A’s Favourite London Getaway–Isle of Wight

In this blog we try to capture all the great things London has to offer; however, as many British people will tell you London is not the whole of England (with well deserved emphasis!).  Both C and I try to get out and see what else England has to offer when we get the chance, hop on a train (in my instance usually very last minute planning as well) and head in any direction.  Between the two of us we have seen a respectable amount of ‘outside London England’ and to capture this I’m going to highlight my favourite little getaway:  The Isle of Wight.

Cowes

Cowes

(Also look for our future blog post on Cambridge vs. Oxford in the near or possibly distant future)

From London it is fairly easy to get to either Southampton or Portsmouth.  Your destination really depends on what part of the Isle you wish to end up at with the ferry.  Yes, ferries are involved–one of my favourite forms of transportation (I’ll even take the long car ferry when I’m a foot passenger just to be on the boat longer).  Portsmouth takes you to the main city Ryde while Southampton will take you to Cowes–The Yachting Centre of the World (or so says the sign in Cowes–I like to believe it though).

Cowes Ferry

Cowes Ferry

Ryde looks very much like Brighton with its town spreading up the surface of a hill with the gorgeous white buildings making the town look very coastal, just as it should be.  There is a beach and plenty of restaurants and shops to keep you entertained for an afternoon or an evening.  Also, many of the Isle’s buses go through Ryde making it an easy starting point to get to the rest of the Isle.

High Street

High Street

Sailing

Sailing

Cowes, as I mentioned before is a Yacht haven.  If you are at all familiar with coastal New England you will find many similarities that you will enjoy.  Everything in this small town with an easily walkable high street is nautical themed.  Almost every clothing shop is nautical-based and you will find all your popular sailing outfitters like Henri Lloyd, Gill, Mausto (there even use to be a Helly Hansen but I either can’t find it anymore or it has closed).  Also lining the street are cafes, restaurants and pubs where you’ll see signs offering crew packed lunches (C didn’t understand this, so for non-sailors, this means a packed lunch for a sailing crew when they go out all day. Sort of like picnic. For sailors. Less fancy).  The best part about Cowes is that you can wander into the yacht yards and look at all the boats on dry dock (again, for the sailing-stupid as A shakes her head as if this is common knowledge, this means boats not in water but propped up on land so you can walk among them). You can also get great views of water from these yards.  If you really want to see some boat racing I would recommend going for Cowes Week which this year takes place 1-8 August.   I’ve never been but I’m hoping this year I’ll head down to check out the activities.  I can only imagine how crazy Cowes will be during this event.  From Cowes you can also walk along the esplanade and the beach.  If you wanted to you can just keep on walking around the Isle.  Check out this site for walking tips.

Boat in Dry Dock

Boat in Dry Dock

 

Boat from the Ferry

Boat from the Ferry

 

My other favourite part about the Isle of Wight is the Needles.  The Needles are this rock formation of the point heading west into the channel.  It is a very picturesque and you can either take the bus to the top of the cliffs or take a chair lift down to the beach.  I did the bus route and you can get a great side view from above (see photo).  However, there should also be boat tours as well that will take you around the sights.

The Needles

The Needles

There are plenty of other things to do on the Isle and many little towns spreading across its length.  Check out the Isle of Wight’s tourism page to see what you can do.  If you are also into music go to the Isle of Wight festival.  This was made famous back in 1969  when Bob Dylan played with backing from the Band.  People just camp out on the Isle like ever other festival in England.

Don’t miss the Osbourne House, an English Heritage site near East Cowes that was essentially Queen Victoria’s posh getaway by the sea.

 

Osbourne House

Osbourne House

 

Sailors

Sailors

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