first dinner, which was at The Little Gloster, on the seafront near Gurnard Beach, just 15 minutes away. We sat outside for pre-dinner drinks – the view was fabulous but is was a little chilly – no matter, blankets are provided! We moved inside for our meal and our waitress was brilliant. Knowledgable about the dishes and wines, she gave us timely and unobtrusive service. As for the meal? It was superb!
After the meal, we walked down to Gurnard Beach and watched the setting sun.
On our return to Caledon Guest House we walked through Northwood Park in the twilight, passing an historic site along the way…
The next day, after a lovely breakfast, we wandered into Cowes to have coffee before we crossed the tidal river to East Cowes via the Chain Ferry (floating bridge). While we had arrived on the island in style – courtesy of Ivor’s sleek new BMW, – we decided that a good way to get around the island would be with a 48-hour bus pass and this was a perfect choice. We managed to get on the top deck in the front seat a couple of times – perfect for taking photos. Once on the bus, we bought our passes and set off for Osborne House – what a great privilege to be in the summer retreat of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
The grounds of Osborne House are expansive and beautifully kept. After looking around the garden close to the house, we wandered off down to the private beach, which sadly was plagued with what looked like large sandflies. Those wearing bright clothing or plain white, seemed to be targeted (me) and it made the beach visit a little unpleasant, though the stroll down to the beach was lovely.
Our next stop was Swiss Cottage – the chalet-style playhouse built in the 1850’s to allow the Royal children a private space for play and where they learned cooking and gardening skills.
Our last stop was the pretty walled garden…
We left Osborne House to catch the bus back into Cowes, returning to Caledon Guest House to freshen up before a picturesque bus ride to have dinner at The Hut in Colwell Bay…
Next post – part 2