Last look at our Easter trip to the Isle of Wight now (I know – I am so behind on catching up!)

Our final stop is in the quaint little harbour town of Cowes.

There’s plenty of pretty pastel toneed houses to keep me entertained.

While the man is happiest when he’s close to the water – in this case waiting for the town’s water taxi!

20170416_165303

We didn’t stay long as it was early evening and all the shops were shut. Just enough time to get some pictures of lovely doors!

And that’s the end of our whistle stop tour of the delightful Isle of Wight.

Advertisements

Beautiful Bembridge

We’re headed to the pretty seaside town of Bembridge now with its lifeboat station.

Bembridge is claimed to be the largest village in England, with a population of approximately 4,000 residents.

The new Bembridge Lifeboat station stands offshore and was built in 2010.

The natural timber building is an iconic sight and one of the most photographed structures on the Isle of Wight in recent years.

As we head across the bridge to the lifeboat station we can see lots of cute little beach huts in primary colours on the shore front.

20170416_144935

The shiny Alfred Albert Williams lifeboat takes pride of place in the new lifeboat station.

20170416_145438_001

While salty sea dog heroes of the past keep a careful watch over the new recruits.

The sea is incredibly clear and a beautiful colour for an English coastline.

20170416_151825

20170416_151844

Winery tour

The man has always wanted to tour a vineyard and winery and we get the chance at a cute little winery on the Isle of Wight.

20170416_140326

Rosemary’s Vineyard is one of the largest producers of English Wine and covers 30 acres. Below is some old technology for grape squishing!

The vineyard’s shop offers tastings of some of their delicious beverages including honeyed wines, ciders and fruity liqueurs.  (if you can get anywhere near the samples!)

We have a little mosey around the distillery too, below the man demonstrates the scale of the vats.

Sticky labels ready to go and oak pupitres – Pupitre is a Spanish word but they are often known as ‘riddling racks’ which help remove the yeast sediment during the fermentation process.

Back in the shop we eye up the rows of golden, honey flavoured wines. I buy the obligatory magnet and the man stocks up on ciders!

The vineyard was planted in 1986 and covers 30 acres at almost 60 feet above sea level.

We finish up with one of the largest, most calorific cream teas we have ever had! Check out the scone on that!

20170416_131239

Quarr Abbey

We’re visiting an unexpected architectural gem on the Isle of Wight now – Quarr Abbey.

20170416_110121

It’s proper title – Abbey of Our Lady of Quarr – is a monastery that is home to a small group of Benedictine monks.

Construction on the abbey started in 1911 and it was consecrated on October 12, 1912.

The abbey itself is a gorgeous chunk of red brick that feels more at home in mainland Europe which makes sense as the original monks were exiles from France.

I love the way that the brick glows under the early sunshine and contrasts with the spiky palms that add a more Mediterranean feel to the scene.

There’s a wonderful walled garden that provides fresh fruit and veg for the tearooms and farm shop as well as the ruins of a far older abbey as well.

20170416_115744

Definitely worth a potter around for an hour or so. You can learn lots more about the abbey here.

 

 

Ventnor Bay

Normal blogging service is resumed after a glorious 10 days in stunning Sardinia (much more of that later!)

We carry on with our micro-tour of the Isle of Wight. Next up is Ventnor, a very traditional little seaside resort and was a famous Victorian health resorts due to its unique micro-climate.

There’s a pretty stretch of sand and shingle beach with all the traditional paraphernalia.

Loving all the little nautical details dotted around the town, including this nod to holding back the tides.

Plus there’s a neat little row of pastel toned beach huts in mouth watering colours.

We enjoy a bracing walk along the golden beach, hair and eyebrows are nearly intact!

There’s a variety of sealife to be found (and avoided too!)

We end our day at the beach at the Spyglass Inn that comes complete with all manner of sea themed curiosities!

The Needles

Next up on our sight seeing tick list are one of the Isle of Wight’s most famous landmarks – The Needles.

20170415_123042

The Needles is a row of three distinctive stacks of chalk that rise about 30m out of the sea.

But before we visit them we spot an ‘interesting’ little display in a local garden . . .

There are some wonderfully coloured cliffs tumbling down to Alum sands beach.

Alum Bay has 21 recognised shades of sand and these have been collected and made into souvenirs since early Victorian times.

After a blustery and brisk walk we finally find the main attraction – The Needles!

The chalk formation takes its name from a fourth needle-shaped pillar called Lot’s Wife, that collapsed in a storm in 1764. The rocks that are left are not needle-like, but the name has stuck.

Another attraction close by is the experimental rocket testing site at High Down.

The site was built and operated in secret, from the 1950s and still houses some of the old technology that you can have a nosey around.

 

Godshill

Nest up on our tour of the Isle of Wight is the beautiful little village of Godshill.

It is full of charming thatched-roofed cottages and a winding main-street lined with traditional tearooms and quaint shops.

This psychedelic little splash of joy is the Oracle Gallery.  It’s a cross between channel art, and guided meditation.

According to the artist “Visionary art is a way of creating spontaneously that encourages a complete letting go of the self.”

You can find out more about the artist Nicola Gibbs here.

The Bats Wing is a stunning 16th century tea room festooned with glorious purple wisteria.

It’s a delightful thatched cottage with overtones of a witchy hidey hole.

Every detail is a little delight, even these little signs to the church.

Below we come across one of the most stunning little cottages we have ever seen.

20170414_173427

It feels straight out of a fairy tale complete with swathes of bluebells and twinkling little lead pane windows.

Then a few more of the lovely little dwellings. What lucky people live in these!

There is also a delightful medieval church, All Saints, it sits on a hill and overlooks the village.

The church dates from the 14th century and is the fourth built on this site. The hill on which the church stands was once used by pagans as a place of worship.

Legend says the building of a church started at the foot of the hill but over three nights stones were removed from the site and placed where the present church now sits.

For the first two mornings work was restarted at the foot but by the third day it was assumed that God wished the church to be built on the hill – hence the name Godshill.

All in all Godshill is a gorgeous little village that is well worth exploring.

Sunny Sandown

We’re continuing with our exploration of the Isle of Wight now with a visit to Sandown.

It’s a quintessentially English seaside resort with a long sandy beach and a huge pier lined with arcades and fairground rides.

It’s a mixture of garish colour and slow decay. With some prime beach front properties boarded up and neglected.

The pier beckons with it’s eye popping, high pitched noisy machines.

The psychedelic toys and rides have me pinning for Japan again! We could almost be back in Osaka

Then we emerge, blinking into the light on the blustery open end of the pier with all it’s traditional seaside delights including teeth rotting treats…

I like the garish, over bright colours that typically advertise traditional treats such as icecream.

20170414_155911

I have a guilty pleasure for these alcoholic sticks of rock with sambuca and prosecco on offer!

The fairground offers some incredibly trippy rides including these eye popping, rainbow bright cars.

Then we stumble on some typical old style saucy postcards that used to be found everywhere at the seaside!

The man looks particularly cute in his little outfit, I think he should dress like this all the time!

20170414_155014

The fairground out of season always has a forlorn, almost post apocalyptic feel to me.

The garish colours contrast with the milky grey sky and the absence of children’s noise makes it feel even more desolate.

Mind you, the addition of people does not always make it less terrifying . . .

20170414_160506

Another thing that I love in British seaside resorts is the plethora of neon plastic items.

Whether buckets and spades, whirlygigs or body boards, any colour combo goes as long as it’s eye watering!

Some more exciting colour combinations can be found on this giddy sandwich board.

Then we stumble across some incredible street art that draws its inspiration from the seas.

It also reflects on the fact that the Isle of Wight apparently is the undisputed dinosaur capital of Great Britain and features in the top six best locations in the world for dinosaur remains.

Next up a completely different side to the island with some lovely thatched cottages.

Woodland lodges

We’re settling into our Isle of Wight accommodation for the next few days now. We’re staying at the Woodside Bay Lodge retreat.

20170414_135210

It’s a sprawling expanse of super cosy wooden lodges in Wootton Bridge and features an onsite restaurant, gym and spa.

I don;t usually dedicate too many posts just to accommodation but as this is the first time we’ve stayed in a lodge I thought I’d show you just how comfy they can be!

Literally this lodge is better kitted out than my house and definitely has a nicer kitchen!

It was ideally located to explore the island and far far better than my misconceptions had feared!

Well worth the money and easily fitted five adults without feeling crowded.

Isle of Wight

It’s a complete change of pace for our next adventure. This time we’re not heading too far, just a few days in the Isle of Wight. Not quite as exotic as we’ve become used to . . .

First up is an evening in the largest town on the island – Ryde. It’s where the ferry arrives and also has an rather exciting hovercraft!! It’s known as “The Gateway to the Island”.

Ryde has all the attractions of a traditional British seaside resort, including the museum of saucy postcards . .  and of course a chippie.

As usual I snout out anything closely resembling street art for a quick snap.

Ryde pier offers the chance for some refreshing sea air but you have to contend with cars in the same space.

The pier is an early 19th-century pier and is apparently the world’s oldest seaside pleasure pier. There’s no arcades on it but there is a quaint little railway station.

Here’s a few random snaps of the pier including a social statement and a few signs that caught my eye.

In the distance you can see a passenger ferry and I am enjoying the greenish hue of the sea.

Next up we’re heading to our woodland cabin for a few nights and will explore more of this little seaside island.