A long weekend on the Isle of Wight technically that counts as ‘abroad’ right?
This three night trip cost around £45 each which included upgrading to a cottage, electricity, linen, park passes, and ferry (priority loading with Red Funnel) for four people. We chose to stay at the Rookery Country Park as it is situated in the centre an excellent location for exploring the island and a car journey from the Country Park to the north, south, west and east of the isle worked out to be the same time around 40 minutes. Our upgrade to a cottage was a spacious bungalow with the usual mod-cons you might find in a mobile home along with a washing machine and my personal favourite a dishwasher. It just needed Sky TV for the accommodation to be perfect. As it was the low season, the park’s chip shop was shut and there wasn’t many guests staying here, they were either fellow ‘£9.50ers’, die hard fisherman sitting around the fishing lake in the rain or wedding guests.
Starting in the North we visited Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s home (£13.40 entrance fee). I was dragged there by my Mom but it was actually very interesting and it took a couple of hours to walk around the house and grounds where Queen Vic holidayed and died. It was a long walk to the Swiss Cottage where her children played and her private beach, gold stars for the person who came up with the idea of a shuttle bus between the house, cottage and beach. I don’t think we would have bothered with the long walks and miss out on the cottage and beach.
To the (South) East, there is Shaklin Beach very quiet during low season but The Waterfront Inn’s lunchtime menu food was very tasty and well-priced (jacket potato and prawns with a hot drink £8). A bit further up the coast from Shaklin was Sandown which looked like a nice place in the summer, but on a rainy Sunday it didn’t look so good and we only walked three quarters long the pier as the wind and rain was too strong for us to reach the end, a cup of tea in the pier cafe was more inviting.
Going west was my favourite part of this weekend the Jimi Hendrick status outside the Dimbola Lodge Museum in Freshwater. The statue was to commemorate Jimi’s appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, we weren’t keen on walking around a museum (holiday fatigue kicking in) so it made our day that ‘Jimi’ was in front of the museum. Perfectly placed next to the car park but away from the entrance, I could take my photos and leave without feeling guilty about not buying an admission ticket.
My holiday tip for other Isle of Wight virgins is pick up a copy of Island Visitor magazine, on the cover is said ‘ The essential guide to the Isle of Wight’ and it is! We only visited a few places and there is so much more to see that a few return visits have been added to my travel bucket list.
Rookley Country Park – http://www.rookleycountrypark.co.uk/
Osborne House – http://www.english-heritage.org.uk
Dimbola Lodge museum – http://www.dimbola.co.uk/