So, it was goodbye to Portsmouth today, as we headed for the Ferry Terminal in Southampton and our 11am crossing to the Isle of Wight. For the remaining days of our holiday, we’re staying at the quaintly named Wight Mouse Inn in Chale, located in the south of the Isle (more about that later).
For those who have never taken the IoW Ferry before – and want/need to – prepare yourself for the COST. For the distance travelled (just 12 miles) it must be the most expensive form of transport going!!! Our return ticket cost us just over a hundred pounds (and a friend who is going next week – Cowes Week – is paying double that!). Kerrching!!! 😮
As planned, we met up with neighbours: David and Valerie in the queue, who quite by chance were also going to Osborne House and then also staying on the Island. What are the chances ehh? 🤔
Ferry to the Isle of Wight
11.00am: We left on time, which was just as well, as we learned that the six afternoon Ferries today had been cancelled, due to staff shortages.
12.05pm: It was a smooth trouble-free leisurely journey that took just over an hour. Red Funnel have got this down to a fine art, and we were soon on our way to our first stop of the day. It might look a long way on the map below, but we were there in just 10 minutes!
12.15pm: Gosh! We haven’t been here for over 20 years!!! Luckily, it hasn’t changed!!! 😁. First though, a quick history lesson: The House is a former royal residence and built between 1845 and 1851 for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as their summer home and rural retreat. Prince Albert designed the house in the style of an Italian Renaissance palazzo.
There’s a lot to see here, in addition to the House itself, there are the Gardens, the Swiss Cottage, the Queen’s Beach and the Walled Garden (Oh, and the Gift Shop and Café!) – they’re all on our list 😁
But before we could see anything, we had to park the car – and that became the biggest challenge of the day. In spite of the very large car-park, there wasn’t a free space to be seen and all the more surprising considering entry to the House was being controlled by timed tickets. Luckily, there was an overflow car-park – but that was overflowing with, you guessed it, cars too! …and after a few laps, I think we got one of the final spaces! 👍
12.35pm: It’s a short walk from the parking area, and after some confusing signage, we eventually found our way to the entrance to the House with our 12.30 timed ticket.
As you might expect, it was very lavish inside!
…and then some!
…and if you fancy friends round for a meal, there’s plenty of space for everyone! 👍
Classy! A lift to get you upstairs if you have one-glass-too-many of ‘the grape’! 🤪
Part of the House was still closed because of COVID, so we missed out on seeing anything upstairs. Never mind, maybe next time.
1.05pm: We were all impressed by the House and were about to be equally impressed by the Gardens too!
1.25pm: The day was warming-up (glad I packed a hat!), so the four of us headed for ‘the Queen’s Beach’, about a ten-minute walk away.
1.35pm: This had beach weather too, so we did what all Brits do at the seaside – grab an ice-cream! Although Her Majesty had her own beach, she didn’t have the benefit of The Isle of Wight Ice Cream Company, who had thoughtfully set up shop in more recent years nearby!!
We grabbed an empty table, four chairs and soaked up the Summer Sun! The ice-cream was the creamiest we’d tasted in a long while!
2.15pm: Our next stop was the Swiss Cottage, specially built for the Royal Children. It was closed today because of ‘you-know-what’ but it looked just as impressive from the outside! It’s quite a walk from the main House, so be prepared!
2.45pm: Phew! That was a walk-and-a-half. 🥱. The Walled Garden was next on our list…
As you might expect this time of the year, it was a blaze of colour!
The flowers and the vegetables were thriving here, where the flowers especially, were a colourful treat!
3.05pm: Our final location for the day was the Café. We’d pretty much come full-circle and were back near the entrance (via the Gift Shop!).
We’d spent nearly three hours here and it was good to remind ourselves of how it compared to when we were last here 20+ years ago. In my case, I couldn’t recall any of it! 😮 We headed for the Café and as a final gesture and out of respect for her Majesty, I tried some of her Victoria Sandwich. Yummy!
3.35pm: We said our goodbyes to David and Valerie (we think we might bump into each other later this week, sight-seeing, and we’re catching up for a meal on Thursday evening). They’re off to their Hotel tonight and we’re heading to the south of the Isle and the Wight Mouse Inn – a Pub & restaurant with a few rooms.
Wight Mouse Inn
4.10pm: Although the Isle isn’t very large, it took us around 40 minutes to get here. The Sat-Nag sent us down some narrowish roads, some twisty roads and some fast roads, and we arrived just after 4pm. The Pub part of the operation was busy, but we were soon shown to our room – Room 1…
…boasting a great view of the sea! There are some very pleasant walks in this area, and we aim to try them out later this week.
7.00pm: We chose to eat in the Pub tonight as it’s a quiet village and weren’t entirely sure what our other eatery options were locally!
8.05pm: We took a short walk to find the local coastal footpath, in preparation for our longer walk later this week.
We plan to visit Yarmouth Castle tomorrow and squeeze in a significant walk!
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