Thursday, 21 February 2008

the wonderful isle of wight

Isn't it gorgeous?! I have to say that I do love the isle of wight (IOW), my family has been going there for years and there's something about it that's so right. When we were younger about 40 of us would descend on the village of seaview and cause merry mayhem. As the eldest grandchild I was usually the ringleader of mischief, but it was all innocent fun...we couldn't wait to go rock pool fishing or attend the garden party thrown by our Aunts - all the cousins would then get a soft toy to commemorate the year; the picture below is from the first year (1989) when we had a teddy bears picnic and my auntie linda (very brilliant lady) made us all a teddy, still have mine!

1-2 hours south from london by road and then a 40 minute ferry crossing ( from either portsmouth, southampton or lymington) this lovely island is a real slice of traditional British seaside. Full of lovely villages, victorian esplanades, sandy bays, rugged coves and traditional tea shops called things like 'gill's pantry', it offers something for everyone.
Families will love the sandy, safe beaches; keen boatsmen the numerous yacht and sailing clubs and walkers & bikers have routes aplenty. A large number of poets and writers also live on the island, possibly trying to capture the same inspiration that tennyson, dickens and keats all found here. In the summer the island is buzzing with tourists, but in the winter it has an empty, wild & rugged beauty to it that I prefer....

So why holiday here? No airports (phew!) but you still have to get on a boat, so that childish sense of excitement still rises at the thought of travelling 'abroad'. For families there is so much to do to entertain, robin hill and blackgang chine were our favourites as kids; alum bay and its coloured sand, plus the needles (as seen in chitty chitty bang bang) are a must.
For everyone else there are national trust and english heritage sites aplenty, lovely pubs and gorgeous gardens. A real treat is to buy fish'n'chips and take them to culver down for one of the best views on the island...

Hey, if it was good enough for queen victoria to set up home here, it's good enough for me!