I have always loved the idea of islands – surrounded by water, separate from the rest; to me it associates with safety and peace. Probably that is why for the past 7 years I ended up staying in one – Great Britain. I know, it is kind of a big one.
On the last UK bank holiday, I have decided to leave my main island and my beloved London for a way smaller one – Isle of Wight. That was my first time there and it is safe to say, I did not leave disappointed.
To get to the Island I took a train from London Waterloo to Lymington which took approximately 2,5 hours, you can get a train ticket on South West Trains website. Once I have reached Lymington port where I got my ferry ticket for approximately 10 pounds, I was able to catch a ferry directly to the Island of Wight. It took me around 30 minutes to get there and finally reach cute little town called Yarmouth. I had a quick look around and then continued my trip as I had to make my own way to Youth Hostel so I could join my friends who were staying there from the day before. The Hostel was located in Totland which was around 4 miles away from where I was – I could either take a bus or hike by myself, I have chosen hiking as the weather was good, and views were stunning.
First part of my hike went pretty smooth, I quickly realized – Isle of Wight is the whole different world in comparison to the island I came from. People were saying ‘Hi’, ‘Good afternoon’, smiling and waving.
And then… suddenly rain starts, so hard that even though I had waterproofs on, it did not help. Yes, the worst thing happened – my phone switched off too. Nobody was around, it was time to trust my instincts and somehow I managed to get to the place where I had to meet my friends, MIRACLE I am telling you. It felt so good to finally get to the dry place – our hostel in Totland. As we were not a big fans of it, I m not going to link it in here. All you need to know – in this day and age Airbnb is the way to go, especially in small places.
Lets go back to adventures on the Island now,
Later in the afternoon my friends joined me at our mysterious Hostel in Totland and we had a fantastic dinner at The Hut restaurant in Colwell Bay, which was around 10-15 minutes walk from Totland. If you are visiting west side of Isle of Wight, I strongly recommend this place as food, service and view were incredible. Service was so nice that one staff member offered to drop us at our hostel after it started to rain and we could not get a taxi! I mean…That’s nice.
Next morning we woke up around 8am and soon were ready to continue our island hiking adventures. Plan for the day was: Needles area and its chairlifts in the west side, then taking a taxi to the south east side – Ventnor. The Needles was my favorite spot throughout the whole trip, it looks incredible. To get to Ventnor it costed us 40 pounds in total – considering it is an opposite side of the Island, I say it is a pretty good deal. We took a beautiful seaside hiking route Ventnor to Shanklin and ended up taking a train Shanklin to Ryde from where we were able to take a ferry to Portsmouth, back to our beloved mainland. The train Shanklin to Ryde was built in 1938 so it was truly authentic experience.
Isle of Wight was one of my top destinations in UK, nature in the Island has exceeded all the expectations I had before my trip. The Island is truly vibrant – it has spectacular coastline, colorful wildlife; atmosphere is relaxing. It is quick and easy to get there from London – 2,5 hours on a train from Waterloo and 30 min on a ferry on average. Most importantly, it did feel like a small island as we saw very few people and the ones we met on our way were super relaxed and smiley. Island air felt clean and fresh, also it was slightly warmer than London. Travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler has a great free guide to Isle of Wight, where you can find out more about places to stay/ where to eat/what to see/ what to do. As another Bank Holiday is approaching soon, go and grab your tickets, book a place to stay (airbnb hint hint)and give yourself an experience of relaxing island life without going overseas.
Until next adventures