We both grew up on the Isle of Wight, and met there as teenagers, so the island will always be special to us. We can’t help but feel a little nostalgic every time we visit or read an article about it.
There is something captivating about the island, with its quirky eccentricity and beautiful landscapes, it’s impossible not to fall a little in love whenever you visit.
We’ve listed below just a handful of the things we like to do when we visit the island.
We both grew up on the island and met in Ventnor. There is a certain charm and eccentricity in this town which is hard to capture in a description – you really do need to experience it for yourself. That big blue building in the photo above holds a nice little cafe/restaurant known as Besty & Spinky’s which is a lovely place to eat on the seafront. We would also recommend The Met Wine Bar which is a nice place to relax and have a couple of drinks or an evening meal. The Spyglass Inn also has some fab views of the beach and some pretty tasty food for a family lunch.
Also, don’t miss the huge ‘Ventnor’ sign along the coastal walk away from the seafront.
Steephill Cove is a lovely little bay tucked unassumingly away behind the cliffs of Ventnor’s coastline. Be sure to check this area out if you visit, it really is a little hidden oasis. Grab an ice cream and sit down by the waves to breathe in the healing ocean air, or buy a crab line and go rock-pooling along the rock-lined cliff face.
If you venture into Upper Ventnor, be sure to take a walk or a drive up to Ventnor Downs, where you can check out some spectacular views across the island. We’d recommend visiting at golden hour, through to sunset, to really make the most of the spectacular setting.
The west side of the island is one of our favourite parts of the island. The Military Road is one of the most beautiful roads I have driven on, and I think could even compare to some of the beautiful coastal drives of California. Make sure you check out the villages on this side of the island, Freshwater, Brighstone, and stop at Whale Chine to take a walk through the fields along the clifftops.
Bembridge and St Helens lie next to one another on the East side of the island. There are some amazing houses out this way, as well as some lovely little village vibes and tasty places to grab some food. This part of the island is much less hilly than the south, so take the opportunity for some longer walks.
The beach huts at St Helens Duver are some of the prettiest beach huts we’ve come across. Look at those gorgeous colours! St Helens offers a nice walk along the coast, as well as a woodland area behind.
Bembridge beach is great for exploring rock pools at low tide, and also has a delicious little cafe to tackle any hunger pangs.
Oh, and don’t miss the famous ‘weather stone’ on Bembridge seafront either! Take a walk along the beach and admire the beautiful seafront houses and skim a few stones.
When you think of ‘chocolate box village’, this is probably exactly the sort of thing that springs to mind. Shanklin Old Village contains a pub, hotel, tearooms, a sweet shop and a variety of little trinket shops. Have a wander around the village, spend far too long in the old sweet shop and then finish off the day with a nice refreshing drink and a hearty meal at the pub.
Just outside the village of Bonchurch, on the way to Shanklin Old Village, lies a small car park for accessing Bonchurch Landslip. Get here early in peak season to ensure you get a parking space. The walk down through the landslip is quite steep, but well worth it. Look out for the signs to the Devil’s Chimney on your walk, it is not to be missed!
A mossy, hidden gorge lies behind these towering rock faces. Squeeze in through the entrance and admire nature’s work at some of its finest – and most ferocious.
Don’t miss the wishing seat on your walk down!
You’ll need to park the car in Niton and walk down a reasonable hill to get to St Catherine’s Lighthouse. It’s a nice walk though, down past fields of cows and sheep, with stunning views out across the sea.
If you’ve got a little time on your hands, take the coastal walk past the lighthouse. You can walk right along the cliff edges, and eventually will loop back to a rather jurassic-looking rocky area.
This area reminds us a lot of New Zealand – just look at that craggy rock!
The Pepperpot on St Catherine’s Down is where St Catherine’s Lighthouse originally stood. Built in 1323 as part of the St Catherine’s Oratory, only a small stone portion still remains today. The St Catherine’s Lighthouse we know today was built in 1838 to replace this historic monument.
Not only can you come up to visit the original lighthouse here, but don’t forget to take in the spectacular views too!
If you visit in August, and have a penchant for quirky cars, make sure you check out the V-Dub Festival! It is held across a weekend, and attracts hundreds of beautiful cars and campers, both modern and vintage, manufactured by Volkswagen. There are food and craft stalls, bird shows, live music and various other bits of entertainment. It’s a really fun weekend and worth it to check out all of the crazy, quirky vehicles. Just watch out as you may end up with serious car-envy and be desperate to run out and buy your own little camper!
Did you know that the island is home to red squirrels? There are no grey squirrels here which would attack the red ones, so it is one of the few places in the UK you can find them. We spotted this little guy whilst checking out The Priory Bay hotel as a potential wedding venue. The grounds here are absolutely gorgeous and it has its own little beach area which is really peaceful and secluded. Make sure to keep an eye out in the woods for these little guys!
You can check out some of these things in our 3 part vlog series over on our YouTube Channel: