The Isle of Wight might be shorter holiday than two or three night weekend getaway, but of late the island has undergone something of a renaissance after decades as a bucket and spade hotspot. Much of the island’s moment in the spotlight is driven by its fabulous calendar of festivals, its famed eateries for gourmands heading across the Solent for a good time and its unpretentious low-key charms that make it feel like Devon or Cornwall, just without the mileage. But do get over there before it is too late.
Portsmouth is just over an hour from London with the wind behind you. From there a short Hovercraft or catamaran trip lands you in Ryde on the island; a classic seaside town where you can get your fill of fish, chips, fudge and dirty postcards to send back home. 10 minutes west is Wootton Bridge; Briddlesford Lodge Farm is perfect for a cream tea or ice cream overlooking the river. 10 minutes further west is Queen Victoria’s beloved Osbourne House in East Cowes; “It’s impossible to imagine a prettier spot” she once said – it is worth a visit, if for nothing else to check-in on the locals servicing their yachts down in the marina.
Pottering across the island you never get out of third gear, but the kids will love the spirit of adventure travelling on a ‘proper’ island. Compton Beach out West is the spot for open sands and crumbling chalk cliffs. Sandown out East is more your family resort, which also offers real dinosaur remains at Dinosaur Isle. While Ventnor in the South, offers its own brand of sophistication.