Staycation: Isle of Wight

Erin Cameron on 04 June 2019
I have never really understood the attraction of a staycation, to me any time off work has always been a challenge to get as far away from home as possible. This year however I found myself in Southampton for a couple of days for work and decided that is was a good opportunity to explore. I have had family in the Isle of Wight all my life but hadn’t visited in 25 years. Although I was only 8 at the time, I still have very fond memories, so was really keen to go and explore again.

From the centre of Southampton, it is so easy, literally just walk to the ferry terminal. If travelling in from the airport, all you need to do is follow the signs for the train, which stops basically right outside the terminal. A ticket to central Southampton costs approximately £4.50 return and from there you can either walk or take the bus (free if you already have your ferry ticket) to the ferry terminal. It really couldn’t be more straight-forward. There are 2 options to get over to the island, either the Red Funnel Ferry, which is the car ferry and takes approximately an hour each way, or the Red Jet hovercraft which takes approximately 25 minutes. Each are around £10 one way for an adult. They both arrive into West Cowes, a quaint town, with a combination of little unique shops and your usual stores, where you can stock up on supplies. There are also accommodation options for every taste, from traditional hotels, to beautiful cottages, to ecopods and wigwams.

There are plenty of different activities to keep everyone entertained. If you are into shopping, then a trip to Ryde is a must. There are plenty of interesting, independent boutiques, and lots of lovely bistros and wine bars for a well-deserved pit stop.

The island is a mecca for artisans of all types. There are at least 4 glass studios, which is my personal favourite medium, and plenty of painters, sculptors and potters etc. A good place to start is Arreton Barns where you will find a vast collection of artists in glass, leather, pottery and woodwork all in the one place.

There are also literally 100’s of different walks, from coastal treks to walks over the downs, many of which pass through fantastic little villages where you can stop for a refreshment. There are also walks where you can search for fossils along the route, walks where you can explore the history of the area, and walks where you can visit the sites that inspired your favourite artists and writers. There really is something for everyone. One of my personal favourites is a stroll around the Mottistone Estate, it’s a perfect option for your four-legged friends. You can finish off with a stroll through the beautiful gardens of Mottistone House and then enjoy a cream tea whilst sitting in the fresh air.

Honestly there is so much to see and do that I can’t possibly cover it all here, but hopefully this gives you just a little insight into this little gem of an island. From the quintessential seaside resorts, amazing walks, unique shopping and beautiful art, there really is something for everyone. Sometimes you don’t need to go to the other end of the earth to find somewhere different, and beautiful. A staycation can be just as much of a holiday, without the jetlag.