Stay at home: Isle of Wight

Fossil-rich cliffs, a Literary Heroes Trail and great restaurants are among the island's many attractions

Monday, April 8, 2019,
By Mark Rowe
Freshwater Bay and chalk cliffs of Tennyson Down, Isle of Wight
Freshwater Bay and chalk cliffs of Tennyson Down, Isle of Wight
Photograph by Getty

Why go

The Isle of Wight's many sandy coves and bays remain a magnet for the bucket-and-spade brigade. But a growing number of farm shops and restaurants, showcasing local food and wine, have broadened its appeal.

Where to stay

Located in Seaview — a picturesque village on the northeast coast, five minutes from a sandy beach with rockpools — Raleigh Cottage sleeps six and has all the mod cons you'll need, plus a decked dining area.

We like

Walking up Tennyson Down, a dramatic coastal ridge with thrilling views of The Needles, the island's landmark chalk sea stacks. Another great walking spot is the River Yar's saltmarshes, mudflats and reed beds, a mecca for ornithologists. The Isle of Wight Coastal Path, meanwhile, includes 67 trails that take visitors past beaches and beauty spots across the island.

What to do

As well as an epic coastline, traces of the island's history abound, including Carisbrooke Castle — with its motte and bailey — and Brading Roman Villa. Interesting museums include Dinosaur Isle (fossils are easier to find here than on the Jurassic Coast).

Don't miss

Farringford House, the former home of Alfred, Lord Tennyson. This exquisite, turreted Georgian country pile offers a poignant insight into the life of the Victorian poet. Farringford is on the island's new Literary Heroes Trail, which links sites across the island associated with writers and poets who lived or sojourned here, including Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll and Jane Austen.

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Published in the Jan/Feb 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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