25 Jun As good as abroad post-lockdown
We may joke about the Isle of Wight being “abroad” but on a sizzling Bank Holiday weekend, and after a year of staying put, a trip there really did feel like a foreign holiday!
The ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne was the signal to breathe in the sea air, take a deep breath… and relax.
Colwell Bay is also home to The Hut beach bar and restaurant which has an enviable reputation.
We were too disorganised to book in advance but enjoyed seeing it teeming with happy, relaxed diners, including those who had sailed over from the mainland just to eat there.
Those who really want to splash out can pre-book a water taxi return from Cowes, the Hamble, Lymington and elsewhere.
Walking past The Hut and further along took us to a sweet row of coloured beach huts, and rounding the corner brings The Needles into view.
We were now at Totland Bay which has its own café but it wasn’t open – it appears to be part of ongoing construction work on the pier here.
However, a Waterfront Café further along was open for coffee – you can sit inside for great sea views but we walked along to the beach at the end of Totland Bay to sit on the wall and watch the world go by.
Although clearly no Legoland, the village is beautifully done with miniature recreations of local landmarks including the church, an airfield and a wind turbine, all to scale.
There’s even a mini model of the entrance to the model village, and a mini steam train trundles through the rocks and over a stream.
An afternoon stroll from Colwell to Totland, up steps and round the coastal path on heathland, gave us spectacular views of the sea and The Needles lighthouse. Photos don’t really do this justice – it’s an amazing sight.
Parts of the coastal path are closed due to landslides but it’s possible to walk all the way to Alum Bay beach from here (we didn’t – we did a five mile round trip ending up back at the pub at Colwell Bay!)
Evenings on the beach
Evenings on the beach at Colwell Bay are calm and peaceful – you can’t beat watching the sun go down over the sea.
A brief trip to Yarmouth took us to the recently-restored pier which is adorned with the names of people who sponsored its return to former glory.
The town was cramped and busy but the pier is a great viewpoint to watch the ferries come and go and enjoy a coffee or ice cream.
Finally, on our way to the ferry we detoured to visit Osborne House, where Queen Victoria lived happily with her large family, and spent her last days.
Victoria loved it here and it’s easy to see why. Only the lower floor of the house is currently open due to Covid restrictions but the grounds, including a beautiful walk down to the beach where Victoria spent her days playing with her children and painting, are glorious.
The Isle of Wight is never going to replace Myknonos! But, honestly it was very lovely, a million miles from the Island I remember as a child.