Pocket Rough Guide British Breaks Isle of Wight (Travel Guide eBook)
127 pages
English

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Pocket Rough Guide British Breaks Isle of Wight (Travel Guide eBook)

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127 pages
English

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Description

Pocket Rough Guide Isle of Wight

Make the most of your time in Great Britain with the ultimate travel guides.
Entertaining, informative and stylish pocket guide.

Discover the best of the Isle of Wight with this compact and entertaining pocket travel guide. This slim, trim treasure trove of trustworthy travel information is ideal for short-trip travellers and covers all the key sights (Osborne House, The Needles, Shanklin Old Village), restaurants, shops, cafés and bars, plus inspired ideas for day-trips, with honest and independent recommendations from our experts.

Features of this travel guide to the Isle of Wight:
- Compact format: packed with practical information, this is the perfect travel companion when you're out and about exploring the Isle of Wight
- Honest and independent reviews: written with Rough Guides' trademark blend of humour, honesty and expertise, our writers will help you make the most of your trip
- Incisive area-by-area overviews: covering Ryde, Cowes, Shanklin, Yarmouth, Ventnor and more, the practical 'Places' section provides all you need to know about must-see sights and the best places to eat, drink and shop
- Time-saving itineraries: carefully planned routes will help inspire and inform your on-the-road experiences
- Day-trips: venture further afield to Bonchurch or Freshwater Bay. This tells you why to go, how to get there, and what to see when you arrive
- Travel tips and info: packed with essential pre-departure information including getting around, health, tourist information, festivals and events, plus an A-Z directory
- Attractive user-friendly design: features fresh magazine-style layout, inspirational colour photography and colour-coded maps throughout
- Covers: Cowes and around, Newport and around, Ryde and around, the east coast, the south coast, Ventnor and around, Brighstone to Alum Bay, Yarmouth and around

Looking for a comprehensive travel guide to England? Try The Rough Guide to England for an informative and entertaining look at all the country has to offer.

About Rough Guides: Rough Guides have been inspiring travellers for over 35 years, with over 30 million copies sold. Synonymous with practical travel tips, quality writing and a trustworthy 'tell it like it is' ethos, the Rough Guides list includes more than 260 travel guides to 120+ destinations, gift-books and phrasebooks.


Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 01 novembre 2020
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781789196764
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 16 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0018€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Exrait

Contents
Introduction to Isle of Wight
When to visit
What’s new
Where to…
15 Things not to miss
Itinerary: Day one on the Isle of Wight
Itinerary: Day two on the Isle of Wight
Itinerary: Family island
Itinerary: Budget island
Itinerary: Walking the island
Itinerary: Rainy day island
Places
Cowes and around
Newport and around
Ryde and around
The east coast
The south coast
Ventnor to Blackgang
Brighstone to Alum Bay
Yarmouth and around
Further afield
Accommodation
Essentials
Arrival
Getting around
Directory A–Z
Festivals and events
Chronology
Small Print


Introduction to Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight lies a short distance from the south coast of England, and measures just 23 miles at its widest point. It’s long been hailed as a charming spot, almost as if it were anchored in the past: you only have to visit the likes of Shanklin’s thatched cottages or Godshill’s quaint tearooms to appreciate this. Yet there’s a liveliness that roars through the wind and over the headland with its lively watersports scene, bracing clilfftop trails and waymarked cycling routes. Needless to say it’s an idyllic spot for walking and cycling, helped by the fact that there are no motorways on the island. With a tempting selection of restaurants and many independently run businesses, it attracts a variety of crowds who really want to make the most of this diamond-shaped island. 





Stone house on Winkle Street, Calbourne
Shutterstock
The island has always been a popular holiday spot: Queen Victoria’s physician recommended Ventnor for its therapeutic climate; the romantic poet Lord Tennyson enjoyed strolling across the downs near Freshwater; and Queen Victoria made Osborne House her permanent residence after Albert died. There were other visits from the likes of Charles Dickens, Julia Margaret Cameron and John Keats, and that’s only rounding off the 19th century. The places they enjoyed are still frequented by visitors today, highlighting the pull the island has on ‘mainlanders’ (those visiting from mainland England) and further afield. Most people are drawn in by the island’s beaches, which range from popular Ryde on the north coast to Compton Bay on the south coast, and plenty more sprinkled in between. Freshwater and Alum Bay on the west coast is home to the Needles, whose stunning landscape makes it a must-see on anyone’s itinerary. 




Freshwater Bay
Shutterstock


When to visit
The Isle of Wight, along with the rest of the south of England, generally sees more hours of sunshine than the rest of the country. The island enjoys a relatively mild climate all year round – Ventnor even has its own micro-climate, thanks to its sheltered Undercliff – but the summer period (May to September) is generally regarded as the best time to visit. This high season is when the island is at its liveliest, with the majority of the island’s big-hitter festivals and events taking place. The cooler Autumn months is a better bet for those looking to tackle any long walks, cycles or hikes. Don’t be put off by visiting in the winter, though, as the crisp, bright days give you clear views, the crowds are much fewer, there are more accommodation options (usually at lower rates) and there’s plenty of cosy pubs with crackling fires for you to warm up in. Spring is a great time to visit with nature and wildlife in full spring, and you can enjoy the perks of the high-season without the prices or the crowds. Note that school holidays are popular times for escapes to the island.
That said, the Isle of Wight is more than simply a bucket-and-spades destination. There’s an abundance of history to take in, and in some parts it feels like not much has changed at all. You can appreciate this at numerous heritage centres across the island or see it first-hand for yourself at the likes of Yarmouth Castle, Old St Boniface Church and Bembridge Windmill. Chatting with the islanders (or ‘nammets’ as they call themselves, an old slang word used to describe a snack to eat when working in the fields) is another way to learn about the island’s fascinating history on a local level, from tiger cub walks along Sandown beach to that Isle of Wight Festival and countless childhood stories retold at Bonchurch Museum.
Of course, seafood features on many a menu, with offerings of fresh Bembridge crab scrawled across blackboards outside cafés and various fish caught locally and freshly cooked. You can eat out well on the Isle of Wight, with the majority of places very reasonably priced.




Yarmouth marina
iStock
The island has long been associated as one of the best places in Europe for dinosaur discoveries, where Cretaceous-age fossils date as far back as 136 million years ago – head to Compton Bay and at low tide you can spot dinosaur footprints. There are also many informative tours and walks led by experts, so you can suss out your flint from your fossils.
Even if the weather isn’t on your side, there are plenty of weather-reliant things to do aside from beaches and walks: there’s a zoo, copious museums, a dinosaur theme park and a steam railway. National Trust and English Heritage sites are well represented across the island – from Osborne House to Newtown Old Town Hall – you should also make time to visit the chocolate-box towns of Brighstone, Yarmouth and Godshill. While many enjoy visiting the Isle of Wight as a day-trip from the mainland, to really give it justice, give yourself a weekend – or up to a week, preferably – to make the most of this underrated island. We promise you won’t regret it. 


What’s new
In 2019, the Isle of Wight received UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status. This means it is now regarded as one of the best places in the world for managed landscapes, where human impact has not taken anything away from the landscape and wildlife. It is just one of seven places in the UK to bear this internationally renowned status, and undoubtedly will promote itself for further sustainability projects. 


Where to…

Shop
There are few chain brands on the island, with the majority of shops being independent or family-based. There are weekly markets and delicatessens, small boutiques and a few high-street friendlies. Cowes caters to a large sailing crowd, so you’ll find specialist stockists such as Musto, Henri Lloyd, Regatta, while Newport has a few more recognisable names. Ventnor is undergoing something of a quirky revolution with its vinyl record shops, vintage clothing boutiques and retro-culture stores, and some shops sell purely island-made products, which is a great way to showcase how much the island has to offer. Wine, gin, cheese, mustard, passata, garlic… the list goes on. 
OUR FAVOURITES: Reggie’s Retro, click here . Cavanagh & Baker, click here . Beachcomber, click here .
Eat
Perhaps it goes without saying that the island’s main cuisine is seafood-based. From seabass and sole to monkfish and mullet, many restaurants pride themselves on sourcing the local catch and cooking it fresh. It’s well worth feasting on much of the island’s own produce, which can be enjoyed as part of a picnic or an item to take away. There aren’t many international eateries here but there are certainly a few Italian and French restaurants that are noteworthy, and there are more vegan- and allergy-tolerant spots cropping up. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with the pub classics, from beer-battered cod to island-steak pies. 
OUR FAVOURITES: Michelangelo, click here . Gastronomy, click here . The Smoking Lobster, click here .
Drink
There are lots of pubs dotted around the island; cosy fisherman-type pubs that make for perfect stops at the end of a long, windy walk or to take in the breathtaking coastal- and Solent-views. On the island is Island Roasted Coffee, Goddard’s Brewery, Rosemary’s Vineyard and the Isle of Wight Distillery; you can visit the majority of these as part of a tour with tastings, otherwise you can purchase their products from various shops or order from coffee shops, pubs and restaurants alike.
OUR FAVOURITES: Isle of Wight Distillery, click here . Caffè Isola, click here . The Old Fort, click here .
Go out
Nightlife will never be what the island is famed for: bars and nightclubs are few, but what they lack here they certainly make up for in abundance with their pubs. This is arguably the best way to get under the surface of Isle of Wight culture, with the island well-renowned for its variety of fantastic live music. This may be where you’ll find many of the locals; in fact, some evenings you could stroll along a silent high street until you pass a small cove of a pub where all the noise – and people – are contained.
OUR FAVOURITES: The Anchor, click here . The Bugle Inn, click here . The Village Inn, click here .


15 Things not to miss

It’s not possible to see everything the Isle of Wight has to offer in one trip – and we don’t suggest you try. What follows is a selective taste of the island’s highlights, from quaint pubs and intriguing, historic architecture to family-fun activities and bracing, windswept walks. 





Osborne House
For more information, click here
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s family home, an Italianate Renaissance-style villa that makes for a fun day out.
Shutterstock




Garlic Farm
For more information, click here
Spend a morning learning all about garlic (yes, really) by going on a farm tour, before rewarding yourself with a scoop of garlic ice cream afterwards.
Shutterstock




Robin Hill Country Park
For more information, click here
Tackle a treetop trail, wiggle down a toboggan ride and be wowed at the falconry displays in the 88 acres of woods here.
Shutterstock




Brading Roman Villa
For more information, click here
This impressive villa features incredible mosaics set in a modern museum, where you can learn all about British Roman life during the fourth century.
Alamy




Bonchurch
For more information, click here
Delightful village of thatched cottages and Victorian villas, once popular with many Victorian literary icons including Dickens and Keats.
iStock




Blackgang Chine
For more information, click here
Old-fashioned theme park perched on the clifftop; better suited for younger-years, but love it or hate it, it’s an island rite of passage.
Shutterstock




The Needles
For more information, click here
Take the chairlift down from the clifftop over Alum Bay to take in the island’s iconic landmark in all its brilliant-white glory.
www.visitisleofwight.co.uk




Tennyson Down
For more information, click here
Beautiful stretch of rolling downs that can be enjoyed as part of a long or shorter walk, and pause by the Tennyson Monument at the top.
iStock




Isle of Wight Distillery
For more information, click here
Sip a Mermaid Gin and tonic while listening to an informal talk about the island’s own gin distillery at this laidback pub-bar.
Alamy




Shanklin Old Village
For more information, click here
Pink-washed pubs, low thatched cottages, homely pubs with Old English charm… there’s no denying that Shanklin is one of the quaintest spots on the island.
iStock




St Catherine’s Point
For more information, click here
With its standout lighthouse and medieval tower, there’s plenty of maritime history to take in here, with guided tours available.
iStock




The Anchor
For more information, click here
Head to this premier live music spot on the island on a Wednesday, Friday or Saturday night for a fun evening of fab jazz, rock or blues.
Alamy




Steam Railway
For more information, click here
All aboard this heritage railway, which rolls through five miles of picturesque countryside from Smallbrook Junction in Ryde to Wootton Common.
www.visitisleofwight.co.uk




Yarmouth Castle
For more information, click here
Once the island’s main port, the castle was King Henry VIII’s last coastal defence and today boasts superb views over the estuary.
iStock




Coastal walks
For more information, click here
There are plenty of coastal trails to enjoy at any time of the year, that wrap around various parts of the island with unique vistas.
www.visitisleofwight.co.uk


Itinerary: Day one on the Isle of Wight

Floating Bridge. For more information, click here . Take the minute-long chain ferry (or floating bridge) from West to East Cowes, which saves you an 11-mile round trip by road.




Osbourne House
Shutterstock
Osborne House. For more information, click here . Spend the best part of the morning exploring the grounds here, which include landscaped gardens, staterooms, family rooms, a beach and the smaller Swiss Cottage.


Lunch. For more information, click here . Take the bus outside Osborne House to Newport, and stop for a baguette and a slice of cake at The Blue Door . 




Carisbrooke Castle
iStock
Carisbrooke Castle. For more information, click here . This Norman keep now houses a museum, Edwardian-style gardens and 16th-century well-house, as well as resident donkeys.




Garlic Farm
www.visitisleofwight.co.uk
Garlic Farm. For more information, click here . Venture a little outside of Newport, if just to pause for a breather at the popular on-site café.


Dinner. For more information, click here . Sample one of Cowes’ best restaurants at Gastronomy , with their small sharing plates (halloumi fries, calamari) or larger mains (steaks, mushroom courgetti).
Real ale. For more information, click here . Take a post-dinner stroll along to The Vectis Tavern, Pier Vue or The Anchor for a nightcap.


Itinerary: Day two on the Isle of Wight





Yarmouth Pier
iStock
Yarmouth Pier. For more information, click here . Start the day with a walk along the pier, then head back to the square to pack for a picnic at the nearby deli.




The Needles
Shutterstock
The Needles. For more information, click here . Hike along the cliff tops to marvel at the three chalk stacks that once connected the island to the mainland.
Old & New Battery. For more information, click here . Continue round to take in Victorian coastal defence fort, underground rooms and original cannon guns.


Lunch. Tuck into island-sourced grub on one of the picnic tables or spread out a blanket on the grass.
Tennyson Down. For more information, click here . Follow the trail along to Freshwater Bay, a route the poet frequently took and became a familiar sight in his long, black cloak. 




Dimbola Lodge
www.visitisleofwight.co.uk
Dimbola Lodge. For more information, click here . Take a respite in the tearoom before wandering through the rooms showcasing Victorian Julia Margaret Cameron’s photography and Isle of Wight festival exhibitions. 


Dinner. For more information, click here . The Bugle Inn serves well-earned pub grub in a stylish setting, and if the weather’s nice, enjoy a sundowner outside on the terrace.


Itinerary: Family island

The island is a perfect destination for families and large groups, and there’s plenty of self-catering accommodation; below is a range of recommended activities and sights worth checking out.





Ryde seafront
iStock
Ryde. For more information, click here . Kids can frolic on the beach, go wild at the funfair or even go tree-climbing. There’s plenty of beachfront eating spots to wind down (or get through) the day with, too.
Blackgang Chine. For more information, click here . Entertaining theme park in a great location; most of the rides are suited for under-12s.
West Wight Alpacas. For more information, click here . Spend the day visiting alpacas, llamas, rabbits and more at this farm near Yarmouth, where kids can also feed the lambs. 




Isle of Wight Zoo
Shutterstock
Isle of Wight Zoo. For more information, click here . Watch the keepers feed the animals, listen to an informative talk and check out the well-cared for Big Cats, monkeys and reptiles.




Dinosaur Isle
Shutterstock
Dinosaur Isle. For more information, click here . Learn all about the island’s fascinating dinosaur history with life-sized replicas and informative displays, and get hands on with a guided fossil walk.
Robin Hill Country Park. For more information, click here . Loads of themed play areas that are well-suited to various age groups; activities include zip wires, a maze and falconry displays. 


Itinerary: Budget island

Uninterrupted sea views aren’t a luxury on the island; just lace up a pair of trainers and head out for the best views. 

Heritage Centres . For more information, click here or click here . There are heritage centres dotted around the island; most are by donation only and are a great way to learn about the local history.




Donkey Sanctuary
Shutterstock
Donkey Sanctuary. For more information, click here . With over a hundred donkeys and ponies, this sanctuary provides great care for the animals – and it’s free.




Rosemary Vineyard
Shutterstock
Rosemary Vineyard. For more information, click here . See the winemaking process, take a guided tour and stroll around the vines, all free of charge. 




Coastal walk
www.visitisleofwight.co.uk
Coastal walks. Enjoy routes from Colwell to Totland (for more information, click here ), Ryde to Seaview (for more information, click here ) or along Ventnor Esplanade (for more information, click here ). Round it off with a cone of chips on the beach.


Picnics. Do your bit for the local community and stock up on local produce for when you’re halfway across the headlands and there’s not a café in sight.
Steam Railway. For more information, click here . A full-day unlimited ticket sees you explore the pretty countryside, themed train stations and get half-price entry to the Bird of Prey Centre.


Itinerary: Walking the island

The Isle of Wight is one of the most popular destinations for walkers across the country, with well-signposted coastal routes providing amazing views in almost every direction. You can break these routes up over a few days to take in the neighbouring towns and villages. Covering north to east, west to south and other routes, here are some of the best walking routes on the island.

Cowes to Yarmouth: Start your route in West Cowes along Media Road; after Thorness Bay you’ll wind slightly further inland to Locksgreen and Shalfleet before returning to the coast at Hamsted. The trail leads onto Yarmouth, where this route ends. This is a 16-mile (26km) gentle route with slight inclines.




Coastal path near Compton Bay
Shutterstock
Yarmouth to Brighstone: This route winds you past The Needles, the island’s most iconic sight, in all its ridged-chalk glory. Once you turn the corner, the English Channel will swing into view – you’re now on the south of the island – before finishing up at Brighstone Village. This is a 14-mile (23km) route with steep sections.




Woodland path near Sandown
Shutterstock
Sandown to Ryde: This route takes in the buckets-and-spade favourites on the island, starting at Sandown Pier, around to Bembridge Harbour and up through plush Seaview before Portsmouth on the mainland swings into view and it’s straight on to Ryde. This is a 12-mile (19km) route that is a fairly gentle route.




Cowes Floating Bridge
Shutterstock
Ryde to East Cowes: For the most historic walk, pick this one, which sees you take in abbey ruins, Osbourne House and the Royal Yacht Squadron, one of the oldest sailing clubs in the world. Starting at lively Ryde, you’ll travel a little inland to cross over Wootton Bridge, before passing by Whippingham – near where Osborne House is – and then coming up to East Cowes, where you can take the floating ferry back across to West Cowes. This is a 8-mile (13km) route that is an easy route with gentle slopes.


Itinerary: Rainy day island

You don’t have to time your visit with the summer months. In fact, visiting in the off-season or even on a grey day means less crowds and more options. Covering castles to museums and theatres in between, here’s how to make the best of the Isle of Wight on a rainy day.





The Durbar Room at Osborne House
English Heritage
Osborne House. For more information, click here . While away the best part of a morning exploring the spectacular interiors of Queen Victoria’s family home, which include the Indian-decorated Durbar Room, exotic hothouses, nursery rooms and royal bathrooms.


Time for tea. From spacious coffee shops to twee tearooms, there are plenty of places worth stopping off at for afternoon tea, a slice of cake or island-roasted coffee. Get your caffeine fix at Newport’s Caffe Isola (for more information, click here ) or don your best floral print in Shanklin’s Old Thatch Tearoom (for more information, click here ).




Shanklin Theatre
Shutterstock
Shanklin Theatre. For more information, click here . Year-round productions are held in this Victorian-age theatre, just back from the high street and a 10min walk from the Old Village. There’s something for everyone here, from tribute acts and comedy shows to opera performances and history talks with the likes of Lucy Worsley, and wilderness tales with Ben Fogle.
Brighstone Village Museum. For more information, click here . Get to grips with life in 19th century Isle of Wight – from schooldays to employment – with a visit to this small museum, housed in a traditional rural cottage owned by the National Trust.




Brading Roman Villa
User Nilfanion at Wikimedia Commons
Brading Roman Villa. For more information, click here . This award-winning museum provides a detailed insight into life in Roman Britain; check out the mosaic floors, well-preserved archeology and designated craft areas, breathing life into a time long-gone.


Places





Beautiful coastlines
www.visitisleofwight.co.uk


Cowes and around

Cowes sits at the northern tip of the island and is the first port of call for most visitors. This little town is bisected by the River Medina, with lively West Cowes connected to sleepy East Cowes by a floating chain bridge. West Cowes is a haven for yachties and as such is slightly the more interesting half, though East Cowes is home to Osborne House – Queen Victoria’s holiday home and later permanent residence – which is arguably the biggest tourist attraction on the entire island. West Cowes is one of the most upmarket areas on the island, its narrow streets ladled with boutique shops, historic pubs and smart restaurants.

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