Easily the island's best-known attraction, The Needles are a row of three rocks extending seawards at its westernmost point. A lighthouse, built in 1859, on the last of them gives the image an even more spectacular touch. The Needles are beautiful chalk rocks, but they don't look the slightest bit like a needle. Their name allegedly derives from a fourth rock which collapsed almost 250 years ago.
Nowadays, the site is National Trust owned and you therefore need to pay a rather high price to get to the viewpoint. We didn't want to do that, so we ventured on to another viewpoint a few hundred meters away which provided us with an unhindered panoramic view for free. If you pay the fee, however, you'll also get access to the Needles Old Battery, a restored military site used by the artillery.
There's a bus running up to The Needles, but the more interesting way to get there is walking up the cliff yourself. While it may be tempting to walk as close to the cliff edge as possible, be aware that due to erosion this is very dangerous.
At the parking lot there is also a family amusement park which we didn't visit. It is, in my opinion, a very English thing to build an amusement park at every spectacular natural scenery. Who needs a 4D cinema and an amusement arcade if you've got some of the country's most wonderful cliffs in front of you?!
The house was designed by Prince Albert in the style of an Italian renaissance palazzo.It was built between 1845 and 1851,and was later to become Queen Victoria's country getaway.
This beautiful house and gardens are well worth a visit while on the Isle of Wight.Try getting there early, as by the time we left,about 1pm it was getting busy.
The numerous guides situated around the house were very helpful and will answer any questions you might have.Once you have seen the house you can then move out into the delightful gardens where there is a terrace restaurant serving light lunches and afternoon tea.From here you can then make the 20 minute walk down to the private beach.If by then you have had enough walking a shuttle bus is available for the return trip.
Really enjoyed the visit to this well preserved castle that was built in 1100 AD and where Charles 1 was imprisoned.The walks around the castle walls gave you great views of the surrounding countryside,although you have to negotiate the 71 steps first.
Inside the castle grounds you will also find a museum which is run by an independent charitable trust.This contains such items as Charles 1 nightcap,worn on the eve of his execution in 1649,a dress sword presented to Prince Henry of Battenberg in 1885 upon his marriage to Princess Beatrice,and a Turner watercolour of Carisbrooke Castle from 1827.
Within the walls of the castle you will also find the Chapel of St Nicholos and i have shown this in a travelogue.
We did the 20 minute walk out to the Old Battery on a day with perfect weather.The walk has some of the best views on the island (see travelogue),looking down on Alum Bay and across to the south coast of England,as well as views of the Needles and lighthouse.When you reach Alum Bay you will find a large car park (charges apply) at Needles Park,from here you can either walk or catch the bus.
This Victorian fort which was built in 1862,was used in both world wars,and two of the guns still survive today.The first soldiers came to the Old Battery in 1864 and the last left in 1945.Their job was to protect the Solent passage and the dockyards at Portsmouth from enemy invasion.
The entrance to the underground tunnel is by a narrow spiral stairway,from here you will reach the searchlight emplacement and this is the closest you can get to the Needles.
Why not combine a trip to the Owl & Monkey Have with a trip to the Lavender Farm; they are only a couple of minutes apart.
Here you can buy lavender plants to take home or choose from a large array of lavender products from their shop.
There is an onsite tearoom.
What we liked most about this place was that the coaches could not get here; it is so peaceful and quiet.
You can enjoy the countryside views from their onsite café, there is a gift shop and of course the odd bit of wine tasting.
Waltzing Waters is amazing.
You know you are going to watch fountains moving to the sound of music but this show is technically very clever, the music and water synchronisation is perfect.
There is also a shop and a café.
You can buy a DVD of their shows at the shop.
Please note that there is no photography or video cameras allowed in the show.
Other than the main photo, the others are taken from their website.
If you are a garlic lover you are going to love this place.
It is everything garlic, eating, growing and cooking with the delightful little bulb.
There is a restaurant here where you can get meals cooked with garlic (obviously)
There is also a shop to buy your garlic, including smoked; they also have a range of pickles for you to try and buy.
You can buy seed garlic to grow at home.
At the weekends they have a tractor with a trailer to take you on a ride around the site.
What a lovely little find.
The perfect place to chill out and you will when you sit in one of the sofas in Indy's.
Tea and coffee are served all day.
Beer from around the World is on offer as well as cocktails and spirits.
What you will enjoy about this place is if you get to meet Lorraine, what a wonderful person she is, you will love her.
This was our favourite day out.
Pay one price and you can ride the train all day if you like.
Go first class as we did for that extra bit of comfort.
Go to one station and get off, spend some time there and when you are ready get back on the train and return to the depot, stay on and go up to the next station, get off there and have a look around and get the train back to the depot.
On site you will also find refreshment rooms, children's play area, woodland walk, haven falconry, picnic area and a shop and museum. Something for everyone.
Butterfly & Fountain World was an interesting visit.
Plenty of butterflies flying around and the variations are amazing. If only they would settle long enough for you to photograph them :o)
You don't realise how warm it is in here until you step out and then go into the fountain side of it, a shiver will run down your spine and the sudden drop in temperature.
This site is also a garden centre with an onsite café.
This is the best animal park we have ever been too.
It was immaculate, every cage had an animal in, and the grounds were superb.
There is a café on site; the staff are friendly and helpful.
What a day out, well impressed.
Different things going on during the day check out their website for details and timings.
I could have posted more pictures but you are not allowed to photograph the inside of Osborne House.
The house no longer belongs to the monarchy but the contents do and they are protected by copyright.
This is a magnificent house and is well worth the visit.
A little warning though, if you can, get there very early, about 09.30ish and you will get there before all of the coaches arrive, this will give you the chance to get round and see everything before the rush.
I have mixed feelings about this site.
Some of it is interesting and well thought out.
Some of it is a tourist trap and quite cheesy.
Feeding the carp in the pond would have been better if the food sold for the carp floated and you could get to see the carp rise to the top clearly, but the water is so muddy and the food sank, you barely got to see the fish.
The Farm shops prices are about right but the rest were expensive.
Within this complex was The Dairyman's Daughter (See separate tip) which we enjoyed.
This was our favourite glass shop on the island.
Good demonstrations of the glass blowing where the glass blower talked you through the entire process of creating a piece.
There is a great selection of glass to buy and we thought they were very cheap considering all of the work that went into making the pieces.