Isle of Wight
Type: Island, Beach
Best Date to Visit: Jun -Sep
Things to Do: Beach, Sightseeing
Points of Interest: Shanklin Beach, Carisbrooke Castle, The Needles and much more
The Good: Peaceful Atmosphere
The Bad: Difficult if a tourist without a vehicle
The Isle of Wight is situated along the south coast of England, United Kingdom. It is about a 10-30 minute ferry from Portsmouth. The island is known for its beaches, dinosaur remain, castles and so much more. Unfortunately my experience was not to the extent it could have been as I visited just after a covid lockdown. Nonetheless I will give an account of what I experienced and will be sure to visit again at a more normal time.
An Exciting Start
A visit to the Isle of Wight will most probably require to travel via Portsmouth in order to get a ferry. The Wightlink Ferries will transfer passengers both on foot or with a vehicle to the island in just 20-30 min. However for a unique experience we tried the hovercraft transport service available for foot passengers only. It is an incredible but weird experience as you have passengers that are tourists and some what seem to be daily commuters, some excited and happy, others a little less enthusiastic. A negative for me is that some staff could be a lot more inviting and helpful, I had a few simple queries (about the ticket I purchased) and I immediately felt I was being a nuisance to them, dampening my excited mood.
Nonetheless the hovercraft transport itself is incredible, unique and much quicker than the standard ferry. If visiting on foot, then I advise to try the hovercraft transport service, the experience is not perfect but valuable nonetheless.
A Little Too Quiet
Upon our arrival to Ryde’s seaside town I noticed it was little quiet. I had concluded that either this was due to it being very early in the morning or that tourism hasn’t returned to its normal levels pre-coved.
We were looking for some tourist buses which usually transport people to the island’s points of interest however it didn’t seem like they were in operation. We were able to use the normal bus services however we was put off by unhelpful drivers and long waiting times.
So unfortunately we decided to stay around Ryde and explore what the town had to offer. Its shops, churches, its pier and some views. There wasn’t too much to get excited about, I believe this place requires the influx of crowds to give a livelier atmosphere.
A Pleasant Stroll
After we had enough of Ryde we decided to stroll and follow the coast east. This was probably the highlight of the day and for those who like a little hike a perfect activity whilst in the Island. It was a pleasant warm day with that cool breeze blowing, there was a few landmarks with historic significance and some great views.
After a good few hours of exploring by foot, we decided there wasn’t too much else we could see without a vehicle. So we decided to cut the experience short this time around. However i’ll be sure to return to a much more busier time and with a vehicle.
Attractions On A Normal Day
Carisbrooke Castle- Castle sitting in the heart of the Isle of Wight, a central location of power with an abundance of historical significance.
Osborne- An English heritage site, formerly the holiday home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
The Needles- One of Isle of Wight’s most iconic views. Three stacks of chalk standing above the see to make an impressive and unique scenery.
St Catherine’s Oratory- An impressive unique medieval lighthouse standing on top of a hill with incredible views.
Devil’s Chimney- Another for the hikers, this is a mysterious limestone rock formation with it’s origin still unknown
and so much more
(There is just so many different attractions to visit and locations to explore check them out and plan your itinerary out properly.)
Keeping in mind of the time I visited (post covid) and how I travelled (no car) my experience was a little on the negative side. Travelling to the Isle via the hovercraft is an exciting and unique experience and a great start to the trip. However its staff could be more receptive to match the tourist’s excitement as to not dampen the mood. It is highly advised that when visiting the Isle, you should drive and after experiencing the Isle of Wight without a vehicle I now highly agree. Transport in the Isle is a little difficult to understand and plan out, there were no dedicated tourist buses at the time I visited.
Although the difficulties the isle itself is incredible with an abundant of places to see. If you are looking for a calmer more peaceful place this could be the place for you, but the quietness could be too much for some
Do I recommend a trip? Yes, I still do but bring a car and make it a road trip, although you may not experience the hovercraft, this could save you a lot of time and headache of getting around the island. The experience I had was also masked by post covid lockdown environments so many attractions was still closed, some with restrictions and also that tourist arrivals were still low. But the charm of the Isle shouldn’t be ignored, its natural beauty and history. Don’t under estimate its size though, its a huge island a day is possible but 2-3 days would be sensible.
Check out the experience of Portsmouth my first trip past the third Covid Lockdown.
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