My favourite local escape

Everybody has their favourite place. Some people may even have more than one. A place that puts a smile on your face when you just think about it. A place that makes you feel welcome no matter the season or weather.

When I was younger I could never understand why do some people go holidaying in the same place every year. Like what’s the point?

Now I finally get it. When you go to a new palace you have to do your research, find a good beach/mountain, good restaurant etc. But when you already been in that place then you don’t really have to do any preparations. Just book your favourite hotel and cross your fingers for the weather.

After all “The real voyage of discovery consist not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes” M. Proust.

Going to the same place every year is like rereading your favourite book or rewatching your favourite movie. Even tho you know the ending ever time you discover a new character or a new plot twist that somehow you missed before.

One of my favourite places is the beautiful Isle of Wight.

I discovered it by a chance when I put off booking my Easter holidays till the last minute. And I’m so glad I did. I try to go at least once a year but usually end up going more often.

Getting there couldn’t have been easier. Trains to Portsmouth harbour tan from either London Waterloo or London Victoria. Price depends on time of the day you are going and of course day of the week. Once I managed to book a return ticket for my friend for £5:)

From the harbour you have to jump on a ferry or if you are feeling a bit more adventurous, you can get off at Portsmouth & Southsea and hop on a hovercraft.

I’ve been on both and have to say I prefer the ferry. Less bouncy:) time travel for ferry is 20 mins whilst the hovercraft takes only 10 mins.

If you arrive by ferry then your next step is to hop on on an inland train.

Be prepared, the ride will be rough. You can buy the ticket on the train and the time table is synchronised with the ferry time table so you should never find yourself stranded.

The bus link on the island is pretty amazing and you can literally visit the whole island.

SHANKLIN

That’s where I’m usually based during my visits. Instead of explaining why, may I just suggest looking at those pics:

If someone would blindfold me and brought me to this place without telling me where I am, I would argue to death that this can’t be in UK! Water this clear??? Streets this clean???

This places amazes me every time. And by now I have visited 5 times:)

There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to accommodation: hotels, b&b, caravans.

The sunrise it’s pretty spectacular and well worth waking up for.

Plenty of pubs, cafes and restaurants to choose from when it comes to food. And the food is just delicious. One of my favourites is the Veggie Sizzler

They serve it Sizzlers restaurant at Holliers hotel in the old village. I totally recommend checking it out but the truth is, you won’t be disappointed with the food wherever you decide to eat.

To burn all those calories or simply make room for more, why not take a coastal walk from Shanklin to Sandown? There will be plenty of cafes on the way so you can always top up on some more delicious food.

VENTNOR

If you are a fan of walking like me, then you will be pleasantly surprised with Isle of Wight. There are over 800km (500miles) designated footpaths ranging from clif top hikes with stunning view, trails through forests and wetlands or simple walks through the village and countryside. One of my favourites is a walk from Shanklin to Ventnor.

You can say I was lucky since the weather was always spectacular whenever I was in Isle of Wight so the views I get to experience were always magnificent. Last year I even swam in the sea!!

You have three options when it comes to making your journey to Ventnor. The coastal walk is about 6km (3.8 miles) long and it takes you through Haddon pits and Luccombe Chine. It is a very nice walk indeed but please remember to wear appropriate shoes. The path can get very muddy and can be very narrow sometimes.

Another option is to just follow the main road. You will be walking slightly higher than on the coastal walk so your view will be much broader. Also I visited in almost every season and never seen the road very busy. It is a stunning road I have to admit.

The third option would be to climb to Shanklin down 235m (770ft) and just follow the path. The views from there are the best plus the path is mostly levelled except for the first hill.

Once in Ventnor I think the Esplanade is well worth visiting.

And remember that you don’t have to take the same route back as you can turn it into a circular walk.

The one following the main road would be the longest but with the easiest terrain.

THE NEEDLES

Based in Alum Bay, the Needles are not only an attractive landmark but also a great destination for the whole family.

It’s like a mini amusement park with 4D cinema, spectacular chairlift ride to the beach and the sand cliffs, a sand shop where you can make your own unique souvenir and plenty of children attractions including Victorian carousel and Games kids.

How to get there? If you don’t have a car then please follow this link , where you can find the local bus schedules and routes.

http://www.islandbuses.info/servicelisting.shtml

Bear in mind, that unless you are based in Yarmouth or Freshwater, the bus journey will be rather long. Especially if you decide to take the Island coaster. Cheapest way to travel by public transport is to buy a Daily Rover:

It works across the whole network.

FRESHWATER BAY

I visited the place last July and was incredible lucky as it was almost 30C so I get to swim in the sea:) amazing experience.

I came with a friend as she wanted to see the place I’m raving about so much. She was not disappointed. We took the Island caster to and got off at Compton farm. Frankly at this point I was very close to getting sick as the journey takes over 90 min (I have motion sickness).

The walk to Alum bay is about 3km (1.9miles) long and the views are just stunning.

Yes that tiny dot is me swimming:

I even saw a jellyfish!

RED SQUIRREL TRAIL

The popular trail is 51km (31 miles) long and takes you through some breathtaking scenery. You can either walk it or cycle it. I did the second and loved every minute!

Of course I started from Shanklin as that is where I was based. I rented my bike from 1st call cycle hire in Sandown.

You will ride trough variety of terrain so please be prepared.

The trail can be broken down into 4 sections: East Cowes to Merstone (via Newport), Merstone to Sandown, Sandown back to Marstone and finally Merstone back to East Cowes.

When you are in East Cowes I recommend riding to Cowes and sample some food at The Red Duster. The service is superb and so is the food.

The route can easily be done in one day but if you really want to enjoy the views and maybe try some different pubs and restaurants, then split the journey over two days. That way your bum won’t be too sore either:)

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