Tuesday, 1 November 2022

sunsets, hikes and the isle of wight

hello, how are you? i hope that you are well; i know there's a lot of sickness going around at the moment, sure knows we've had most of it too these last couple of months, so i do truly hope you are having a good week so far.

last week was half term here in England, which means a week off school & pre-school, and a week filled with activities and adventures. we ended the week with a last-minute trip to the Isle of Wight, which is a short ferry trip away for us - and we had so much fun! so i wanted to share some photos and anecdotes here on this little blog for y'all, because if you've never been to The Island, then consider this a little heads up to book yourself in for the off season next year.

we've been to the Isle of Wight several times before, but not enough to know it very well at all, and this time we visited a part we've not explored before - it's quite wondrous how such a small island can have so much to do and explore. 

half the fun of the adventure is going on the Red Funnel ferry across the water, and this time was even more magical as we left as the sun was rising and came back as the sun set, so it felt very special. we love driving onto the ferry, we love guessing whether we'll be top deck or bottom deck, we love listening to the sound as you cross the ramp, and we LOVE to see all the things there are to see out the windows on the way - tug boats, container ships, the Red Jet, yachts, buoys, seagulls dancing at the back of the boat... as well as all the places we've been to or recognise along the coastline on either side. 

we stayed in Freshwater Bay, which was absolutely charming with a pizza van at the beach on Friday night, and the most beautiful autumnal sunsets of pink and orange and sky trails and grey clouds... in fact Freshwater Bay to me was much more impressive than The Needles, so tranquil and very stunning.

other charming things about Freshwater include this lovely thatched church, a gorgeous old coffee shop called The Piano, and a 150 year old corner shop selling local produce. 

buying local on the IoW is super easy, and the quality is very high - lovely rich yellow butter, tomatoes, eggs, honey, beer, yogurt, ... we were spoilt. and had we stayed longer i would've sampled more - it's a foodie paradise. crab, lobster, quince, garlic, cheese, preserves, tomato passata, the list goes on.

we spent our first day taking the kids to Tapnell Farm, which was great fun, and the kids mostly loved the go karting - though there were also trampolines, live music, animals, a climbing wall, dry sledding, crazy golf, a pumpkin patch... it was great.

then the second day we spent hiking to The Needles, which are definitely more spectacular viewed from the mainland, but the walk itself was beautiful. lots of climb - we were glad our airbnb had an off-road pushchair we could borrow as our just-turned-3-year-old slept almost the whole journey (my husband got a good workout).

the views over the bay were lovely...

we walked over 20,000 steps and over 36 flights of stairs, up to the Tennyson monument, and then back down and then up again to The Needles, and then all the way back again on a far flatter and quicker route. on the way back we stopped for a late lunch at a farm, and had a pasty and ice cream - very English indeed. with a little packet of olives, some local apple juice and some local beer on the side.

that evening we drove to another village to see their little shop and buy more local produce, i got some water-milled oats and a packet of Rolo's (so i could teach my son the importance of "the last Rolo"), and we headed home during a gorgeous sunset where the whole sky looked like it was on fire. the coastal road on the south side of the island is really quite something.

the following day we had a slow start, and then headed to the beach at Fort Victoria, it was a beautiful walk, and felt truly like we were in another country for a moment. we made a mental note to visit Hurst Castle sometime next early summer.

we had some Sunday lunch at a disused railway station, called Off The Rails (worth pre-booking), followed by a little walk. we also made a mental note that it would be fun to hire bikes and cycle the old railway tracks and surrounding area. 

we then popped into Yarmouth to grab a 'posh' coffee from a fancy coffee house, and made another mental note that Yarmouth would be worth stopping at for longer next time for lunch and a mooch around the shops. then we headed back to the ferry for the journey home...

we had so much fun! it does sound rather like we went all that way for a Sunday roast and a very long day of walking, but it was SO much more than that. we made so many memories, and had so many special moments. take the very last moment of the trip; it was sunset on the ferry and we saw the Queen Victoria setting sail, followed by the Aurora - you can't get much more up-close to the ships (without getting on them) than when you're on the IoW ferry, and it was so exciting to see both at the same time.
it was totally dark by the time we were going to get in our car to disembark, and it's such a romantic thing, getting in the car, in the dark, over the water, with the dock lights and city lights twinkling, the sound of the water lapping against the ship, the smell of salt and burning marine fuel, the mild cold on your skin of the autumn sea breeze. my husband hugged me close as we both appreciated how special a moment it was, how perfect it was.

watch more of our trip here...

thank you for watching, and i hope you have a lovely day x

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