Unique Places in Isle of Wight

  • Freshwater Bay, looking east
    Freshwater Bay, looking east
    by JBourne
  • Freshwater Bay, looking west with Victorian Hotel
    Freshwater Bay, looking west with...
    by JBourne
  • Arreton Downs view from our caravan
    Arreton Downs view from our caravan
    by budapest8

Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Isle of Wight

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    The Chines

    by deeper_blue Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    There are 2 chines on the island one at Shanklin and one at Ventnor. The first covers 3 acres and is home to waterfalls and a variety of plantlife and woodland.
    Blackgang chine at Ventnor is more of a theme park, which is slowing erodng off the cliffs it has 3 areas ->Frontierland, Fantasyland and Nurseryland

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    Tennyson's Downs & Freshwater Bay

    by JBourne Written Sep 7, 2007

    The cliff tops surrounding Freshwater Bay are known as Tennyson's Downs, due to the poet's love of this area. The bay itself is quiet and picturesque and if you can, it is worth taking a day to walk the cliff tops and along the downs.

    This area is accessible by bus along the coast road and the scenery is beautiful. There is wildlife aplenty with adders, rare butterflies and all manner of sea birds, all along the chalk cliffs.

    Further to the east along the coast (within half an hour's walk from Freshwater Bay) you can follow the road to stretches of deserted sandy beach which when you tire of swimming or sunbathing, you can just hop on back on the bus.

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    Arreton Manor

    by budapest8 Updated Feb 27, 2007

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    The beautiful landscaped gardens and part of the house are open to the public for the peak summer months only. They offer a guided tour through some of the rooms in the Manor including The Old Court Room and through a secret passageway to The Old Monks Rooms. Arreton Manor was farmed by the Abbots of Quarr for over 400 years from 1156.

    With the ongoing development of the gardens including a Tudor style knot garden, children’s play area and a tea/coffee shop, Arreton Manor is a relaxing day out to enjoy.

    You can take a peace of Arreton Manor home with you? They sell plants from the manor garden including clipped box and yew.

    The manor is no longer a museum but is a lived in family home with a strong sense of history with its original oak panelled rooms, 17th century furniture, stone floors and Secret passage way Giving a first hand look at Jacobean living.

    Arreton Manor is a family home full of vitality and interest with an insight into the past.


    The Manor Garden Room

    There is a wonderful large licensed tea room for people visiting the Manor and gardens. They offer homemade cream teas with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Also on the menu is homemade cakes and light bites, set in beautiful surroundings overlooking the chalk based Arreton Downs, the Conservatory also has a patio area with a historic wishing well.

    Arreton Manor • Arreton • Isle of Wight • PO30 3AA • • arreton@arretonmanor.co.uk

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    Arreton Manor

    by budapest8 Written Feb 27, 2007

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    Arreton Manor is the family home for Andy and Julia Gray-Ling with their children Amie and Will. It is such a special house with enormous history and it is because of this that they open up their home to share with the public at certain times of the year for everyone to enjoy.

    Set in five acres of land, nestled in the chalk-based Arreton Downs three miles from Newport, the manor was first mentioned in Alfred the Great’s will in 885 when he left it to his youngest son Etherward. Historical records in 1050 say it was owned by Edward the Confessor and the manor was mentioned 36 years later in the Domesday Book.

    In 1156 it was given to monks belonging to the Convent of Quarr who were thrown out in the 1530s by Henry VIII during his dissolution of the monasteries. Incidentally the monks still have a presence on the island.

    The manor was largely rebuilt between 1595 and 1612 on top of some of the existing foundations. Although parts of the property are Jacobean, it still possesses many Tudor designs and features. During his exile from London, Charles I stayed secretly at the manor. Because the doomed king was on the run and hosts could be prosecuted for putting him up, a secret room was built in the west bedroom – the entrance still exists. Arreton Manor changed hands over the next few centuries. Among the visitors was Queen Victoria who regularly stayed at nearby Osborne House in Cowes. She planted a conifer on the south lawn that still stands.

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    Arretton Downs

    by budapest8 Written Feb 27, 2007

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    My first memories of Arreton are having a boy in my class
    at Ryde Boys School called Boswell who's parents owned a
    large farm in Arreton. I even got a summer job aged 13 picking
    sweetcorn, it was a good 50 minute bike ride from Ryde in the early
    morning.
    My sisters familly has a caravan on a farm
    situated on the Arreton Downs, we stayed there for a few days
    in the month of August in 2006. Arretton is a site exposed
    to the elements and some "Megalith mounds".
    The ground is a Calcareous grassland - lowland.

    l there is a large lone barrow to the south of the Newport-Brading road,
    a short distance from the Hare & Hounds PH. Labelled 'Gallows Hill' on the map,
    site of the last hanging on the Isle of Wight.

    Arreton Down (grid reference SZ540872) is a 29.77 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest on the Isle of Wight, originally notified in 1979 for its geological interest and then renotified in 1987, but for its biological interest only.

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    The Needles history and Shipwrecks

    by budapest8 Written Feb 3, 2007

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    Another famous wreck is that of the Ernst. She was a German three masted vessel whose sails were torn apart by a ferocious storm in November of 1898. She was blown onto the Shingles, where some of the crew were crushed to death when they tried to launch a boat. The local lifeboat, which in those days was rowed, could not get near enough to the wreck because of the massive waves, and she only managed to save two crew members after the ship had totally broken up some hours later. The roof of the Ernst's galley became a makeshift raft for four other members of the crew who were rescued from the waves at Christchurch.

    The last boat of any size to be wrecked on the Needles was the SS 'Varvassi', 4,000 tons, on the 5 January 1947. The Varvassi was en route to Southampton from the Mediterranean with a cargo of wines and, needless to say, quite a bit came ashore!

    One thing is sure, the tides mean that little diving is done in the area. Many secrets still wait to be uncovered in, what has for centuries, been a maritime trunk route.

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    The Needles history and Shipwrecks

    by budapest8 Written Feb 3, 2007

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    Shipwrecks

    In and around Alum Bay there are some twenty named wrecks. Probably the best known is the 'Campen'. She was a ship financed by the Dutch East India Company which, with four other sister ships, set sail for the West Indies in 1627. She was caught in a southerly gale, and ran for shelter in the western Solent. The anchors were lost when she tried to anchor off Freshwater Bay and a desperate attempt to save the ship failed. She sank with great loss of life on the south side of the Needles rocks.

    To the south of the Needles is Scratchells Bay which can be seen from the cliff top and is only accessible by sea. Its crumbling chalk cliffs were reputedly a favourite training area for some of the more celebrated sections of our armed services but would be no fun for an exhausted shipwrecked sailor at night in a southwest storm.

    Perhaps the greatest rescue off Scratchells Bay was that of the thirty-strong crew of the 'Irex' a full-rigged ship of 2,248 tons. All the way down into the Western Approaches and in to the Bay of Biscay she encountered storms and in the end she turned and ran for shelter with injured crew members and a shifted cargo. After twenty days of storms she failed to navigate the entrance to the Solent and crashed ashore at Scratchells on the night of 26 January 1890. When daylight came the wreck was discovered and it was found that the Captain, Mate and four crew had disappeared overnight.

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    The Needles history Rocket Site

    by budapest8 Written Feb 3, 2007

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    Rocket Site

    Between 1955 and 1971 a top secret Space rocket and missile development centre was built on the site of the old Needles Battery. There were over 2,000 sq ft of control rooms with up to 240 people working there at any one time. They developed the space rockets called 'Black Night' and 'Black Arrow’. The Black Knight rocket was very successful with 22 test missions launched. Originally, the rocket was purely a test rocket, but in the early 1960s it was used to carry research modules into the upper atmosphere and in 1971 the only all British satellite was launched into orbit.

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    The Needles history The birth of wireless

    by budapest8 Written Feb 3, 2007

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    The birth of wireless

    Apart from its natural beauties and geological curiosities, Alum Bay has another claim to fame for its part played in the early days of radio transmissions. In early December 1897, to investigate and experiment with transmission to ships at sea, Gugielmo Marconi set up his revolutionary wireless equipment in the Royal Needles Hotel, above Alum Bay, and sent the very first wireless transmission.

    A huge 168 feet high mast was set up outside the hotel and over the next couple of years Marconi conducted ever more complex experiments with wireless transmissions. In 1898 messages were received from Marconi at Queen Victoria's Osborne House and on the royal yacht. Little now remains of Marconi's experimental stations, as the hotel and masts have long since gone. However, a monument to him stands on the cliff top within the park and information lecterns provide a detailed history of radio, Marconi and the role played by Alum Bay.

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    The Needles history

    by budapest8 Written Feb 3, 2007

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    The Needles and Needles Lighthouse

    The original lighthouse was erected in 1785 on the summit of the Downs at the western extremity, 462 ft above sea level. However, it was generally considered that the building was too elevated above sea level to be really useful, especially in poor visibility, and it became disused when its replacement had been built.

    The name 'Needles' is believed to have been derived from a slender tapering rock pinnacle which was formerly situated a little to the north (i.e. on the Alum Bay side) of the present central rock. This needle-shaped rock, about 120ft high and known as 'Lot's Wife' collapsed into the sea in 1764 with a crash which was said to have been heard many miles away! The stump of this pinnacle can still be seen at low water where it forms a dangerous reef.

    The present lighthouse, 109ft high, clings to the base of the most westerly rock of the Needles group. It started working on 1st January 1859, taking over from the original lighthouse on the cliff top. The light, 80 feet above high water mark can be seen 14 miles away at sea level, either white, red or green accordingly to the position of the observing ship; it is easily identified by the double-occulating nature of the light, eclipse for two seconds, light for two seconds, eclipse for two seconds and then darkness for fourteen seconds. Many visitors, however, will be most familiar with the lighthouse foghorn which sounds every fifteen seconds during periods of poor visibility.

    Originally this lighthouse had a keeper and three assistants. The men were on duty for two months and then on leave for one month. There were always three men on duty at the lighthouse at any one time. Sadly, the lighthouse was automated in 1994 and we said goodbye to the keeper and his assistants. In spite of the presence of the lighthouse, the Needles have always constituted a danger to shipping - over the years many ships have foundered on or near these rocks.

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    The Needles

    by budapest8 Written Feb 3, 2007

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    One of the seven wonders of the Island: Needles you cannot thread. These chalk stacks are probably the best known landmark on the Island. The lighthouse is no longer manned. Until recently, the transfer of Christmas festive cheer to the lighthouse was an obligatory part of the local television news each year. The building in the background is part of a rocket testing station (from the second world war, now disused). The area is owned by the National Trust. Southern Vectis buses serve the area in Summer - but the trip is not for the fainthearted! The bus climbs the cliff edge zig-zag road to the delight of those passengers who have not shut their eyes.


    The Needles Park is the Isle of Wight's premier visitor attraction and is situated at Alum Bay overlooking the Island's most famous landmark,The Needles Rocks and Lighthouse.

    Every year, nearly half a million people visit to view these jagged chalk stacks and lighthouse, the unique multi coloured sand cliffs and enjoy the Park's facilities, including the spectacular chairlift.

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    Ryde

    by LouiseTopp Written Sep 2, 2005

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    Ryde is one of the biggest places on the island. The pier is quite extensive, there's a painted line showing where the pedestrians & cars should be. A land train goes along the front, not sure how much they charge. By the pier is a shop & a resturant, there's a smaller cafe just up the front. The toilets aren't very nice, they are metal & pong dangerously.

    There's a fair just up the road which has wristbands for £4, the mini rollarcoaster is a bit noisy. You can see right along the bay towards the Spinacre Tower & see the boats from Cherbourg. Sometimes a big boat carrying cars from Spain arrives, this is where the showrooms get their produce from.

    I didn't see much of a tide in, looks a bit quick sandish. There's a lake nearbye with pedal boats in the shape of swans, there are real swans nearbye who looked a bit bored; until you have something to eat. The paddling pool is quite popular & there's also a yearly carnival details for this can be found @ www.rydecarnival.co.uk

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    Lavender Blue Dilly Dilly

    by freya_heaven Updated Apr 20, 2005

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    The Isle of Wight Lavender farm is a gorgeous smelling place (an improvement on th garlic farm anyway (~_~) ). There is a shop here full of potions & products taken from the lavender plant, all of it natural, plus there is a large range of different types of lavender plants to buy. Freya wanted one & she chose Stoechas Tiara, or French Lavender to you & I! The flowers will be a dark purple colour with white petals on top!

    Admission is free, open open 10 - 5. There is also a tearoom here.

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    Bembridge Boat Houses

    by freya_heaven Written Apr 17, 2005

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    In the little village of Brembridge we came across a row of gorgeous boat houses. Many of them in various states of repair & disrepair, but most of them in great condition. This one was my favourite, I want one!!

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    Quarr Abbey

    by freya_heaven Updated Apr 17, 2005

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    Quarr Abbey is the home to Benedictine monks, some of whom you see working in the shop & cleaning the church. The Original monastery which dates back to 1132–1536 is in ruins. It was deserted during the reformation in the 1500s by Henry the VIII It is only a short walk from the new Abbey to reach it.

    The new Abbey was built in 1901, this is quite an unsual looking building, with a wonderful turret on one side. Very French looking I thought, so it came as not suprise to learn the architect was a French Monk called Dom Paul Louis Denis Bellot. Internally the Abby is full of ground level arches giving it quite a unique feel.

    Entrance is Free, There is a book & potters shop, plus a cafe in the walled garden

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Isle of Wight Hotels

Top Isle of Wight Hotels

Sandown Hotels
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Ryde Hotels
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Isle of Wight Off The Beaten Path

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