I have to start by saying that we nearly didn't go to the Isle of Wight. We were looking at taking a trip to the New Forest, I asked if we could do a day trip to the Isle of Wight and the rest is history.
We'd had a bit of a rough start to the year and just needed a chance to get away, put our feet up and do some walking and sightseeing. If that's what you're looking for, book your ferry crossing now, as the Isle of Wight will be perfect for you.
We drove down to Lymington and then got the ferry across, which only took forty minutes or so. From there it was a quick trip to our home for the week, which looked a little like this. I'm feeling relaxed already, although my slightly taller husband did spend much of the week swearing after banging his head on low doorways. Oops.
Our first trip out was to Carisbrooke Castle, I'm lucky enough to have an English Heritage travel trade pass so admission was free. I love a bargain, and what a bargain it was. The castle was a really good example, with ramparts that you could walk all the way around and plenty of areas to explore. It even had the most important thing a historic castle could have, a good place to stop for lunch.
We took one look at the forecast and decided the next day should be a walking day. We wanted to do some geocaches whilst we were away, and with it being April, I was overdue a visit to some bluebell fields, so I was hoping we'd manage to do both. Starting from Mottistone, a two and a half mile walk later through stunning scenery and we'd succeeded. Thirteen caches and bluebells as far as the eye could see.
Another day, another sight to take in. This time we headed to Osborne, if it's good enough for Queen Victoria, it's good enough for us and another chance to use my trade pass. Initially I was really impressed with Osborne, there were plenty of information boards to make you understand how important the house was to Queen Victoria and how it was used, and access was given to numerous rooms. If anything it just seemed a bit much, and there always seemed to be someone standing in front of the information board you wanted to read. We also missed part of the estate as there were no free maps available on the day of our visit and we just forgot about it. It's probably the one place visitors flock to above all other attractions on the island, so I'm glad we saw it. Oh, and there are some bluebells here in a field next to the Swiss Cottage, makes it worth the walk!
We took a bit of a detour on the way back to our cottage. I love a miniature village, I've been to the one in Bourton-on-the-Water several times, and so had to see the one in Godshill. Honestly, I can't recommend it enough. The buildings were in great condition, but the one thing that set it apart from Bourton, was the tiny residents. They gave the place a bit of extra character and humour. If you can't tell, I loved it!
It was Andrew's birthday the next day, so I'd tried to come up with Andrew-type things to do. He loves steam trains, so we started with a trip on the Steam Railway. We started at Wootton and travelled down to the other end of the line at Smallbrook before returning to Havenstreet to look around the displays there. It wasn't as long a line as others we've been on, but the trains and carriages are beautifully restored. It was just a shame about the weather, I wasn't expecting snow in April!
Afterwards we took a trip out to Bembridge Windmill, this time making use of our National Trust membership. It was only a quick stop to have a look around and hear about how windmills worked, but interesting nonetheless.
This is all sounding a bit full on, this was actually quite a relaxing holiday for us! Nowhere is far away on the Isle of Wight, so we could get up late, or head home early and still have had a good day out. Anyway, next up was St Catherine's Lighthouse. As we were out of season we had a guide to ourselves, he was excellent, very knowledgeable and made the tour interesting. It's a bit of a walk down from the local village, but I'd definitely recommend it if you're in the area.
For our last full day we took ourselves out for a proper walk, walking poles and all. We started from the High Down Chalk Pit car park, hiked up to the cliff top (and then halfway back down again before returning, the curse of solving a puzzle geocache), before walking along to the Needles and the Old Battery, over to the New Battery and Alum Bay and then back across the fields. It was just over six miles in total, but such a good walk.
And that was that, the journey home was smooth, in fact we were home in just over three hours.
If like me you're looking for somewhere in the UK for a trip and consider the Isle of Wight, don't overthink it, just book it. You won't be disappointed.