Summer doesn’t need to be over just yet, Britain! Boasting the self-acclaimed title of “the sunniest place in the UK”, the Isle of Wight is likely to experience mild weather right up until November this year, so don’t pack away your flip-flops and sunglasses just yet. A surprisingly short and direct journey from anywhere on mainland England, all of the ferry ports are strategically situated along the south coast to make getting over to the island even harder to resist. From Chester, the journey to the Southampton ferry port took only 4 hours, and the ferry ride across The Solent to Cowes took 45 minutes (, longer than most of the ferry ports, and one of the only car ferries).
Not only is the Isle of Wight easy to get to, but once you’re there, the tiny island’s coastline is only 57 miles long, making it so easy to see everything in only a couple of days. The best way to see the island (by car) is to simply drive along the coast from port town to esplanade, stopping at some of the fantastic car-park-come-viewpoints along the way for a cheeky snap. A couple of stops into our road trip, we ditched the sat nav as there are sign posts at every corner of the island guiding you to your next destination.
Although it’s hard to miss anything on this mini adventure, here are my top viewpoints to note down, in no particular order:
- Brading Down
Overlooking the port town of Sandown, this one was definitely worth a mention as it is further inland, but well worth the 5 minute diversion. Free car parks are located all along Brading Down Road with marked out walks to make the view last a little longer.
- The Needles, Alum Bay
Alum Bay hosts the island’s most popular natural attraction, the Needles. Situated on the west coast, a short drive from Freshwater or Yarmouth, the eroded limestone cliff has formed some fantastic spiked rocks trailing into the water. The area has multiple attractions including rides suitable for children, shops and cafes, and a cable chair lift down to the waterfront for a better view of the Needles. Alternatively, save yourself £6, as it is only a short walk down some man-made stairs to the waterfront. Either way, this sight is a must-see!
- Culver Down
A popular spot for kite-surfing, the best views of the amazing white cliffs at Culver Down can be found right at the east of the Sandown esplanade. Most of the car parks here are pay-and-display so make sure you check before you leave your car!
- Ryde Pier
Now I know I’m asking a lot here, but getting to the end of this pier for sunrise was so incredible, we did it twice! A completely uninterrupted view (depending on cloud formation) of the sun coming up over the English Channel, watch England wake up to a new day and see Portsmouth and Southampton light up in turn.
- St Boniface Down, Ventnor
The beautiful port town of Ventnor can only be approached from the A-roads and thus you come in from a higher altitude, giving a magnificent view of the coastline. Again, there are plenty of car park viewpoints before you plummet into the town centre, although the beach view when you get down there does rival the panoramic view from above. The Spyglass Inn is an ace pub if you’re super-hungry and ready to stuff your face from a menu that will have you spoilt for choice.