Tuesday, 3 August 2010

All the Sights of the Isle of Wight

So here is my final post about our holiday to the lovely Isle of Wight, just a hop, skip and a jump from the mainland. A pretty bumper post it is too, before we get back to real life posting. When we weren't enjoying our time at our funky holiday home, we were out and about exploring.

What a joy that the weather was kind enough to allow us a chance to visit the seaside. You are certainly never very far from the coast on the island so on our very first day, off we set in search of the sea. We read our various guide books and the comments left by previous visitors to the trailer and headed off the beaten track for Steephill Cove, just along the coast from its more well known cousin, Ventnor.

You park your car in a very narrow makeshift car park at the side of the road, don't park here unless you are confident of your manoeuvres! We trekked down some very steep and narrow steps indeed but we were well rewarded when we finally reached the Cove at the bottom. As we made our way to the beach, I couldn't help stopping to nose at the many lovely traditional seaside-y sights.

Ah, so we needn't have carried our own deck chairs down after all...

This is a very good restaurant (The Boathouse) which is always booked up well in advance. The main restaurant is upstairs but this area is reserved for families so that they can run to and fro to the beach.

Jolly paint and stripes are most definitely the order of the day here.

In very patriotic colours, yes indeed.

Many of the properties along the beach are holiday rentals.

Ah, here it is, says the Munchkin. Sea!

Crikey but it is cold! The Munchkin goes right in for a swim but I am more keen on the look of the deck chairs!

The boys get active with a spot of beach cricket. I join them but frankly, they are not in my league (hee hee!)

After ten minutes of beach cricket, us old fogies had had it so we repaired to our chairs for a snooze in the sun - now where did we put that knotted hanky - while the munchkin got on with some serious construction.

We had a fabulous lunch of freshly cooked crab pasties, eaten right there on the rocks of the beach. Bliss! All that could have made it better was a chilled glass of something white and alcoholic.

I mooched on along the cove, seduced by the gaily painted cafe.

Well, it would have been rude not to sample the local produce...

Reluctantly, late afternoon, we heaved ourselves out of our chairs and panted our way up the hill to the car. We decided to venture into Ventnor where sadly, most of the shops were shut (there is still half day closing on the Isle of Wight and quite a few shops keep their own "unique" opening times!) From a distant view, Ventnor appeared to have an attractive beach too. No, Munchkin, we are not going back to the beach!

Because we're errrm, going here. Golly, how did we happen upon this shop?

Now being the sort of girl who always reads the room notes and escape route info in hotels, I had spotted the words "vintage shop" a mile off in Helen and Fraser's guide back in the Airstream. Imagine my dismay to arrive and find that Suze's Room was shut too. But fear not my dears, there was a note on the door with a mobile number and ten minutes later as if by magic, as Mr Benn would say, the shopkeeper appeared!

Check out that carpet!

I enjoyed a good old natter with Debby and ogled the shop's yummy wares, eventually plumping for a gorgeous vintage teapot and polka dot cup and saucer.

Next day, we set off for the lavender farm but what a great big fat disappointment this place was!

It looked like they'd rather let the surrounding gardens and fields go with the exception of this one area which was indeed very pretty. I was so disappointed though, when we went to the "nursery" to find not only were all the lavender plants for sale really tiny but none of the varieties we'd selected as desirable from the "show" garden were available.

Provence it ain't!

With glee, the boys realise we can make haste to our next destination. Honestly, lavender gardens!

Yes, there is a still a working steam railway on the island and I must admit, a very quaint one it is, too.

The coaches are beautifully restored and we jump on for a ride.

We pass dinky brightly painted signal boxes with glorious rolling fields behind...

...and stop at lovely little country stations.

Next day, we venture to the village of Godshill which is renowned for being very picturesque with cute thatched cottages. Despite the clouds, we are not disappointed.

There are indeed quite a few shops all housed in the promised thatched cottages. This one is a chocolate shop.

This is a touristy gift shop of which the Isle of Wight seems very fond!

Lovely country cottage gardens to go with them...

And one fabulous workspace! I was lured into this courtyard by these gorgeous gypsy caravans, indeed their owner tells me that's just why she put them there.

This is the studio of local painter, Nicola Gibbs, so local that the studio she built with reclaimed materials is just across the gypsy caravan courtyard from her home. Ok, I now need to paint my Den pink!

Lovely paintings...

Obviously, I also need some painted gypsy caravans outside my Den too! Just one more gratuitous shot, pretty please?

The prettiest part of Godshill is the walk up to the church at the top of the hill.

Simply beautiful cottages (several available for rent, maybe next time?)

The church is rather special, too.

Back down in the village we decide to amuse ourselves by going into the model village, Godshill in miniature!

Come on, Munchkin, we can't spend all day looking at the model railway!

We recognise some of the sights we've seen on our walk round the village, notably the pretty church and cottages on the hill. There is even church music playing.

The shops with stocked front windows are pretty cool! All the visiting children are mesmerised. And errm, me too.

This really was a great little place to visit, quite unexpectedly so, I must admit. The Munchkin was given a quiz on the way in which meant we really looked hard at every little nook and cranny in the model village and certainly had our £3.50 worth of entrance fee.

A model village within a model village? The mind boggles.

All too soon, it was our last day on the island and by the time we had packed up our belongings, we had a few hours until the ferry sailing and with an absolutely glorious blue sky overhead, we headed back to the coast, this time to Bembridge, renowned for its seafood and the perfectly situated Crab and Lobster Inn. We luckily found a table outside and treated ourselves to a slap up lunch of the finest fruits of the sea. With the chilled wine this time, oh yes!

Ah, we savoured every last minute of that magical view and breathed every last drop of that crisp sea air.

So what did we think of this little island holiday? Yes, I suppose that pretty much sums it up nicely, Munchkin!


  1. Thanks for posting about your trip and the lovely photos. I love that last one especially - it says it all. Oooh la la - envious of those pinky caravans!

  2. Ooh Hen...your post has put me in the holiday mood!..we've got to wait until September though :o(
    I remember visiting Godshill,it's so pretty with the thatched cottages.I took that picture too!

    Bellaboo ;o)

  3. It's a sort of Vintage Holiday sort of place isn't it Hen?
    I know when I went a few years ago the place seems to of stood still in time, That shop looked great, lucky you!

  4. Thanks for the snapshot of the Isle of Wight - we're off to Vintage Vacations next month so I'm excited to say the least. Don't know what to expect but I hope the weather's kind to us! x

  5. It looks like you chose a wonderful place to visit for your hols. I love that model village, so cute.

    Your photos are lovely so clear, really capturing the summery feel of it all.

    Sue xx

  6. Was drinking this all in as my mob are over on IoW this week for a holiday. Shall proffer some suggestions to them now I have some insider knowledge. Thanks.

  7. When we went we stayed at Bembrigde. I remember being on the beach on my own with two toddlers and a baby and abandoning our belongings because two rather large swans landed right next to us! Scarey!! And remember the railway too.
    Julie xxxxx

  8. Hi Hen
    You have painted a picture of an ideal holiday in England! The Vans looked amazing, and the ice-cream, your blogs on the Isle of Wight have been such fun!

  9. I always enjoy coming along with you for your holidays! Looks a great place the Isle of Wight; really pretty (love the thatched cottages - a chocolate box cottage that is a chocolate shop, you know I would love to bring those pictures back!). You seemed to find plenty to do and see. Imagine going back to half day closing though - now I don't think I would like that too much. Thanks for showing us all your pictures - really enjoyed them. Just need a lovely caravan or two in my titchy garden now!

  10. Isabelle (from France)3 August 2010 at 18:56

    Looks like my type of holiday! In less than 3 weeks, it will be me, hubby and our 3 girls near the sea in North Yorkshire, yipee! Thanks for the lovely pictures!
    Isabelle xx

  11. We've not been to Ventnor yet but after seeing your post we will have to pop along next time we are over there! We have stayed in Bembridge and think it is a lovely place and we enjoyed the model village a few years ago as well! You definately need to go back there is lots more to see!


  12. Looks like you all had a wondeful time. I adore the thatched cottages, I really want to go to the south of england for my holidays this year, I like to explore the rural countryside. Love following you on your travels and your crafting too.

    All things nice...

  13. What a lovely posting. Looked like you had a great time. I think the last time I went IOW I was 5 eeekkkk!!....hmmm! another visit beckons.

  14. There is a lot to see and do there for sure and looks like you all managed to pack a good deal in.
    Lisa x

  15. What a fab trip Hen. Your post redas and looks just like feature in Coast ought to do! I don't think you could have dragged me out of that lovely shop.

    I adore model villages, haven't been to one for years and years.

    Looks like you all had a wonderful time. Happy days!

  16. What a lovely time you had. Steephill cove is just perfect isn't it? We walked there through the Botanical gardens and spent the evening rock pooling.
    I'm glad you found Suzes Room. Does she still make beach robes from vintage towelling, and lampshades from 50's curtains?
    Your photos of Godshill are lovely - the houses are so pretty and wantable!

  17. This blog is like a fairy story about a family who 'once upon a time' went for a beautiful holiday and guess what they.......' I have had alovely 'holiday' this morning going to all these marvellous places with you, all of it needing comments but it woulkd take you all day to read my comments, love Aubrey

  18. Your post takes me back. I used to love going down to the Isle of Wight when I lived in London. Looks like you had the perfect holiday.

  19. Hen, it is always great fun to see these reports of your family's trips. I have to admit that I am little by little becoming a vintage railroad fan. The other lovely vintage spots are grand, but those railway stations and trains (both full size and model) are something very special.


  20. A lovely trip. We went to Isle of wight about 3 years ago, i love the pretty Godshill. my son spent ages watching the model trains too xx

  21. I want to go back now!!! I mentioned it to OH but he wasn't impressed... he'd rather go to Mallorca :(

  22. Thank you for sharing your family holiday shots with us. When we go away we always try and find a steam railway for hubby. This year my friend asked if hubby could get up on the footplate of the train and suprisingly enough they said yes (probably becuase he was a Brit and the Americans love us) and he was like a cat that had got the cream. Looks like you had a smashing time.

  23. What a lovely family holiday! Your post took me right back to a holiday with my parents in 1989 aged 7. I have pictures of me in the same model village. In fact, I was looking at them only the other day - happy memories! x

  24. Ohh lovely! Think I will be visiting the vintage shop and chocolate shop when I go to the Isle of Wight! Yum! Looks like you had a lovely time.
    Tamzin X

  25. Gosh that was a real trip down memory lane. We used to go to Steephill Cove when I was much younger. It doesn't look so different now and I'm talking of 30 years!!!

  26. it all looks lovely! please show us your tea pot! he he! fliss xxx

  27. Some years ago we went there too. We liked it very much.

  28. Looks wonderful and there's nothing so english as a miniature village!

  29. That was great! It definitely makes me want to take a vacation. My son is jealous, once again, of the train ride, and wishes you'd taken a picture of the engine. :D lol What an obsession!

  30. Godshill and those caravans! what a triumph, I have been oggling them for far far too long and now must dash to the shop or nothing will get done today!!!

    So glad you all had a happy hols,

    Love Sarah x

  31. Hi Hen
    A lovely post about the Isle of Wight, I haven't been there since the seventies!! What a gorgeous unspoilt place it looks still, we really must go back there. Glad you had a great time.
    Jo xx


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